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FPV & Part 101

Old 09-01-2016, 06:30 AM
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franklin_m
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Default FPV & Part 101

There's a lot of questions circling around about whether or not recreational fliers (under part 101) can fly FPV legally. I'm a big believer in giving folks as much information as possible and then letting them make individual risk decisions, and suffer consequences (if any) as appropriate.


AMA put out yesterday that "AMA members may continue flying FPV" (note 1), which included statements to the effect that because the case challenging the FAA Interpretation of the Special Rule is on hold, enforcement actions are on hold. Thus FPV under AMA rules is allowed.
In the FAA's Interpretation of the Special Rule on Model Aircraft (note 2), it says that: "By definition, a model aircraft must be 'flown within visual line of sight of the person operating the aircraft.' Public Law 11295, section 336(c)(2). Based on the plain language of the statute, the FAA interprets this requirement to mean that: (1) The aircraft must be visible at all times to the operator; (2) that the operator must use his or her own natural vision (which includes vision corrected by standard eyeglasses or contact lenses) to observe the aircraft; and (3) people other than the operator may not be used in lieu of the operator for maintaining visual line of sight. Under the criteria above, visual line of sight would mean that the operator has an unobstructed view of the model aircraft. To ensure that the operator has the best view of the aircraft, the statutory requirement would preclude the use of vision enhancing devices, such as binoculars, night vision goggles, powered vision magnifying devices, and goggles designed to provide a 'first-person view' from the model [emphasis added]."


I was of the understanding that the case was held in "Abeyance," and no injunction was issued. So I checked with a close friend who is a senior military Judge Advocate, someone who is well versed in the Federal Court system. He confirmed that a case held in "abeyance" normally does not prevent an agency from enforcing, unless the agency has issued something saying they will not enforce. So I asked the AMA two questions:

(1) Did the court order the FAA not to enforce based on the interpretation?
(2) Has the FAA issued something saying they are suspending enforcement action?

Question (1): The AMA did not answer. So I went to the US Federal Court's PACER system and looked up the case (USCA Case#14-1158) and found the order (Document #1523016) holding the case in "Abeyance." I've attached a copy of the abeyance request and the court's order granting the motion. The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit did not order the FAA not to enforce the FAA Interpretation of the Special Rule on Model Aircraft.

Question (2): AMA did not indicate they have anything in writing with respect to the second question, only that they're engaged in "ongoing conversations." Now, you can make the decision for yourself, but a lawyer told me a long time ago that "if it's not in writing, it doesn't exist."


So if you choose to follow the AMA's advice and fly FPV under part 101, at least you're doing it with the full knowledge that the court HAS NOT prevented the FAA from enforcing and the only thing that stands between you and enforcement action are "ongoing conversations."


Note 1: http://amablog.modelaircraft.org/ama...#comment-15522
Note 2: https://www.federalregister.gov/arti...model-aircraft (page 36193, 3rd column, 2nd para)
Attached Thumbnails Abeyance Order.pdf   Abeyance Request.pdf  
Old 09-01-2016, 03:06 PM
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Wow.
Mike

Last edited by rcmiket; 09-01-2016 at 03:25 PM.
Old 09-01-2016, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by rcmiket View Post
Wow.
Mike
Agreed. I was shocked. The blog release on the FPV thing is, at best, not 100% accurate with respect to the status of the legal proceedings. It's certainly not accurate with respect to whether the FAA can enforce or not - a fact proven by the quote from the actual court order saying what parties MAY do if the FAA enforces. No need for that statement if they FAA is prohibited from enforcing.

What's concerning is that the sloppy language with respect to legal status could be exposing members to enforcement action.

I don't know why they aren't 100% precise in their language, then let members make a fully informed risk decision
Old 09-01-2016, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by franklin_m View Post
Agreed. I was shocked. The blog release on the FPV thing is, at best, not 100% accurate with respect to the status of the legal proceedings. It's certainly not accurate with respect to whether the FAA can enforce or not - a fact proven by the quote from the actual court order saying what parties MAY do if the FAA enforces. No need for that statement if they FAA is prohibited from enforcing.

