AMA Reacts to President Obama: More Regulation Wouldn’t Have Prevented White House “Drone” Incident

DC Airspace is Already Heavily Regulated, Community-based Programming is Key to Safe and Responsible Flying


Charlotte McCoy

(202) 777-3509

MUNCIE, Ind. —The Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), the world’s largest model aviation association, today released the following statement in response to President Obama’s comments calling for more regulation of unmanned aircraft after yesterday’s “drone” crash at the White House.

While the White House ‘drone’ incident is sparking calls for more regulations, the fact is, more regulation isn’t the answer. The Washington, DC, airspace is some of the most heavily regulated airspace in the world, and all aircraft operations are currently prohibited in the vicinity of the White House. Despite the existing regulations, a quadcopter still made its way onto the White House lawn this week,” said AMA President Bob Brown.

“Community-based programming is the key to safe and responsible flying, as our organization’s 78-year history has shown. AMA has safety guidelines, best practices and operating principles that have allowed enthusiasts to operate their aircraft and safely use this technology for more than seven decades. When an incident occurs, it’s a rare day when one of AMA’s 175,000 members is involved.

“AMA has always believed that the best, and perhaps the only, way to successfully manage the recreational community is through a community-based set of safety guidelines and the combined efforts of the FAA and AMA. The FAA’s recent interpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft has complicated our working relationship, but it is our hope that the agency will work with us to forge a path forward for the recreational community that finds common ground on the Interpretive Rule and leverages AMA’s deep expertise when it comes to safe and responsible flying.”

Just last week the AMA sent a letter to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta offering the organization’s “expertise and knowledge in support of the FAA’s effort to create guidance for the operation of recreational sUAS in the NAS.” A copy of the letter is attached.




About AMA

The Academy of Model Aeronautics, founded in 1936, continues to be devoted to national airspace safety. It serves as the nation’s collective voice for approximately 175,000 modelers in 2,400 clubs in the United States and Puerto Rico. Headquartered in Muncie, Indiana, AMA is a membership organization representing those who fly model aircraft for recreation and educational purposes.



  1. I am concerned that our entire sport and industry of model aviation are in jeopardy! There are simply too many manufacturers making too many inexpensive remote controlled aircraft without proper recognition or coordination with the AMA. When a quadcopter hits a commercial aircraft or causes a massive mishap of some sort – the inevitable government clampdown will be repressive to say the least. There must be a much more aggressive campaign by the AMA to get all manufacturers to include AMA membership information and basic flying rules in every single aircraft package they sell. In fact, manufacturers should be actively seeking the prestigious privilege, as monitored by the AMA, to display the “AMA-approved” logo on their marketing material! The AMA can set stringent parameters that justify the display of such a logo. At the very least, a campaign of this sort would elevate the importance of education and information for novice pilots “right out of the box” about how to responsibly use their aircraft. There may be substantial collateral benefits to having the AMA being seen as more proactive in this regard.

    1. Just such a campaign was launched on December 22, 2014. The “Know Before You Fly” campaign is a joint effort between the AMA, the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) and the Small UAV Coalition and is aimed at getting UAS manufactures and distributors to put the Know Before You Fly safety material in the packaging of UAS products.

      Learn more about the KBYF campaign at,

      Rich Hanson
      AMA Government and Reguatory Affairs

  2. Funny you mention only new drones, quad copter, multi rotor pilots, of crashing into full sized aircraft.
    What about all the fixed wing RC craft with fpv cameras and tons of people flying them for years now with little or No regulation ?
    And many of these same people being registered ama guys.. Flying a fixed wing rc airplane way beyond Vlos fully immersed with fpv goggles on that can exceed 90 mph and way beyond legal altitude for any rc aircraft.
    Go look it up on YouTube there’s plenty of videos…
    I’ve personally witnessed one guy flying a bixler fixed wing rc plane out to Three plus miles and was at 2800 ft altitude…when I showed concern for his flight he said oh rc guys hobby was being ruined by drones and the guys who fly em…. Wrong.
    So when you point the finger at rc multi rotor operators you need to get real with yourself, ama or not.
    I’m 61 flown rc aircraft since I was 17. Rc Multi rotors I own three for photography, they are registered with the FAA.

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