At Consumer Electronics Show this year, the Executive Director of the FAA’s UAS Integration Office was asked to comment about whether language in the Special Rule for Model Aircraft. Specifically, does the phrase “…and within the programming” require someone to be a member of a Community Based Organization (CBO) to fly under the Special Rule (link available below).
His answer was long, but he closed with the following: “But in general, no, you do not have to be a member of a specific organization in order to be operating under their safety guidelines.”
Why should you care? Because the FAA authorization bill is going to conference soon, and the Academy of Model Aeronautics is trying to push language (in the House version) that will establish them as the defacto only CBO - and making it more difficult for FAA to not require CBO membership (at $35 to $75 a year).
If you want to help, contact your Congressman and Senators and ask them to remove the phrase “…and within the programming” from the final bill. The reason is that it’s Constitutionally vague and some private organizations are using that language to boost their membership.
Earl Lawrence comment at CES 2018 (advance to 56:45 for Q&A):