It is finally warming up some here in Indiana! As I write this, it is mid-March, but we will see 60° today. It’s starting to feel like outdoor flying weather again. I hope that you have finished that new model and are as excited as I am to go out and fly!
A few months ago, I mentioned that AMA is working to help clubs fulfill the new federal law that requires an agreement between a club and airport if the flying site is within five miles of a controlled airport. In most cases, this agreement only shows that the airport is aware of the club’s activity and location.
Only in the case of a model club actually flying on the airport property should there be any additional requirements of specific safety protocols that might need to be followed to ensure the safety of full-scale operations. Those would be agreed to by both the airport and the club.
I am happy to say that we are making good progress in this area. AMA mailed the club charter renewal packets several months ago. There was a document in each packet that deals with this issue. The club was to fill out that form return it to AMA Headquarters.
We have received approximately 1,200 of these back, and are beginning to move into the next phase of the project. Phase two will be to contact the clubs that have identified themselves as being within five miles of an airport and obtain additional information about the airport.
After we gather this information, we will have two options for the club. AMA can do the work to make an agreement on behalf of the club, or the club can work on its own to make the agreement. If the club decides to work with the airport itself, we will provide the club with guidelines as to what the agreement needs to contain.
AMA is working to make this a simple document. After the club obtains the agreement, we will want a copy sent to AMA Headquarters to keep on file. At that point, we will have fulfilled the new law requiring this action and can inform the FAA that we have agreements on file with all AMA chartered clubs.
By the time you read this column, we will have launched a new push to create flying sites at local park and recreation departments, as well as on military bases at their Moral, Welfare, and Recreation departments. This will be a national effort advertised in the National Recreation and Park Association e-newsletter that will go directly to these department directors.
The ad will take them to a website providing information about what is involved in creating a flying site, and how they can get in contact with me to give them more information and guidance, as well as connect them with local modelers and clubs. That’s where you come in!
When I receive a contact from one of these groups, I will be looking to contact local modelers and clubs in that specific area to help with design and use of this new flying site. If I call or email you, will you be ready to assist in the creation of a new flying site? I sure hope so!
The primary concern of all AMA members throughout the past several years has been flying site availability. Well, here is your opportunity to get involved in the creation of your own flying site! I hope you will have enough interest to help this effort. Even if your club has a current flying site, adding an additional site, even if it is just for park flyers, provides additional areas to enjoy model flying and will bring in new modelers who can turn into new club members.
The AMA is working on your behalf to create new flying site opportunities across the country. However, we at AMA Headquarters can’t make this happen without local support and effort. To be successful, it will take AMA members to step up and get involved. It is my hope that this new program, along with your help and hard work, will create hundreds of new flying sites across the country!
Until next time.