DJI Mavic, Air and Mini Drones
Friendly, Helpful & Knowledgeable Community
Join Us Now

AMA rules when do they HAVE to be obeyed?

Back in the Free days of RC We all thought there would be NO WAY the government would limit our hobby to little AMA approved flying parks BUT Here we are--

– what?

Where are we?

Certainly not in a highly restricted flying environment as compared to those "free" days. I fly pretty much every where I have been for the past decade, with a few more restrictions on paper that I was already in compliance with anyway.

For someone that has had their favorite flying location essentially shut down because of rule or urban development changes, it feels severe. I get it. But that's hardly a general impact on recreational drone use.
 
So what happens if your CBO says "No flying drones over 200 feet above the take off point" or "The speed limit for drone flight is 20mph maximum" or "No flying FPV without a spotter" or "Maximum distance from controller is limited to 500 feet due to enhanced VLOS rules".....then I believe you are stuck with that. It would not be unreasonable for a government entity to adopt those rules for their ordinances.

What happens? Nothing.

You can ignore any restrictions on your operations that exceed the FARs. The government can not off-load rule-making to a private entity. It's unconstitutional and has been adjudicated before. It is well-settled law.

Now, the FAA may consult with private entities in developing regulation, but it then must go through the ordinary administrative process, and be incorporated into the FARs, which do have the force of law.

If the FAA says you can fly over occupied buildings then you can fly over occupied buildings. It doesn't matter what the AMA says. Their authority to make rules extends as far as their own private events, and no farther.
 
Whether you like it or not In the near future if you want to legally fly your over 250g Drone, YOU TOO will be an AMA Member.
They can't do that you say

That's right! They can't.

The government can not require membership in a private organization in order to exercise your rights.

Further, the FAA requires recreational pilots to follow CBO "safety guidelines". These words are deliberate, and carry specific meaning under the law.

Without getting deep into legal arguments from precedent, any "guidelines" a CBO develops must be consistent with FAA regulations – the AMA can't decide a 200ft ceiling is safer, so that's the new, national limit.

The whole CBO thing is about helping the amateur recreational pilot follow the FARs, not some power trip to squeeze pilots because they can. That sure seems to be a paranoia some here have.
 
My opinion and I do not choose the AMA the Choice is Made for me. If you have a non AMA RC Flying field in your area The RC world would love to know how it was accomplished.

Not sure where you get your ideas from on this, but I am not an AMA member, never have been, and only will be in the future if I voluntarily decide to join.

Been flying RC going back to my first aircraft, the Gentle Lady, cliff-soaring in Half Moon Bay in '84.
 
If the FAA says you can fly over occupied buildings then you can fly over occupied buildings. It doesn't matter what the AMA says. Their authority to make rules extends as far as their own private events, and no farther.
For sure, totally agree with the brand new example you made up: The AMA cannot supercede or override the FAA.

Back to the example I asked about: Only if the FAA is silent on flights over occupied buildings and when the AMA says "no flights over occupied buildings" for safety reasons then recreational pilots who pledge their allegiance to the AMA CBO (whether a member or not) must follow those guidelines or risk losing their ability to fly under the recreational exception.

I don't think I should be in the field parsing what guidelines count for me and which do not.
 
  • Wow
Reactions: Torque
Everyone will tell you that the recreational flyer must abide by the freely available CBO guidelines (and it's true) but no one (except me) will tell you what could happen to you if you don't. Millions of recreational flyers don't even know what could happen to them.

If I've correctly distilled your primary concern about CBO "safety guidelines", it's that they might be more restrictive and onerous than the official rules in the Federal Aviation Regulations.

This concern is unfounded on two grounds: First and most important, they can't. There is a legally proscribed rule-making process that federal agencies must follow for regulation to have the power of law. Any CBO guidelines that differ from, or go substantially beyond the existing FARs would be meaningless, having no force of law.

