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How will registration affect sailplanes?

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Old 12-22-2015, 12:39 PM
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bokuda
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Default How will registration affect sailplanes?

Practically all r/c aircraft pilots now have to register with the FAA. Part of their ruling is a universal 400' altitude limit. They state r/c aircraft must be operated below that limit and list no exceptions. Actually this limit has been in affect since 1981 per FAA advisory Circular 91-57 which states: "Do not fly model aircraft higher than 400 above the surface."

I just learned of this myself after having been in the hobby for 50+ years and an AMA member since the early '70's. The AMA safety code still says to fly below 400' within 3 miles of airports unless airport operators are notified and I've always assumed this was the rule of the land.

Having once been an avid sailplane flyer and competitor, I'm curious as to what others think of this. It seems to me this will kill sailplanes, or at least sailplane competition.

I've been intrigued by ALES for some time now and purchased a high end one along with an Airtronics 10G hoping to reenter competition. Looks like it was a waste of money.
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Old 12-22-2015, 02:32 PM
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Jennifer Curtis
 
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My gliders fly below 400 feet. I can see them
so I know they are within the legal limit.

Jenny
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Old 12-22-2015, 05:17 PM
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400' is lower than most people think.
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Old 12-22-2015, 06:46 PM
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"My gliders fly below 400 feet. I can see them
so I know they are within the legal limit."

I could see mine at 2000 ft and now know that they were outside the limit. Unless you have altimeters installed, how do you know how high they actually are?

This is not the point of my post. I'd like to know how this rule is going to affect sailplane operations, particularly competition.

I just watched the AMA's January MA digital and saw Chad Budreau state that it is OK to fly over 400 in some cases according to the AMA safety guide. (See this at 3:25 in the video.) This is clearly not true as noted in the new ruling and in the 1981 advisory circular noted in the opening post. Even the AMA
bureaucracy is putting out erroneous information. I doubt AMA guidelines supersede the FAA's.
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Old 12-23-2015, 07:37 AM
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There's no 400 foot "rule" from the FAA.

There's some safety guidelines that they encourage, but no rule
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Old 12-23-2015, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by BarracudaHockey View Post
There's no 400 foot "rule" from the FAA.

There's some safety guidelines that they encourage, but no rule
100% correct, there is no AMA rule nor Law at this time to not fly above 400'. Unless you register, then you are entering a binding contract to not fly above 400'. I personally WILL NOT register until they remove the 400' off of the terms and conditions. As for the legalities concerning this, the AMA is currently in litigation with the FAA. Until the matter goes through the the courts it can't be enforced and section 336 states a decision made by congress that the FAA has no authority to govern model airplanes. The FAA is going against Congress with this registration deal. I urge everyone to ban together and not resister but continue to fly in a safe manner at an AMA sanctioned site.
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Old 12-23-2015, 09:16 AM
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Sorry, I truly wish you were correct on this, but you are not. A quick Google search will confirm that the 400' limit is mandatory and there are no exceptions despite what the AMA safety code says. FAA rules, I'm sure, trump AMA's guidelines. The 400' limit has been in existence since 1981 per FAA Advisory Circular 91-57, although it has not been enforced. I'm sure it will be now.

The 400' limit is specifically stated in the rules on the FAA's UAS registration site. Those rules apply to all whether or not they register.

This is also discussed in this thread:

The registration link
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Old 12-23-2015, 09:51 AM
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Advisory circulars aren't laws they are advisories and AC91-57 has been superceeded by 91-57A
Which says
e. Model aircraft operators should follow best practices including limiting operations to 400 feet
above ground level (AGL).
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Old 12-23-2015, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by BarracudaHockey View Post
Advisory circulars aren't laws they are advisories and AC91-57 has been superceeded by 91-57A
Which says
Sorry. Ask any full scale pilot or FAA official: The real meaning to the FAA use of "advisory" is "we advise you to do this, or else!"

The UAV registration rules also clearly state no flying over 400' and you must agree to that to register.

Last edited by bokuda; 12-23-2015 at 10:56 PM.
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Old 12-23-2015, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by bokuda View Post
Sorry. Ask any full scale pilot or FAA official: The real meaning to the FAA of "advisory" is "we advise you to do this, or else!"

The UAV registration rules also clearly state no flying over 400'.
Or else what?

And who is going to do whatever it is?

"advisory" is what it is, especially when there is no enforcement of any note.
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Old 12-23-2015, 11:19 AM
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I am coming at this from both a standpoint of a full size power and glider pilot and an RC glider enthusiast.

I certainly understand the the concern of all parties including the RC glider pilots.

AMA sanctioned contests could gain exceptions to this rule by contacting the FAA regional office and perhaps gaining a few day TFR airspace area. This is done for the model rocket enthusiasts as I have been warned of these airspace restrictions when I fly my full size airplane near dry lake beds next to Edwards Airforce base.

All this his takes a little more work, but it keeps everyone in the loop.

It then becomes the responsibility of the full size pilot to gain all information about their flight and anything that my affect it. At that point the RC pilot and AMA would not be liable.

It it will be more difficult for CC RC soaring contest because of the larger area of flight, especially straight out flights.
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Old 12-23-2015, 11:59 AM
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No need to get around a "rule" that doesn't exist yet.

