AMA/FAA sign memorandum of understanding

AMA recognized as the focal point for aero-modeling

On Saturday, January 11th, the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) entered into an agreement establishing the platform upon which the AMA and the FAA will jointly work to ensure the continued safe operation of model aircraft in the National Airspace System. James Williams, executive manager of the FAA Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Office, and AMA President Bob Brown signed the memorandum of understanding on the main stage of the annual AMA Expo in Ontario, CA.

FAA Executive Manager James Williams and AMA President Bob Brown at AMA Expo 2014
FAA Executive Manager James Williams and AMA President Bob Brown at AMA Expo 2014

AMA’s detailed safety procedures promote safe model operations and serve as an excellent resource for AMA members and non-member model enthusiasts alike. Under this agreement, the AMA will serve as a focal point for the aero-modeling community, the hobby industry, and the FAA to communicate relevant and timely safety information. The Academy will continue to maintain its comprehensive safety program for its members and will work to foster a positive and cooperative environment with the aero-modeling community toward the FAA and any applicable regulations.

“The execution of this document puts the Federal Aviation Administration one step closer to fully enacting the Special Rule for Model Aircraft established as part of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012,” said AMA Executive Director Dave Mathewson. “Still to be realized is 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.”

The AMA has served as the national body for model aviation for 77 years. During that time, the aeromodeling community has achieved an excellent safety record through adherence to AMA’s National Model Aircraft Safety Code and its comprehensive safety program. The efficacy of AMA’s community-based safety program was acknowledged by Congress in the 2012 FAA reauthorization bill, now Public Law 112-95.

The Academy of Model Aeronautics has been the nation’s collective voice for approximately 164,000 modelers in 2,400 clubs in every state and Puerto Rico since 1936. A nonprofit association headquartered in Muncie IN, AMA sanctions more than 2,000 events and competitions each year under the auspices of the National Aeronautic Association.

Read FAA’s news release..

FAA, AMA Work Together on Model Aircraft/UAS Safety

Read the text of the MOU…

Memorandum of Understanding

Rich Hanson
AMA Government and Regulatory Affairs


  1. I am glad to see the continued positive progress AMA is making with regard to protecting our right to recreational flying.
    However, I note that in the FAA’s January 6, 2014 Fact Sheet on UAS, FAA continues to make a distinction between recreational and commercial flying. I understand their position, but I have not seen any evidence that FAA has considered the needs of the commercial sector supporting the hobby industry. If a company, or employee of a company, test flies (or demonstrates) a model aircraft intended exclusively for end use by recreational fliers, is such flight a commercial activity? Has AMA considered a need to ensure that the hobby industry be able to continue to provide products for sale to recreational fliers?

    1. Herschel… Yes, AMA has addressed this issue. This was addressed in the ‘Special Rule for Model Aircraft’ passed by Congress as part of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, now Public Law 112-95.

      Hobby manufactures and distributors may operate unmanned aircraft designed expressly for recreational use under the special rule.

      Rich Hanson
      AMA Government and Regulatory Affairs

  2. My hat goes off to those who have worked so tirelessly to make this happen.

  3. Does this affect the issues we in California have with caltrans and the loss of fields in secondary runways at active airports?
    Thanx, Rick

    1. Hi Rick,

      Not directly, but it does establish a formal relationship with the FAA and the UAS Integration Office that we can hopefully leverage in the future to address this issue.

      Rich Hanson
      AMA Government and Regulatory Affairs

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