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AMA To FAA: Hold Irresponsible ‘Drone’ Operators Accountable

Organized Hobbyist Community Also Calls For Final UAS Rules And More Education To Enhance Safety

Sometimes you just have to stand up and question authority, and that's just what the leadership of the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) has done following the FAA's release this week of data that shows a sharp increase in "drone" sightings by pilots of manned aircraft. The AMA says the FAA needs to get its own house in order on the issue.

“The increase in sightings of unmanned aircraft highlight the need for stricter enforcement of existing federal regulations and for the FAA to finalize its small UAS rules," said AMA executive director Dave Mathewson in a statement released Thursday. "Whether flying a commercial UAS or a model aircraft, there are rules that prohibit careless and reckless operations. We support the FAA taking a more aggressive approach to assessing civil penalties against operators violating those rules.

“In addition, one of the most immediate things the FAA can do to increase safety is to finalize its small UAS rules. The draft rules will enhance safety by requiring everyone who wants to fly to either follow the safety programming of a community-based organization (CBO), like AMA, or follow new FAA rules for commercial operators.

“For nearly 80 years, our members have safely operated model aircraft through community-based safety guidelines. Our more than 176,000 members know where to fly and where not to fly. Unfortunately, the same is not always true for the legions of new ‘drone’ flyers increasingly taking to the skies.

“That’s why AMA worked with the FAA and the unmanned aircraft industry to create the Know Before You Fly campaign. It is our hope to share our safety practices and make common-sense guidelines more accessible to people increasingly taking to the skies.

“Finally, AMA would also like to see a more in depth analysis of the FAA data on ‘drone’ sightings and be able to review investigative findings for each of these reports. More detailed information will enable UAS stakeholders to more precisely target their education and other efforts to enhance safety.”

FMI: www.modelaircraft.org

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