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EAA Prioritizing Safety, Freedom of Legacy Model Aircraft in FAA Panels
November 27, 2019 -EAA is participating in two FAA Air Traffic Organization risk assessment panels that will study the safety of allowing unmanned aerial systems (UAS), including drones and legacy model aircraft, into certain airspace. One panel will focus on permitting operations above 400 feet and the other will study operations near airports.
While EAA has always stressed that UAS integration must happen safely, responsibly, and with the safety of manned aircraft as the top priority, it also recognizes that legacy model aviation is a well-established hobby with a remarkably safe record. Many EAA chapters and members regularly engage in legacy model aviation, often in concert with an on-airport event with no safety issues arising from these activities.
Some model fields in proximity to airports and higher altitude operation, such as soaring competitions with small, lightweight gliders, have come under scrutiny and regulation recently with the passage of new congressional mandates. EAA aims to work with the manned and model aviation communities to ensure that these activities can continue.
"We see model aviation as an important pathway to manned flight," said Sean Elliott, EAA vice president of advocacy and safety. "Our goal in this risk assessment process is to represent the safety concerns of our members while allowing the highest degree of freedom for legacy model aircraft, which have flown alongside us in the airspace for decades."
The risk assessment process will consist of several meetings over the next two months.