In January, at the AMA Expo in Ontario, California, we launched the AMA Foundation. The AMA Foundation will play an important role in our organization’s future. The foundation will manage an endowment that will support AMA programming going forward.
Programs that are now supported by member dues will be supported by proceeds from the foundation endowment, allowing AMA to keep dues stable. AMA is fortunate to have thousands of members who annually donate to help support AMA programs such as the AMA/Charles H. Grant Scholarship Program, education outreach programs, the National Model Aviation Museum, Flying Site Assistance Grants, the AMA Disaster Relief Fund, and others.
As the endowment grows, AMA will be able to fund many of these programs with the gains earned from investing of the monies in the endowment, leaving the principal intact. Although there will be some immediate impact, the true value of the AMA Foundation and the endowment probably won’t be realized for many years. However, it’s important that AMA position itself so that years from now, we will be able to sustain these great programs and others that benefit our membership without having to rely as heavily on membership dues.
Another major event that took place at the Expo was a signing of a memorandum of understanding between AMA and the FAA. The signing took place during an afternoon presentation with Jim Williams representing the FAA’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Office and AMA President Bob Brown.
AMA’s safety procedures promote safe model operations and serve as an excellent resource for members and nonmember model enthusiasts alike. Under this agreement, the AMA will serve as a focal point for the aeromodeling community, the hobby industry, and the FAA to communicate relevant and timely safety information.
The AMA will continue to maintain its comprehensive safety program for its members and will work to foster a positive, cooperative environment with the aeromodeling community toward the FAA and any applicable regulations.
Signing this document puts the FAA one step closer to fully enacting the Special Rule for Model Aircraft established as part of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. This is an important step in the process of FAA’s formal recognition of the AMA as a community-based organization as described by Congress and the agency’s acknowledgment of AMA’s safety program as a means of substantiating the safety guidelines and overseeing the operation of recreational unmanned aircraft.
Planning has begun for National Model Aviation Day 2014. This event was created to encourage clubs to celebrate the hobby and share it with their friends and neighbors in their communities.
AMA clubs are being asked to conduct a fundraiser to provide assistance to a worthy cause. We are again asking that AMA clubs support the Wounded Warrior Project. The date for this year’s celebration will be August 16, 2014.
In its inaugural year, 176 clubs registered for National Model Aviation Day, state proclamations were administered in five states, and $76,000 was raised to support the Wounded Warrior Project’s programs and services in support of our injured veterans and their families.
We hope to exceed this amount in 2014 and are asking for your help in making that happen. You can learn more about National Model Aviation Day and register your club to participate by visiting http://nationalmodelaviationday.org.
As the 2014 legislative season ramps up, concerns over potential invasion of privacy and governmental intrusion are driving many states to consider new legislation aimed at restricting the use of unmanned aircraft. Most of the bills being introduced focus on law enforcement and government use of this technology; however, several bills either include restrictions on private use of aerial imaging or other sensor devices or have language that may have unintended consequences for the hobby community.
Many AMA members are proactively working with their local political leaders and state legislators in an effort to address these issues and dissuade legislation that may be detrimental to the aeromodeling community.
AMA encourages all of its members to remain vigilant and attentive to UAS legislation being considered in their respective states and to contact AMA’s Government and Regulatory Affairs Representative Rich Hanson at (888) 899-3548 if you have any questions.
It has been a winter to remember for many of us in the colder climates. On the bright side, spring is right around the corner!
See you next time …