The world of model planes has come a long way from simple remote-controlled toys. In response to these changes in technology, the FAA has asked a group of model aircraft enthusiasts, The Academy for Model Aeronautics (AMA), to work with the organization in developing new guidelines for safely flying such vehicles.
Where model airplanes were once small and controlled by by humans, today’s models are much, much larger and can be made entirely autonomous. They’re also easier to buy, meaning that anyone can purchase one. Obviously, before such a vehicle becomes a hazard to people on the ground or commercial air travel, we need basic rules for safety. This is why the FAA asked the AMA for help in coming up with these guidelines for UAS (unmanned aircraft systems).
The two organizations recently signed an agreement to develop new safety guidelines and create programs to teach these guidelines to the public. They will also stay informed of new technologies, as well as new types of model aircraft in development. As the FAA is, by law, unable to create regulations for model aircraft, it is only allowed to work with "community-based standards," which is why their relationship with the AMA is so important.
The FAA has already established regulations for commercial drones, it’s a no-brainer to make sure that privately-owned aircraft is also covered. Jim Williams, head of the AMA, said, "safe model UAS operations will help to ensure that this industry continues to grow and bring the joy of recreational or hobby flying to more people than ever before." Of course, these guidelines will also make sure that no one gets hurt. We hope.