More Than 30 States Considering 'Drone' Legislation That Could Inhibit Model Aviation
The Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) has expressed concerns regarding ‘drone’ legislation being considered in more than 30 states that has the potential to negatively impact and curtail a recreational activity that has existed harmoniously in our communities for more than a hundred years. Recently, the State of Alaska responded favorably by deferring its bill and creating a Task Force to study the issue, while Idaho, Missouri, and New York amended their legislation to protect model aviation.
State-level legislation being considered in more than 30 states has the potential to negatively impact and curtail a recreational activity that has existed harmoniously in our communities for more than a hundred years. Legislation aimed at restricting the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to protect privacy and guard against warrantless surveillance could have the unintentional consequence of inhibiting model aviation, mostly due to broadly written definitions that would include model airplanes.
The Academy of Model Aeronautics and its members have worked diligently to contact state legislators regarding proposed drone legislation and have encouraged them to include in the bill(s) a provision to protect model aviation. Idaho, Missouri, and New York have responded favorably and have amended their legislation to protect model aviation. Idaho Governor “Butch” Otter signed into law new legislation restricting the use of drones with specific language to exclude “model flying airplanes” from the definition of “unmanned aircraft.”
The state of Alaska tabled its bill in favor of a joint Concurrent Resolution (HCR006C) that creates a legislative task force charged with reviewing regulations and operational guidance and making recommendations for a comprehensive state policy for unmanned aircraft that protects privacy and allows the use of (UAS) for public and private applications.
The Academy of Model Aeronautics, a congressionally-recognized community-based organization, has continuously worked with legislators at the state and federal levels to protect model aviation from onerous restrictions that would impact a hobby devoted to safety, educational pursuits, and camaraderie between members. Because of the efforts of the Academy’s board of directors, staff, and member support in Alaska, including the specific acts of AMA member, Steve Colligan, the Alaska State Legislature has offered the AMA a seat on its seven-member UAS Task Force. The task force is composed of a state senator, a state legislator, national and international experts in UAS, and representatives of the general aviation community, the University of Alaska-Unmanned Aircraft Systems Program, and the Academy of Model Aeronautics.
The task force will address industry concerns and draft legislation and rulemaking that will define best practices for UAS. The task force will compile and suggest practical changes, if required, that will allow for continued protection of Alaskan residents, protection of personal privacy rights, and future requirements for safe UAS operations.
AMA is pleased to participate with the state of Alaska, Governor Sean Parnell, and the Alaska Legislature in this endeavor. Alaska has a rich history of technology, innovation, and advancements for general aviation, aviation safety, and collegiate UAS operations for research.
“We are confident that Alaska’s leadership and pioneering spirit will lead to vigorous conversations that will result in a positive outcome for all aviation and UAS enthusiasts, including members of the AMA and the aeromodeling community,” said AMA Public Relations and Government Affairs Director Rich Hanson.
The Academy of Model Aeronautics, founded in 1936, continues to be devoted to safety in the national airspace. It serves as the nation’s collective voice for approximately 156,000 modelers in 2,400 clubs in every US state and Puerto Rico. Headquartered in Muncie, Indiana, AMA is open to those who fly model aircraft for recreation and education.