The Long Arm of the FAA

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by Tom Howe, Jan 20, 2020.

Help Support The Rocketry Forum by donating:

  1. Jan 20, 2020 #1

    Tom Howe

    Tom Howe

    Tom Howe

    Teknofossil TRF Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2018
    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    18
    I was reading in my news feed yesterday more rumblings about the FAA imposing new flight rules regarding the operation of unmanned aircraft. It is aimed at drone use but also includes model airplanes as well. Needless to say this has upset many hobbiests who just go about their business enjoying themselves and do not want to harrass or bother people or aircraft. But because of a few there are new rules of the sky set to go into effect in March I believe. So my question is how might this affect the hobby of model rocketry? These largely are not remotely controlled vehicles except for perhaps boost gliders.

    -T
     
  2. Jan 20, 2020 #2

    James Duffy

    James Duffy

    James Duffy

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2009
    Messages:
    818
    Likes Received:
    99
    These new proposed rules are as yet not approved, and are probably 2-3 years away from implementation. Hobby rocketry has benefited from a long and positive relationship with the FAA, and we are covered quite reasonably by Part 101 of the Federal Aviation Regulations.

    Having said that, we should watch the UAS NPRM closely, and be vigilant against any "feature creep" that may intrude from the model aircraft fight into our world.

    James
     
    mikec and Wm Reid like this.
  3. Jan 20, 2020 #3

    Peartree

    Peartree

    Peartree

    Cyborg Rocketeer Staff Member Administrator Global Mod

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2009
    Messages:
    4,491
    Likes Received:
    204
    Location:
    Alliance, Ohio
    Is there any chance that this rule could be interpreted to include RC rocket gliders?
     
  4. Jan 21, 2020 #4

    James Duffy

    James Duffy

    James Duffy

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2009
    Messages:
    818
    Likes Received:
    99
    Absolutely. That's one reason that we need to keep an eye on these developments.

    Note, however, that most (not all) RC/RGs would fall beneath the proposed 250g mass exemption.

    James
     
    Steve Shannon and Peartree like this.
  5. Jan 21, 2020 #5

    UhClem

    UhClem

    UhClem

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2009
    Messages:
    1,481
    Likes Received:
    90
    I think you are referring to the law at 49 USC 44809.

    These rules are "self enforcing" according to the FAA and they are already in effect. There is no lower mass limit so all boost gliders and rocket gliders fall under its effects since they are "small unmanned aircraft". The FAA appears to be acting as if there is a 250 gram limit but that does not exist in the law or regulations. The one bit of regulation for model aircraft at Part 101E is planned to go away with no replacement.

    There is a conflict as 44809 requires that all small unmanned aircraft be registered but the FAA rules for registration exempt aircraft below 250 grams. (14 CFR 48.15)

    The remote ID rules are still in the NPRM stage with comments still open.
     
  6. Jan 22, 2020 #6

    jazzviper1

    jazzviper1

    jazzviper1

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2011
    Messages:
    678
    Likes Received:
    28
    Negative. The new proposal includes "all un-maned air craft systems" the wording is loose enough to include rockets any time they choose. It is a very long proposal but if you read through it, it is very alarming.
     
  7. Jan 22, 2020 #7

    jazzviper1

    jazzviper1

    jazzviper1

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2011
    Messages:
    678
    Likes Received:
    28
    Yes, all un maned air craft systems is how it is worded in the proposal.
     
  8. Jan 22, 2020 #8

    jazzviper1

    jazzviper1

    jazzviper1

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2011
    Messages:
    678
    Likes Received:
    28
    The "public safety" push using the "bad drone people" is just a smoke screen to commercialize low altitude airspace. This will congest low altitude air space with thousands of autonomous drones. This will adversely affect all civil aviation in some way. Light sport and ultra-light flyers will be in the most danger of running into an amazon delivery drone.
     
  9. Jan 22, 2020 #9

    James Duffy

    James Duffy

    James Duffy

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2009
    Messages:
    818
    Likes Received:
    99
    There is nothing inaccurate in my post, and the NPRM (which I have read carefully, all ~300 pages), makes no reference to rockets. Again, amateur rockets are explicitly covered by Part 101, and the NPRM makes no threat to changes in that part of 14 CFR. We should be vigilant about the threat to RC rocket gliders, as they seem to reside in a grey area.