Second, the guidelines must be developed in cooperation with the FAA, and they cannot approve rules that differ from their own regulations under their grant of authority. What they can do is propose a rule change, go through the administrative process for public comment etc., and then maybe it becomes an official regulation with the force of law.

And this is only if the proposed rule falls under the grant of authority that Congress has given the agency through legislation. The FAA can't regulate what vehicle you use to transport your drones, as they have no authority to do so. Congress could grant them that authority if they wanted to.

You have no reason to fear greater restriction of your drone flying by CBOs than is contained in p107 regulations. Follow those regs and the exceptions for recreational use and your in compliance.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Torque
For sure, totally agree with the brand new example you made up: The AMA cannot supercede or override the FAA.

Please try to be civil with your chosen rhetoric.

I didn't make up anything. I was responding to your speculation about the AMA setting a 200ft ceiling, and another member discussing some prohibition flying over occupied buildings.

None of these concerns are examples I initiated.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Torque
I don't think I should be in the field parsing what guidelines count for me and which do not.

I don't think you should either.

So as a very experienced pilot, follow the rules in p107 and 44809, and basically ignore the AMA and other CBOs. It's not that they're a problem or something, it's just that as an experienced pilot knowledgeable in the relevant parts of the law, and compliant with it, there is nothing from the CBO you must abide that's not in 107 and 44809.

If there is, you can safely ignore it.

The whole CBO thing is there to relieve the average Joe from having to read, understand, and follow 107 and 44809. Note that 44809 doesn't require in-depth knowledge of 107. Rather, it's made much simpler: Get TRUST cert, find out about and follow a CBOs safety guidelines.

You and I, and many others here are more expert on the FARs than is expected of the typical recreational pilot. We are not the intended audience for "CBO Safety Guidelines".
 
  • Like
Reactions: Torque
it's just that as an experienced pilot knowledgeable in the relevant parts of the law, and compliant with it, there is nothing from the CBO you must abide that's not in 107 and 44809.

If there is, you can safely ignore it.
I don't want to speculate about whether this is correct or whether a broad legal principal supports it. But I'd like to see an official FAA statement that supports the idea that compliance with each of the CBO guidelines the pilot chooses optional. I don't see anything in 44809 that suggests that. Any one know of something?
 
If there is, you can safely ignore it.
That's not in the law; nowhere in the law does it say you can "safely ignore" CBO guidelines for whatever reason. There isn't anything that I've read that says you can follow some parts of the CBO guidelines and you don't have to follow other parts of the CBO guidelines.

My comment was pertaining to the average recreational flyer (and those that would enforce the guidelines*) who cannot determine which CBO guidelines are relevant, which CBO guidelines are irrelevant (or in conflict with FAA), and which CBO guidelines can live along side the FAA rules and regulation. In their mind, they need to follow all parts of the guidelines to be sure.

I did not say the CBO would set a new 200 foot national maximum because that would conflict with the FAA. I said in the interest of safety "the CBO recommends recreational pilots do not exceed 200 feet over their take off point" which does not conflict with the FAA requirement for recreational pilots that says "Fly at or below 400 feet in Class G (uncontrolled) airspace."

I also mentioned the recommendation "No flying FPV without a spotter" and "Maximum distance from controller is limited to 500 feet due to enhanced VLOS rules" which does not conflict with the FAA requirement for recreational pilots that says "Keep your drone within the visual line of sight or use a visual observer." To me this would be the CBO attempting to clear up (in their mind) this issue with flying FPV without a spotter. And, different people have different ideas about VLOS so this CBO would put a number on it so recreational pilots are clear.

