New operating requirements: Transitioning from Section 336 to Section 349

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Written by Tyler Dobbs AMA in Action Column As seen in the December 2018 issue of Model Aviation.

As most of you likely know, Congress passed the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, which included new operating requirements for recreational UAS operators. These new requirements do not take effect immediately; it will take time for the FAA to implement the new provisions written into the bill. At this time, AMA and the FAA have created a team to work through the new provisions and discuss how AMA members and events will be impacted. There are new restrictions, such as the 400-foot Class G altitude cap, that would handicap some of the disciplines within our hobby, but the FAA has shown a willingness to address these issues. I remain confident that a solution can be found before this 400-foot restriction takes effect. Although some of the provisions will require closer dialogue and coordination with the FAA in the months and years to come, many of the provisions will give AMA a stronger voice, which I have outlined in the following: • Congress more clearly defines community-based organizations (CBOs) and tasks the FAA to recognize CBOs. • CBOs, such as AMA, are given a more prominent role in shaping future regulations. • Congress codifies elements of AMA’s safety programming into law, including the use of FPV. • The 5-mile airport notification rings are removed, which was a burdensome and often misinterpreted mandate placed on our hobby. • There are no prescriptive remote-identification equipage mandates, allowing AMA to continue to champion for a more reasonable approach and threshold. • Congress allocated $1 million every year to help support education campaigns such as Know Before You Fly, which AMA cofounded. • Congress recognizes the distinction between members of a CBO such as AMA and those “outside the membership, guidelines, and programming” of a CBO. Congress then tasks the FAA to consider different operating parameters for each recreational community. In the coming weeks and months, AMA might ask its members to verify club locations and/or event operating procedures. This data will help us in the implementation process and will help ensure that your operations can continue as they have in the past. If you don’t have an email address on file with AMA, or if you have recently updated your email address, please contact AMA Headquarters to ensure that our information is correct. Rest assured that AMA will continue to work closely with the FAA to limit the impact of the new operating requirements found in Public Law 115-254 (Section 349). For the latest information, including the recently passed UAS operating requirements, please visit —Tyler Dobbs Government Affairs & Public Relations Representative


Will the FAA require us model flyers to take a test? A club member said he read that in the AMA magazine. I still haven't received my latest issue so can't attest to that.

Hi Jim! I asked our Government Relations team for help in answering your question. Here is the response: There is a provision in the 2018 FAA Reauthorization Act that will require recreational operators to pass an aeronautical knowledge test. The law states the FAA, in consultation with manufacturers of unmanned aircraft systems, other industry stakeholders, and community-based organizations, shall develop an aeronautical knowledge and safety test, which can then be administered electronically by the Administrator, a community-based organization, or a person designated by the Administrator. “(2) REQUIREMENTS.—The Administrator shall ensure the aeronautical knowledge and safety test is designed to adequately demonstrate an operator’s— “(A) understanding of aeronautical safety knowledge; and “(B) knowledge of Federal Aviation Administration regulations and requirements pertaining to the operation of an unmanned aircraft system in the national airspace system. “ We have formed a working group with the FAA to cooperatively address this issue, but we are in early stages of discussion. At this moment, I’m unable to give you an exact time frame we might see the test implemented or if a waiver process could be established . Please monitor your emails,, Model Aviation magazine and social media for the latest information. Feel free contact our Government Affairs team at if you have any further questions.

Thanks for your answer. Hopefully we won't be expected to understand what a private pilot must learn to gain their pilot's license and that the test can be designed to pertain to MODEL AIRCRAFT, not full scale aircraft.

Please share our concern about the test with Rich Hansen.

Hi Jim. You are welcome!

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