Saturday, January 11, was a historic day for the Academy of Model Aeronautics and all of our members. On this day, Executive Manager of the FAA Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Office James Williams and AMA President Bob Brown signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU.) This document formalizes the relationship between the two organizations.
This is the second significant day in less than two years for us. On February 17, 2012, the FAA Modernization and Reform Act was signed by President Barak Obama, containing a special provision protecting model aviation. The MOU signing was recognized on AMA’s and FAA’s websites. In fact, the FAA’s website states, “So it makes perfect sense for the FAA’s UAS Integration Office and the Academy of Model Aeronautics—the national body for model aviation for 77 years—to work together toward ensuring modelers fly their model aircraft/UAS without any risk to manned aircraft or to people and property on the ground.”
The third historic day is yet to come. This will be the date the FAA recognizes the AMA as a community-based organization, as stated in that 2012 law. We appreciate the effort and cooperation that Jim Williams and his FAA staff have shown, bringing us to this point. We look forward to working with them in the future!
AMA has learned how to develop relationships and navigate the halls of Congress. We realize that we must always be engaged with governmental agencies, for the benefit and protection of model aviation and our members. Our work is not done, but more than six years of continuous effort by our staff have yielded really positive results.
I want to congratulate Director of Public Relations and Government Affairs Rich Hanson for his efforts and also for his induction into the Model Aviation Hall of Fame!
Members of AMA’s Executive Council have received a few emails voicing members’ concerns about drones and advertisements in Model Aviation. They are concerned that sUASs will doom model aviation as we know it.
I can certainly understand their fears, but all of our efforts to educate governmental agencies about AMA’s philosophy and safety rules are providing results. The government knows that there will always be individuals who act irresponsibly and the laws they develop will deal with those people.
When our members renew their membership, or join as a new member, they agree to abide by our rules and the AMA Safety Code. When you do that, you have nothing to fear.
We have addressed the use of FPV and autonomous flight and documents 550 and 560 should be consulted if you have any questions. They can be found in the AMA Documents section of the website.
I bring this up because new quadcopter, multirotor, and FPV technology should be embraced not excluded. These technologies aren’t going away, and can be fun to fly, so why not welcome these pilots into our family, work with them, and show them the correct way to fly these products according to our rules?
I traveled to Dart Airport near Mayville, New York on January 18. Airport manager Greg Dart sponsored its 56th annual Dart Bash. This is a model aviation event held in the dead of winter at a full-scale airport and museum. Greg represents the third generation of the Dart family, and he and his family are AMA supporters.
I estimate that 60 modelers came to see old friends and take a close look at all of the aircraft artifacts that the family has collected, including airplanes, radial and inline engines, as well as model aircraft. Hardy pilots braved 10° temperatures and a strong wind to fly. Dart Airport is a great place to visit and hang out.
I hope to see many of you at the AMA booth at the Weak Signals Toledo Show this April. Stop by and say hello!
Until next time, help secure the future of model aviation and take a youngster flying!