Dave Mathewson, executive director of the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), has responded to the recommendations released by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Task Force on UAS registration.
“As a member of the task force, AMA agrees that registration of UAS makes sense at some level and for flyers operating outside the guidance of a community-based organization or flying for commercial purposes,” Mathewson says. “Unfortunately, as written, these recommendations would make the registration process an unnecessary and unjustified burden to our 185,000 members, who have operated harmoniously within the aviation community for decades and who register and provide their personal contact information when joining the AMA. For this reason, AMA wanted to include dissenting comments in the final task force report, but was prevented from doing so.”
Mathewson says adding an additional requirement for AMA members to register at the federal level is contrary to public law stating that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is prohibited from promulgating any new rules for recreational users operating within the safety guidelines of a community-based organization. “Congress by no means intended to grant a free pass for individuals who operate model aircraft. Instead, it clearly intended to leave risk mitigation and the development of appropriate safety guidelines for the operation of these devices by the members of the AMA to the nationwide community-based organization.”
More importantly, he says, AMA members have a safe flying record. He highlights the fact that AMA has proactively partnered with the FAA and other industry stakeholders in an effort to educate the new drone enthusiasts through the Know Before You Fly campaign. “AMA’s members strive to be a part of the solution. However, the solution should not involve our members bearing the burden of new regulations.”
Last, Mathewson says, “Unfortunately, the task force recommendations may ultimately prove untenable by requiring the registration of smaller devices that are essentially toys and do not represent safety concerns. ... The task force only considered weight, requiring any device up to 0.55 pounds to register. We believe weight should be only one of several factors considered when determining where the threshold should be for UAS registration.”
About The Academy of Model Aeronautics
The Academy of Model Aeronautics, founded in 1936, continues to be devoted to national airspace safety. It serves as the nation’s collective voice for approximately 180,000 modelers in 2,400 clubs in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Headquartered in Muncie, Ind., AMA is a membership organization representing those who fly model aircraft for recreation and educational purposes.