Finally I said "The speed limit for drone flight is 20mph maximum" which does not conflict with anything that I've read in the FAA rules for the recreational pilot. It's possible there is some language in other sections of part 107 but the recreational pilots follow the exception; recreational pilots don't generally read other sections in part 107 because they generally don't apply to them. If somewhere in part 107 is says that max speed of a drone is 100mph, that applies to pilots who follow part 107, not to the recreational pilots flying under the exception. A CBO who recommends a maximum speed of 20mph may or may not be crossing the line when it comes to publishing a guideline so maybe I'm wrong here, maybe every single guideline they publish must be approved. In my opinion, if a CBO is FAA-approved, I don't see why the FAA wouldn't use the CBO to provide safety guidance to recreational pilots. For example, when Amazon and Google commercial traffic get heavy in the 200 - 400 feet range, the FAA (though the CBOs) could support a guideline to minimize the traffic that says something like all recreational flyers in designated high-traffic commercial zones during peak times must not exceed 150 feet...or something to that effect. Again, this hasn't happened but it's possible. If not possible, then let's add to the recreational CBO requirement language that says "No CBO guideline is effective unless the FAA passes a similar rules/regulation" and then we can simply get rid of the CBO requirement.

Today, I'm mostly in support of CBOs. I understand there needs to be some safety guidance and from what I've read about the CBOs, I don't find that to be inconsistent....today. Tomorrow might be another story. However, this is not my main concern. *My main (enforcement) concern is what could happen to you when you don't follow the CBO guidelines strictly. To me, the remedy is pretty simple. Add an FAA regulation that says something along the lines of "failure to follow the CBO guidelines does not automatically take away the recreational exception and put the pilot under the rules [remainder] of part 107."
 
Please try to be civil with your chosen rhetoric.

I didn't make up anything. I was responding to your speculation about the AMA setting a 200ft ceiling, and another member discussing some prohibition flying over occupied buildings.

None of these concerns are examples I initiated.
I read "made up" like he meant something along the lines of "....agree with your new example."
 
  • Like
Reactions: mavic3usa
I read "made up" like he meant something along the lines of "....agree with your new example."
For sure, I should have maybe said "created" instead of "made up." I agree with him on that example. I am totally trying to be civil but maybe a bit frustrated at not being able to get across my point.
 
I don't want to speculate about whether this is correct or whether a broad legal principal supports it. But I'd like to see an official FAA statement that supports the idea that compliance with each of the CBO guidelines the pilot chooses optional. I don't see anything in 44809 that suggests that. Any one know of something?

I understand your skepticism. There is a broader principle here.

How things become enforceable law is very well defined. It can not be outsourced to a private entity that has the authority to simply declare rules that have the force of law. The AMA can not declare 200ft is the new limit, and anyone violating it will be jailed for 5 days and pay a $1,000 fine.

The AMA can suggest a rule to the FAA like this, and if it is in the scope of authority granted by the FAA, there is a very clear and well-defined process the agency must follow to change regulations and make it law.

There's no way around this. These principles apply across all levels of government.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Torque
I understand your skepticism. There is a broader principle here.

How things become enforceable law is very well defined. It can not be outsourced to a private entity that has the authority to simply declare rules that have the force of law. The AMA can not declare 200ft is the new limit, and anyone violating it will be jailed for 5 days and pay a $1,000 fine.

The AMA can suggest a rule to the FAA like this, and if it is in the scope of authority granted by the FAA, there is a very clear and well-defined process the agency must follow to change regulations and make it law.

There's no way around this. These principles apply across all levels of government.
I would super love for it to work that way and if you can help get the process corrected so it works like that, recreational flyers would be super happy. Unfortunately, that's not how an "incident" usually ends up.

For sure, the AMA cannot declare 200 feet is the new limit. Instead, they adopt (with agreement/approval from the FAA) a guideline for those flyers who choose to follow them, a recommendation that "you don't fly over 200 feet" or however they word it so it doesn't conflict with the standing FAA rules and so that it gains acceptance from the FAA as a safety guideline, not a new law. Recreational flyers who don't care for this can observe a different CBO. If the FAA doesn't agree with it, don't approve it for the CBO. Again, would love if the FAA had 100% rights to refuse updated guidelines from the CBO and they probably do, but it doesn't mean that one day they won't go ahead and allow it to apply to [some] recreational flyers.

