If you are a long time aero modeler then you may have recently overheard some murmurings about the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) from other modelers. You might even be a little uncertain what those voices were about, but you’re pretty sure you heard something. The fact of the matter is the FAA does have something to share with all aero modelers. Let’s see if the air can be cleared up a bit here.
This isn’t meant as a long dissertation but, more simply, a public service announcement (PSA) to help you comply with the newest regulations affecting R/C flight here and around the U.S. Compliance is mandated by the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 and was signed into law on Oct 5, 2018. The law is broad-reaching and affects the entire U.S. aviation community including members of Silent Electric Flyers of San Diego (SEFSD). In fact, aero modeling was specifically targeted by some provisions within the body of this federal legislation. The need for such change was required to provide a way to monitor the increasingly prolific use of the national airspace. Among the most immediate requirements is the need to place a personal FAA sUAS registration number on the outside of your aircraft.
You may have heard the term sUAS (Small Unmanned Aerial System) being bandied around in the last little while. The term sUAS originally seemed to relate strictly to drones, but it is now clear that any unmanned aerial system is included – which means your Piper Cub, pattern ship, 3D Edge 540, helicopter and/or any other remotely controlled model encompassed within the lawful definition is included. The FAA has provided the following portals which provides greater explanation:
SEFSD will not patrol members for compliance since we are not the police and don’t want to be the police. The responsibility will be yours to demonstrate compliance if ever asked by an FAA agent.
Responsible R/C flying in the future will also require recreational R/C pilots to demonstrate an understanding of the latest policies by taking a simple online test. Any drone operator making money as part of their flying is already doing so as a provision of FAA Part 107 rules. It’s expected that the recreational pilot test will be less intensive than the one for commercial pilots so it doesn’t seem there will be much to fret about.
If you’d rather go straight to registering your aircraft then you may do so here (or on the graphic at the top of the page):
FAADroneZone – https://faadronezone.faa.gov/#/
This PSA hopefully helps you continue safe and fun flying with our wonderful club.
– Your Board of Directors (2019)