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FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018

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I live 4.3 miles from a regional airport "McCollum - Cobb County, Ga. Airport". How does this affect me flying out of my yard less than 400 ft AGL??

As soon as President Trump signs the new FAA Reauthorization bill - eliminates the 5 mile restriction on all Hobbycraft and small drones. It may solve your problem?

Today, President Trump signed the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018. In a public statement, the FAA says that this establishes new conditions for the recreational use of drones. It also means that Section 336, the Special Rule for Model Aircraft is repealed effective immediately.
 
Email from FAA regarding the new law:

"On October 5, 2018, the President signed the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018. The Act establishes new conditions for recreational use of drones and immediately repeals the Special Rule for Model Aircraft.

"The agency is evaluating the impacts of this change in the law and how implementation will proceed. The Reauthorization Act cannot be fully implemented immediately, please continue to follow all current policies and guidance with respect to recreational use of drones:
  • Fly for hobby or recreation only
  • Register your model aircraft
  • Fly within visual line-of-sight
  • Follow community-based safety guidelines and fly within the programming of a nationwide community-based organization
  • Fly a drone under 55 lbs. unless certified by a community-based organization
  • Never fly near other aircraft
  • Never fly near emergency response efforts

"Updated direction and guidance will be provided as the FAA implements this new legislation."

Interesting no mention of flying near an airport. Maybe an oversight?
 
Email from FAA regarding the new law:

"On October 5, 2018, the President signed the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018. The Act establishes new conditions for recreational use of drones and immediately repeals the Special Rule for Model Aircraft.

"The agency is evaluating the impacts of this change in the law and how implementation will proceed. The Reauthorization Act cannot be fully implemented immediately, please continue to follow all current policies and guidance with respect to recreational use of drones:
  • Fly for hobby or recreation only
  • Register your model aircraft
  • Fly within visual line-of-sight
  • Follow community-based safety guidelines and fly within the programming of a nationwide community-based organization
  • Fly a drone under 55 lbs. unless certified by a community-based organization
  • Never fly near other aircraft
  • Never fly near emergency response efforts

"Updated direction and guidance will be provided as the FAA implements this new legislation."

Interesting no mention of flying near an airport. Maybe an oversight?

It will be based on class of airspace instead:

FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018

Section 349 - recreational use of sUAS

SEC. 349. EXCEPTION FOR LIMITED RECREATIONAL OPERATIONS OF UNMANNED
AIRCRAFT.

(a) In General.--Chapter 448 of title 49, United States Code, as
added by this Act, is further amended by adding at the end the
following:
Sec. 44809. Exception for limited recreational operations of unmanned
aircraft
(a) In General.--Except as provided in subsection (e), and
notwithstanding chapter 447 of title 49, United States Code, a person
may operate a small unmanned aircraft without specific certification or
operating authority from the Federal Aviation Administration if the
operation adheres to all of the following limitations:
(1) The aircraft is flown strictly for recreational
purposes.
(2) The aircraft is operated in accordance with or within
the programming of a community-based organization's set of
safety guidelines that are developed in coordination with the
Federal Aviation Administration.
(3) The aircraft is flown within the visual line of sight
of the person operating the aircraft or a visual observer co-
located and in direct communication with the operator.
(4) The aircraft is operated in a manner that does not
interfere with and gives way to any manned aircraft.
(5) In Class B, Class C, or Class D airspace or within
the lateral boundaries of the surface area of Class E airspace
designated for an airport, the operator obtains prior
authorization from the Administrator or designee before
operating and complies with all airspace restrictions and

