As if Congress does not have enough to do.
A group representing model aircraft enthusiasts sees a problem on the horizon — and is looking to Congress for help.
The Academy of Model Aeronautics is worried that a rule being drafted by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will restrict model aircraft, particularly those that are remote-controlled.
Richard Hanson, a lobbyist for the group, said the FAA is in the process of developing a new regulation for “small unmanned aerial vehicles” that is intended to enable new commercial ventures, such as remote aerial imaging.
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But Hanson, whose group has represented model aviation enthusiasts since 1936, is afraid model aircraft will get caught up in the rule. He would like someone to offer an amendment to exempt the hobby when an FAA reauthorization bill (HR 658) lands on the House floor March 31.
“It basically boils down to the fact that we existed since before even manned aircraft,” Hanson said. “We have an impeccable safety record, we’re self-governed through our own set of safety guidelines, and there’s absolutely no data that shows that model aircraft have been a concern to the extent of needing regulation.”
During debate on its FAA bill (S 223), the Senate adopted an amendment by James M. Inhofe, R-Okla., a pilot, that would block any regulations affecting model aircraft flown for recreational or academic purposes that meet safety guidelines. Hanson said he’s been talking to House members about similar language.
When the House takes up the FAA bill, there will be more to talk about than model planes. Lawmakers are likely to debate air-traffic controller staffing and fatigue, given the recent scare at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. Early on March 23, two airliners landed without clearance from the airport tower, apparently because the lone controller on duty was asleep.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has ordered a review of air traffic controller staffing, and the National Transportation Safety Board has begun an investigation of staffing levels and fatigue.
Some Democrats have said the House’s FAA bill would not provide enough money for aviation inspectors and air traffic controllers.
In the meantime, Congress will need to clear another short-term FAA authorization (HR 1079) on Tuesday, as the current one (PL 111-329) expires March 31.
Kathryn A. Wolfe writes for CQ.
TO READ MORE ON THIS ISSUE, SEE LINK BELOW,
http://www.congress.org/news/2011/03/29 … oppose_faa
It won't stand. I'm involved with Model Rocketry and there was a government attempt to regulate that as well following 9/11. It took a few years but the case was decided in favor of the hobby......
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