What's concerning is that the sloppy language with respect to legal status could be exposing members to enforcement action.

I don't know why they aren't 100% precise in their language, then let members make a fully informed risk decision
I've be watching this pretty close and missed that blog on the AMA site.
Thanks for the link. I believe all of us should be paying attention to this.

Mike
Old 09-01-2016, 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by franklin_m View Post
Agreed. I was shocked. The blog release on the FPV thing is, at best, not 100% accurate with respect to the status of the legal proceedings. It's certainly not accurate with respect to whether the FAA can enforce or not - a fact proven by the quote from the actual court order saying what parties MAY do if the FAA enforces. No need for that statement if they FAA is prohibited from enforcing.

What's concerning is that the sloppy language with respect to legal status could be exposing members to enforcement action.

I don't know why they aren't 100% precise in their language, then let members make a fully informed risk decision
No, the AMA doesn't expose any member to enforcement action. Members do that all by themselves based on how they fly. We're all responsible for what we do, not the AMA. It's clear this is the next issue to get folks all worked up about, to show how they are somehow complicit, or responsible, or really to blame for something, but really. Whatever happened to personal responsibility?
Old 09-01-2016, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by porcia83 View Post
No, the AMA doesn't expose any member to enforcement action. Members do that all by themselves based on how they fly. We're all responsible for what we do, not the AMA. It's clear this is the next issue to get folks all worked up about, to show how they are somehow complicit, or responsible, or really to blame for something, but really. Whatever happened to personal responsibility?
Sure they did. Their news release leads members to believe that FAA enforcement is on hold because the case is abeyance. That is clearly not true.

I asked a direct question about what was and was not included in the court order. AMA would not answer it.

Why do you think they wouldn't answer it?
Old 09-01-2016, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by franklin_m View Post
Sure they did. Their news release leads members to believe that FAA enforcement is on hold because the case is abeyance. That is clearly not true.

I asked a direct question about what was and was not included in the court order. AMA would not answer it.

Why do you think they wouldn't answer it?
You keep asking why you can't get responses from the AMA, why they won't respond to you, or listen to you, or implement the suggestion you make/have made. Of course you get them, because you usually post their responses right here, they just aren't the responses you are looking for. In one instance you kept asking Chad the same question what, 10 times and you kept getting the same response, but kept pushing and pushing. Pretty sure Chad was smart enough after the first question to know what was going on there.

If you keep approaching something the same way, and keep getting the same result you complain about, I think I've said before you probably need to change your approach. If one method doesn't work, try another. The whole squeaky wheel thing only works so far though.
Old 09-01-2016, 05:25 PM
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Personal responsibility? Does anyone actual take that anymore? From what I've seen over the years, it's always someone else that's at fault, regardless of the outcome of any incident. You just crashed your newly built plane, it's got to be the poor wood or a bad bottle of glue and not your showboating at low level that is at fault. I see it all the time, especially at work. Someone fails a test and it's the person that wrote the test or the specification books fault due to one(or more usually both) being badly written and too confusing.
Old 09-01-2016, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by porcia83 View Post
You keep asking why you can't get responses from the AMA, why they won't respond to you, or listen to you, or implement the suggestion you make/have made. Of course you get them, because you usually post their responses right here, they just aren't the responses you are looking for. In one instance you kept asking Chad the same question what, 10 times and you kept getting the same response, but kept pushing and pushing. Pretty sure Chad was smart enough after the first question to know what was going on there.

