As I write this, I’ve just returned from attending the Maine Jet Rally where I was able to speak with several AMA members there about their flying site situations. It is always good to hear from modelers about their flying sites and what their local clubs are doing.
As I mentioned in a previous column, we recently completed a survey. Out of our more than 2,400 AMA chartered clubs, we received slightly more than 800 completed surveys. Although this is a good start, it is only roughly a third of our clubs.
We sent the survey again to the club that didn’t respond in early September. We are hoping for a larger number of completed surveys that is closer to 100% club response. I hope your club has participated!
The recent ruling by the National Parks Service to ban model aircraft activity from the parks—with the exception of AMA chartered club sites within the parks—has apparently had some effect in other parks. We are hearing of AMA members being banned from flying in parks where they have been able to fly in the past.
In order to help with this situation, we are working with the U.S. National Park Service to secure a letter of support. We hope it will assist clubs and members who want to fly models in state and county parks.
The letter will inform officials that the National Park Service supports AMA members and clubs flying in the parks. This tool will be important to improve the chances of obtaining a permit to fly in a state or local park. When we have this letter, you will be able to download it from the AMA website for your use. Look for a statement on the website about it soon.
The rules cycle for 2015-16 is coming to a close. All of the rules proposals gone through the initial and cross-proposal process and the final votes have been made. You can check for any new rules that have passed in your area of competition on the AMA website under the Competition section.
The new rules will be incorporated into the next Competition Regulations that will be posted to the website late this year.
I will attend the annual National Recreation and Parks Association Expo in Charlotte, North Carolina, in October. I will be working with the military and with county and city parks and recreation departments to make them aware of some new programs to include model flying as part of their mission.
I am hopeful that I can interest some military Morale, Welfare and Recreation Departments as well as several park and recreation departments in creating flying sites and allowing aeromodeling at their various facilities. This effort will involve AMA clubs and/or AMA members who may be called upon to help train new pilots as well as the management on how to run a flying site and how they can include AMA clubs and members to assist in this program.
When I return from the show, I will follow up on leads from this show to get the program started. I am excited about the possibilities that can be created!
I was happy to assist several clubs during the last few months. Several are about to secure a flying site as a result of their efforts, as well as assistance from AMA! I’ve also received reports from several clubs that have completed some great flying site improvements and enhancements this year. These range from new covered pit areas all the way to new runways!
I applaud these clubs who have great members who work hard to improve model flying for all of us! As I have stated before, clubs could not exist without these key members who put in the time and effort behind the scenes so the rest of us can enjoy a great day at the flying site.
If you are one of those members, I say thank you! If not, why don’t you lend a hand to help the club improve the flying site? Your efforts can make a difference!