Agree with you, breaking the CBO guideline does not land you in jail (or even a fine). CBO does not have that authority. What usually happens could be if you violate a CBO guideline as a recreational pilot and then all of a sudden, you are no longer fly under the exception. At that point, you are also likely violating several part 107 regulations which could certainly lead to an FAA fine. There are literally millions of unregistered sub-250g drones flying in the US airspace under the recreational exception which are easily violated (not fined or jailed) should they fail to follow their CBO guidelines. The FAA violations at a minimum are operating a drone without a part 107 license, operating a drone without registration, and if flying in controlled airspace, operating a drone without a proper FAA authorization.

The most likely FAA outcome (adjudication) is either get a part 107 license or get more education and a reminder to start follow your CBO guidelines more closely as you were told in the TRUST...oh, and pay this $500 fine. I honestly feel this is how such a situation would play out today if the FAA is involved. Other agencies, I have my doubts (jail).
 
I understand your skepticism. There is a broader principle here.

How things become enforceable law is very well defined. It can not be outsourced to a private entity that has the authority to simply declare rules that have the force of law. The AMA can not declare 200ft is the new limit, and anyone violating it will be jailed for 5 days and pay a $1,000 fine.

The AMA can suggest a rule to the FAA like this, and if it is in the scope of authority granted by the FAA, there is a very clear and well-defined process the agency must follow to change regulations and make it law.

There's no way around this. These principles apply across all levels of government.
Let's use XYZ as our hypothetical CBO rather than using the AMA specifically.

No, of course XYZ cannot create laws and set penalties. The issue is whether a recreational pilot can elect to ignore certain guidelines from the CBO set he chooses to use under 44809.

XYZ isn't imposing anything on recreational drone pilots who use their guidelines, and they're certainly not trying to enforce their guidelines on non-members. Recreational drone pilots voluntarily agree to comply with the guidelines, which he can obtain without the XYZ's consent or knowledge. There is no other connection, obligation, jurisdiction, authority, or agreement.

While they can't make it a law, the XYZ could set a 200' max altitude in their guidelines. (Unlikely.) According to 44809, if a recreational pilot is adhering to the XYZ guidelines to qualify for the 44809 exemption, they're obligated to abide by the new altitude limit. But they're free to switch to another CBO's guidelines that don't include the altitude limit.

I see nothing in the FAA regulations and have heard of nothing that allows a recreational pilot to pick and choose which particular guidelines from their chosen CBO to abide by or ignore. The recreational pilot using XYZ's guidelines couldn't continue to fly using XYZ's guidelines without the altitude limit.

(Here's another instance where I'm happy to have gotten my Part 107 rating so that I don't have to actually deal with any of this in the real world.)
 
The most likely FAA outcome (adjudication) is either get a part 107 license or get more education and a reminder to start follow your CBO guidelines more closely as you were told in the TRUST...oh, and pay this $500 fine. I honestly feel this is how such a situation would play out today if the FAA is involved. Other agencies, I have my doubts (jail).

How many $500 fines has the FAA imposed for such offenses? From what I've read and heard, such things are usually resolved with a phone conversation or a letter. And what other federal agencies have jailed people for similar offenses?
 
How many $500 fines has the FAA imposed for such offenses? From what I've read and heard, such things are usually resolved with a phone conversation or a letter. And what other federal agencies have jailed people for similar offenses?
Because I don't have the data in front of me, I cannot speak in any details about the nature of those fines. I'm sure the vast majority are educational phone calls and/or letters.

My comment about other agencies did not include anyone in the federal government. Local city, county, and state agencies who have drone-related laws that survive scrutiny or are disguised or have rules about take-off and landing is my reference to other agencies. There are cities that have a law that says "you have to abide by the FAA laws" which basically means if you break any FAA laws then you violate the city ordinance or the state law. I doubt they will be simply "talking to" recreational drone pilots for their mistakes.

