Currently, small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) may be operated for hobby and recreational purposes under specific safety guidelines as established by Congress.
Small UAS flown for recreational purposes are typically known as model aircraft.
AMA members are now required by regulation to register their aircraft with the FAA to avoid federal enforcement and potential penalties. All Radio Control modelers must register aircraft
weighing greater than 0.55 pounds .The registration fee is $5. Online registration can be accomplished on the FAA web page at, https://www.faa.gov/uas/registration/.
In addition, you will also have to include your FAA number along with your AMA info in/on your aircraft. If you are not registered with the FAA you will not be allowed to fly at
Under the Special Rule for Model Aircraft, recreational UAS must be operated in accordance with several requirements, including a community-based set of safety guidelines and within the
programming of a nationwide community-based organization such as the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA). Operators not operating within the safety program of a community-based organization should
follow the FAA’s guidance at:
What is recreational use of a
The recreational use of sUAS is the operation of an unmanned aircraft for personal interests and enjoyment. For example, using an sUAS to take photographs for your own personal use would be
considered recreational; using the same device to take photographs or videos for compensation or sale to another individual would be considered a commercial operation. You should check with the
FAA for further determination as to what constitutes commercial or other non-hobby, non-recreational sUAS operations.
What are the safety guidelines for sUAS recreational users?
Follow community-based safety guidelines, as developed by organizations
such as the Academy of Model Aeronautics.
Fly no higher than 400 feet and remain below any surrounding obstacles
when possible. The parks commission has stated that WE MUST FLY WITHIN THE CONFINES OF THE PARK AND BELOW THE CANOPY LEVEL OF 100 FEET.
Keep your sUAS in eyesight at all times, and use an Observer to assist if
needed. The Observer must always be used and he should be proficient with the technology.
Remain well clear of and do not interfere with manned aircraft operations,
and you must see and avoid other aircraft and obstacles at all times. Follow the suggestions of the spotter.
Do not intentionally fly over unprotected persons or moving vehicles, and
remain at least 25 feet away from individuals and vulnerable property. No stupid photo ops with bystanders.
Contact the airport or control tower before flying within five miles of an
Do not fly in adverse weather conditions such as in high winds or reduced
Do not fly under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This will void our permit, void AMA insurance. Such behavior from any member will warrant suspension from the
club. Repeated offenses will be dealt with expulsion from the club and a sanction from AMA which may lead to
termination of AMA privileges.
Ensure the operating environment is safe and that the operator is
competent and proficient in the operation of the sUAS. The sUAS operator must demonstrate proficiency of flight to one of the club officers or
safety officer. Until such proficiency can be demonstrated the member will only be allowed to fly sUASes with an instructor and any solo flying
without the instructor shall be of a 180-250 sized sUAS.
Do not fly near or over sensitive infrastructure or property such as power
stations, water treatment facilities, correctional facilities, heavily traveled roadways, government facilities, etc.
Check and follow all local laws and ordinances before flying over private
property. Local jurisdiction and permit restrictions override any federal guideline (for example, the 400 ft height rule or the right to blue
Do not conduct surveillance or photograph persons in areas where there is
Fly within the confines of the park, home owners in the outlying areas are
very sensitive to infringement in their privacy. Even though you may feel that you may have a right to do so and there is public domain of the
sky. By the time you win your case there will be no field to fly in nor will you be an AMA member (the club will see to that!).
If you want to use a model aircraft for recreational purposes, we encourage you to read the AMA’s Model Aircraft Safety Code and Community Based Guidelines.
We thank you for your cooperation.
-Bergen County Silent Fliers