    James
     
    Steve Shannon likes this.
  10. Jan 22, 2020 #10

    burkefj

    burkefj

    burkefj

    Forum Supporter TRF Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2009
    Messages:
    2,920
    Likes Received:
    225
    I would argue currently most RC rocket gliders are sport flyers and not micro or competition models and not below 250 grams. This is very concerning. I thought in one of the proposals they defined an aircraft as something that was designed for sustained flight in the atmosphere. What does sustained mean? I would think that flying an RC rocket glider at a launch with an FAA waiver for altitude at least coukd avoid thie altitude restriction, but who knows.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2020
  11. Jan 22, 2020 #11

    jqavins

    jqavins

    jqavins

    Joseph Avins TRF Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2011
    Messages:
    2,640
    Likes Received:
    572
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Howard, NY
    I have not read the proposal and admit I am talking out my ass. There are just one or two thought I feel compelled to share.
    If true, and taken absolutely literally, that would include rubber band powered stick and skin airplanes, and even paper airplanes. It doesn't seem credible that the FAA would bother with those. And one can only hope that they would likewise not bother with our rockets. But one never knows.

    Explicit inclusion in Part 101 doesn't necessarily exclude rockets from other regulations enacted later. Since they can be construed as unmanned aircraft systems, they could potentially be in a grey area, where two different duly enacted regulations conflict. If some agency with jurisdiction (i.e. the FAA) chooses to impose something under some new rule that contradicts existing rules under Part 101 then the matter could, potentially, end up in court.
     
  12. Jan 22, 2020 #12

    James Duffy

    James Duffy

    James Duffy

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2009
    Messages:
    818
    Likes Received:
    99
    Correct. Note, though, that there is nothing in the current NPRM aimed at hobby rocketry, save for the exposure of a grey area regarding RC rocket gliders. If the FAA (or any other Federal agency) wishes to change 14 CFR 101, they need to go through the appropriate regulatory steps to do so. That has not happened here.

    James
     
  13. Jan 22, 2020 #13

    Winston

    Winston

    Winston

    Lorenzo von Matterhorn

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2009
    Messages:
    7,390
    Likes Received:
    491
    Gender:
    Male
    FAA rules already are intruding unless your RC rocket glider is under 250 grams which it probably is.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2020
  14. Jan 22, 2020 #14

    Winston

    Winston

    Winston

    Lorenzo von Matterhorn

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2009
    Messages:
    7,390
    Likes Received:
    491
    Gender:
    Male
    What makes them a "grey area" if they are 250 grams and over? The method of propulsion makes no difference according to the rule requiring registration of RC pilots. If something flies, is remotely controlled and over that mass, the pilot needs to register with the fedgov.
     
  15. Jan 23, 2020 #15

    Alan15578

    Alan15578

    Alan15578

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2018
    Messages:
    204
    Likes Received:
    35
    I'm not a lawyer or regulator, but to me "sustained flight" means powered flight, such as powered horizontally to sustain level flight, and not unpowered gliders. Furthermore, if you have an FAA waiver, you should be good to go, but nobody wants have to get an FAA waiver every time they want to go fly their toys.
     
  16. Jan 23, 2020 #16

    jqavins

    jqavins

    jqavins

    Joseph Avins TRF Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2011
    Messages:
    2,640
    Likes Received:
    572
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Howard, NY
    The waivers we're acutomed to at launches only cover altitude and location; they're not blanket exemption from other regulations.
     
  17. Jan 23, 2020 #17

    KennB

    KennB

    KennB

    I-95 Envoy

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2010
    Messages:
    2,301
    Likes Received:
    104
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Amesbury, MA
    It's not even a waiver. It's a "Certificate of Waiver or Authorization". Under the Waiver section of the paper, it states that nothing is waived. Here are cuts from a recent CMASS Certificate.

    upload_2020-1-23_12-55-32.png

    upload_2020-1-23_12-56-52.png
     
  18. Jan 23, 2020 #18

    Steve Shannon

    Steve Shannon

    Steve Shannon

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2011
    Messages:
    5,438
    Likes Received:
    1,747
    Location:
    Butte, Montana
    That depends on the individual COA. I have asked for portions of FAR 101 to be waived. In fact FAA has even suggested that I do so at times.
     
    dhbarr and Nytrunner like this.
  19. Jan 23, 2020 #19

    Winston

    Winston

    Winston

    Lorenzo von Matterhorn

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2009
    Messages:
    7,390
    Likes Received:
    491
    Gender:
    Male
    If it flies remotely controlled and weighs 250 grams or more, the RC pilot needs to be registered with the FAA.

