My response to the newly proposed FAA regulation

My father was a passionate builder of balsa model airplanes. I literally have drawers full of the planes he built and kits he had not finished. It hurts me to see the new regulations proposed by the FAA to dampen interest in so fundamental a hobby for many of who enjoy model aircraft.

Thus, I gladly submitted a personal response to the U.S. government for the FAA to stop or reconsider the wording of the potential new regulations…

The need to educate children in the disciplines of STE(A)M [Science, Technology, Engineering, (Art), and Mathematics] is more important now than ever. Getting them involved in hobbies like model aircraft is part of the excitement of those disciplines.

My father and I bonded when my father took me to my first model flying event when I was five years old in 1967, continuing my father’s fascination with aircraft from his childhood during WWII. He and I built balsa airplanes together since I was six. I flew my first U-line plane when I was a teenager and was fascinated, even back in the middle 1970s, at the fun both adults and children had flying model helicopters, even though back then they were expensive and hard to fly.

Today, the hobby is still the same. Model builders and flyers still go out with their family to enjoy the hobby together and, thanks to lower costs, children can, under the supervision of adults, learn to build and fly their own aircraft.

Please do not remove the joy of building AND flying model aircraft for this generation and generations to come. We need today’s children to learn to become scientists and engineers through the fun of applying math and science principles through indoor/outdoor hobbies like model aircraft.

Controversy at the local hobbyist club level… [received via email]


Rocket City RC Newsletter Editor Resignation
June 27th, 2014


I’m tired of being sniped at by the selective enforcement of the RCRC rules by my “fellow” club officers.  This last incident today by one of my “fellow” club officers is the last straw. I thought we had this situation fixed, but I was apparently wrong.

I have tried to bring a different tone to the club but at this point it has become obvious that in the words of the immortal Ron White:  “You can’t fix stupid!”.

Speaking of immortal…  I request that you immediately remove the “Chuck Facemire” Memorial sign until such time that it is appropriate and then bring the subject of its replacement to the club for a vote.    If you look at the definition of “memorial” I think you’ll find that a “memorial”  is primarily meant to be a “tribute to the dead” or “to serve to preserve the memory of the dead.”  Since Chuck Facemire is still among the living it is inappropriate and improper to display this signage.  If this is not done in a reasonable time frame I will bring this to the attention of the City Parks and Recreation Director.

Enforcement of rules/laws:  While we are in the process of strictly enforcing rules let me also bring it to your attention that the City of Huntsville has a codified leash law “Section 5-44 Duty to Restrain”.  This law clearly states that any dog must be on a leash and under control unless said dog is on the owners property.  This law applies to the Capt.Trey Wilbourn Flying Park.

This city leash law has been, and continues to be ignored by the current and past RCRC Club officers.  I’d also like give notice to the RCRC membership to call Huntsville Animal Control at 256-883-3788 should they see this law being violated.  From the city parks and recreation director: “We recommend that you report these violations to our department dispatch, 256-883-3788. We will dispatch an Animal Service officer to talk with the pet owner.”

I would like my Newletter Editor successor to place the contents of this email, IN TOTO,  as notice to the membership of my resignation and reason therefore.

I wish you and RCRC all the best in the future.


Fred H.

PS:  Please have the next newsletter editor give me a call and make an appointment with me to handover the newsletter materials in my possession.

The Universe compels the soul to look upward, and leads us from this world to another.


Copyright © 2014 Rocket City Radio Controllers, All rights reserved.

A call to action for flying model hobbyists!



AMA’s Areas of Concern Regarding the FAA Interpretive Rule for Model Aircraft

On Tuesday, June 24th AMA issued a member alert expressing concern over some provisions in the FAA’s interpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft established by Congress in the FAA modernization and Reform Act of 2012. In that alert, we let members know that we would be following up with today’s alert that explains AMA’s concerns in greater detail.

We need you to take action now and respond by July 25, 2014 to the FAA Interpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft that was released June 23, 2014. The Academy has reviewed the rule and is extremely disappointed and troubled be the approach the FAA has chosen to take in regards to this issue.

FAA’s Interpretive Rule

To help you respond to the FAA, we have outlined AMA’s major concerns in the bullets below. A more in-depth explanation of our concerns can be found at AMA’s Concerns.

Throughout the rule the FAA takes great latitude in determining Congress’ intentions and in placing tightly worded restrictions through its “plain-language” interpretation of the text.

The FAA uses the plain language doctrine to create a regulatory prohibition of the use of a specific type of technology.

FAA’s overreaching interpretation of the language in the Public Law is evident in the rule’s interpretation of the requirement that model aircraft be “flown strictly for hobby or recreational use.”

Although the FAA acknowledges that manned aviation flights that are incidental to a business are not considered commercial under the regulations, the rule states that model aircraft flights flown incidental to a business are not hobby or recreation related.

The rule overlooks the law’s clear intention to encompass the supporting aeromodeling industry under the provision of the Special Rule, “aircraft being developed as a model aircraft.” The rule’s strict interpretation of hobby versus business puts in question the activities of the principals and employees of the billion dollar industry that supplies and supports the hobby.

The Public Law states that when model aircraft are, “flown within 5 miles of an airport, the operator of the aircraft (must) provide(s) the airport operator and the airport air traffic control tower (when an air traffic facility is located at the airport) with prior notice of the operation. However the rule indicates that approval of the airport operator is required. Although it is understood that making notification to the airport and/or ATC will open a dialog as to whether the planned activity is safe to proceed, there is no intent in the law that this be a request for permission on the part of the model aircraft pilot.

The Interpretive Rule establishes new restrictions and prohibitions to which model aircraft have never been subject. This is counter to the Public Law which reads, “The Federal Aviation Administration may not promulgate any rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft or an aircraft being developed as a model aircraft,…” if established criteria are met.

The Interpretive Rule attempts to negate the entire Public Law by stating, “Other rules in part 91, or other parts of the regulations, may apply to model aircraft operations, depending on the particular circumstances of the operation. This in and of itself makes model aircraft enthusiasts accountable to the entire litany of regulations found in Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations, something that was never intended by Congress and until now never required by the FAA.

How to Respond to the FAA.

All AMA members, family and friends need to take action now to let the FAA know that this rule significantly impacts the entire aeromodeling community and that this community is resolute and committed to protecting the hobby.

There are four methods to submit a comment. Emailing your comment is the fastest and most convenient method. All comments must include the docket number FAA-2014-0396. Tips for submitting your comments.

Email: Go to Follow the online instructions for sending your comments electronically.

Mail: Send Comments to Docket Operations, M-30; US Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, West Building Ground Floor, Washington, DC 20590-0001.

Hand Delivery: Take comments to Docket Operations in Room W12-140 of the West Building Ground Floor at 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

Fax: (202) 493-2251.

DEADLINE TO COMMENT: On or before July 25, 2014