Saturday, June 21, 2014

OMB Approves FAA Notice on Model Airplanes

Yesterday the OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) announced that it had approved the Federal Aviation Administration’s ‘Interpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft’. As I mentioned when I reported the submission of this notice to OIRA there is nothing in the Unified Agenda on this topic so we have no official way of knowing what this notice contains until it is published in the Federal Register.

The current FAA ‘standard’ on model airplanes is explained in Advisory Circular 91-57 published on June 9th, 1981 and pertains mainly to hobbyist built radio controlled (RC) aircraft. This certainly pre-dates the widespread availability of small commercial RC aircraft and small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

The AC 91-57 guidance addresses safety of flight concerns and ignores critical infrastructure safety and security issues, not unexpected given the date of publication. I suspect that the notice approved yesterday will expand SOF concerns and address the critical infrastructure issue. This notice should be published in the coming week.

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