    In the ever changing MESS that is the FAA's GARBAGE online content on all of this, free flight models were originally exempted from the requirement to register since they weren't remotely controlled meaning that one could theoretically launch a 55 pound free flight model and not need to register yourself, which would seriously violate the claimed intent of registration, public safety, but I recall reading a while back that that had been fixed and the "remotely controlled" requirement had been dropped, but who knows?

    BTW, the FAA's garbage online content still refers to registering the aircraft instead of the pilot, the latter being the actual case from day one. The need to register each and every RC aircraft is pending, to be implemented after the FAA pretending once again to listen to public input.

    I suspect that if you have an FAA altitude waiver which will result in a NOTAM, the FAA will not get upset about RC rocket gliders. However, considering that hobby RC pilot registration is also claimed, entirely statistically unjustified, to be in the interest of public safety, that public also being on the ground and not just in manned aircraft, you'd still be technically violating the FAA rules by flying anything over the weight limit without registering yourself with the FAA. After all, the original, laughable, pulled it out of their arse calculations by the working group which determined the 250 gram limit was based upon a 30% chance of death from falling from 500 feet and hitting someone in the head while flying over a 10,000 person per square mile (IIRC) area (Washington DC). Report PDF download link:

    https://www.hsdl.org/?view&did=788722
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2020
  20. Jan 23, 2020 #20

    KennB

    KennB

    KennB

    I-95 Envoy

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2010
    Messages:
    2,301
    Likes Received:
    104
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Amesbury, MA
    Good point. You Tripoli guys do some things that definitely go beyond what CMASS does. For us, I'm just happy to be authorized. (I was looking for a gif or video clip of Dennis Farina's character on Law & Order saying "We're authorized" but didn't find one quickly.)
     
    Steve Shannon likes this.
  21. Jan 23, 2020 #21

    UhClem

    UhClem

    UhClem

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2009
    Messages:
    1,481
    Likes Received:
    90
    The definition of "model aircraft" at 14 CFR 1.1 uses sustained but it doesn't matter very much. I have found "model aircraft" used in only two spots.

    The first is in 14 CFR 101E. But that regulation was rendered obsolete by 49 USC 44809 and is expected to be deleted. (See Federal Agenda.) 44809 uses the term "small unmanned aircraft" and sustained appears nowhere in those definitions. ("unmanned aircraft" and "aircraft" as you dig down)

    The other spot is at 14 CFR 48.115: "Registration: Individuals intending to use small unmanned aircraft exclusively as a model aircraft."

    "Model aircraft" make an appearance in the latest remote ID NPRM but it is not the preferred term. See footnote 60.

    I should also mention that "rocket" is defined at 14 CFR 1.1 as an aircraft with a peculiar kind of propulsion. Is that definition enough to exclude amateur rockets from the effects of 44809 and the remote ID NPRM? Possibly not. This court decision on the meaning of "aircraft" is very interesting.
     
    Steve Shannon likes this.
  22. Jan 23, 2020 #22

    dr wogz

    dr wogz

    dr wogz

    Fly caster

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2009
    Messages:
    4,997
    Likes Received:
    426
    Location:
    Land of Poutine!
    I just find it funny (not in a haha way, but in a the eye-roll way) that we want these toys, we make them better and easier to fly (or drive or pilot), and "certain individuals" push for their inclusion, marketing, and availability for Christmas time.. Without really knowing or predicting what may or may not happen (turning a blind eye, to benefit .. ??) We then hear of a few bad apples doing things with the new toys we didn't expect 'law abiding, upstanding individuals' to do, so we need to add rules. Only, these people will plead ignorance (and rightly so, to a point..) because the thing is available at Walmart for $49.95. While it has a manual, it's rarely read, except for the absolute needed part, and all safety recommendations & regulations are pushed to the back of the booklet, or (for whatever reason) "don't directly apply to me". And "Why should I register? I'm one little guy, in a park, in a little town, in a lesser known state.."