I think you'll find that even with air space restrictions, if model meets full scale, model will always be at fault.
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Old 12-23-2015, 01:02 PM
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And even if the rule is actually enacted, who is going to enforce it? and how will they rationalize the expense of enforcement?

You really think there will be police running around arresting modelers for flying above 400'? Or even ticketing them? Much less throwing them in jail for terrorist activities? Heck, they don't even have time or manpower for present problems, like domestic violence, illegal drugs and such.
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Old 12-23-2015, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by bokuda View Post
Sorry. Ask any full scale pilot or FAA official: The real meaning to the FAA of "advisory" is "we advise you to do this, or else!"

The UAV registration rules also clearly state no flying over 400'.
Tha ADVISORY has been in existence for 25 years and not once has it been enforced and an R/C pilot fined. Why? Because it's not a law, no law enforcement officer is stupid enough to site someone for a non law. This is part of the problem, we should be banning together for a stronger front against any chances of this advisory becoming a law instead of arguing about it amongst ourselves. We should be allowed to function as we have for decades, there has not been a single incident where a model that was being flown at an AMA site has brought down a full scale aircraft. We have a proven safety record of 50 years plus. FAA needs to leave the recreational R/C pilot the hell alone.
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Old 12-23-2015, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by da Rock View Post
Or else what?

And who is going to do whatever it is?

"advisory" is what it is, especially when there is no enforcement of any note.

Do you really believe the FAA does not have enforcement capability?
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Old 12-23-2015, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by bokuda View Post
Do you really believe the FAA does not have enforcement capability?
Anyone who has ever held a pilot's license most certainly does.

So what is the penalty listed for flying a model above 400' for example?
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Old 12-23-2015, 10:51 PM
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Originally Posted by da Rock View Post
Anyone who has ever held a pilot's license most certainly does.

So what is the penalty listed for flying a model above 400' for example?
We don't know what the penalty would be. The 400' limit was never enforced and there never was, to my knowledge, an incident involving a model aircraft and full size aircraft.* Quad copters have changed that creating numerous incidents and the FAA has lumped all r/c aircraft together. It won't be long before a quad copter operator is caught operating illegally and then we'll find out what the penalty is. As I understand it, the FAA can impose fines without a trial.

* There was an incident a few years ago where a full scale Pitts made a low pass at a model airplane event and collided with a large IMAC plane which was destroyed. The Pitts was damaged. As I recall, the Pitts pilot was at fault as the runway he flew over was closed for the event.

Last edited by bokuda; 12-23-2015 at 10:55 PM.
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Old 12-24-2015, 04:43 AM
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LOL no.

The Pitt's executed a "missed approach" and struck the model. Even though he was obviously show boating they blamed the model and the "air boss" NOT the f/s pilot.

Oh yea, he said he had smoke on to enhance visibility.
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Old 12-24-2015, 08:53 AM
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The law is already being enforced in Pennsylvanian according to a poster over on HeliFreak. It could be a hoax but the individual checks out as being authentic.

Last edited by flycatch; 12-24-2015 at 09:46 AM.
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Old 12-24-2015, 09:21 AM
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What thread? I looked around and didn't see a thread
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Old 12-24-2015, 09:45 AM
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http://www.helifreak.com/showthread.php?t=725928
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Old 12-24-2015, 10:29 AM
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Did you change that to HF from RR?

Interesting reading. Thats where I grew up. I wonder if he said "no i don't but I'm not required yet" what would have happened
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Old 12-24-2015, 10:34 AM
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My mistake but glad you read the post. I read in another post that the FAA had sent nationwide advisories to our police agencies. This may confirm they did just that.
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Old 12-24-2015, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by bokuda View Post
Sorry, I truly wish you were correct on this, but you are not. A quick Google search will confirm that the 400' limit is mandatory and there are no exceptions despite what the AMA safety code says. FAA rules, I'm sure, trump AMA's guidelines. The 400' limit has been in existence since 1981 per FAA Advisory Circular 91-57, although it has not been enforced. I'm sure it will be now.

The 400' limit is specifically stated in the rules on the FAA's UAS registration site. Those rules apply to all whether or not they register.

This is also discussed in this thread:

The registration link
This is from the FAA UAS site, notice the bolded parts.

"...Model aircraft operations are for hobby or recreational purposes only.
The FAA has partnered with several industry associations to promote Know Before You Fly, a campaign to educate the public about using unmanned aircraft safely and responsibly. Individuals flying for hobby or recreation are strongly encouraged to follow safety guidelines, which include:
  • Fly below 400 feet and remain clear of surrounding obstacles
  • Keep the aircraft within visual line of sight at all times
  • Remain well clear of and do not interfere with manned aircraft operations
  • Don't fly within 5 miles of an airport unless you contact the airport and control tower before flying
  • Don't fly near people or stadiums
  • Don't fly an aircraft that weighs more than 55 lbs
  • Don't be careless or reckless with your unmanned aircraft – you could be fined for endangering people or other aircraft
..."


It is true that when you register they have you indicate that you vow to stay below 400', but I honestly don't know how binding that is if there is actually no reg. requiring it.
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Old 12-24-2015, 07:02 PM
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Washington Post, read by most lawmakers and their staffs, had this today:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...ry-operations/
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