Wow! Currently I am at more than 30,000 feet, heading east from the AMA Expo in Ontario, California. It was an enjoyable, but intense, week. Professionally, it was a proud time for AMA members.
We have expended considerable effort with the FAA for several years, which came to partial fruition with our signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Jim Williams, the Executive Manager of the FAA UAS Integration Office.
This MOU will allow the AMA and the FAA to ensure the continued safe operation of model aircraft in the US airspace. Continued effort will be necessary, but the future appears to be optimistic. My gratitude is extended to Jim Williams for his cooperative efforts.
Michael Tuscano, president and CEO of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), provided some positive input to AMA members. Michael, Jim Williams, and Rich Hanson also provided their collective insight into current UAS issues during a seminar. More information about this can be found at www.modelaircraft.org/video/uas0114. Michael also expressed positive thoughts toward a working alliance between the AUVSI and the AMA.
NAA President Jonathan Gaffney introduced Carl Johnson, the vice president of Programs-Broad Area Maritime Surveillance within Northrup Grumman’s Integrated Systems sector. Carl presented a talk focused on his company’s latest project: the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System carrier demonstration aircraft.
This airplane has operated from the deck of the aircraft carrier, the USS George H.W. Bush. The carrier landings aboard the ship illustrate that tailless unmanned aircraft can integrate seamlessly and operate safely from an aircraft carrier at sea. Although most of the information is classified, Carl disclosed enough to illustrate how unbelievable this aircraft is.
The AMA Expo allowed many a chance to see the capabilities of today’s models. Carl mentioned the lack of young, energetic engineers along with Northrup Grumman’s desire to entice today’s youth into a vocation as an aeronautical engineer.
Rick Larsen, vice president of marketing, and Sean Elliott, vice president, government and industry relations, represented the EAA. These longtime modelers offered some encouraging comments about the involvement of aeromodeling in the EAA organization.
Look for increased modeling activity at the EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, July 28 through August 3, 2014.
Mandee Mikulski spearheaded the kickoff of the AMA Foundation. The infrastructure is now functioning, but additional effort will be needed to bring it up to full capabilities. One of the new additions to the AMA Expo was the recognition of the recent donors.
Your donations are appreciated. Please include the AMA in your estate planning.
Many individuals from the aviation community made the 2014 AMA Expo a beneficial element in the history of model aviation. This year certainly produced some long-term memories. Thanks to all of the AMA volunteers, the event organizer, Lora Knowlton, and the AMA employees who put forth the necessary efforts to make the expo a huge success!
As the winter ends, have you considered the condition of your equipment? Several weeks of stagnant operation do not extend the longevity of your batteries. Diligent maintenance should help maintain another enjoyable flying season. Fly safely!