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Hitec RCD ProModeler
JohnATaylor

New Heliman

Silver Spring, Maryland, USA

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I thought I would provide an update on my legal challenge to the FAA's recreational model aircraft registration regulation, and my challenge to the application of the DC SFRA to recreational model aircraft.

The case is currently scheduled for oral argument before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on March 14, 2017. Based on the progress of other cases, a decision might be expected in June or July.

This is a long process - longer even than I realized it would be.

The following are links to....

My Brief:
http://bit.ly/28ADz7H

The FAA's Brief:
http://bit.ly/2aDPjgT

My Reply Brief:
http://bit.ly/2bme0ys

I've been greatly inspired by the support I've received from people in the hobby. It's been very much appreciated.

John Taylor

01-30-2017 09:30 PM
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Shultzee

Heliman

Ashland, Ohio

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Well done and good luck!

01-30-2017 10:05 PM
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Heli_Splatter

Key Veteran

Silver Spring, MD by way of Sidney, Ne - USA

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John,

I read much of the brief, I would ask; what would be your best result that you could expect? What do you want?

Thank you

01-30-2017 10:41 PM
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Life_Nerd

Veteran

USA

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David & Goliath. Good luck David!

01-30-2017 11:11 PM
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jschenck

rrProfessor

La Vista, NE.

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John - Here is a discussion thread we started last year regarding your case:

http://rc.runryder.com/helicopter/t801890p1/

01-31-2017 02:08 PM
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JohnATaylor

New Heliman

Silver Spring, Maryland, USA

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Heli_Splatter - I'd consider it a worthwhile effort if the court invalidates the registration requirement, hopefully on the ground that it violates Sec. 336. That's an extremely strong argument. The FAA really has no defense on the law.

The brass ring would be if the court goes on to hold the recreational model aircraft aren't "aircraft," and thus not subject to myriad regulations that even the FAA acknowledges can't realistically apply to them. The FAA's regulatory scheme requires that we all just ignore a bunch of aircraft regulations because everyone knows they don't make sense when applied to us (e.g., minimum altitudes for aircraft flight).

Another brass ring would be if the court holds that it's arbitrary and capricious for the FAA to regulate low-level hobby flying when it doesn't affect navigable airspace or air commerce (e.g., applying the DC SFRA to the hobby).

I'd also ideally like to see a reaffirmation, and perhaps some positive clarification of the Causby doctrine - that we have a property right, and exclusive use and control, of the airspace immediately above our property. It isn't in the "navigable airspace" that the FAA is tasked with protecting. Of course, that would mean that low-level flights over our neighbor's properties would be a trespass. It's a mixed bag.

In the long run, I'd like to see these laws go off the books at a time when paranoia has subsided and the FAA and Congress have lost their zeal to "do something" about drones. It's hard to say, but it seems to me the public is getting bored with the story, and realize that drones aren't the boogeymen they thought they were. That assessment could be wrong, and the public's view may change again for the negative.

I do realize there is some potential, if I win, for the FAA/Congress to come back with restrictions that are even more severe. Between the clearly-unlawful registration requirement and the FAA declaring my entire region a "no fly" zone, I didn't feel I had much choice. Hoping that a tyrant has done his worst is usually not a good strategy.

Also, action by the FAA or congress could derail the litigation before a decision is reached. I'm not sure how the new administration feels about drones, but they certainly aren't fans of complex, overreaching regulation. Maybe they'll strike the regulation on their own. I'd rather have a court decision, but I guess I'd consider that a win.

When I started this, it was really just an attempt to get a pre-Christmas restraining order, since no one else had tried that. I always figured that others would eventually file their suits and I would just fade into the background. It didn't play out that way.

John

01-31-2017 02:51 PM
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JohnATaylor

New Heliman

Silver Spring, Maryland, USA

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jschenck - Thanks! I read that thread.

I try to follow forum discussions about the case. I've picked up a few good facts and arguments from folks along the way. For some reason this forum didn't come up in my search engine and I stumbled across it yesterday.

Again, I've appreciated everyone's supportive comments, and respect those who question the validity or wisdom of the challenge.

John

01-31-2017 02:57 PM
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Mark Ryder

Administrator

Ann Arbor, Michigan

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I'm not sure how the new administration feels about drones, but they certainly aren't fans of complex, overreaching regulation.
The Potus signed a new executive order that states for any new regulation signed into law two have to go. Toy aircraft registration needs to go.

Mark Ryder

01-31-2017 03:03 PM
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heliraptor10

Key Veteran

kokomo, in-US

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The Safety column begs to differ

Safety-rc helicopters are not toys.

I think maybe above a certain size they should be registered.
Because of range, and power to weight ratio of new technology, small aircraft are more dangerous than before.

That being said.

Registering a half pound aircraft is ridiculous.

