Below is guidance for AMA members and clubs operating model aircraft/UAS within five miles of an airport. Members who are operating commercially, under Part 107, and/or not under the Special Rule for Model Aircraft (sect 336) must follow slightly different rules.
1. Identify Airports Within Five Miles
- The notification requirement applies to all airports, no just towered or manned airports. Some FAA officials interpret airports to include military bases, private airports, unmanned airports, helipads, and rural airports - all of which would require notification.
- An interactive map can be found at http://knowbeforeyoufly.org/air-space-map/.
- Modelers can identify airports within five miles of a location as well as airport contact information at skyvector.com.
2. Notify Airports
- Modelers and/or clubs need to notify all airports within five miles of their flying location (such as an AMA flying site, a backyard, or a park) before conducting operations.
- For most situations, a blanket letter of notification is the best solution to fulfill the notification requirement. Click here to download the sample letter.
- We suggest keeping the letter concise and to the point. By mailing or delivering this letter, modelers identify their flying location and provide airports with contact information should the airport need to engage or relay safety information.
- Modelers who do not meet the registration requirement, such as flying models below .55 pounds, still need to comply with the airport notification process.
3. Operations Above 400-Feet
- AMA safety programming mandates no flight above 400-feet when operating within three miles of an airport without first coordinating the operation with the airport.
- AMA members are allowed to operate their model aircraft above 400-feet during certain modeling activities and when the safety of the operations mandates, provided that the pilot is flying safely within visual line of sight, does not interfere with manned aircraft, and is in compliance with AMA's safety programming.
- Read FAA's acknowledgement of our safety programming and operations above 400-feet in this letter to the AMA.
4. Safety Concerns From the Airport
- Safety is paramount and modeling activities must avoid and never interfere with manned aircraft per AMA's See and Avoid guidance.
- An airport may engage to discuss safety concerns. If modeling operations do not present a safety hazard, then the airport may simply acknowledge the notification per FAA Guidance. A modeler's mere presence does not necessarily constitute a safety hazard in the airspace.
- Since each scenario is unique, please contact the AMA at 1-800-435-9262 if you have questions or need clarification.
- Read FAA's frequently asked questions at https://www.faa.gov/uas/faqs.
5. See and Avoid
- After fulfilling the notification requirement, modelers must still remain vigilant and continually scan the sky for manned aircraft. Read AMA's See and Avoid Guidance.