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U.S. Spark Forum Model Aircraft Organization
742 20 2018-9-3
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Rustic17
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Edit:  I am now going official with the organization being called U.S. Spark Forum Model Aircraft Organization and the eight safety guidelines listed below.  To meet the FAA requirement of being part of a nationwide community-based organization (CBO) with safety guidelines, all you have to do is Reply to this post that you have joined the organization. See below for the earlier posts regarding the initial preparatory work in establishing this organization and guidelines.  This post will be the only record of organization members.  You do not have to give your full name.  If you were ever questioned by an authority, you could sign into the forum using your username and password, show your reply stating you joined, and that should be enough evidence you are part of the organization.


To fly under the FAA Special Rules for Model Aircraft, you must ensure "the aircraft operates in accordance with a community-based set of safety guidelines and within the programming of a nationwide community-based organization (CBO)."  Go to https://www.faa.gov/uas/getting_started/model_aircraft/ to see the criteria you must follow to comply with the special rule.  All should read the two references in the second paragraph on the site...I plan to photo the documents and keep on my phone.

For all those who want to comply with the FAA and enjoy the status of "Model Aircraft", the FAA criteria for Model Aircraft status is pretty straight forward. Most forum members can easily meet all the criteria except for being a part of a "nationwide community-based organization" with a "set of safety guidelines."  For this reason, I propose we establish a U.S. Spark Forum Model Aircraft Organization.  

Organization safety guidelines dated September 4, 2018:
1)  When flying under the Special Rule for Model Aircraft, the drone will be flown strictly for hobby or recreational use.
2)  The drone is limited to not more than 55 pounds.
3)  The drone operates in a manner that does not interfere with, and gives way to, any manned aircraft.
4)  When flown within 5 miles of an airport, the operator of the drone provides the airport operator and the airport traffic control tower (when an air traffic facility is located at the airport) with prior notice of the operation.  Drone operators flying from a permanent location within 5 miles of an airport should establish a mutually agreed upon operating procedure with the airport operator and the airport air traffic control tower (when an air traffic facility is located at the airport).
5)  The drone will be flown VLOS (visual line of sight) of the person operating the drone. In other works, you (the operator) must keep the drone in sight at all times.

Note:  These first 5 criteria are directly out of Public Law 112-95, Section 336 that the FAA documents reference.

Note:  The following safety guidelines are added and can be modified or added to, as required...I need your input.  The idea is that these are "guidelines", not regulations.

6)  With public safety in mind, drone operations should be planned to minimize potential damage to property and persons.  
7)  Adhere to all airspace restrictions.  Avoid affecting responders to emergency situations.
8)  When possible, avoid flying near other aircraft.


Note:  I have specifically left out safety guidelines referencing max altitude as this is not addressed in the Special Rule for Model Aircraft.  Criteria 5 and 6 would pertain to this area.

Please send corrections or additions you have for the above criteria.  The idea is we first finalize the organization's safety guidelines.  Once we have the guidelines, all one has to do to join the organization is Reply to this post saying they acknowledge the safety guidelines (by date of revision) and have joined the organization.  New guidelines and changes to existing ones can be made at later dates.  Once you join, you've met the "nationwide community-based organization with safety guidelines" criteria for getting "Model Aircraft" status.

This post was revised/edited 09/04/2018...added clarification to Guideline 5 and 7.
2018-9-3
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Bender1031
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I like what you've started!   

I have a question/comment about #8 - "When possible, avoid flying near other aircraft."
My buddy has a Mavic and I was following him around with my Spark recording what he did.  Would this make me violate guideline #8?  I don't think I violated anything (and it was fun to try and follow him).  Maybe it could be re-worded to something like - "avoid flying near other aircraft if you aren't in contact with the pilot"?  I dunno - just brainstorming
2018-9-3
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Rustic17
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I specifically worded it "When possible" to allow for contingencies...remember, these are "safety guidelines", not regulations.  No where does the FAA state that organization members have to follow the safety guidelines the organization has established...the guidelines just have to be in place to meet one of the criteria of "Model Aircraft."   Thanks for your input!!!
2018-9-3
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Rustic17
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According to the FAA at   https://www.faa.gov/uas/getting_started/model_aircraft/   if you don't get Model Aircraft status, you must fly under Part 107 (commercial).  So you have to join an organization that has safety guidelines as part of the Model Aircraft status requirements.
2018-9-3
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remotepilot101
lvl.1

