Special message from Academy of Model Aeronautics President Bob Brown: We stand for education, not regulation

By now nearly everyone is aware of the incident that occurred on Monday, January 26, 2015, involving a multirotor landing on the White House lawn. The incident occurred at 3 a.m. and involved a government employee who had been drinking. The incident resulted in reaction from many, including President Obama, calling for more regulation.

AMA said in a press release issued on Tuesday, that more regulation is not the answer. In fact, this incident took place inside the Washington D.C. Flight Restricted Zone (FRZ), the most heavily regulated airspace in the country. The FRZ was established in 2009 and, in essence, prevents all forms of flight within the restricted area. In this case—a case that has resulted in calls for more regulation—regulation clearly didn’t work.

In late December, AMA, in concert with the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International and the Small UAV Coalition, launched the Know Before You Fly campaign (www.knowbeforeyoufly.org). The initiative is fully supported by the FAA which has lent its name to the effort.

The goal of the campaign is simple. AMA believes, as do most in the model aviation community, that these new enthusiasts want to operate safely and responsibly; it’s simply that nobody has offered guidance on how to do that. Know Before You Fly will partner with other industry associations, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers to get this needed education and training material into the hands of the end users.

AMA believes that a much better approach to managing the community is through education, not regulation. 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.

We understand the potential for bad people using any good technology for bad things. We do not support the use of the technology outside of AMA guidelines. We do believe, however, that flown within the envelope of AMA’s safety programming, this new technology is as safe, or safer, than any other modeling discipline in which our members participate.

If the solution was to simply ban the technology, or even just disallow it under AMA programming, it’s unlikely that it would have any significant impact. If the goal is to thwart a nefarious attempt by someone using this technology, no rule or regulation will prevent that. The point is that it’s not the technology, it’s how the technology is used.

AMA has taken the approach we have because we believe that it’s much better to reach out and try to help this new community instead of pretending it doesn’t exist.

If something bad happens, the public isn’t going to ask whether it was caused by an AMA member or not. We’ll all be painted with the same brush. This technology isn’t going away, whether or not the FAA or the AMA prohibits it. It’s out there and growing exponentially. Manufacturers, distributors, and retailers have indicated that they are not going to stop selling product.

At this point, there is nothing the government can do to manage the activity. The FAA doesn’t have the time, money, or resources to try to manage the tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of modelers who have been attracted to this new technology. We believe that everyone—the FAA, AMA, AMA members, modelers, and the general public—would be better served if AMA and other similar organizations helped manage this community, ensuring some level of safety and responsibility that is lacking in a minority out there now.

We support the FAA in its mission to ensure aviation safety, and other federal agencies to ensure national security. We have never wavered from that position. However, we are firm in our belief that a proactive approach to mitigating concerns through education will serve everyone better in the long run.

Bob Brown
AMA President


  1. I believe the event involving a multirotor and the White House occurred in 2015, not 2014.

    1. Your right… Thanks Jeff, good catch. I’ve updated/corrected the post.

      Rich Hanson
      AMA Government and Regulatory Affairs

  2. I would also add that yet again we hear nothing about this said government employee and any ramifications he/she will face. It seems if you are working for this administration in some form or capacity you get a pass (including the main stream media reports) even though no sane hobbyist would be out drinking and flying at 3am.

  3. Has the AMA considered asking there membership if they would like the inclusion of FPV to fall under AMA oversite? Has the AMA considered the extra liability that the addition of FPV would add?

    Most of us in the rc community are all about the promotion of safely operating thesee vehicles but I believe the target audience of your campaign is off. It is not the current rc pilot that is your problem, it is the guy buying these at amazon, newegg.com, or camera shops that have no idea what the AMA is and no reason to join.

      1. I’ve written prior to this that an incident JUST LIKE THIS ONE was gonna cause “spatter” and consequences on/for AMA. Yet, here we are – doggedly protecting the interests of the many vendors peddling these potentially dangerous (with MUCH more potential for mischief-making than honest “model aircraft”). Looks like this incident won’t be too bad, given that the perp owned up to what he’d done and did so in expedient fashion. Of course, I’m just a narrow-minded 1/170K’s worth of AMA. Feel free to dismiss me for the cranky crackpot that I am.

      2. Rich, I saw the knowbeforeyoufly.org link and it inspired a thought: if the FAA has regulations that govern the use of UAS, is the equipment required to come with any kind of literature/guidance/warnings? I appreciate that the AMA is vollying for an effective solution that does not include increased regulation, but would a requirement for literature or education make sense in this case? I am sure some companies would work with the AMA on this but I have a feeling we wouldn’t be able to reach some of the newer/foreign companies who supply high quantities of inexpensive models. Its just a thought.

    1. Kevin, to consider the inclusion of FPV as a “liability” to AMA would be tantamount to putting our collective heads in the sand, the genie is out of the bottle in regards to quadcopters and it’s not going away. And unfortunately, because of the Media, we’re all lumped into the same category whether you are an “rc pilot” or “some guy” who bought his quadcopter online. The AMA is tackling this problem head-on, as it should. To segregate multi-rotor hobbyists (ie quadcopters) be they FPV or not, from “rc pilots” shows a bit of elitism… something that isn’t going to help anyone. Maybe that wasn’t your intent but that’s how it’s perceived. I’d rather AMA embrace quadcopter “pilots” rather than ignore them so we all can enjoy our remote controlled aircraft safely and responsibly and not have them grounded like DJI did with their quadcopter owners in Washington DC.