prohibitions.
(6) In Class G airspace, the aircraft is flown from the
surface to not more than 400 feet above ground level and
complies with all airspace restrictions and prohibitions.
(7) The operator has passed an aeronautical knowledge and
safety test described in subsection (g) and maintains proof of
test passage to be made available to the Administrator or law
enforcement upon request.
(8) The aircraft is registered and marked in accordance
with chapter 441 of this title and proof of registration is
made available to the Administrator or a designee of the
Administrator or law enforcement upon request.
(b) Other Operations.--Unmanned aircraft operations that do not
conform to the limitations in subsection (a) must comply with all
statutes and regulations generally applicable to unmanned aircraft and
unmanned aircraft systems.
(c) Operations at Fixed Sites.--
(1) Operating procedure required.--Persons operating
unmanned aircraft under subsection (a) from a fixed site within
Class B, Class C, or Class D airspace or within the lateral
boundaries of the surface area of Class E airspace designated
for an airport, or a community-based organization conducting a
sanctioned event within such airspace, shall make the location
of the fixed site known to the Administrator and shall
establish a mutually agreed upon operating procedure with the
air traffic control facility.
(2) Unmanned aircraft weighing more than 55 pounds.--A
person may operate an unmanned aircraft weighing more than 55
pounds, including the weight of anything attached to or carried
by the aircraft, under subsection (a) if--
(A) the unmanned aircraft complies with standards
and limitations developed by a community-based
organization and approved by the Administrator; and
(B) the aircraft is operated from a fixed site as
described in paragraph (1).
(d) Updates.--
(1) In general.--The Administrator, in consultation with
government, stakeholders, and community-based organizations,
shall initiate a process to periodically update the operational
parameters under subsection (a), as appropriate.
(2) Considerations.--In updating an operational parameter
under paragraph (1), the Administrator shall consider--
(A) appropriate operational limitations to
mitigate risks to aviation safety and national
security, including risk to the uninvolved public and
critical infrastructure;
(B) operations outside the membership,
guidelines, and programming of a community-based
organization;
(C) physical characteristics, technical
standards, and classes of aircraft operating under this
section;
(D) trends in use, enforcement, or incidents
involving unmanned aircraft systems;
(E) ensuring, to the greatest extent practicable,
that updates to the operational parameters correspond
to, and leverage, advances in technology; and
(F) equipage requirements that facilitate safe,
efficient, and secure operations and further integrate
all unmanned aircraft into the national airspace
system.
(3) Savings clause.--Nothing in this subsection shall be
construed as expanding the authority of the Administrator to
require a person operating an unmanned aircraft under this
section to seek permissive authority of the Administrator,
beyond that required in subsection (a) of this section, prior
to operation in the national airspace system.
(e) Statutory Construction.--Nothing in this section shall be
construed to limit the authority of the Administrator to pursue an
enforcement action against a person operating any unmanned aircraft who
endangers the safety of the national airspace system.
(f) Exceptions.--Nothing in this section prohibits the
Administrator from promulgating rules generally applicable to unmanned
aircraft, including those unmanned aircraft eligible for the exception
set forth in this section, relating to--
(1) updates to the operational parameters for unmanned
aircraft in subsection (a);
(2) the registration and marking of unmanned aircraft;
(3) the standards for remotely identifying owners and
operators of unmanned aircraft systems and associated unmanned
aircraft; and
(4) other standards consistent with maintaining the
safety and security of the national airspace system.
(g) Aeronautical Knowledge and Safety Test.--
(1) In general.--Not later than 180 days after the date
of enactment of this section, the Administrator, 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.
(h) Community-based Organization Defined.--In this section, the
term community-based organization' means a membership-based
association entity that--
(1) is described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal
Revenue Code of 1986;
(2) is exempt from tax under section 501(a) of the
Internal Revenue Code of 1986;
(3) the mission of which is demonstrably the furtherance
of model aviation;
(4) provides a comprehensive set of safety guidelines for
all aspects of model aviation addressing the assembly and
operation of model aircraft and that emphasize safe
aeromodelling operations within the national airspace system
and the protection and safety of individuals and property on
the ground, and may provide a comprehensive set of safety rules
and programming for the operation of unmanned aircraft that
have the advanced flight capabilities enabling active,
sustained, and controlled navigation of the aircraft beyond
visual line of sight of the operator;
(5) provides programming and support for any local
charter organizations, affiliates, or clubs; and
(6) provides assistance and support in the development
and operation of locally designated model aircraft flying
sites.
(i) Recognition of Community-based Organizations.--In
collaboration with aeromodelling stakeholders, the Administrator shall
publish an advisory circular within 180 days of the date of enactment
of this section that identifies the criteria and process required for
recognition of community-based organizations.''.
(b) Technical and Conforming Amendments.--
(1) Table of contents.--The table of contents for chapter
448 of title 49, United States Code, as added by this Act, is
further amended by adding at the end the following:

44809. Exception for limited recreational operations of unmanned
aircraft.
(2) Repeal.--Section 336 of the FAA Modernization and
Reform Act of 2012 (49 U.S.C. 40101 note) and the item relating
to that section in the table of contents under section 1(b) of
that Act are repealed.
 
It will be based on class of airspace instead:

FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018

Section 349 - recreational use of sUAS

SEC. 349. EXCEPTION FOR LIMITED RECREATIONAL OPERATIONS OF UNMANNED
AIRCRAFT.

