April 07, 2017

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has established airspace restrictions over 133 military facilities to address national security concerns about unauthorized drone operations. The specific restricted locations are detailed in a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) – UAS NOTAM FDC 7/7137, and may be viewed online via an interactive map here

The Agency is using its existing authority under Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) § 99.7 – Special Security Instructions – to establish these restrictions. The relief provided under § 99.7 is limited to requests from the Department of Defense and U.S. federal security and intelligence agencies based on national security interests. 

U.S. military facilities are considered “sensitive” as they are vital to the nation’s security. The FAA and the Department of Defense have agreed to restrict drone flights up to 400 feet within the facility’s lateral boundaries. There are only a few exceptions that permit drone flights within these restrictions, and they must be coordinated with the individual facility and/or the FAA. The restrictions are effective on April 14, 2017. 

Operators who violate the airspace restrictions may be subject to enforcement action, including potential civil penalties and criminal charges. 

For more information about these restrictions, including frequently asked questions, please visit the FAA’s UAS website.

July 20, 2016

FAA Clarifies 400 Foot Issue and Recognizes AMA as CBO
From the AMA:
Dear Members,

Our hobby has faced many challenges this year as we address an increase in government intervention and proposed regulations. AMA has been aggressively advocating for our hobby, and during the past few weeks, we've been happy to report successful progress.

Today, our members have yet another AMA government advocacy victory to celebrate.

There has been confusion among our members as to whether operations above 400 feet are permitted by the FAA. AMA has remained steadfast that the Special Rule for Model Aircraft (Section 336 of the 2012 FAA Modernization and Reform Act) permits operations above 400 feet if conducted within our safety program requiring the pilot to be an AMA member, to avoid and not interfere with manned aircraft, and to keep the model in visual line of sight of the pilot/observer.

In January of this year, the AMA requested that the FAA clarify the 400-foot issue in writing. We are happy to share that in a recent letter to the AMA, the FAA recognized AMA's role as a community-based organization and acknowledged our safety program, including allowing flight above 400 feet under appropriate circumstances.

In this letter, dated July 7, 2016, the FAA states:

"...model aircraft may be flow consistently with Section 336 and agency guidelines at altitudes above 400 feet when following a community-based organization's safety guidelines."

"Community-based organizations, such as the Academy of Model Aeronautics, may establish altitude limitations in their safety guidelines that exceed the FAA's 400 AGL altitude recommendation."

Essentially, this letter confirms that sailplanes, large model aircraft, turbines, and other disciplines can responsibly operate above 400 feet if the AMA member is operating within our safety programming. Equally important, the FAA again acknowledges AMA as a community-based organization.

This victory falls on the heels of other successful AMA efforts, including an AMA member exemption from the FAA's Final sUAS Rule (Part 107), the removal of problematic text in the 2016 FAA Reauthorization Bill, and preserving the Special Rule for Model Aircraft through 2017.

These successes do not transpire easily and our advocacy efforts are not over. We will continue to work with the FAA toward reducing the burden of registration requirements on AMA members. Throughout the next 14 months, we will continue to work with Congress toward a long-term reauthorization bill that will further strengthen the Special Rule for Model Aircraft.

We want to extend our appreciation to all of our members and donors for your support throughout this process. To read the letter from the FAA clarifying the 400-foot guidance, visit www.modelaircraft.org/gov.

Thank you,

AMA Government Relations Team

March 18, 2015

Members encouraged to comment on FAA's sUAS NPRM

On February 23, 2015, the FAA published its proposed regulations for small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) as a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM). AMA has created a suggested template for comments, which we strongly encourage you to edit and personalize. Unless extended, the deadline for submitting comments is 11:59 p.m., Friday, April 24, 2015. Click below to use our template to comment.

Comment Now >

February 16, 2015

Press Release – DOT and FAA Propose New Rules for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems.

WASHINGTON – The Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration today proposed a framework of regulations that would allow routine use of certain small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in today’s aviation system, while maintaining flexibility to accommodate future technological innovations.   Link to full press release

November 4, 2014

Permanent TFRs issued for major sporting events and Disney properties
On October 27, 2014 the FAA issued three Permanent Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs) creating restrictions for the airspace surrounding major sporting events and the Disney properties in Anaheim CA and Orlando FL. The new flight restrictions permanently prohibit the operation of unmanned and radio-controlled model aircraft within roughly 3.5 miles of both the Disneyland and Walt Disney World theme parks. The restrictions are also in place for a period of one hour before and one hour after major sporting events.  More Info

June 23, 2014

On Monday, June 23rd, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released an Interpretive Rule in which it presented FAA's interpretation of the "Special Rule for Model Aircraft" established by Congress in the FAA modernization and Reform Act of 2012. The Academy has reviewed the rule and is extremely disappointed and troubled by the approach the FAA has chosen to take in regards to this issue.  Read More

FAA, Police Investigating Drone Over PNC Park During Pirates – Mets Game « CBS Pittsburgh

January 11, 2014

AMA/FAA Sign Memorandum of Understanding
On Saturday, January 11, the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) entered into an agreement establishing the platform upon which the AMA and the FAA will jointly work to ensure the continued safe operation of model aircraft in the National Airspace System. James Williams, executive manager of the FAA Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Office, and AMA President Bob Brown signed the memorandum of understanding (MOU) on the main stage of the annual AMA Expo in Ontario CA.  Read More

March 6, 2012

President Obama signed a new FAA Reauthorization Bill on February 14 that included a provision to protect model aviation under the auspices of a"community-based organization" from federal regulations.  Read More

February 3 2012

One hurdle cleared in the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012,  H.R. 658 - passed in the House, now onward to the Senate.  Read more

January 7, 2012

FAA reps speak to members about coming restrictions

At the 12th annual AMA EXPOlast week in Ontario CA, representatives from the FAA answered members' questions during an open forum the afternoon of January 7, 2012. Click Here to view forum