DOT and FAA’s Clarification Aircraft Reg. Req. for UAS and more

unmanned aircraft systems

For Immediate Release

Ready Made RC, LLC 7719 Graphics Way Ste F Lewis Center, OH 43035 United States of America

Contact: Tim Stanfield, President press@readymaderc.com

PDF DOCUMENT LINK Press Release Link: www.readymaderc.com/faa

Ready Made RC, LLC Response to the DOT and FAA’s “Clarification of the Applicability of Aircraft Registration Requirements for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and Request for Information Regarding Electronic Registration for UAS”

November 2, 2015 – As many in the US are aware, the FAA and DOT are considering requiring registration of some sUAS and have created a task force to help develop that process.

The DOT and FAA have asked for public input on the issue and have identified 10 specific questions in the document titled “Clarification of the Applicability of Aircraft Registration Requirements for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and Request for Information Regarding Electronic Registration for UAS” that can be found at www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=FAA-2015-4378.

It is our opinion that the rush to create these new rules violates the existing procedures for enacting new rules and also goes against the law set forth in the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (Public Law 112-95). That statute included Section 336, “a special rule for model aircraft.” This provision was specifically included to protect the model aircraft hobby and industry from any over-reaching and onerous regulation that might be created in the future by the FAA as the FAA set out to create new rules for large commercial unmanned aircraft. The law exempts recreational model aircraft from any new regulation, instead preserving for our communities their existing historical role of offering safety guidance, pilot instruction, flying site establishment, and event supervision, while preserving the FAA’s limited taxpayer resources for other important regulatory functions.

In our opinion, the FAA and DOT are making new rules while trying to justify them both by saying they are “interpreting” existing rules and by claiming that they are justified under the language of the 2012 law stating that “Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the authority of the Administrator to pursue enforcement action against persons operating model aircraft who endanger the safety of the national airspace system.” It is our opinion that the current rulemaking attempt of the FAA and DOT specifically violates the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 by applying new rules not previously required for model aircraft or an aircraft being developed as a model aircraft.

That said, and outside of any legal proceeding to verify our opinion, we feel it is in the best interest of our customers to review the questions and offer comments. It is our opinion that the government website used to allow the submission of comments is limited and cumbersome in its implementation, but we have offered a few suggested comments below that you as our customers are welcome to use as a guideline for your submissions. We suggest you offer your own civil and productive comments as well. We believe model aircraft can be operated safely in the US airspace by enforcing rules already in place. If you use our replies below, you will probably have to save your comments as a document and upload the document to the web site.

Responses must be submitted by November 6, 2015 to be officially considered by the DOT and FAA.

Q1: What methods are available for identifying individual products? Does every UAS sold have an individual serial number? Is there another method for identifying individual products sold without serial numbers or those built from kits?

Model aircraft range from scratch built models made from parts manufactured by the individual to fully ready to fly models manufactured and sold by large manufacturers. In addition, during testing and flying individual models, it is likely that major components will be changed throughout its use. It is unreasonable to expect all these models to have a serial number that will carry from one variation of the model to the next. It is our opinion that there is fundamentally no way to define any major component on a model aircraft that could reasonably be registered. Would a user be expected to serialize every single prototype created during the creative process of making a new model aircraft?

Q2: At what point should registration occur (e.g. point-of-sale or prior-to-operation)? How should transfers of ownership be addressed in registration?

Model aircraft and components are sold by vendors around the world, and international vendors have shown that they have no intention of following US regulations that currently exist. It will place an unreasonable burden on US vendors to expect them to offer any sort of point-of-sale registration for the buyers. Also, relating to the reply of question 1, as major components on a model aircraft are damaged and/or changed, what defines a specific model aircraft will be impossible to determine.

Q3: If registration occurs at point-of-sale, who should be responsible for submission of the data? What burdens would be placed on vendors of UAS if DOT required registration to occur at point- of-sale? What are the advantages of a point-of-sale approach relative to a prior-to-operation approach?

