Late Wednesday night, Plane-ly Spoken broke the news that the OIRA/OMB website was changed and now indicates that the Small UAS NPRM would include the imposition of additional rules on model aircraft and low performance, i.e. “toy” operations. That blog post was quickly picked up by main stream publications, such as Forbes . These reports created a firestorm of inquiries from media and hobbyist groups concerned over the implications of the change to the OIRA website.
In an interesting turn of events, there is a different summary of the NPRM in the Department of Transportation’s January Report on Significant Rulemaking. That document contains the following, very brief description of the rule:
Abstract: This rulemaking would adopt specific rules for the operation of small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) in the national airspace system. These changes would address small unmanned aircraft registration and marking, certification of their airmen, and operational requirements and limitations in order to increase the safety and efficiency of the national airspace system.
This description is obviously worded quite differently than the OIRA version, and does not make any reference to model aircraft.
So, now you readers know as much as we do. The OIRA website’s description of the regulation continues to include model aircraft. The DOT’s website contains different information that does not include any reference to model aircraft.
Plane-ly Spoken is continuing to investigate, and we will update you as we get more information.
UPDATE – JANUARY 30 AT 7 PM
The FAA has provided Plane-ly Spoken with an official statement making clear that the information on the OIRA website is incorrect, and the Small UAS NPRM will not regulate model aircraft. The following is the complete text of the statement:
It has come to our attention that in December 2014, the www.reginfo.gov site was updated with incorrect information stemming from the 2014 Fall Unified Agenda and Regulatory Plan regarding the scope of the FAA’s small unmanned aircraft systems rulemaking action. The FAA is working to correct these errors. For up to date information regarding the scope and timing of this rulemaking, please refer to the DOT Significant Rulemaking Report available at www.dot.gov/regulations/report-on-significant-rulemakings. All model aircraft operators are required to operate in accordance with the statutory requirements for model aircraft operations set forth in section 336 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. For more information on these requirements, please review the do’s and don’ts for model aircraft operations.
We are pleased to have been able to get to the bottom of this issue for our readers.
(Originally posted January 30, 2015)