As you are likely aware, the National Park Service (NPS) sent out Policy Memorandum 14-05 on June 19, 2014. This memorandum addresses interim policies that the NPS was implementing, temporarily restricting the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and RC model aircraft on NPS lands.
This policy memorandum was widely reported in the media, although the media neglected to include the fact that the NPS was still allowing approved AMA chartered clubs that had permits to continue to fly in the parks.
Since that time, we at AMA Headquarters have received many inquiries about the policy’s current status and questions about whether or not AMA could help with allowing modelers more access to these parks.
AMA’s Director of Public Relations and Government Affairs Rich Hanson spoke with the NPS associate director for Visitor and Resource Protection. As a result, AMA has been assured that the NPS is supportive of the AMA and its clubs and members who fly responsibly and safely. The NPS wants to continue to allow model aviation activities on NPS lands and to approve new permits allowing AMA chartered clubs to create new flying sites where appropriate.
To this end, AMA is working with the NPS Visitor and Resource Protection to create a document that recognizes this relationship and will assist clubs that might want to pursue a flying site on NPS lands. As soon as AMA has possession of this document, we will make it available to our clubs and members in hopes of assisting in obtaining permits for aeromodeling activities within the NPS system and the formation of new flying sites.
Please watch the AMA website for announcements concerning this new document and how you or your club can obtain a copy.
Club Flying Sites Within 5 Miles of an Airport
AMA Headquarters has had a number of calls about what an AMA chartered club should do if its flying site is located within 5 miles of an airport.
Until now, AMA has been asking clubs to temporarily forgo making contact with airport officials concerning this issue. Over the past two years we’ve worked with the FAA in an effort to create the necessary procedures for complying with this requirement. Progress in this area has been slow at best, and unfortunately, it appears that mutually agreed-upon procedures for enacting the Special Rule for Model Aircraft will not be finalized any time soon..
AMA believes it’s extremely important to meet the requirements of the Special Rule, and the time has come to move ahead independently and create procedures that allow our clubs to fulfill the requirements of this new law. As a result, Rich Hanson and I are working on creating a procedures document for clubs to follow.
This document should be available to AMA members and clubs by the first of the year, and the 2015 National Model Aircraft Safety Code will be reconciled with the criteria established by Congress. Implementation of these procedures and compliance with the 5-mile rule will coincide with the 2015 AMA chartered club renewal process.
Please watch for this announcement from AMA, and continue monitoring the AMA website. We will make this document public as soon as it is ready.
We understand how important both of these issues are to you, and you can be assured that we will continue to work until they are resolved. Thank you for supporting AMA and our government advocacy efforts. Your support helps us to continue to be an advocate for your right to fly![dingbat]
Flying Site Assistance Coordinator