It is Thanksgiving Day as I write this, and looking at the past year I am thankful for many things. Family is a given because they are my family. Without them I would be a mere shell. They are supportive in my AMA efforts allowing me many hours of separation each year to do the organization’s work. I am thankful for my many friends, colleagues, and members, and their support of me this past year!
I am most thankful that we didn’t have a tragic story to tell this past year when talking about the RC flying that takes place at our fields and sanctioned events across the country. It is often luck, rather than procedure, that allows us to avoid serious accidents. Safety is everyone’s concern, especially in today’s climate.
Over the years, what I have seen at flying fields is a typical lack of understanding of AMA’s Safety Code such as pilots flying behind the flight safety line; pilots who start their aircraft at their vehicles and taxi past the pilot area to take off; pilots who fly 360° around the pilot station; and CDs who don’t allow for proper separation or setback when considering their flying site or event venue and/or don’t enforce our safety rules at events.
Other instances include RC pilots flying high-energy maneuvers 90° from the runway, directly toward the crowd. Jet pilots who ignore weight and speed limits, not thinking about the energy their aircraft have at high speed. All of us have seen that servo, linkage, electronic, or pilot failure.
How about poor piloting decisions to fly aircraft when it isn’t functioning properly, or pilots who fly at events, in front of crowds, and not being able to resist the urge to show off skills that aren’t yet fully developed? What happened to common sense and flying at 80% of your ability at events? I know I am preaching but this needs to be said and there is just cause for doing so.
We tell the FAA that our members fly by our Safety Code and within the limits of our rules, and most of our members do. When this doesn’t happen, it lessens our credibility. How can we expect the government’s respect, when some of our members don’t respect our rules?
Unsafe actions, or inaction when we do or say nothing about safety violations, only serves to justify the government’s position that it must regulate our activities. If we don’t police ourselves, the government will! It is that simple.
I call on all CDs, club officers, and especially safety officers to focus on safety and adherence to AMA’s rules. We know that a high percentage of our members do fly safely, but when we ignore those who don’t, we jeopardize everything we have worked so long for. More awareness of safety will also help to reduce our self-insured portion of liability insurance claims that AMA has to pay every year.
Every member, every CD, every club—safety every time! Safety procedures, not luck! Think about this as we begin a new flying season for 2015. Plan that club meeting at your flying field where you review the Safety Code and appropriate rules and then enforce them. Don’t allow compliance to be voluntary.
As many are aware, the International Miniature Aircraft Association (IMAA) has dissolved. IMAA was one of our largest special-interest groups (SIGs), and as one of its members, I am sorry to see its demise. IMAA dissolved overnight and we were told that it were running out of money and had only enough to pay bills that were owed.
AMA requested more detailed information concerning this dissolution and received no response. The Executive Council (EC), during a conference call meeting on November 25, formally ended IMAA as a SIG group. I know many of the IMAA board members and I’m sure they did everything in their power to prevent this. It is still sad.
Less than two years ago, the life of one of our associate vice presidents was saved because of immediate access to an Automated External Defibrillator (AED). He runs marathons today.
Former IMAA director and current District II Safety Coordinator Al Kanser is a strong proponent of each club having an AED on-site. We have many older members and an AED could be the difference between life and death of a club member.
District II Vice President Eric Williams brought Al’s request to the EC last October as an agenda item. It was moved, seconded, and approved by acclamation that AMA promote awareness of AEDs and encourage AMA clubs to consider purchasing AEDs, utilizing the following statement:
“AMA encourages AMA clubs to consider purchasing Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) for placement at club flying sites and events, that clubs follow all applicable federal and state AED laws, training and certification requirements, and that they follow the AED manufacturers’ instructions for care, maintenance, service, usage, and storage. Such purchases by AMA clubs are eligible for application towards AMA Flying Site Improvement Grants. AMA encourages AMA clubs to receive certified first-aid and CPR training.”
We are looking into the feasibility of a manufacturer(s) offering our clubs discounted prices for AED purchases and will let you know what we find.
With the negative press drones have received from the media, the EC has determined that we need to hire a public relations firm. We have authorized the executive director to hire a full-time public-relations director to work in Muncie, Indiana.
It is our intent to make a concentrated effort to get our message out to all media outlets, educating them between the difference of what a drone is, and what model aircraft are. This negative press isn’t going away anytime soon and we need to counter its effects. This will take several months to get into gear but will be a primary focus for AMA in 2015.
Thanks for reading. Please help secure our future and take a youngster flying![dingbat]