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Thread: FAA Guidance, June 23, 2014

  1. #1
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    FAA Guidance, June 23, 2014

    Please forgive me if someone has already posted this, but I could not find anything.

    A pilot friend forwarded me a press release from FAA dated today, June 23, 2014. In case the pasted letter's links break, here's a direct link to the "Do's and Don'ts" guidance, which are the meat of the release.
    http://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives...aft_operators/

    My point in posting here is this: Among other points, the Don'ts say "Don't fly beyond the line of sight of the operator", while the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 cited at the bottom of the Press Release omits any comment about line of sight. Clearly, back in 2012, they weren't concerned about FPV aircraft, whereas in 2014, they are specifically targeting it. This line-of-sight requirement is the nail in the coffin for our hobby, and we need to comment on it to the FAA in large masses.

    The press release email is the full context (pasted below), and can be found at:
    http://www.faa.gov/news/press_releas...oc&cid=102_P_R

    Ken



    Official Interpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft Public Inspection on the Federal Register:
    https://www.federalregister.gov/arti...model-aircraft

    30 day public commenting period starts on 6/25/14, respectfully make your opinions known!



    ___________________

    For Immediate Release
    June 23, 2014
    Contact: Les Dorr, Jr. or Alison Duquette
    Phone: (202) 267-3883

    FAA Offers Guidance to Model Aircraft Operators
    Agency issues interpretation of 2012 Reauthorization Law, restates authority to take enforcement action against hazardous operations
    .
    WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today published a Federal Register notice on its interpretation of the statutory special rules for model aircraft in the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. The guidance comes after recent incidents involving the reckless use of unmanned model aircraft near airports and involving large crowds of people.
    Compliance with these rules for model aircraft operators has been required since the Act was signed on February 14, 2012, and the explanation provided today does not change that fact. The FAA is issuing the notice to provide clear guidance to model operators on the “do’s and don’ts” of flying safely in accordance with the Act and to answer many of the questions it has received regarding the scope and application of the rules.
    “We want people who fly model aircraft for recreation to enjoy their hobby – but to enjoy it safely,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “At DOT, we often say that safety is a shared responsibility, so to help, we are providing additional information today to make sure model aircraft operators know exactly what’s expected of them.”
    In the notice, the FAA restates the law’s definition of “model aircraft,” including requirements that they not interfere with manned aircraft, be flown within sight of the operator and be operated only for hobby or recreational purposes. The agency also explains that model aircraft operators flying within five miles of an airport must notify the airport operator and air traffic control tower.
    The FAA reaffirms that the Act’s model aircraft provisions apply only to hobby or recreation operations and do not authorize the use of model aircraft for commercial operations. The notice gives examples of hobby or recreation flights, as well as examples of operations that would not meet that definition.
    “We have a mandate to protect the American people in the air and on the ground, and the public expects us to carry out that mission,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.
    The law is clear that the FAA may take enforcement action against model aircraft operators who operate their aircraft in a manner that endangers the safety of the national airspace system. In the notice, the FAA explains that this enforcement authority is designed to protect users of the airspace as well as people and property on the ground.
    The FAA will be working with its inspectors and model aircraft operators across the country to ensure they give standard information to the public on how to satisfy these statutory requirements and avoid endangering the safety of the nation’s airspace.
    The FAA is also developing a plan to work with the law enforcement community to help them understand the FAA’s rules for unmanned aircraft systems, as well as the special statutory rules for model aircraft operators, so they can more effectively protect public safety.
    The agency wants the public to know how and when to contact the FAA regarding safety concerns with UAS operations. You can visit the Agency’s Aviation Safety Hotline website or call 1-866-835-5322, Option 4.
    While today’s notice is immediately effective, the agency welcomes comments from the public which may help further inform its analysis. The comment period for the notice will close 30 days from publication in the Federal Register. >View the notice
    See Section 336 of the 2012 FAA Modernization and Reform Act.
    You are subscribed to page updates for the Federal Aviation Administration. A new press release is now available. We've included a copy of the release in this email.
    Last edited by Vitamin J; 24th June 2014 at 04:34 PM.

  2. #2
    Pilot smoothvirus's Avatar
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    It looks to me like they're just saying that FPV is not going to be exempt from future rulemaking, therefore they plan on regulating it, no?


    then again this:
    http://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives...aft_operators/


    seems to imply they're saying NO FPV. At least according to their interpretation that "line of sight" means "eyes only".


    Not sure how to interpret this.
    Last edited by smoothvirus; 23rd June 2014 at 05:24 PM.

  3. #3
    Reckless Video Operator squishy's Avatar
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    "Dos"
    Do fly a model aircraft/UAS at the local model aircraft club
    How much money did the AMA give the FAA for this to be the 1st item on the list? I will now make it a point to never fly at a club.

    Do take lessons and learn to fly safely
    Naw, I have been doing it longer than anyone providing the lessons you speak of.

    Do contact the airport or control tower when flying within 5 miles of the airport
    Yup, did this a long time ago on several occasions, after the airport said "eh?", I gave up because they didn't even know what I was talking about.

