“Protected Class” 336 Hobby Drones

In case you haven’t heard, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the drone registration regulations (Part 48) do not apply to Section 336 model aircraft.

Reply from Jon Rupprecht:  (See https://jrupprechtlaw.com/drone-registration-lawsu...)

Our case 336 was a protected group that can’t be regulated. There is a common misconception that it is recreational vs. commercial when it is really 336 protected vs. non 336 protected. Some recreational flights (like flying within 5 NM of an airport without notification) are NOT 336 protected but really 107. There is 101 currently but that will most likely be struck down in 3-4 months in another case we are doing.

The Problem:

  • AMA (Academy of Model Aeronautics)  is understandably unhappy their members were required to register with the FAA for aircraft that they’ve been building and flying at AMA parks for many years.
  • Law enforcement is concerned about unmarked drones falling on traffic, showing up at airports and generating privacy complaints.

Proposed Solution:

  • No registration required for operators of model aircraft and drones at AMA fields or other “organized” places like drone race events . The AMA has its own registration. (Satisfies AMA concerns) Also, not exclusive to AMA – open to others like CAP, schools.
  • Registration WOULD BE required for ALL drones outside AMA or other “official” facilities. (Satisfies law enforcement, no impact on AMA members)
  • Fines reduced from $27,500 to $500. (Brings fines within reason)

How to do it:

  • Congress makes the necessary changes in the next FAA authorization, limiting hobby (part 336) registration requirement to operation outside of AMA , drone racing or similar organized (supervised) activities (e.g., Civil Air Patrol, schools, ESPN).
  • FAA adds a subsection rule relating to Section 336, sets up the comment period, and we move on.
  • The issue is that the “problem” drone operators are not commercial, not public service and not at AMA fields or drone races. This solution checks all the boxes for LEO, for the AMA, for the FAA, and for drone racers, and adds incentive for drone operators to look to AMA members for guidance and education.

What do you think? Good compromise? Too simple? Not fair? Comment @SouthernHelicam