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Control Line Flying and FAA Regulations

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Control Line Flying and FAA Regulations

Old 07-25-2016, 04:49 PM
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Default Control Line Flying and FAA Regulations

The following is what I know so far regarding FAA registration requirements for control line. Intent is to simply clarify from what I've found on FAA registration requirements. This is not meant for political discussions, which are best handled outside this forum. First, I'll start with what has be put out by FAA and AMA:

Originally Posted by FAA, July 15, 2016
1. What is an unmanned aircraft system (UAS)? The law defines an unmanned aircraft as "an aircraft that is operated without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the aircraft" (Public Law 112-95, Section 331(8)) Also called drones, these unmanned aircraft do not have a human pilot onboard. UAS range from radio-controlled, fixed-wing aircraft to helicopters or rotorcraft models sometimes called quadcopters, and can be flown for fun or for work.
Originally Posted by AMA, Dec 12, 2015
Q: Is Control Line Exempt? A: Control line models are not controlled by a ground-control station, are not part of an unmanned aircraft system and as such are not required to be registered.
Q: Is Free Flight exempt? A: Similarly, free flight models are not controlled by a ground-control station, are not part of an unmanned aircraft system and as such are not required to be registered.
Originally Posted by AMA, Jan 16, 2016
Q: Do only drones and multirotor operators need to register? A: No. Everything that uses a ground-control system with a communications link, such as an RC transmitter that is over 0.55 lbs (or 250 grams) and under 55 lbs. is required to register. This includes operators who fly fixed-wing RC aircraft and helicopters, not just multirotors or drones.
Q: I only fly CL or FF, do I need to register? A: No. If you exclusively fly FF or CL and never plan on using a model that involves a transmitter, then you do not need to register.
It appears at this point if you do not use an RC transmitter to control additional functions on a CL aircraft (throttle, carrier hook drop, landing flaps, special features, etc.), that the FAA is not requiring registration. At this point, they are interpreting that a UAS is one that uses radio control. There is some concern that with FAA regulations as written, interpretation could change due to some vagueness in wording.

(Comment: IMO, it makes sense to retain the old Robart 3 line system, or electronics that transmit control signals through the control line wires from handle directly to model without using radio frequencies for control for those who prefer not to register.)

That said, here is another thing to watch for.

Originally Posted by AMA as of July 23, 2016
Posted 7/19/16: A FAA NOTAM/TFR has been issued for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and the surrounding area (....) Posted 7/14/16: (...) CLEVELAND, Ohio and the surrounding area (...) Control Line and Free Flight modelers should use discretion when operating within the TFR.
Posted 2/17/09 (Indefinite) A NOTAM has been issued in regards to the Washington DC Special Flight Rules Area (SFRA). (...) The rules and restrictions remain in effect until further notice. Outdoor model aircraft operations are prohibited within the inner portion of the SFRA known as the Washington Metropolitan Flight Restriction Zone (FRZ).
Model aircraft flight ban in Washington DC includes CL aircraft. Anyway, YMMV (your mileage may vary).
Old 10-12-2023, 03:32 PM
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Trust. FAA registration. I did it any way and got my number. Even tho UC Aircrsft. Only item I've seen is the bottom Elevator control needs to be tethered to your wrist. Also line requirements for your power used , not the size on your U Control aircraft. I've seen line length. Most are AMA sanction events. Be safe and fly.

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