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AMA leads group calling on FAA for drone regulations

By Nick Bullock
Published: April 15, 2014
A representative from DJI flys a quadcopter at the 2013 National Retail Hobby Stores Association Table Top Expo in Las Vegas.
It’s time for the FAA to regulate unmanned aviation, said a group of 33 organizations and industries with a stake in the matter.

The Academy of Model Aeronautics and the Association for Unmanned Vehicles Systems International joined 31 other organizations on April 9 to send a letter to the Federal Aviation Administration encouraging the agency to expedite the rulemaking process for unmanned aircraft systems operations in U.S. airspace, according to an AMA press release. The letter also calls on the FAA to allow the limited use of small UAS for commercial purposes before the final rulemaking is completed.

“The time for resolution has come, and we cannot afford any further delays,” the letter read. “The technology is advancing faster than the regulations to govern it.”

Congress authorized the integration of UAS in 2012 and the FAA has recently implemented steps in the integration process. However, the rulemaking for small UAS has been delayed for almost four years, according to the AMA’s release.

In the recent case of FAA v. Pirker, a judge stopped the FAA from imposing a fine on Raphael Pirker for using his small drone for commercial use.

The decision underscores the immediate need for a safety structure and regulatory framework for small UAS, according to letter’s cosigners, which include a broad array of organizations from many industries, including agriculture, real estate and photography.

“While the FAA has indicated its intention to appeal the Pirker decision to the full National Transportation Safety Board, we strongly encourage the FAA to simultaneously expedite its small UAS rulemaking and issue notice and public comment as soon as possible,” the letter read.

Other letter cosigners included the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association and the Helicopters Association International.