(a) In General.--Chapter 448 of title 49, United States Code, as
added by this Act, is further amended by adding at the end the
following:
Sec. 44809. Exception for limited recreational operations of unmanned
aircraft
(a) In General.--Except as provided in subsection (e), and
notwithstanding chapter 447 of title 49, United States Code, a person
may operate a small unmanned aircraft without specific certification or
operating authority from the Federal Aviation Administration if the
operation adheres to all of the following limitations:
(1) The aircraft is flown strictly for recreational
purposes.
(2) The aircraft is operated in accordance with or within
the programming of a community-based organization's set of
safety guidelines that are developed in coordination with the
Federal Aviation Administration.
(3) The aircraft is flown within the visual line of sight
of the person operating the aircraft or a visual observer co-
located and in direct communication with the operator.
(4) The aircraft is operated in a manner that does not
interfere with and gives way to any manned aircraft.
(5) In Class B, Class C, or Class D airspace or within
the lateral boundaries of the surface area of Class E airspace
designated for an airport, the operator obtains prior
authorization from the Administrator or designee before
operating and complies with all airspace restrictions and

prohibitions.
(6) In Class G airspace, the aircraft is flown from the
surface to not more than 400 feet above ground level and
complies with all airspace restrictions and prohibitions.
(7) The operator has passed an aeronautical knowledge and
safety test described in subsection (g) and maintains proof of
test passage to be made available to the Administrator or law
enforcement upon request.
(8) The aircraft is registered and marked in accordance
with chapter 441 of this title and proof of registration is
made available to the Administrator or a designee of the
Administrator or law enforcement upon request.
(b) Other Operations.--Unmanned aircraft operations that do not
conform to the limitations in subsection (a) must comply with all
statutes and regulations generally applicable to unmanned aircraft and
unmanned aircraft systems.
(c) Operations at Fixed Sites.--
(1) Operating procedure required.--Persons operating
unmanned aircraft under subsection (a) from a fixed site within
Class B, Class C, or Class D airspace or within the lateral
boundaries of the surface area of Class E airspace designated
for an airport, or a community-based organization conducting a
sanctioned event within such airspace, shall make the location
of the fixed site known to the Administrator and shall
establish a mutually agreed upon operating procedure with the
air traffic control facility.
(2) Unmanned aircraft weighing more than 55 pounds.--A
person may operate an unmanned aircraft weighing more than 55
pounds, including the weight of anything attached to or carried
by the aircraft, under subsection (a) if--
(A) the unmanned aircraft complies with standards
and limitations developed by a community-based
organization and approved by the Administrator; and
(B) the aircraft is operated from a fixed site as
described in paragraph (1).
(d) Updates.--
(1) In general.--The Administrator, in consultation with
government, stakeholders, and community-based organizations,
shall initiate a process to periodically update the operational
parameters under subsection (a), as appropriate.
(2) Considerations.--In updating an operational parameter
under paragraph (1), the Administrator shall consider--
(A) appropriate operational limitations to
mitigate risks to aviation safety and national
security, including risk to the uninvolved public and
critical infrastructure;
(B) operations outside the membership,
guidelines, and programming of a community-based
organization;
(C) physical characteristics, technical
standards, and classes of aircraft operating under this
section;
(D) trends in use, enforcement, or incidents
involving unmanned aircraft systems;
(E) ensuring, to the greatest extent practicable,
that updates to the operational parameters correspond
to, and leverage, advances in technology; and
(F) equipage requirements that facilitate safe,
efficient, and secure operations and further integrate
all unmanned aircraft into the national airspace
system.
(3) Savings clause.--Nothing in this subsection shall be
construed as expanding the authority of the Administrator to
require a person operating an unmanned aircraft under this
section to seek permissive authority of the Administrator,
beyond that required in subsection (a) of this section, prior
to operation in the national airspace system.
(e) Statutory Construction.--Nothing in this section shall be
construed to limit the authority of the Administrator to pursue an
enforcement action against a person operating any unmanned aircraft who
endangers the safety of the national airspace system.
(f) Exceptions.--Nothing in this section prohibits the
Administrator from promulgating rules generally applicable to unmanned
aircraft, including those unmanned aircraft eligible for the exception
set forth in this section, relating to--
(1) updates to the operational parameters for unmanned
aircraft in subsection (a);
(2) the registration and marking of unmanned aircraft;
(3) the standards for remotely identifying owners and
operators of unmanned aircraft systems and associated unmanned
aircraft; and
(4) other standards consistent with maintaining the
safety and security of the national airspace system.
(g) Aeronautical Knowledge and Safety Test.--
(1) In general.--Not later than 180 days after the date
of enactment of this section, the Administrator, 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.
(h) Community-based Organization Defined.--In this section, the
term community-based organization' means a membership-based
association entity that--
(1) is described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal
Revenue Code of 1986;
(2) is exempt from tax under section 501(a) of the
Internal Revenue Code of 1986;
(3) the mission of which is demonstrably the furtherance
of model aviation;
(4) provides a comprehensive set of safety guidelines for
all aspects of model aviation addressing the assembly and
operation of model aircraft and that emphasize safe
aeromodelling operations within the national airspace system
and the protection and safety of individuals and property on
the ground, and may provide a comprehensive set of safety rules
and programming for the operation of unmanned aircraft that
have the advanced flight capabilities enabling active,
sustained, and controlled navigation of the aircraft beyond
visual line of sight of the operator;
(5) provides programming and support for any local
charter organizations, affiliates, or clubs; and
(6) provides assistance and support in the development
and operation of locally designated model aircraft flying
sites.
(i) Recognition of Community-based Organizations.--In
collaboration with aeromodelling stakeholders, the Administrator shall
publish an advisory circular within 180 days of the date of enactment
of this section that identifies the criteria and process required for
recognition of community-based organizations.''.
(b) Technical and Conforming Amendments.--
(1) Table of contents.--The table of contents for chapter
448 of title 49, United States Code, as added by this Act, is
further amended by adding at the end the following:

