FAA Reauthorization Bill Establishes New Rules for Recreational Drones

On October 5, 2018, the President signed the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018. The Act establishes new conditions for recreational use of drones and immediately repeals the Special Rule for Model Aircraft.

Per the Act, a person may still operate a small unmanned aircraft without specific certification or operating authority from the FAA if the operation adheres to all of the following limitations:

  • The aircraft is flown strictly for recreational purposes.

  • The aircraft is operated in accordance with or within the programming of a community-based organization’s set of safety guidelines that are developed in coordination with the FAA.

  • The aircraft is flown within the visual line of sight of the person operating the aircraft or a visual observer co-located and in direct communication with the operator.

  • The aircraft is operated in a manner that does not interfere with and gives way to any manned aircraft.

  • In Class B, Class C, or Class D airspace or within the lateral boundaries of the surface area of Class E airspace designated for an airport, the operator obtains prior authorization from the Administrator or designee before operating and complies with all airspace restrictions and prohibitions.

  • In Class G airspace, the aircraft is flown from the surface to not more than 400 feet above ground level and complies with all airspace restrictions and prohibitions.

  • The operator has passed an aeronautical knowledge and safety test and maintains proof of test passage to be made available to the Administrator or law enforcement upon request.

  • The aircraft is registered and marked in accordance with chapter 441 of this title and proof of registration is made available to the Administrator or a designee of the Administrator or law enforcement upon request.

Unmanned aircraft operations that do not conform to the above limitations must comply with all statutes and regulations generally applicable to unmanned aircraft and unmanned aircraft systems.

Note: Per this announcement on the FAA’s website, the Reauthorization Act cannot be fully implemented immediately. Recreational pilots should continue to follow the current policies and guidelines until the FAA implements this new legislation.

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Notify the administrator or designee? Who might that be? And why does B4UFly say NOT to contact the tower directly but to use the “portal?” What portal? I still can’t find it.

The current FAA Administrator is Daniel K. Elwell. See this page for more details on FAA designees.

https://www.faa.gov/uas/request_waiver/request_operate_controlled_airspace

Any further information on this element?!?

“The operator has passed an aeronautical knowledge and safety test and maintains proof of test passage”

is this in reference to Part 107??

“The operator has passed an aeronautical knowledge and safety test and maintains proof of test passage to be made available to the Administrator or law enforcement upon request.”

"The aircraft is flown strictly for recreational purposes."

I believe the above is self explanatory. Part 107 is commercial.

Fly_Dawg- I appreciate the feedback but that is not the answer for me. I understand the rules as outlined for the past 4 years or so. Been doing it and that is all your answer, to me anyway, seems to address. BUT this new rule seems to contradict itself and there in lies the grey area. Your answer implies if I fly recreational I’m good to go. BUT- as it states "the operation adheres to_ all of the following limitations:
Your response only covers one of the eight or so limitations whereas the rules states ALL must be met. So I ask the same question over with all due respect. If I’m being hard headed I’m sorry but, as I said, the area seems to be grey for me.

If they want a test to be passed and proof kept-
“The operator has passed an aeronautical knowledge and safety test and maintains proof of test passage”
Then what is the test?!?

No, this will be a new requirement for flying as a hobbyist. We’ll have to wait until the FAA provides more details.

Maybe you should read the bill. Below are as stated. msinger answered your basic question.

SAFETY_1

SAFETY_2

I’m thinking it’s going to be a basic online test that’s easily passable in a matter of minutes. For the large number of people that will need to take it, it doesn’t seem likely that the FAA will make people go to a physical testing location.

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My thought as well. There are too many operators for the FAA to fulfill at a physical location.

Yup. Should have read the bill instead of the synopses. Thx!