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Tue, Feb 11, 2020

New Coalition Launches to Protect Model Aviation Hobby Industry

Will Start With A Fight For A Better Remote ID Rule

A new coalition has been launched to protect the model aviation hobby industry, starting with the fight for a better rule on remote identification of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). As written, the proposed remote ID rule would seriously disincentivize participation in the model aviation hobby. The coalition of aviation associations, hobby shops and manufacturers is deeply concerned about the impact this rule and future regulations will have on the model aviation hobby, the many jobs and businesses that support it and the STEM learning opportunities the hobby provides. Model aviation is the natural precursor to careers in aviation – jobs which the U.S. desperately needs to fill.

“Since 2015, the model aviation hobby has faced increasingly burdensome regulation which has made it difficult for the hobby to thrive,” said Chad Budreau, Executive Director of AMA. “The most recent example of this is remote ID. If the proposed rule is implemented as written, the model aircraft hobby will shrink, businesses will close, jobs will disappear, and young people will turn away from the hobby of flying model airplanes.”

“Not only does burdensome regulation negatively impact our existing community of responsible and safe model aircraft hobbyists, it will be devastating to the broader aviation industry. Burdensome regulations put everything at risk – the entire model aviation hobby, thousands of jobs and businesses, as well as future pilots, engineers and aerospace experts. We are starting this coalition to protect the model aviation hobby and make sure this doesn’t happen with remote ID or any future regulations,” continued Budreau.

As part of their effort to curb burdensome regulation, the coalition sent a letter to Congress expressing their concern over increasingly burdensome regulation and new rules for recreational UAS operators. The letter sent to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation and the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure describes the prominence and importance of the model aviation industry, particularly for inspiring interest amongst young people in careers in STEM.

According to the letter, model aviation supports a $1 billion hobby industry and is responsible for thousands of jobs. However, in a recent survey of hobby shops, about 77% of respondents said the FAA’s UAS regulations have hurt their sales either somewhat or drastically and almost 70% said that FAA regulations are the biggest threat to the model aircraft industry.

Regarding remote ID, the coalition is concerned that some elements of the proposal would disincentivize participation in the model aviation hobby, impose significant costs on the model aviation community, and unnecessarily restrict existing, safe model aircraft operations. Specifically, the group is asking the FAA to address the following concerns with the proposed remote ID rule:

  • First, the rule should provide community-based organizations (CBOs), like AMA, more flexibility to establish and maintain fixed flying sites that satisfy remote ID compliance.
  • Second, the rule should create a pathway for remote ID compliance at AMA events and competitions, which may not take place at fixed flying sites.
  • Third, the rule should account for situations where there is no internet connectivity, as many safe places to fly are in rural areas with little or no service.
  • Fourth, the rule should revise the definition of amateur-built UAS to effectively delineate the categories of aircraft.
  • Finally, the rule should not require modelers to register every aircraft individually.

The new coalition includes:

  • The Academy of Model Aeronautics
  • National Retail Hobby Store Association
  • Hobby Manufacturers Association
  • Futaba
  • Civil Air Patrol
  • ReadyMade RC
  • Balsa USA
  • Drone Zone
  • Anderson RC
  • Sullivan Products
  • MexAir RC
  • Family Hobby Center
  • Bob Smith Industries     
  • Dave’s RC Electronics
  • Aloft Hobbies    
  • Tampa Drones
  • Big Lake Hobbies
  • B&B Specialties
  • Radio South
  • Wind Catcher RC
  • MikeGoesFlying
  • Bitgo Hobby
  • Arizona Aircraft Replicas
  • Tripe Tree Aerodrome
  • Action Hobbies
  • Brownie’s Pro & Sport Hobbies LLC
  • Thomas Drones LLC

(Source: AMA news release)



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