    Do fly a model aircraft for personal enjoyment
    Nope, I refuse. Sorry, this is serious business and I will not have fun!
    Flight Club - "In thrust we trust"

  4. #4
    Pilot smoothvirus's Avatar
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    Yeah but it's this "Don't"
    Don't fly beyond line of sight of the operator
    And this interpretation of what "Don't" means
    By definition, a model aircraft must be “flown within visual line of sight of the person operating the aircraft.” P.L. 112-95, section 336(c)(2).

    1

    Based on the plain language of the statute, the FAA interprets this requirement to mean that: (1) the aircraft must be visible at all times to the operator; (2) that the operator must use his or her own natural vision (which includes vision corrected by standard eyeglasses or contact lenses) to observe the aircraft; and (3) people other than the operator may not be used in lieu of the operator for maintaining visual line of sight. Under the criteria above, visual line of sight would mean that the operator has an unobstructed view of the model aircraft. To ensure that the operator has the best view of the aircraft, the statutory requirement would preclude the use of vision-enhancing devices, such as binoculars, night vision goggles, powered vision magnifying devices, and goggles designed to provide a “first-person view” from the model.

    2

    Such devices would limit the operator’s field of view thereby reducing his or her ability to see-and-avoid other aircraft in the area. Additionally, some of these devices could dramatically increase the distance at which an operator could see the aircraft, rendering the statutory visual-line-of-sight requirements meaningless. Finally, based on the plain language of the statute, which says that aircraft must be “flown within the visual line of sight of the person operating the aircraft,” an operator could not rely on another person to satisfy the visual line of sight requirement. See id. (emphasis added). While the statute would not preclude using an observer to augment the safety of the operation, the operator must be able to view the aircraft at all times.
    which has me concerned

  5. #5
    Navigator forty2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smoothvirus View Post
    It looks to me like they're just saying that FPV is not going to be exempt from future rulemaking, therefore they plan on regulating it, no?


    then again this:
    http://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives...aft_operators/


    seems to imply they're saying NO FPV. At least according to their interpretation that "line of sight" means "eyes only".


    Not sure how to interpret this.
    It's quite discouraging, I guess it's as good a time as any to become an outlaw if this is our future.
    Disco, Disco Pro, Blackout Mini H, Left Coast Quad, Skywalker 1900mm

  6. #6
    Instructor Pilot CaliDave's Avatar
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    Yes, this goggle BS is a big problem in the way they're defining it. They've taken spotter out of the mix, and this is just about the operator and LOS. Sadly there continues to be no coordination from our community, so as has been predicted, these rules seem to come on while we hope they don't. I wonder how much will come up before there's actually some movement to fight unreasonable regulation.

    http://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives..._spec_rule.pdf

    "2: The FAA is aware that at least one community-based organization permits “first person view” (FPV) operations during which the hobbyist controls the aircraft while wearing goggles that display images a simulation of what a pilot would see from the flight deck of a manned aircraft, the goggles may obstruct an operator’s vision, thereby preventing the operator from keeping the model aircraft within his or her visual line of sight at all times."

    Say what you will on the AMA, but that's the FAA calling them out on their stance to allow goggles for FPV provided a spotter is with the operator to deconflict airspace issues. Here they have shot that down making it seem the operator themselves have to deconflict that airspace, essentially defeating the entire concept of video piloting as it's impossible to see both at the same time. While they might suggest flying at a club, the reality is if this wording they've listed is going to be law then there won't be FPV flying anywhere legally. That's not a win for the AMA, or us.

    It's not a "simulation" of what a pilot sees, it an actual view the pilot sees and actually as many of us know permits better control of the craft in a given space. People sould be very upset on these recent postings.

    Note, all of this continues to be visual based, no mention of audibly de-conflicting the airspace as most of us flying FPV are aware of when in flight.
    Last edited by CaliDave; 23rd June 2014 at 06:36 PM.
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  7. #7
    Pilot smoothvirus's Avatar
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    Trust me, I'm very upset right now.
    There's no place I can't be / Since I found FPV / But you can't take the sky from me


  8. #8
    Instructor Pilot CaliDave's Avatar
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    They don't allow commercial, they don't allow volunteer for search and rescue, or disaster relief, they now are limiting the use of the exact technology that is what these unmanned systems are about, and for the hobby side that wasn't supposed to be regulated under it's exemptions, and even watching a craft LOS that's flying autonomously isn't technically okay as you have to have control over the craft... so they've all but banned the unmanned aerial systems they were task with "integrating" in to the NAS. I think there is legal precedent at this point and hope to see that aspect pursued.

    I'm hopeful we'll see Brendan's name a lot more on court docs VS FAA.
    Last edited by CaliDave; 23rd June 2014 at 06:55 PM.
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  9. #9
    Reckless Video Operator squishy's Avatar
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    class action?
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  10. #10
    Instructor Pilot CaliDave's Avatar
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    I'm guessing the legal powers are coming up with something... I think in a few days I'd hope to hear something. They've done well to hold off on the Trappy side of things... would be great to see this pass by a judge to shoot it down. Unfortunately I know little on the actual legal process for fighting such a large governmental entity.

    Maybe Prelator has some insight on such a model to fight unreasonable regulations.
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