44809. Exception for limited recreational operations of unmanned
aircraft.
(2) Repeal.--Section 336 of the FAA Modernization and
Reform Act of 2012 (49 U.S.C. 40101 note) and the item relating
to that section in the table of contents under section 1(b) of
that Act are repealed.

I know what Section 349 says - I just thought, rather than spending two days trying to understand it (being new to the drone world) I would rather spend two days reading your (and you guys know what you are talking about) answers to the specific question and I know there may be a lot of different answers.
 
(g) Aeronautical Knowledge and Safety Test.--
(1) In general.--Not later than 180 days after the date
of enactment of this section, the Administrator, 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.

Just thought it was interesting the email and posting on the FAA site says to "continue as is..." until further notice, but no airport and also did not mention Airspace requirement.

I also wonder about the required test. Any idea if a Certificated Remote Pilot will be required to take the test or could one just determine as we do now if this flight is 107 or 101.
 
I know what Section 349 says - I just thought, rather than spending two days trying to understand it (being new to the drone world) I would rather spend two days reading your (and you guys know what you are talking about) answers to the specific question and I know there may be a lot of different answers.

No problem. It appears that they have simply replaced the 5 mile requirement with a requirement that if you are flying in airspace other than Class G then you have to get authorization from the airspace administrator. McCollum has a 4 nm (4.6 mile) surface Class D airspace associated with it, active 1100 - 0400Z, and so you are within that, and would need authorization during those hours.


IMG_5B4D04A5CCBD-1.jpeg
 
Just thought it was interesting the email and posting on the FAA site says to "continue as is..." until further notice, but no airport and also did not mention Airspace requirement.

I also wonder about the required test. Any idea if a Certificated Remote Pilot will be required to take the test or could one just determine as we do now if this flight is 107 or 101.

I'm not sure I understand the question. This test would be for recreational flying, to fly under what is currently Part 101. I cannot see any reason to do that if you already have Part 107.
 
No problem. It appears that they have simply replaced the 5 mile requirement with a requirement that if you are flying in airspace other than Class G then you have to get authorization from the airspace administrator. McCollum has a 4 nm (4.6 mile) surface Class D airspace associated with it, active 1100 - 0400Z, and so you are within that, and would need authorization during those hours.


View attachment 48989

That's what I am trying to figure out. If I should call somebody at the airport (who) and ask if I can fly the drone I bought at Walmart - from 3:30 pm until 4:10 pm - if I fly it out of my back yard and don't go above 400 ft., or if I need to get written permission from the FAA every time I want to fly it since I live within a 5 mile radius (4.3 miles) of the edge of the runway or should I measure from the center of the runway? Either way, I don't think I would be knocking any planes out of the air with my drone.
 
I'm not sure I understand the question. This test would be for recreational flying, to fly under what is currently Part 101. I cannot see any reason to do that if you already have Part 107.
No problem. It appears that they have simply replaced the 5 mile requirement with a requirement that if you are flying in airspace other than Class G then you have to get authorization from the airspace administrator. McCollum has a 4 nm (4.6 mile) surface Class D airspace associated with it, active 1100 - 0400Z, and so you are within that, and would need authorization during those hours.