The reply for question 2 applies to this question as well. There is no advantage to asking vendors to have any responsibility for the registration of model aircraft, and any attempt to do so would have an immediate and drastic negative financial impact on all US vendors which have to adhere to any rules created as such.

Q4: Consistent with past practice of discretion, should certain UAS be excluded from registration based on performance capabilities or other characteristics that could be associated with safety risk, such as weight, speed, altitude operating limitations, duration of flight? If so, please submit information or data to help support the suggestions, and whether any other criteria should be considered.

According to the rules already set in place, the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) has procedures in place for various model aircraft sizes and capabilities. Following the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, only model aircraft not being used or designed for amateur/hobby use and those model aircraft that do not fit into the existing rules set forth by the AMA should be considered for any possible registration requirements, including special provisions for model aircraft over specific weights. Outside of the existing AMA rules, the only other recommendation we have is that model aircraft should be over five pounds to institute any sort of labeling requirement.

Q5: How should a registration process be designed to minimize burdens and best protect innovation and encourage growth in the UAS industry?

It is our opinion that any registration requirements for model aircraft that are included in the current AMA rules and guidelines will violate the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, add unnecessary burden to the growing US industry surrounding model aircraft, and stifle innovation in the US relating to model aircraft and the sciences related to them. The AMA already has recommendations to place the AMA number on model aircraft. This requirement, which is consistent with the 2012 law, seems adequate.

Q6: Should the registration be electronic or web-based? Are there existing tools that could support an electronic registration process?

It is difficult to imagine any other method of registration given the technology available today. Any registration that would exist should be done electronically through a well-managed web interface.

Q7: What type of information should be collected during the registration process to positively identify the aircraft owner and aircraft?

To answer this question one must assume that the agencies have any right to the personal information of those people who want to operate model aircraft, even minors and those operating small toys. Although it is our opinion that the agencies do not have a right or justified need for this information, if forced to comply, the only information that should be required would be name and mailing address.

Q8: How should the registration data be stored? Who should have access to the registration data? How should the data be used?

This is a much larger question that probably needs to be answered by privacy advocates and attorneys. In our opinion, if the data is taken it should be securely saved on encrypted servers and should only be available to law enforcement under a judge’s rule.

Q9: Should a registration fee be collected and if so, how will the registration fee be collected if registration occurs at point-of-sale? Are there payment services that can be leveraged to assist (e.g. PayPal)?

Requiring any fee to be collected for registration will reduce innovation and technological advancement in the US. This would place an unfair burden on those who may barely be able to

afford to purchase model aircraft in the first place and may place barriers to continued education and technological advancement.

Q10: Are there additional means beyond aircraft registration to encourage accountability and responsible use of UAS?

We believe enforcing existing regulations and allowing individuals to operate under the guidelines of the AMA are sufficient to allow for safe operation of model aircraft in US airspace. As stated by the AMA, “Model aviation, operated within the safety programming of the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), has an impeccable 80-year track record of operating safely and simply requiring AMA members to now register their aircraft would have no impact on that record.”

Registration of model aircraft would have had little to no effect on the few rogue pilots that have caused concern with the FAA and DOT and would only serve to prevent law abiding citizens from enjoying the freedom and liberty set forth by the US Constitution. Working with the model aircraft industry to help educate those on what defines safe operation rather than taking an adversarial approach to the industry would go a long way to helping to keep the US airspace safe, which is what all of us desire.

Ready Made RC, LLC was founded in 2009 by Tim Stanfield, an electrical engineer and lifetime aviation enthusiast. Now with an entire crew of model aviation enthusiasts, we specialize in the development and marketing of First Person View (FPV) equipment, remote controlled vehicles, and hobby electronics. Headquartered and operated in Lewis Center, OH, we have long been a supporter of the hobby community and have always encouraged safe operations in the United States. Media or other contact can be made through our support system at support.readymaderc.com, or via the following press contact email: press@readymaderc.com

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