If you keep approaching something the same way, and keep getting the same result you complain about, I think I've said before you probably need to change your approach. If one method doesn't work, try another. The whole squeaky wheel thing only works so far though.
Multiple questions result when organizations try to obfuscate their response rather than use precise language. I went several rounds with Chad because he did the classic media thing, answer a different question than the one I posed.
Old 09-01-2016, 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by porcia83 View Post
You keep asking why you can't get responses from the AMA, why they won't respond to you, or listen to you, or implement the suggestion you make/have made. Of course you get them, because you usually post their responses right here, they just aren't the responses you are looking for.
They put out the statement. With respect to the lawsuit, and what the abeyance did and did not do, either they knew what they were saying was not exactly correct, or they were sloppy. Either way, not acceptable - especially when it involves safety of the NAS.
Old 09-01-2016, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Hydro Junkie View Post
Personal responsibility? Does anyone actual take that anymore? From what I've seen over the years, it's always someone else that's at fault, regardless of the outcome of any incident. You just crashed your newly built plane, it's got to be the poor wood or a bad bottle of glue and not your showboating at low level that is at fault. I see it all the time, especially at work. Someone fails a test and it's the person that wrote the test or the specification books fault due to one(or more usually both) being badly written and too confusing.
Couldn't agree more. It's sorely lacking. How many threads have you seen involving Horizon Hobby and their new planes, heck even older ones. Granted, they might have a dud every now and then, but my god that company gets hit constantly with claims of servo failure, esc failure, transmitter failure...etc etc etc. The pilots of course expect new gear and usually get it for "free"...as if that isn't built into the cost of the item anyway. Of course it wasn't their piloting skills, or the receiver pack that they failed to check since it was charged last year.
Old 09-01-2016, 06:09 PM
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Originally Posted by franklin_m View Post
Multiple questions result when organizations try to obfuscate their response rather than use precise language. I went several rounds with Chad because he did the classic media thing, answer a different question than the one I posed.
Hey, that classic media thing was just done here...Silent asked for something and was then responded to with "ya, I'd like to know more about your story".
Old 09-01-2016, 06:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Hydro Junkie View Post
Personal responsibility? Does anyone actual take that anymore? From what I've seen over the years, it's always someone else that's at fault, regardless of the outcome of any incident. You just crashed your newly built plane, it's got to be the poor wood or a bad bottle of glue and not your showboating at low level that is at fault. I see it all the time, especially at work. Someone fails a test and it's the person that wrote the test or the specification books fault due to one(or more usually both) being badly written and too confusing.
Just saw this...talk about the lowest of lows, blaming parents! Disgusting.

https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/e...211831528.html
Old 09-01-2016, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by franklin_m View Post
They put out the statement. With respect to the lawsuit, and what the abeyance did and did not do, either they knew what they were saying was not exactly correct, or they were sloppy. Either way, not acceptable - especially when it involves safety of the NAS.
ya, speaking of that whole safety involving the NAS

https://www.yahoo.com/news/m/1c77fd3...se-due-to.html

I'd say that is pretty unacceptable.
Old 09-01-2016, 06:36 PM
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Originally Posted by franklin_m View Post
They put out the statement. With respect to the lawsuit, and what the abeyance did and did not do, either they knew what they were saying was not exactly correct, or they were sloppy. Either way, not acceptable - especially when it involves safety of the NAS.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmphM1OMplM

Start about 7 minutes in, for about 10 minutes. Gets asked questions, gives answers.
Old 09-02-2016, 06:22 AM
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Originally Posted by porcia83 View Post
ya, speaking of that whole safety involving the NAS

https://www.yahoo.com/news/m/1c77fd3...se-due-to.html

I'd say that is pretty unacceptable.
Absolutely agree - if true. Assuming it is (and I believe it is), then we know this because the military keeps hard data on operations vs money (flight hours / maintenance dollars) vs weak signals (safety events less than a mishap), which was the basis for the prediction made by the Generals. They told their superiors (Congress), there would be an increase in the mishap rate due to funding issues. Congress heard that and cut the money anyway.

