In a strongly worded letter to members posted on the AMA site, AMA representatives said that their Executive Council had voted unanimously to take action to “relieve and further protect our members from unnecessary and burdensome regulations.” Citing the fact that the AMA has an existing registration system for their members, which requires all members to place their AMA number or name and address on or within their model aircraft, the AMA claims that the new registration system is redundant. They also argue against the validity of the rule, stating that “the new registration rule runs counter to Congress’ intent in Section 336 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, otherwise known as the ‘Special Rule for Model Aircraft.'”
The AMA Council says that it is considering both legal and political remedies: in August, the AMA filed a petition before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia requesting the court to review the FAA’s interpretation of the “Special Rule for Model Aircraft.” Since the FAA’s response to questions of the validity of the new registration program is their repeated insistence that model aircraft (and drones) are aircraft, which must be registered; the AMA is asking the Court’s immediate attention to the AMA petition, which disputes the definition of model aircraft as aircraft.
While they disagree with the FAA’s heavy handed approach, the AMA’s letter to members states that the organization continues to promote the safety of the hobby:
While we continue to believe that registration makes sense at some threshold and for flyers operating outside of a community-based organization or flying for commercial purposes, we also strongly believe our members are not the problem and should not have to bear the burden of additional regulations. Safety has been the cornerstone of our organization for 80 years and AMA’s members strive to be a part of the solution.
The letter ends by asking AMA members to refuse to register immediately:
As we proceed with this process, we suggest AMA members hold off on registering their model aircraft with the FAA until advised by the AMA or until February 19, the FAA’s legal deadline for registering existing model aircraft….Holding off on registration will allow AMA time to fully consider all possible options. On a parallel track, it also allows AMA to complete ongoing conversations with the FAA about how best to streamline the registration process for our members.
As the day progresses and the new FAA registration site remains unavailable, that may be an easy choice to make.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
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