AMA Launches Know Before You Fly Campaign
AMA, other leading unmanned aircraft industry associations, and the federal government have come together to conduct a new education campaign titled Know Before You Fly. The campaign is intended to provide prospective small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) operators with the information and guidance they need to fly safely and responsibly. This effort is being spearheaded by the Academy of Model Aeronautics, the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), and the Small UAV Coalition, in partnership with the FAA.
On December 22, 2014, AMA President Bob Brown, AUVSI Chief Executive Officer and President Michael Toscano, Small UAV Coalition Executive Director Michael Drobac, and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta announced the launch of this collaborative campaign aimed at educating sUAS enthusiasts in the safety considerations and best practices for operating these aircraft (often referred to by the media as drones).
Growing interest in this technology, its relatively low cost, and its ease of operation have led to a proliferation of these platforms within our communities. Most of the new users are non-traditional modelers and are unfamiliar with aviation safety. Many have little or no knowledge of the safety considerations or best practices for operating these unmanned aircraft.
AMA’s members have been safely flying model aircraft for nearly 80 years. Throughout this time, we have successfully integrated numerous technologies into the aeromodeling community. We believe we have an opportunity—if not a responsibility—to share our expertise with those who are new to this technology. We play an important role in helping this emerging segment of the aeromodeling community and have a vested interest in ensuring that these new enthusiasts learn to fly safely and responsibly.
The campaign plans to team up with manufacturers and distributors to inform consumers and businesses about what they need to know before taking to the skies. The campaign includes a website, educational video, point-of-sale materials, and a digital and social media campaign to ensure that prospective operators have the information and guidance on what they need to know before they fly a UAS.
The initiative is intended to provide safety guidance for the emerging community of thousands of non-AMA members and non-modelers engaged in a new technology that is slightly different from traditional forms of model aviation. The safety guidelines were extracted from AMA’s safety program and modified for use by non-AMA members who have or who plan to purchase sUAS (generally multirotors) for personal or commercial use.
The Know Before You Fly campaign is intended to educate sUAS enthusiasts and to help them to fly safely. It is also intended to counter the negative media attention given this activity and the anti-drone sentiment growing within our communities. It’s believed that most sUAS enthusiasts would choose to operate these platforms in a safe and responsible manner, but are uninformed and unaware of basic safety considerations.
The campaign is not a “model aircraft” initiative per se, and is not a change in the safety guidelines established for AMA members and is not a change to the National Model Aircraft Safety Code and AMA’s safety program. Model aircraft enthusiasts operating under the “Special Rule for Model Aircraft” are still governed by PL 112-95, Sec. 336 and AMA’s safety programing. AMA members should continue to operate in accordance with the AMA’s National Model Aircraft Safety Code and related safety documents.
For more information about the Know Before You Fly initiative, visit www.knowbeforeyoufly.org or follow the trend on Twitter with #KnowB4UFly.