February 2011 5
he FAA process to create regulation
for the operation of small unmanned
aircraft systems (sUAS) continues into
2011. There has been much speculation about
what will be contained in the sUAS proposed
ruling that is scheduled to be released as a
notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM)
sometime in the summer of 2011.
The NPRM will contain proposed
regulations that will likely have some impact
on model aviation. The FAA is prohibited by
law from disclosing the exact language in the
NPRM until it’s released in the Federal
Register; however, we have been able to
determine, in a generic sense, what some of the
proposed language might be.
The Aviation Rulemaking Committee’s
report submitted to the FAA in 2009 indentifies
many of the sUAS issues under consideration,
but specific recommendations in the report
may or may not be reflected in the final rule.
The NPRM will likely address things such as
how high, how fast, and where a model aircraft
may fly. The FAA has drawn a hard line
between recreational use and commercial use.
AMA is continuing to work with the
Unmanned Aircraft Program Office (UAPO)
within the FAA and is in contact with the
UAPO on a weekly, if not daily, basis. In the
latter part of 2010, there were five face-to-face
meetings with AMA and the UAPO staff.
In late November, AMA’s Government and
Regulatory Affairs Representative, Rich
Hanson; Public Relations and Development
Director, Chris Brooks; our Washington
consultant; and I met with the FAA Associate
Administrator for Aviation Safety, Peggy
Gilligan. We had a good discussion and Ms.
Gilligan graciously took the time to answer a
number of our questions.
AMA President Dave Mathewson
A synopsis of those questions and answers
can be found elsewhere in this issue of MA.
Before the AMA Expo, UAPO
representatives traveled to Ontario, California,
to participate in a two-day meeting with
AMA’s Standards Workgroup, which is
AMA’s internal workgroup consisting of
members with a diverse and knowledgeable
model aviation background. This group meets
weekly via conference call.
The workgroup continues to develop
standards that will eventually be submitted
to the FAA for adoption that will allow
modelers who follow these standards
additional latitude from the ruling. The
foundation of our standards has always been
the National Model Aircraft Safety Code and
its supporting documents, including our
Turbine Waiver Program and our Large
Model Aircraft Program.
It has been a challenge to keep our
members informed while not painting an
overly tenuous picture of the future of model
aviation. Not knowing exactly what will be
in the proposed rule makes this difficult.
We’re still working through some issues that
may be satisfactorily resolved before the
NPRM is released. At the same time we
need to make sure our members are aware,
engaged, and prepared to react, if necessary,
when the time is right.
The 2011 AMA Expo marked the
beginning of AMA’s increased member
awareness campaign on the regulatory
process. Representatives from the UAPO
participated in a roundtable question-andanswer
session that was open to the
membership and electronically captured. This
video will be posted on the Government
Relations page of the AMA Web site.
Shortly after the Expo, we will also
begin ramping up the flow of information to
our members using MA, AMA Today, the
Insider, push e-mails, and occasional
webinars. We’ve built an internal strategy
that includes involving everyone in the
model aviation community including
manufacturers, distributors, retailers,
media (both print and electronic), our
membership, and all modelers. Our intent
is to keep the model aviation community
as informed as possible as we move into
2011 and toward the eventual release of
It has been a banner year for AMA’s education
and youth outreach efforts. In conjunction with
the Indianapolis Children’s Museum, AMA
was awarded a NASA grant that will be used in
part to create programs using model aviation as
a tool to teach courses in science, technology,
engineering, and math (STEM).
We signed a memorandum of understanding
(MOU) with NASA that will partner AMA
members and clubs with science teachers
participating in NASA’s Remote Sensing Earth
Science Teacher Program, a curriculum that
uses NASA research equipment to conduct
Earth Science experiments.
At roughly the same time this issue of MA
reaches you, AMA will be launching our new
Model Aviation Clubs in Schools (MASC)
program. MASC is designed to encourage
students to become involved in model aviation
as an extracurricular school activity.
We have also signed an MOU with the
Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) to
partner on programs that will support our
individual missions while increasing awareness
and interest in aviation in general. The new
EAA/AMA Youth Membership is one of the
results of our efforts.
At the recent AMA Expo in Ontario,
California, AMA welcomed Major General
Amy Coulter, National Commander of the
Civil Air Patrol (CAP). We signed an MOU
that formally recognizes a new educational
partnership between the AMA and the CAP.
In addition to introducing model aviation to
CAP Cadets, a major benefit of this new
partnership will open the door to engaging the
more than 60,000 adult CAP volunteers in
aeromodeling activities, while allowing AMA
youth access to the amazing amount of
aerospace educational materials available
through the CAP.
AMA is excited about the opportunities
that all of these new relationships will
See you next time.
The Academy of Model Aeronautics is a world-class association of modelers organized for the purpose of
promotion, development, education, advancement, and safeguarding of modeling activities.
The Academy provides leadership, organization, competition, communication, protection, representation,
recognition, education and scientific/technical development to modelers.
… a banner year for AMA’s education and
youth outreach efforts.
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Edition: Model Aviation - 2011/02
Page Numbers: 5
February 2011 5