If you want to look somewhere, look at Congress.
Old 09-02-2016, 06:53 AM
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Originally Posted by porcia83 View Post
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmphM1OMplM

Start about 7 minutes in, for about 10 minutes. Gets asked questions, gives answers.
Interesting. I agree with Chad that to some extent the FAA is struggling to "get the toothpaste back in the tube," with predictable results.

What I found very interesting was the discussion on the part 107 test process. Mine is scheduled for when I return from this trip, and I'm not going to crack a book at all in the interim. My goal is to see if I can pass it with what I know already.
Old 09-02-2016, 06:56 AM
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Originally Posted by franklin_m View Post
Interesting. I agree with Chad that to some extent the FAA is struggling to "get the toothpaste back in the tube," with predictable results.

What I found very interesting was the discussion on the part 107 test process. Mine is scheduled for when I return from this trip, and I'm not going to crack a book at all in the interim. My goal is to see if I can pass it with what I know already.
Chances are you will nail it the first time around given your prior job. A large chunk of it seems to deal with reading the sectional charts. Some noted however that there are some oddball stuff in there about weather, and even marijuana, lol. Don't know what the question is but gotta presume it's a no brainer.
Old 09-02-2016, 06:57 AM
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Originally Posted by franklin_m View Post
Absolutely agree - if true. Assuming it is (and I believe it is), then we know this because the military keeps hard data on operations vs money (flight hours / maintenance dollars) vs weak signals (safety events less than a mishap), which was the basis for the prediction made by the Generals. They told their superiors (Congress), there would be an increase in the mishap rate due to funding issues. Congress heard that and cut the money anyway.

If you want to look somewhere, look at Congress.
Agree...they are the same ones I look to as a cause for what's going on the hobby now, not the AMA, or the FAA.
Old 09-02-2016, 06:59 AM
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Multi GP, which is a drone racing group and AMA Special Interest Group (SIG), is holding a large drone racing event at the AMA National Flying Site in Muncie this weekend. It will be interesting to see if the FAA either tries to stop the event, or attends an issues violations to participants. BTW, the AMA site is immediately adjacent to a private airport. Never been an issue, Go figure.
Old 09-02-2016, 07:08 AM
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Their truly isn't anything to worry about when flying FPV as long as you follow the rules of the AMA. I'm pretty confident that the AMA would battle the FAA on a members behalf, if enforcement action was attempted.

Now, the real worry is to get the FAA to change their wording in part 101 so it doesn't seem damning to the hobbyist. This I'm sure Rich Hanson is working hard on resolving.

Last edited by TimJ; 09-02-2016 at 07:19 AM.
Old 09-02-2016, 08:07 AM
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Assuming I pass the 107 exam, one of the first things I'm going to do is formally apply for a speed and altitude waiver, say 800 feet AGL and 150 MPH for a spot outside the 5 mile class D surface area, which also puts me below the class E airspace and outside 5 miles from any airport. I'll be curious to see if they approve it.

It'll be particularly interesting because, as a hobby flier, I could do it without even asking.
Old 09-03-2016, 12:18 PM
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Looks like the first day of FPV Quad drone racing at AMA field in Muncie went off without a hitch. FAA did not visit, event proceeded, and nobody was issued a violation by the FAA or anyone else..
Old 09-03-2016, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Silent-AV8R View Post
Looks like the first day of FPV Quad drone racing at AMA field in Muncie went off without a hitch. FAA did not visit, event proceeded, and nobody was issued a violation by the FAA or anyone else..
Thank God.

Mike
Old 09-03-2016, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Silent-AV8R View Post
Looks like the first day of FPV Quad drone racing at AMA field in Muncie went off without a hitch. FAA did not visit, event proceeded, and nobody was issued a violation by the FAA or anyone else..
Of course not, just great fun and flying. All those folks that don't really exist because everyone can't see them at the own field, all the people who would NEVER join the AMA, and all those people who don't even need to know how to fly, just take it out of the box and off they go!

Originally Posted by rcmiket View Post
Thank God.

Mike
Well, not yet.

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