anyone know the biggest rc plane you can make without a license?

Merv

Site Moderator
Staff member
Those weights sounds like AMA requirements for insurance not FFA regulations.

Im guessing @Mid7night knows the answer. Some of his planes are much heavier than 55 pounds.
 

AIRFORGE

Make It Fly!
Moderator
Yep, you're right. It's AMA weight info. I'm not even sure where I got the 75, now. Oh well.
Here's a short clip of Ben talking weights:
 

Tench745

Master member
Per the new UAS regulations, you may operate a UAS over 55lbs for recreational purposes if
(A) the unmanned aircraft complies with standards and limitations developed by a community-based organization and approved by the Administrator; and
(B) the aircraft is operated from a fixed site as described in paragraph (1)
(Full quote from USC44809 included below)
44809. Exception for limited recreational operations of unmanned aircraft

(a) In General.-Except as provided in subsection (e), and notwithstanding chapter 447 of title 49, United States Code, a person may operate a small unmanned aircraft without specific certification or operating authority from the Federal Aviation Administration if the operation adheres to all of the following limitations:

(1) The aircraft is flown strictly for recreational purposes.

(2) The aircraft is operated in accordance with or within the programming of a community-based organization's set of safety guidelines that are developed in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration.

(3) The aircraft is flown within the visual line of sight of the person operating the aircraft or a visual observer co-located and in direct communication with the operator.

(4) The aircraft is operated in a manner that does not interfere with and gives way to any manned aircraft.

(5) In Class B, Class C, or Class D airspace or within the lateral boundaries of the surface area of Class E airspace designated for an airport, the operator obtains prior authorization from the Administrator or designee before operating and complies with all airspace restrictions and prohibitions.

(6) In Class G airspace, the aircraft is flown from the surface to not more than 400 feet above ground level and complies with all airspace restrictions and prohibitions.

(7) The operator has passed an aeronautical knowledge and safety test described in subsection (g) and maintains proof of test passage to be made available to the Administrator or law enforcement upon request.

(8) The aircraft is registered and marked in accordance with chapter 441 of this title and proof of registration is made available to the Administrator or a designee of the Administrator or law enforcement upon request.

(b) Other Operations.-Unmanned aircraft operations that do not conform to the limitations in subsection (a) must comply with all statutes and regulations generally applicable to unmanned aircraft and unmanned aircraft systems.

(c) Operations at Fixed Sites.-

(1) Operating procedure required.-Persons operating unmanned aircraft under subsection (a) from a fixed site within Class B, Class C, or Class D airspace or within the lateral boundaries of the surface area of Class E airspace designated for an airport, or a community-based organization conducting a sanctioned event within such airspace, shall make the location of the fixed site known to the Administrator and shall establish a mutually agreed upon operating procedure with the air traffic control facility.

(2) Unmanned aircraft weighing more than 55 pounds.-A person may operate an unmanned aircraft weighing more than 55 pounds, including the weight of anything attached to or carried by the aircraft, under subsection (a) if-

(A) the unmanned aircraft complies with standards and limitations developed by a community-based organization and approved by the Administrator; and

(B) the aircraft is operated from a fixed site as described in paragraph (1).[\quote]
 

Tench745

Master member
Small UAS has a FAA limit of 55 pounds. Above that, different regulations apply.
As I read it, that's only if you're operating under part 107, and not in the recreational carve-out. See my earlier post referencing USC44809.
 

DaveM

CEO Flite Test
As I read it, that's only if you're operating under part 107, and not in the recreational carve-out. See my earlier post referencing USC44809.
I don’t think so. 44809 is an exception of part 107 and therefore many of the elements of part 107 pertain to 44809. This includes the definition of SUAS being in a weight of greater than 0.55 to 55 pounds. Would you please share the section within the rules where you see this and I’ll reread it.
 

Piotrsko

Master member
I was under the Interpretation that above 55 lbs you were no longer a "defined SUAS" and therefore subject to specific administrator approvals on a case by case application. IIRC, there was a company building very large drones outside of Mojave under federal contract that needed every one approved by their in house FAA designee
 

Thomas B

Member
I was under the Interpretation that above 55 lbs you were no longer a "defined SUAS" and therefore subject to specific administrator approvals on a case by case application. IIRC, there was a company building very large drones outside of Mojave under federal contract that needed every one approved by their in house FAA designee
I have been assured that the AMA process for models over 55 lbs is recognized by the FAA. I’m talking about recreational models that are not part 107.
 

