5. The response I received from Senator Dianne Feinstein regarding the proposed FAA rules:
“Dear Mr. Belknap:
I received your letter opposing a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulation that would impose new restrictions on model aircraft operations. I appreciate the time you took to write and welcome the opportunity to respond.
Model aircraft serve many purposes, from recreational use among enthusiasts to important aeronautics research at universities. I have heard from thousands of model aircraft enthusiasts who share your concerns that new regulations will create unnecessary and burdensome restrictions on recreational model aviation.
On February 17, 2011, I supported an amendment offered by Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) to the “FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act” (S. 223), that would exclude model aircraft from FAA rules or regulations the plane such meets the following criteria:
o It is flown strictly for recreational, sport, competition, or academic purposes;
o A community-based set of safety guidelines are observed when operating the aircraft;
o It is unmanned; and
o It does not exceed 55 pounds in weight unless otherwise certified through a community-based safety program.
This amendment was agreed to by unanimous consent in the Senate, and S. 223 was passed on February 17, 2011. A similar bill was passed by the House of Representatives, but it did not include the model aircraft provision. The two bills must be reconciled in conference before the President can sign in into law. I appreciate hearing your support for model aviation, and I will be sure to keep your comments in mind as Congress considers the FAA reauthorization.
Once again, thank you for writing. If you have any further questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact my Washington, D.C. office at (202) 224-3841. Best regards.
United States Senator”