FAA Registration

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    After a long conversation with Dave Mathewson of AMA, I verified that Free Flight models DO NOT need to be registered. We, as FFers, are under the radar in this instance and it is best that we remain that.
    RDT does not institute a control device.

    So, I request that the membership does not contact any FAA officials in regards to questions pertaining to this matter. If there are questions, they should be directed to AMA.

    AMA has spent years with this process and they do have our best interests in mind. Dealing with a federal agency such as the FAA is very frustrating (Dave stated that just when they started to get comfortable with a member of the committee, that person would be replaced with another individual and the process would have to start all over again). We need to trust AMA.

    So, unless you are flying a radio assist model (radios controlling rudder, elevator, motor, and/or ailerons) we do not need to register.

    I hope this clears up the matter with our members. Please pass this information around to any free flighters that have not seen this.


    John Lorbiecki
    NFFS President


    So what is the situation with the FAA? Do we (FF”S) have to register or not?


    So do we have to register with the FAA or not? I have heard both answers. What is the official word?


    You DO NOT need to register for FF models- only if you have control of the flying surfaces from the ground. Mr Kargol, you are legal!!


    John McCain responded to me-

    Thank you for contacting me about model aircraft regulation. I appreciate you taking the time to express your views on this issue.

    Congress and the FAA have been working to establish a framework for the integration of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), or drones, into the national airspace. To date, these efforts have distinguished between drones operated for commercial purposes, and recreational model aircraft. As you may know, the Senate-passed Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act of 2016 (H.R. 636) includes provisions on UAS safety, privacy, and innovation, and contains language addressing rules for model aircraft.

    This bill, if enacted, would continue the practice of excluding model aircraft from many FAA UAS rules. It would define model aircraft and set parameters for how the FAA may regulate them. Model aircraft covered by these provisions would be permissible by the FAA as long as they were flown for recreational use, no higher than 400 feet in altitude, operated in accordance with a community-based set of guidelines, and operated in such a way that did not interfere with any manned aircrafts. Model aircraft flights within five miles of an airport must be given prior approval from the airport’s air traffic control tower, and operators would be required to pass a knowledge and safety test administered by the FAA before operation.

    The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2016 passed in the Senate on March 19, 2016 by a vote of 95-to-3. This bill has yet to pass the House of Representatives and be signed into law. I will be sure to keep your views in mind as this legislation advances.

    Thank you again for contacting me regarding model airplane regulation. Please do not hesitate to do so again on this or any other matter of concern.


    John McCain
    United States Senator

    Ed O’Brien

    This post is in response the the news from Texas Timers on page 34 of the latest NFFS digest.

    I have received the following from the AMA regarding free flight models and RDTs installed.


    The Safety Committee, as well as AMA’s Government Relations team, reviewed your inquiry and discussed it. There is a general consensus that if you are adding an RC system to the plane it would be considered an RC plane. As such you could be part of the AMA Park Pilot program; however, it would also mean that your model and your operation would now fall within the FAA’s requirements and Public Law 115-254, section 349. Currently free flight model operation does not fall within the FAA overview.
    I am not trying to cause Texas Timers any grief. I’m still somewhat confused.

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