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Do FCC Rules Apply To Ultralights?

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), governs radio transmissions in the United States. These rules include the prohibition on using cell phones while in the air, and the licensing of aircraft radios.

FCC regulations do apply to ultralights. They make no distinction between the word aircraft, and the word vehicle. Therefore:

Many people think that since the FAA defined an ultralight as a vehicle, and not an aircraft, and since the FCC rules concerning aviation use the word aircraft, that ultralights are exempt from these rules.

Below, is a copy of an e-mail correspondence I had with the FCC regarding this issue:

>From: Bob Comperini
>To: Ed Gauthier <EGAUTHIE@fcc.gov>
>Subject: Telecommunications Act Of 1996
>
>Ever since The Telecommunications Act of 1996, there has been a debate
>going on in aviation circles. Perhaps you could clear this up for me,
>or point me to the appropriate regulation that spells this out:
>
>Under Federal Aviation Administration FAR Part 103, an "Ultralight"
>is defined as a "vehicle", not as "an aircraft".
>How does this apply to the new rule eliminating VHF radio station
>licenses for "aircraft" being flown domestically?
>
>It is my understanding that Ultralight aircraft are excempt from
>licensing requirements, as would any domestic "aircraft"
>would, but I cannot find this in print anywhere.
>
>I suspect (and hope) that this only reflects a poor choice of words
>being used to describe aicraft.
>
>Can you elaborate on this for me?
>
>Thank you.



>From: Ed Gauthier <EGAUTHIE@fcc.gov>
>To: Bob Comperini
>Date: Fri, 18 Dec 1998 10:13:41 -0500
>
>Mr. Comperini,
>
>I have emailed you information about the FCC policy regarding
>licensing requirements for aircraft.
>
>I would advise you to consult the FAA in regard to their definitions.
>The FCC has no such distinctions.
>
>Thanks for contacting the FCC's National Call Center.

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This page updated on: January 28, 2005
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