Here is a wonderful post from AtlantaHobby.com about how the FAA is end our hobby and stifle harmless economic activity (Click here to read the original article). Share the message and spread the word! Support AtlantaHobby.com for helping to rally all of us drone, FPV, aerial photographers, fun seekers, etc.. FAA Stay Away !
In June 1776, representatives of the thirteen colonies, beginning a struggle against the tyranny and repression of a government gone mad, signed a resolution to declare their independence from Great Britain. This declaration changed the world; it was the first step towards a nation founded on liberty, and a government founded on respect for individual rights. This week, we celebrate the signing of that declaration, a day every American knows as Independence Day.
Now is a critical time in the RC industry. And I think it is a time for us to sign our own declaration.
Interpretation and reinterpretation
I came to despise double-speak during my thirty-plus years in the corporate world. I learned there that when someone came to know something was wrong, they changed the meaning of the words to make it right. I would often hear other executives say “We’ll tell it to them this way or that way,” with no concern for the real way, the truth. If something was flat not going their way, they would “reinterpret” what the words meant. Kind of like saying the sky is yellow instead of blue. Say it enough times and they believed the public would accept it as truth, or better yet, just “reinterpret” what the color blue means.
Most reasonable folks like you and I know this and have seen this in action. Lately, it has been coming from our own government representatives; you know, those folks we elect to represent us, who are supposedly there to listen and respond to our views and requests.
Some examples of reinterpretation:
The second amendment, that states the right to bear arms shall not be infringed, is now reinterpreted to mean only if permitted, taxed and under tightly controlled situations. The freedom of speech is now reinterpreted to mean only in certain areas and times.
Just last week, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen smugly detailed how the agency “accidentally” lost two years of Lois Lerner and six other IRS employees’ emails regarding IRS targeting. Accidentally seems to be reinterpreted to “Hey, I erased the hard drives to protect the IRS.”
These are all examples that the vast American public did not need to have explained in the first place, but reinterpretation changed their meanings. The meaning was very clear for us to start with. Just what part of “Shall not be infringed” do our elected officials not understand?
Many of the darkest times in world history came about because the majority of the public sat idly by, was apathetic, and believed the “reinterpretation” that their governments told them. In 1930s Germany, you know what happened.
How does this relate to remote controlled flying machines?
As most of you know, the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) has been in the business of unmanned, remote control flight and safety long before the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ever came into being. For over 75 years, AMA community-based programs have had a stellar track record, and the FAA has both praised these programs and implied they were a model for future oversight. The FAA and the AMA recently signed a letter of understanding detailing how they would work together to enhance safety, to share information, and to be transparent with each other. Now, the FAA has proven that the letter of understanding was nothing but blowing hot air, and that they had no intention of transparency or working in good faith with the modeling community.
Our free-market-based industry has created new innovation in electronic systems, robotics, programming, aerospace design, flight control systems, and many other technical fields. Many of these innovations are far more advanced than comparable systems developed by or for the government or military. The results include many benefits, not the least of which are youth that are more involved and have a higher level of interest in science, technology, engineering and math. These advancements have led to the availability of low-cost, reliable, light weight, and safer technology that can be used for search and rescue, crop inspection, disaster preparedness and response, and recreation. These new systems are enablers; the technology is so advanced that many systems know where controlled airspace is and avoids those high traffic and controlled areas of the sky.
Last week, the FAA (which, by the way, reports to the executive branch with the only congressional oversight limited to their budget, and is part of the Department of Transportation that spends over sixty billion of your tax dollars) issued a statement they were going to “reinterpret” everything to do with remote controlled flight. In fact, when you read it carefully (and you should,) they are going through the steps “asking permission” to change what they know as well as we do are already the correct definitions.
In 2012, the FAA Modernization and Reform Act (Public Law 112-95) was signed into law, with Congress telling the FAA to study and create ways for unmanned aircraft systems to use the sky. This was in part due to large drone companies like UPS, Boeing, the military, and others wanting to fly their full-scale planes with no pilots, and in part to protect us from our own military spy planes and the National Security Agency (NSA) who want to know everything about you. Do you really think you have any privacy anyway with a cell phone in your pocket?
