Two U.S. Senators have successfully sponsored an amendment to Section 349 of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, a change which eases the way for drones in education. The Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) has issued a statement thanking Senator Doug Jones of Alabama and Senator Dan Sullivan of Alaska for their support of the industry.
Recreational and educational flight have experienced greater limitations since the repeal of Section 336 in the FAA Reauthorization Act. However, the amendment, passed as part of the National Defense Reauthorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021 on July 23, 2020, will help schools incorporate drones in education programs.
The amendment “allows for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) flown as part of the established curriculum of an elementary or secondary school, an established Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) program, or as part of an educational program chartered by a recognized community-based organization (CBO), to be treated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) the same as limited recreational operations,” says an AMA announcement.
“Model aviation is an effective tool for inspiring young people to explore careers in STEM-related fields and is critical for instructing and training new generations of aviators, engineers, and more. We are pleased the U.S. Senate concurs with the Academy of Model Aeronautics and adopted our recommendations to continue to foster safe educational operations of unmanned aircraft under the same regulatory status as recreational UAS operations. This decision applies to model airplanes or drones flown as part of an elementary or secondary school curriculum, a JROTC program, or a school program recognized by a CBO. For decades, educational model aircraft programs have operated safely across the U.S. without unnecessary regulatory burdens, and we’re thankful that we will be allowed to continue. We would like to express our deep gratitude to Senator Jones and Senator Sullivan for their leadership on this important amendment,” says Chad Budreau, Executive Director of the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA).
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 penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. 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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