    Ultimately (in the case of these drones): Grandma buys little Billy a drone for Christmas. Dad helps get it set up (charge batteries, pair it up, etc..) Dad & Billy go the local park / field to play / fly the thing. They are unaware of any regulations, and fly blissfully. Its a toy after all, not an Aston Martin.. The park is beside an airport, a busy highway, and a mall. Billy gets pretty good with it, and has acquired a VR helmet, and is now flying it all over the place. One day, the cops come & take it away, since there's been complaints about it; it's not registered, and it has been spotted over the mall, and at over 1200' by private pilots. Dad is totally unaware, and quite surprised..

    Who is responsible to know the rules?
    Is it up to the manufacturer to include US FAA rules & such? (or rules for the intended destination country?)
    Is it up to the store owner to advise the purchaser? And if so, how to advise the end user if it's a gift?
    How are these rules enforced? Do the local police know about the FAA rules & regs for this? Do they care?
    Should there be a mechanism in the drone to only turn on once it's received a validation code from the FAA that it's been registered?

    I remember when I first started to fly R/C planes, there was a commitment to be made. You first had to build said plane. You then needed to join a club, and get insurance. You were then paired up with an instructor, to ensure you knew what you were doing & get your 'wings'. Then came ARFs, so the building aspect was gone; more 'week-end' flyers.. "Aww, it crashed, I'll go get another one, see you next week.." Then came park fliers; why do I need to join a club when it says 'any park or football field?' Then came gyros and other methods & systems that helped with stability & flying, especially for newbies. Then came drones, and more drones with their plethora of features to keep it level, to follow you, GPS guided, and even able to return to a specified point.. Clubs and trained pilots are disappearing.. along with common sense, courtesy, and respect..

    /rant off/
     
    liv3mind likes this.
  23. Jan 25, 2020 #23

    Winston

    Winston

    Winston

    Lorenzo von Matterhorn

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2009
    Messages:
    7,390
    Likes Received:
    491
    Gender:
    Male
    This completely unnecessary and intrusive regulatory BS should be fought by determining once and for all who owns the airspace over private property. Then, if the land owner flies over his own land below 400 (or 500) feet or on someone else's land who is specifically allowing him to do so, it's no ones business but their own:

    Journal of Air Law and Commerce
    Volume 56 | Issue 1 Article 5 | 1990
    Low Altitude Airspace: A Property Rights NoMan's Land

    https://scholar.smu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1915&context=jalc

    Excerpt:

    IX. JUST EXACTLY WHO OWNS THE AIRSPACE?

    A. The Modern View


    More than eighty years after Kitty Hawk and more than forty years after Causby, courts have yet to adopt a uniform theory of airspace property ownership. When the airspace involved lies below the 500-foot navigable airspace level, most recent opinions focus on whether or not the landowner's use and enjoyment of the land has been interfered with in order to determine if a property right has been taken. According to this approach, the landowner owns just as much airspace above his property as is necessary to allow him to use his land without substantial interference from above. ["substantial interference from above" would include any aircraft other than the land owner's whose presence restricts his right to use the airspace over his property as he wishes due to, for example, FAA rules prioritizing the "rights" of that aircraft over his own and requiring his aircraft to in some ways accommodate the trespassing aircraft. - W]

    When the airspace involved lies above the 500-foot level, the owner's rights to this airspace can be evaluated in three different ways. First, courts following a strict Aaron "fixed height" approach would state that a land-owner has no rights to airspace above 500 feet. The second approach involves a modified "fixed height" theory, which allows for landowners' airspace rights above 500 feet only when the particular circumstances clearly show that this airspace is required in order for the landowner to use his property without substantial interference. Finally, a court can conclude that the 500-foot line is meaningless to the evaluation, and use the same test applied to airspace falling below the 500-foot level.

    B. Modern Airspace Property Rights Considerations

    With the emphasis on interference with the "use and enjoyment" of the land as a prerequisite to a determination of airspace property rights, it is important to know just when this interference occurs. Probably the easiest case of such interference occurs when the landowner's livelihood is actually impaired or actual physical damage is caused by the overflights in question. Another example occurs when the property becomes impractical for the intended or possible use contemplated by the landowner.
    [like flying his own RC aircraft over it - W]
     

Share This Page

Group Builder