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Feb 09 2011

The sky's ... limited?

The future of model aviation in the US is ... vague.  The AMA (Academy of Model Aeronautics) released a brief statement in its recent member newsletter with a link to their most up-to-date news about the FAA's (Federal Aviation Administration) progress in developing model aircraft regulations.  You can view that statement here.

The word is that an update is expected some time this summer with rumor that exemptions from regulation for small, model recreational grade units are a possibility.  A previous update from the FAA indicated that recreational use is still regulated by the "below 400' and away from airports and air traffic" policy outlined in a circular from 1981.  We keep to this specification in our remote sensing missions out of respect for the regulations and more importantly because of the need to have very high-resolution and detailed images of the canopy.  Our scientific needs require us to fly at very, very low height above ground level, typically between 50m - 100m (164' - 328').

It looks like the AMA is trying to make sure that the large body of model fliers and aircraft, like us and the equipment we use, don't get lumped into the same category as those users flying large aircraft at high altitudes.

So we will stay tuned for the latest from the AMA and the FAA this summer.

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