Tench745

Master member
I don’t think so. 44809 is an exception of part 107 and therefore many of the elements of part 107 pertain to 44809. This includes the definition of SUAS being in a weight of greater than 0.55 to 55 pounds. Would you please share the section within the rules where you see this and I’ll reread it.
I already did, in post #6, but I'll include it again here for convenience:

There is no part of subsection (a) that limits weight, other than referring to a "small unmanned aircraft" which I assume is defined elsewhere.

The meaningful portion is Subsection (c), Paragraph 2, which specifically calls out unmanned aircraft over 55lbs:

(2) Unmanned aircraft weighing more than 55 pounds.-A person may operate an unmanned aircraft weighing more than 55 pounds, including the weight of anything attached to or carried by the aircraft, under subsection (a) if-

(A) the unmanned aircraft complies with standards and limitations developed by a community-based organization and approved by the Administrator; and

(B) the aircraft is operated from a fixed site as described in paragraph (1).

44809. Exception for limited recreational operations of unmanned aircraft

(a) In General.-Except as provided in subsection (e), and notwithstanding chapter 447 of title 49, United States Code, a person may operate a small unmanned aircraft without specific certification or operating authority from the Federal Aviation Administration if the operation adheres to all of the following limitations:

(1) The aircraft is flown strictly for recreational purposes.

(2) The aircraft is operated in accordance with or within the programming of a community-based organization's set of safety guidelines that are developed in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration.

(3) The aircraft is flown within the visual line of sight of the person operating the aircraft or a visual observer co-located and in direct communication with the operator.

(4) The aircraft is operated in a manner that does not interfere with and gives way to any manned aircraft.

(5) In Class B, Class C, or Class D airspace or within the lateral boundaries of the surface area of Class E airspace designated for an airport, the operator obtains prior authorization from the Administrator or designee before operating and complies with all airspace restrictions and prohibitions.

(6) In Class G airspace, the aircraft is flown from the surface to not more than 400 feet above ground level and complies with all airspace restrictions and prohibitions.

(7) The operator has passed an aeronautical knowledge and safety test described in subsection (g) and maintains proof of test passage to be made available to the Administrator or law enforcement upon request.

(8) The aircraft is registered and marked in accordance with chapter 441 of this title and proof of registration is made available to the Administrator or a designee of the Administrator or law enforcement upon request.

(b) Other Operations.-Unmanned aircraft operations that do not conform to the limitations in subsection (a) must comply with all statutes and regulations generally applicable to unmanned aircraft and unmanned aircraft systems.

(c) Operations at Fixed Sites.-

(1) Operating procedure required.-Persons operating unmanned aircraft under subsection (a) from a fixed site within Class B, Class C, or Class D airspace or within the lateral boundaries of the surface area of Class E airspace designated for an airport, or a community-based organization conducting a sanctioned event within such airspace, shall make the location of the fixed site known to the Administrator and shall establish a mutually agreed upon operating procedure with the air traffic control facility.

(2) Unmanned aircraft weighing more than 55 pounds.-A person may operate an unmanned aircraft weighing more than 55 pounds, including the weight of anything attached to or carried by the aircraft, under subsection (a) if-

(A) the unmanned aircraft complies with standards and limitations developed by a community-based organization and approved by the Administrator; and

(B) the aircraft is operated from a fixed site as described in paragraph (1).
 

Piotrsko

Master member
Note carefully the approved by the administrator portion section 2 (a)

One suspects local authorities may have either authority or some method of obtaining it. Difficulty in obtaining access to local authority in my experiences in other places.
Not sure how they determine fixed site, but operating in a parked van isnt a fixed site.
 

Mid7night

Jetman
Mentor
"I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice...." but this is how I understand the FAA regs in "normal people words":

If you want to fly an RC model over 55lbs :
Operate as a hobbyist for recreation only (Not Part-107)
Abide by the applicable guidelines of a CBO (AMA, FTCA, FPVFC)
Fly at private property - with permission from the property owner - in UNcontrolled (class G) airspace AND make that property location an approved FRIA (no RID required)
Enjoy.

Abiding by the guidelines of the CBO is different for each CBO, and AMA has several distinct weight-classes, which I won't go into here unless you really want me to. Suffice to say that's why I only fly my giants at a private field or at Flite Fest.

It is interesting that Part-107 has limits and boundaries for every possible parameter of flight, (weight being limited by 55lbs maximum), and you can apply for a waiver for literally EVERY limitation EXCEPT WEIGHT. If you want to fly over 55lbs commercially it gets.....complicated.....