Maybe they could split the difference?
25lbs and up?

Goblin! where have you been all my life?

01-31-2017 07:41 PM
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JohnATaylor

New Heliman

Silver Spring, Maryland, USA

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I'm certainly open to being educated if I'm wrong about this (and I may well be), but it appears that, prior to 2007, no unmanned devices were ever considered to be "aircraft" subject to registration.

In 2007, the FAA decided that commercial-use SUAV's were "civil aircraft" and therefore distinct from recreational model aircraft.

That was done without going through the rulemaking process required under the Administrative Procedure Act. The FAA didn't really provide much of an explanation for the change. No one challenged it.

I believe it was 2014 before the FAA ever implied that recreational model aircraft might be aircraft, and the 2015 registration regulation was the first time they acted on it. Again, the change was never put through the APA process.

While people may debate whether SUAV's should, or should not, be considered "aircraft," they fact of the matter is they never were. They may not all be "toys" but nor were they "aircraft."

As Brendan Schulman argued in the Pirker case, the statute suggests that aircraft are something used (by a person) to fly - and that seems to have been the FAA's sole use of the term prior to 2007.

01-31-2017 08:16 PM
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heliraptor10

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kokomo, in-US

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I was referring to the experimental aircraft provision of the AMA requiring registration and inspection of aircraft over 55lbs.

Goblin! where have you been all my life?

01-31-2017 08:59 PM
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heliraptor10

Key Veteran

kokomo, in-US

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And yes I know that's AMA not FAA,
But the point is that requiring registration for model aircraft wasn't unprecedented.

It just wasn't federal.

Forgive me if you mistake me,
I'm on your side.

But I'm also aware that these things are dangerous.

So is it so bad to be a realist? It's never going back the way it was. At least a change in the weight of registered models would be a step in the right direction.

Goblin! where have you been all my life?

01-31-2017 09:06 PM
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JohnATaylor

New Heliman

Silver Spring, Maryland, USA

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No offense taken.

I did misunderstand where you were going with it, but I thought I'd lay out the history of the FAA's take on this just as a matter of general interest.

01-31-2017 10:04 PM
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revmix

Key Veteran

NJ

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since 1981 model activity has been under FAA jurisdiction as air-vehicle (flying object), no one has challenged the legality of previous AC91-57 & the new A-version has been updated

01-31-2017 11:08 PM
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elmobad

Senior Heliman

chicago IL

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I am bothered by those who feel we need the government to protect ourselves from ourselves.

Yes our toys (yes they are toys) are extremely dangerous if not completely respected and the user educated. But so what, most everything in our life if misused, uneducated, or whatever is very dangerous.

Our hobby has survived for a realy realy long time with a good record. Yes people get hurt and a few have lost there life. But all in all we as educated and educators of the hobby have a great record of saftey.

The bigger problem of "government enforced saftey" is if the government or it's agencies open a door and WE THE PEOPLE don't slam the door shut. Not only does the door get opened wider but soon there is no door to even ever close again. HISTORY tells the same story over and over again.

So I say fight fight and fight some more. I am with you 100%.

GOT FBL?

01-31-2017 11:23 PM
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revmix

Key Veteran

NJ

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WE THE PEOPLE
including innocent bystanders too, so safety overrides danger
fight fight and fight some more
r/c activity must yield the right of way to all others

01-31-2017 11:36 PM
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heliraptor10

Key Veteran

kokomo, in-US

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Ok maybe I should clarify when I say safety.

They are more dangerous than ever because they are powerful enough to carry larger and larger payloads.

Not because they can cause physical damage themselves.

Of course I personally think they aren't doing this because of terrorism. I think it's a financial move so they don't get cut out of the loop when drones really start working.

Goblin! where have you been all my life?

02-01-2017 12:51 AM
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revmix

Key Veteran

NJ

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so they don't get cut out of the loop
the numbers matter, more there are in the sky then better air-traffic managing needed & aviation knowledge by the sUAS users

02-01-2017 01:14 AM
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myjane

Senior Heliman

new zealand

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But trump doesn't like drones , unless there his with trump lettered on them ,

02-01-2017 01:24 PM
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Heli_Splatter

Key Veteran

Silver Spring, MD by way of Sidney, Ne - USA

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We also need protection from Amazon.com, WalMart and the other big players (UPS,FedEx) in the direct to home delivery market. We cannot surrender our sky's to the merchants peddling their goods. Nor do I want to see my sky lit up with Walt Disney advertising (propaganda).

There was a good article in the New York Times about how ISIS et all are weaponizing drones. We have to be aware that this technology could be used against us both overseas and domestically.

I think that a book named "Global Hawk" by Rick Thomas really discusses most of the issues of integrating unmanned vehicles into the national airspace. A good read.

02-01-2017 03:44 PM
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