India
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For Qualifying a FAA Part 107 Test, you can  go with a Remotepilot101 beacasue they provides a best FAA Part 107 Study Guide for qualifying  a test.
2018-9-4
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Rustic17
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The whole intent of this post is to avoid having to get a Part 107...taking the test and flying under Part 107 restrictions.  You don't have the Part 107 restrictions as a hobbyist or recreational pilot with a "Model Aircraft" status.  If you don't get the Model Aircraft status, it is mandatory you get the Part 107.  See the reference to the FAA site above.
2018-9-4
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Tentoes
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To fly as a model aircraft, you don't have to be a member of AMA, just follow the AMA guidelines.
2018-9-4
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Rustic17
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I haven't looked at AMA guidelines...thanks for the tip!
2018-9-4
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Hddeuce
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Yes the AMA is the primary CBO in the states and you don't have to join, just follow their guidelines.
2018-9-4
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Gunship9
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Since the AMA is a private secondary insurance company (your other insurance pays first) it isn't a US government requirement that citizens join it to fly.   The AMA is just the subject matter experts in this area with 50+ years of promoting safe model airplane flying.   This thread is a good idea with other CBO's to fly model aircraft under so citizens have options.

I think VLOS rule should be "in eyesight" since people confuse it with LOS to the aircraft so they can fly 1.5 miles from themselves (no hope of seeing the aircraft).  

2018-9-4
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Rustic17
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I looked at the AMA site and the safety guidelines I found were more for flying at a designated AMA area. I used VLOS as that is how the FAA defines it. I will add a clarification to includes eyes on.
2018-9-4
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Rustic17
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I’m trying to keep this simple so forum members don’t have to go elsewhere...one stop shopping.
2018-9-4
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DJI Tony
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Wow! Thanks for creating this thread, this would be helpful to others to have a knowledge and be responsible for using their drone. Thank you for the support.
2018-9-5
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Rustic17
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DJI Tony Posted at 2018-9-5 16:47
Wow! Thanks for creating this thread, this would be helpful to others to have a knowledge and be responsible for using their drone. Thank you for the support.

Tony, any chance of making this Digest so it stays up front and members can join easier???
2018-9-5
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Rustic17
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As of September 5, 2018 I have joined the U.S. Spark Forum Model Aircraft Organization with safety guidelines dated September 4, 2018.
2018-9-5
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Rustic17
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DJI Tony Posted at 2018-9-5 16:47
Wow! Thanks for creating this thread, this would be helpful to others to have a knowledge and be responsible for using their drone. Thank you for the support.


Tony, I changed the name of this post. This now has the edit at the top that gives instructions on how to join.
2018-9-5
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Gunship9
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Rustic17 Posted at 2018-9-5 17:35
Tony, I changed the name of this post. This now has the edit at the top that gives instructions on how to join.

Joined. I am also a member of the national organization my extended family formed (everyone lives in a different state).  And I am occasionally a AMA member depending on how often I plan on flying from the local AMA model field.



2018-9-5
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stuka75
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Gunship9 Posted at 2018-9-4 09:15
Since the AMA is a private secondary insurance company (your other insurance pays first) it isn't a US government requirement that citizens join it to fly.   The AMA is just the subject matter experts in this area with 50+ years of promoting safe model airplane flying.   This thread is a good idea with other CBO's to fly model aircraft under so citizens have options.

I think VLOS rule should be "in eyesight" since people confuse it with LOS to the aircraft so they can fly 1.5 miles from themselves (no hope of seeing the aircraft).

Historically model flyers in the past have found that your usual home owners and other insurance companies do not cover liability for said model aircraft(drones included). Although the AMA is a secondary insurance provider,  it is almost always the payee in liability due to the above issues. It raises the issue of how to protect yourself, the drone pilot,  if your drone has an accident causing injury or property damage.
2018-9-6
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Rustic17
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I have USAA Home Insurance and my liability does cover my drone flying.  They even sent me a letter confirming that.  I took a photo of the letter with the mobile device I fly with so I always have it handy.
2018-9-6
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stuka75
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Rustic17 Posted at 2018-9-6 20:34
I have USAA Home Insurance and my liability does cover my drone flying.  They even sent me a letter confirming that.  I took a photo of the letter with the mobile device I fly with so I always have it handy.

Thats good to know. I know that in early years( I'm 71) the AMA was the only available liability in the US as most home owners would not cover "aircraft" related issue. Model or not. Things may have changed. Will have to check my own present homeowners.
2018-9-7
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insanerc
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I'm in. Have flown for many years, but due to health haven't for a long, long time. Looking very much forward to getting back into the hobby, and wish to comply with all new laws. Thank you so much!
2018-12-14
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