Break a city ordinance with your drone and it doesn't go to the FAA. An example of this would be a drone pilot who launches his drone to observe deputies during a traffic stop. The drone is 100 feet high and never closer than 100 yards to the scene. If I were a deputy and I tried to get the RID on that drone and couldn't or I thought that drone was interfering or I thought the drone was flying over people or cars, or if the occupants of the car stopped complained the drone was harassing them then likely someone would be arrested. There are plenty of other "drone" related laws that could be applied outside the federal level. As I mentioned before, I'm mostly ok with currently enforcement levels at the federal level for now. As far as other non-federal agencies are concerned, you can see good examples of what can be done by state police, county deputies, and city police by watching them in action on the various YT videos including the one's from the animal rights activists.
 
I see nothing in the FAA regulations and have heard of nothing that allows a recreational pilot to pick and choose which particular guidelines from their chosen CBO to abide by or ignore. The recreational pilot using XYZ's guidelines couldn't continue to fly using XYZ's guidelines without the altitude limit.

I think I see where the confusion is.

Congress and regulating agencies are not unlimited in what they can put into law or regulation (as I know you well know 🙂). The Constitution, as well as statute law, prescribes boundaries around the authority the US government can exercise.

An obvious trivial example, the FAA can't prohibit being Catholic as a requirement to fly recreationally.

They can't get around this by outsourcing the policy-making to a private third party. So, if the AMA were to add "no Catholics" to their safety guidelines, it wouldn't be necessary for you to be able to find something in the FAA regulations to choose to ignore this guideline. You know you can ignore it because it conflicts with existing law (in this case the Constitution).

So CBOs can't just make ANY guideline. What governs what they can do?

We've been discussing it. As specified in 44809, these guidelines must be developed in partnership with and approved by the FAA.

Are there limits on what the FAA can approve? Yes, of course. They can only approve guidelines consistent with existing regulation, and nothing beyond existing regulation. To allow otherwise would usurp Congress' legislative authority, and would be a way for the Executive Branch to go around Congress and make law they refuse to pass.

It's been tried before, many times, as recently as the current administration, and gets shot down every time.

The open-ended nature of the CBO clause in 44809 doesn't create an unlimited power. In regulation, much is presumed, covered in other parts of the Federal CFR. So just because you don't find explicit mention that some provision is limited to the constraints of sibling regulation doesn't mean those limits are absent. All agencies' specific regulation is presumed to be consistent with the entire CFR, without stating so. Conflict and inconstency still happens all the time, and is how citizens easily win in court against the Fed.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: mavic3usa
Because I don't have the data in front of me, I cannot speak in any details about the nature of those fines. I'm sure the vast majority are educational phone calls and/or letters.
So, it's not a frequent thing. Have we heard of even one $500 fine from the FAA for such offenses? I have not.

if you break any FAA laws then you violate the city ordinance or the state law. I doubt they will be simply "talking to" recreational drone pilots for their mistakes.

Any actual cases of city or state law enforcement doing more than "talking to" a drone pilot for such an offense?

Break a city ordinance with your drone and it doesn't go to the FAA. An example of this would be a drone pilot who launches his drone to observe deputies during a traffic stop. The drone is 100 feet high and never closer than 100 yards to the scene. If I were a deputy and I tried to get the RID on that drone and couldn't or I thought that drone was interfering or I thought the drone was flying over people or cars, or if the occupants of the car stopped complained the drone was harassing them then likely someone would be arrested.

And there's one reason you're not a deputy. Can you cite even one instance of someone being arrested by a city law enforcement officer for violating a city drone law?

As far as other non-federal agencies are concerned, you can see good examples of what can be done by state police, county deputies, and city police by watching them in action on the various YT videos including the one's from the animal rights activists.
In every one of those "the cops are picking on me" videos I've seen, the self-described victim who posted the video was behaving like a jackass and/or trying to provoke a problem.

The sky is not falling, so it's still safe to fly our drones in it.
 
  • Love
Reactions: Torque
Lycus Tech Mavic Air 3 Case

DJI Drone Deals

New Threads

Forum statistics

Threads
130,884
Messages
1,557,464
Members
159,895
Latest member
workpathstaffing