The Academy of Model Aeronautics recently welcomed
Life Members Michael J. Stevens, Ridgecrest CA; Ryan A.
Kahn, Middleton ID; Brian D. Callahan, Huntington Beach
CA; Dag Roppe, Mabel MN; Brendan Schulman, Short
Hills NJ; Brian Rozell, Queensbury NY; Richard Blanke,
Pavilion NY; Alan S. Carey, Lady Lake FL; Robert G.
Dedrick, Parma OH; Mark Homer, Oregon OH; Frederick
Maier, Akron NY; Ron McGrath, North Chili NY; Charles
Freeland, Orlando FL; Todd Forshee, Apple Valley CA;
Robert Lafayette, Toledo OH; Steven S. Graham, Denver
CO; Robert C. Gialdini, Wauwatosa WI; Murray Steinberg,
Edinboro PA; Dub Jett, Houston TX; Jerry Rocha, Napa
CA; Jay Gerber, Warrington PA; Jesse F. Shepherd, Euless
TX; F.B. Baker, Madison WI; Fred Mulholland, Tampa FL;
Phil Cartier, Hummelstown PA; Erik Swanberg, Yorkville
IL; James Morris, Lawrence KS; Steve Candiloro, East
Northport NY; Nathan Wood, North Las Vegas NV; Guy
Guerra, Naples FL; Anthony Sperb, Gurnee IL; Russell
Doll, Ravensdale WA; Anthony Romano, Ossining NY;
Conrad Huffstutler, Uvalde TX; Scott Bohemann, Des
Moines IA; Mark Slayton, Bremerton WA; Mark Stout,
Pleasant Hill MO; Jeff Blair, Highland MI; Nicholas
Wittman, Hazelton ID; Troy Schank, Groesbeck TX; Eric
Lunos, Wahpeton ND; Michael J. Miller, Gig Harbor WA;
and John Hayden, Markleville IN.
For information about becoming a Life Member, contact
AMA Headquarters at (800) 435-9262.
—AMA Membership Department
AMA Thanks Its Lifetime Supporters!
Although many model aircraft pilots
know of the FAA’s regulation of model
aircraft flights, some are unaware that
the FCC also regulates the operation
of wireless radio transmitters used to
control model aircraft and transmit
video images during flight.
Under the FCC’s rules, model aircraft
operations generally fall into two
• License-exempt operation under
Part 15 of the FCC’s rules (Radio
Frequency Devices). A license is not
• Amateur radio operations under
Part 97 of the FCC’s rules (Amateur
Radio Service). Individual operators are
required to hold an appropriate license.
Most radios included within model
aircraft control systems are certified
by the equipment manufacturer or
vendor for low-powered, license-exempt operations on frequency bands
authorized under Part 15. On the other
hand, because of power restrictions,
few FPV video systems are certified for
unlicensed use under Part 15 and can be
operated only with an Amateur Radio
License as described in the following.
License-Exempt Operation (Part 15)
Model aircraft devices and other
transmitting equipment, operated
without a license under Part 15 of
the FCC’s rules, must be certified for
compliance with certain technical
standards designed to limit interference
to other devices. The standards differ
for analog and digital devices, between
frequency bands, and depending on the
type of attached antenna.
Technical certification is accomplished
by the equipment manufacturer or
vendor. Users are unlikely to be able
to determine independently whether
a device is Part 15-compliant by
evaluating power limits or other
Instead, users can take the following
steps to confirm a device is authorized
under Part 15:
• Identify the FCC ID number shown
on the device.
• Use the ID number to locate the
device’s certification record in the FCC’s
database search at https://apps.fcc.gov/
• Click on the “Display Grant” link.
• Confirm that the frequency and
output power (in watts) matches the
parameters for the device the user
intends to operate.
If these steps can be successfully
completed, the device can be operated
without an FCC license.
Licensed Operation for FPV (Part 97)
FPV devices typically require more
output power than is authorized in
Part 15 of the FCC’s rules and, as a
result, are not certified for unlicensed
operations. These items will not have an
FCC ID number on them, and can only
be operated in certain bands under the
authority of an Amateur Radio License
issued by the FCC pursuant to Part 97
of the rules.
The FCC issues three classes of
Amateur Radio Licenses: Technician,
General, and Amateur Extra. The
lowest-level license, Technician Class, is
sufficient to authorize FPV use.
Applicants must pass a 35-question
test in order to receive a Technician
FCC Requirements for Model Aircraft Operations
13 Model Aviation DECEMBER 2015
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