Author Options:

FAA Ruling ends FPV and will destroy RC Model Aircraft industry is USA Answered

This is a serious matter. Please read and act. Deadline is July 25.

Please see this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYs815t4knQ
Then please go to this website and read  the document "Interpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft".

To summarize, the FAA has deemed that a sweeping, blanket regulation is necessary to take care of an issue created by a few dumb individuals making bad decisions. Because a very, very small few people who never touched a RC model aircraft before buy a DJI Phantom and decide to fly it over crowded city streets crashing into buildings and and almost hurting people, the larger hobby community is now paying the penalty of those dumb people.

Why it matters to me:
I just got into the hobby and I am not flying FPV yet. Actually I cannot fly FPV until I get my FCC Ham License. I am following the rules. I do NOT fly over people, cars, streets, buildings. I do not fly over private property other than my own.

I DO fly within line of site of my aircraft, under 400 ft, in open fields or isolated locations. I do keep my aircraft in good working order. I am an AMA member, have insurance in case of RC accidents, have my AMA number inscribed on my model.

So I do everything within regulations. Most RC modelers and AMA members do. But we all pay the price because some bonehead goes to amazon and buys a ready built aircraft and on the first flight takes it to a crowded school playground and crashes it on someone's car.

I want to grow into this hobby and advance to FPV. I do it legally, responsibly, and safely. I use this hobby to freely express myself in a safe, harmless way. this hobby is enjoyable, challenging and has forced me to be innovative. I actually invented something that I want to share in instructables one day.

Why it should matter to you:
The government is slowly eroding away our rights. This regulation criminalizes a hobby that has been enjoyed by generations. Done responsibly, the hobby is safe, enjoyable, promotes innovation and gives people a way to express themselves. It is also an industry that many people rely on to make a living. The FAA as a government agency, is overstepping their authority and threatening our freedom to conduct ourselves are citizens in a safe manner.

under this ruling, a RC model operator does something innovative (it does not have to be FPV related) shares it on instructables, and wins a prize from one of the many GREAT contest in intructables... Guess what, that instructables member is NOW a CRIMINAL. You are not allowed to get any compensation for RC Model hobby.

under this ruling, you cannot fly FPV in an isolated forest capturing wonderful video and posting that video on the internet as an expression of your creativity. That my friends is Freedom of Expression being undermined. That video is now incriminating evidence that you broke the law. Even though that video harms no one.

Under this ruling, an individual who invents a new RC airplane, mass produces it and sells it to others is a criminal because RC models is only for amateur hobby. Any monetary gain is criminal. So it is criminal for someone to innovate and try to make a living from that innovation.

Do not let the government overstep their authority over us citizens.

I ask that you respectfully tell the FAA to consider reversing their ruling. Ask them to go not take the easy route of making a over-generalized, sweeping, blanket regulation that impacts everyone in the hobby, past, present and future. instead, have them create regulation that target the the unsafe operators who make poor choices.

thank you.



4 years ago

Here's an interesting complication:


A model drone has helped locate an elderly man in Wisconsin who had been missing for three days.

Search teams using dogs, helicopters and volunteers had combed the countryside around Fitchburg seeking Guillermo DeVenecia.

The drone found Mr DeVenecia, who has Alzheimer's, about 20 minutes after its operator joined the search effort.

The success may put pressure on US rules limiting the use of drones in search and rescue operations.


4 years ago


Reading the ruling, without going through the filtered perceptions of interested parties, it seems quite reasonable:

If your aircraft operates within your field of view, is small enough for the operator to comfortably carry alone, and you are not being paid for flying it, then you are free to pretty well do as you wish.

If your aircraft operates in a manner that requires a remote system (video, binoculars, observers) for you to see where it is, is large, or you are being paid to fly it, then you are subject to regulations.

The ruling, as I read it at the link above, in no way stops you flying through the woods and recording it, nor does it criminalise folk who build and sell them (if you are doing that for commercial gain, you are already subject to a whole host of regulations designed to keep traders accountable and their customers safe. Consider a keen amateur chef: they can cook what they want, as much as they want, however they want, in whatever conditions they want. The moment they accept payment, they are subjected to all the regulations of restaurants, factories, employers and the extra attention of the tax authorities. Would you consider them reasonable if they said it wasn't fair that they now had to have inspectors check their kitchen is clean?)


Reply 4 years ago

hey kiteman. very good points and i respect your views. To me it is of equal importance that the public be made aware of government regulatory changes and that they are discussed publicly in a respectful manner such as your argument above. thank you for reading the ruling and weighing in with a different viewpoint. It serves the US no good if rules and regulations gets passed or changed under the public radar.


Reply 4 years ago

Oh, absolutely! It's when folk jump up and down and start screaming "no fair!", without having read the paperwork properly, that campaigners start to lose credibility.

Remember that I am speaking from the UK, where things work slightly differently, but have you thought of organising a mass letter-send to elected representatives? A single letter might be backed by an organisation of thousands, but it will have less impact than letters from hundreds or thousands of concerned voters.

Or an online petition? The UK has a system where the government is obliged to publicly respond to any petition that gets 100,000 validated supporters.


4 years ago

Private pilots cant be compensated for monetary gain either.