View attachment 48989
 
So I can fly before 11:00 am without notifying the airport? Not trying to be a smart ***, but ..I went through the whole "ultralight" debacle with the FAA from 1983 until 2007 when they basically shut us down with regulations.
 
That's what I am trying to figure out. If I should call somebody at the airport (who) and ask if I can fly the drone I bought at Walmart - from 3:30 pm until 4:10 pm - if I fly it out of my back yard and don't go above 400 ft., or if I need to get written permission from the FAA every time I want to fly it since I live within a 5 mile radius (4.3 miles) of the edge of the runway or should I measure from the center of the runway? Either way, I don't think I would be knocking any planes out of the air with my drone.

It's a Class D airport during the day, so you would call the tower (airspace administrator). There is nothing about written permission from the FAA. The airspace class is defined on the sectional, not by distances from particular locations. For example, if you look at the sectional excerpt that I posted above, it's not even a circle due to overlap with KPDK to the southeast.

So I can fly before 11:00 am without notifying the airport? Not trying to be a smart ***, but ..I went through the whole "ultralight" debacle with the FAA from 1983 until 2007 when they basically shut us down with regulations.

Class D hours are 1100 - 0400Z, which is 0600 - 2300 EST. Outside those hours it reverts to Class G and you don't have to call.
 
It's a Class D airport during the day, so you would call the tower (airspace administrator). There is nothing about written permission from the FAA. The airspace class is defined on the sectional, not by distances from particular locations. For example, if you look at the sectional excerpt that I posted above, it's not even a circle due to overlap with KPDK to the southeast.



Class D hours are 1100 - 0400Z, which is 0600 - 2300 EST. Outside those hours it reverts to Class G and you don't have to call.


Thanks
 
I'm not sure I understand the question. This test would be for recreational flying, to fly under what is currently Part 101. I cannot see any reason to do that if you already have Part 107.

Because 107 has some restrictions that do not apply to "Recerational" such as 107 restricted to Day only unless obtain a waiver. 107 requires at least 3 miles visibility and staying 500' below and 2000' horizontally from clouds, etc.
 
Because 107 has some restrictions that do not apply to "Recerational" such as 107 restricted to Day only unless obtain a waiver. 107 requires at least 3 miles visibility and staying 500' below and 2000' horizontally from clouds, etc.

True - there may still be more latitude in a couple of small aspects. And I misread your question - you were asking if a Part 107 pilot would need to take the new test to fly recreationally under Part 101 (if it is still called that). You would think not, but I haven't seen that clarified.
 
I still want to know more about the "Test" we are going to have to pass?
 
Nice to see that a government has taken the approach that we as UAV pilots are not all dicks and follow rules, hence slacking the rules somewhat. Wish Canada did the same, our Libs have a tendency to do a knee jerk and paint us all with the same brush.
 
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Reactions: gatoremt
Nice to see that a government has taken the approach that we as UAV pilots are not all dicks and follow rules, hence slacking the rules somewhat. Wish Canada did the same, our Libs have a tendency to do a knee jerk and paint us all with the same brush.

They haven't really slackened the rules. Section 336, implemented in 14 CFR Part 101, prevented the FAA from regulating recreational sUAS apart from requiring registration (and that took a revision from Congress) and the 5-mile rule around airports. The new law will make the recreational rules look a lot more like a stripped down Part 107. The obvious incongruous element is the new requirement to call the tower if in controlled airspace, which was the original method for non-recreational flight and was replaced by direct FAA authorization. So that sounds rather retrograde.
 
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In Class B, Class C, or Class D airspace or within
the lateral boundaries of the surface area of Class E airspace
designated for an airport, the operator obtains prior
authorization from the Administrator or designee before
operating and complies with all airspace restrictions and
prohibitions.

One important distinction for recreational pilots is that prior to this new language we were required to notify the airport, but now we need to be explicitly authorized.

A significant difference in my case. If the tower that administers the class D that I live in actually ever answers the phone, which they haven't to date, then they will just say "no thanks" to any authz request. I will have no recourse as it appears there are no direct provisions that outline why I may, or may not, be authorized.
 
Last edited:
I will have no recourse as it appears there are no direct provisions that outline why I may, or may not, be authorized.
And there doesn't need to be unless ATC wishes to volunteer an explanation to you.
 
Last edited:

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