What actually is the law on LOS flying in the US

Apr 26, 2014
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Raymore Missouri
Is it a law or a suggestion on line of sight flying? I don't read all the stuff cause I don't have the time or energy to keep up and since I only fly LOS, it doesn't apply to me. With all the excitement on the new P3 and other quads etc with extended control range and planned missions etc.,, it would appear that mfgs don't care and obviously neither do the pilots buying and operating these machines. I see all the time someone posting how they went out a mile or so using fpv. Personally, I do not feel comfortable when I begin to lose sight of my phantom. I bought mine to fly and not to program it to fly itself while I eat a sandwich. If you do, I don't care. It doesn't bother me. I was just curious. I do see some value to planned missions such as farmers etc inspecting property and things like that. Thoughts?
LOS is currently an opertional 'guideline' and will likely be a future restriction but right now, like much of the world, we're in a period of transition.

There operational guidelines (published in about 1981) for operating hobby/recreation model aircraft and can be found here:

However the new "Operation and Certification of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems" is currently in the NPRM phase where the public can comment in an effort to possibly alter some of the language and definitions.

You can view the 195 page document here:
There's only two days left to comment on the proposed rules.

The proposed Part 107 rules are to permit commercial use of small UAS aircraft, but 90% of the responders think the proposed rules are just for hobby flight. They did not read the NPRM. Worse yet was the woefully misguided template provided by the AMA. (Yes, I am a member). Whomever at the AMA that wrote the template did not read the NPRM. and almost every one of the public comments by AMA members was a cut and paste of the template, which begins with:
"I am writing in response to the FAA’s proposal to regulate small unmanned aircraft systems, including model aircraft. [Insert personal introduction details such as: I am a [job/profession], a member of the Academy of Model Aeronautics, and have been safely and responsibly flying model aircraft for ___ years. I am also a model aircraft club officer/educator/designer, etc.]"
And that is how they pasted their comment to the NPRM, complete with the "[insert personal introduction...]". THEY DIDN'T EVEN READ THE TEMPLATE!!!

To the OP. BLOS is not illegal today, but when the NPRM is finalized sometime next year, it will be. Even for hobby flight.

The AMA template says nothing about the part of the NPRM that changes the definition of model aircraft in Part 101, which codifies the definition of model aircraft provided in Public Law 112 (FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012).
The law says:
(b) Statutory Construction.--Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the authority of the Administrator to pursue enforcement action against persons operating model aircraft who endanger the safety of the national airspace system.
(c) Model Aircraft Defined.--In this section, the term ``model aircraft'' means an unmanned aircraft that is--
(1) capable of sustained flight in the atmosphere;
(2) flown within visual line of sight of the person operating the aircraft; and
(3) flown for hobby or recreational purposes.

The FAA proposes in this NPRM:
"14 CFR part 107 that would be created by this proposed rule would not apply to model aircraft that satisfy all of the statutory criteria specified in section 336 of Public Law 112-95.
§ 101.1 Applicability.
(a)(5) Any model aircraft that meets the conditions specified in § 101.41. For purposes of this part, a model aircraft is an aircraft that is:
(i) Capable of sustained flight in the atmosphere;
(ii) Flown within visual line of sight of the person operating the aircraft; and
(iii) Flown for hobby or recreational purposes.

The FAA will tell you that their hands are tied because they are directed by law in the Section 336 definition of "Model Aircraft". Worse, until the law is changed by Congress the FAA won't lift a finger to permit hobby BLOS flight.

I tried to bring this up here a few weeks ago, but there didn't seem to be any interest.
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