That 112-95 statute included Section 336, “a special rule for model aircraft.” This provision was specifically included to protect both hobbyists and the model aircraft industry from the over-reaching regulation that Congress knew would be created in the future by the FAA. This public law 112-95 law “exempts” recreational model aircraft from any new regulation, preserving for our communities the existing and historical role of offering safety programs, pilot instruction, flying site establishment, and event supervision, while preserving the FAA’s limited taxpayer resources for other important functions.
In this past week’s action, the FAA is attempting to “reinterpret” and change the meaning of “exempt from regulation.” They want to change the definition of “hobby” to suit their needs. Their attempt to change the definitions of what we do is in direct violation of the 112-195 the section 336 statute. Action on your part is required NOW, for they will change these definitions unless you act.
The FAA’s attempt at reinterpretation improperly tries to tie model aviation to new rules, including an unknown number of regulations that are created to apply to passenger aircraft not the aircraft we enjoy. The FAA has also stated that it may take enforcement action against hobbyists if it deems a model aircraft to pose “any kind” of safety issue to anyone or anything, without telling the community what its safety parameters actually are. This is an attempt to write Section 336 out of the statute and opens the door to arbitrary enforcement.
Unless you act now, there could be many new restrictions on hobbyists in the near future. You may be required to have a FAA medical certificate in order to fly your RC plane. You may be subject to being required to take a full FAA approved ground school and written test by an approved FAA certified instructor in order to fly your model aircraft. You may be required to have your aircraft inspected and approved for flight. You may even have to file an official flight plan in order to operate your model aircraft.
For some reason, the FAA also has a big issue with the word “commercial” and wants to make this word have a very broad definition. What this really means is that if you happen to be a farmer and want to fly at 200 feet to detect the soil moisture in your crops and improve your yield, you need to be taxed and jump through lots of hoops, since the FAA reinterprets this as a commercial operation. If you are a real-estate professional and stand on a ladder or put your GoPro camera on a stick and take an aerial photo for a creative shot of a home for sale that is fine, but you cannot fly up to 50 ft and take the same photo from your quad copter as you are now a commercial operation and are endangering that 767 at 35,000 ft. If you are a production house or a motion picture studio, don’t you dare fly your camera down a canyon to get that dramatic action shot as that is a commercial operation.
Even the public benefits of these technologies could be restricted. If you are a police department and can use a small quad copter to survey a traffic accident, economically saving the community thousands in full sized aircraft fees, you will need to be taxed and papered to death for the right to fly. If you can use a small RC plane or quad to find a missing child using a infrared camera at night (or day) you need to be taxed and buried in paperwork as well as this is commercial.
There’s many examples, but it comes down to this: Your action is needed to stop frivolous regulations reminiscent of the same kinds of issues our founding fathers had over two centuries ago.
The AMA has responded to the FAA the day after their reinterpretation notice was published, stating “…the current FAA stance is at best ill-conceived and at worst intentionally punitive and retaliatory.”
On Tuesday, June 24th, the AMA issued a member alert expressing great concern over provisions in the FAA's attempt at reinterpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft established by Congress in the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012.
Your action is needed now, for as my mom used to say, “give them an inch…” I encourage you to modelaircraft.org to read your call to action from the AMA and to watch our Air Show broadcast tonight at 8:30 Eastern rcradionetwork.com where Rich Hanson the head of AMA Government and Regulatory Affairs and Dave Mathewson AMA's executive director will join us live to discuss this catastrophic new attempt at rule making and what you can do to help.
Time is short. You must be heard by July 25th or apathy will prevail and you will not be able to fly as you know it today.
Thanks for reading my long-winded statement. I am vocal, I do not have apathy, and I will not stand idly by while we are overrun by frivolous and unnecessary regulations.
I am a private pilot, and I do not want to be run into by a model plane or helicopter while flying my family somewhere, but overbearing regulations do not make for safe operations. Regulations do not prevent stupidity any more than the 55MPH speed limit prevents speeders.
Go outside, look up, is the sky crowded? Do you see planes everywhere like in the old Jetsons cartoons? There is lots of air space available and the only overcrowding I see is the Department of Transportation, with 57,000 employees and a mile high stack of regulations, trying to reinterpret our direction to suit their over-controlling needs.