    2. I agree totally. the vast majority of AMA members are very concerned about operating their model in safe manner. I have know several now who have quit modeling as their infirmities make modeling unsafe even though they still love it. In my view their have to be enough regulations; in this case there may be enough, and they have to have teeth. If and when one of these uninformed people get out of line they need to be bit hard and it also needs lots of media exposure. I do not disagree with the AMA trying to reach out to these people but I believe in the carrot and stick. Use the carrot for those that respond to that and the stick for those who do not.

    3. I can’t see how a FPV can do more harm than a nitro or gas powered aircraft on in or over the Field. I love flying both and do it safely on the field.

    4. I believe Kevin’s comments are right on. It is not the existing r/c modeler that is creating the problem. It is the person with money burning a hole in their pocket and wanting a new toy. They don’t have the history and admiration for the hobby. I believe if the AMA doesn’t drop drones/FPV’s from it’s group of sponsored activities, we will all be caught in the regulation that’s coming. Please AMA, distance yourself from these folks before we are all regulated to something we don’t want.

    5. This technology should not go away…..AMA: do Not sanction it….there is the possibility that the Gov. will leave the r/c hobby alone again..under the AMA ‘umbrella’ (minus multi-rotor, drone, fpv, etc…)..you could avoid more egg on the face and the nimrods that abuse their craft are On Their Own…..just sayin’

      1. I’m heartened to see that I’m not the only one who thinks the whole-hearted embracement of multi-rotors by AMA is a big mistake. I expressed this in person when I attended the AMA membership meeting this past January. I REALLY wanted to ask the audience in attendance, just how many of them fly one of these contraptions and see them becoming a vibrant facet of AMA. I think I was told that about a third (maybe more) of our membership flys a multi-rotor. I honestly find that hard to believe. I say this because I haven’t seen but ONE a area flying fields I visit. And that ONE was really a demonstrator that a hobby shop owner brought to show off.
        And as we’re being told, there’s a gush of these things being sold to folks who’ve never even HEARD of the AMA – or if they have, they think it’s a medical organization. I just can not see them worrying about joining a club (and studying all the safety guidelines we’d like them to) before they take their new TOY out of it’s wrappings and go buzzing around their neighborhood.
        Even on a strictly personal level – while Model Aviation and other modeling-oriented publications have constantly reminded us all as to the danger of a spinning prop on a model – here we are promoting what amounts to flying buzz saws! Saws we KNOW are gonna be gleefully glad-handed by TOTALLY inexperienced “pilots”.
        I’m all for new technologies, but these store-bought sky ‘n spy devices are NOT “models”. They are small machines. Yet once one of them causes real harm to folks or sets a panic in motion in the realms of security, WHO are the law agents gonna be looking to blame? Will they come down on JUST the perpetrator or will they be looking for the organization that would afford these “enthusiast” sanctuary? Hah! Hungry lawyers will be sniffing for every dollar they can turn up. As I said in an earlier post though, I’m just one aging and cynical old fart.

    6. I bought a Phantom Vision 2+ from Amazon and at the same time joined the AMA. Figured that would help me with any FAA issues.

  4. Rich and Dave, keep up the good work you’re doing. I have met with the FAA’s Next Gen program Manager here in Atlanta and I find that the individuals in their office and a majority, if not all of the personnel in DC involved in the rule making process have little or no experience in the modeling field. I found it quite interesting that none of the Atlanta Region Next Gen people knew anything about the efforts Cliff Whitney of Atlanta Hobbies is making towards educating the operators in the field. As per the usual, we are being regulated by the uneducated and experienced. You are 100% correct. It is an education problem, not a regulation problem. Best of luck.

  5. A well written statement. One would hope that common sense would rule the day regarding multi-rotor use and one would also hope that our large community of responsible multi-rotor pilots would not be made to suffer for the lack of common sense shown from a few irresponsible citizens that misuse fantastic technologies. There is always a potential to abuse or misuse many things made available to us in or society throughout history. To limit or to ban the average citizens ability to create, innovate and to instigate or inspire new ideas and new invention goes against the great American ideal of always being ahead of the curve in new technologies and our history of pushing the envelope to develop the next great thing.

  6. All the education in the world will not prevent a drunk from busting the rules as indicated by vehicle drivers and serious law enforcement. The FAA can’t enforce model flying as there are to many yards and fields. They can’t even enforce unauthorized full scale aircraft from busting the DC control area. When they fix that issue then listen to them talk about fixing models. I am tired of seeing a NOTAM banning RC flying within 35 miles of where Obama is having a party at night. Are they kidding a serious RC flyer will be flying at night and accidentally run across one of his many party sights. We need some one better than Mr Brown to run the AMA as he sat there and watched all those embossing FAA representatives pitch their ideas and did not put them back where the sun don’t shine!

  7. While very well said, it does not do anything the address the main concern by the lawmakers and general public. I don’t think anyone is worried about a ten year old kid who gets a quadcopter for his/her birthday and runs out to fly it with little or no knowledge of the airspace, FAA rules, etc. What the 26 Jan 2015 incident did was to demonstrate to everyone that this new technology can breech the White House’s defense system without much effort or detection. Therefore, if an intoxicated “drone pilot” can do it, what are the chances that someone with sinister intentions can do it too?

    No, stuffing an FAA warning sheet and AMA application into every new quadcopter box isn’t going to stop someone who is intent on doing harm; no more so than our failure to stop murders through our years of creating more and more restrictions on firearms!

    The bottom line is that someone (unintentionally) demonstrated that this new technology has the ability to thwart the White House’s security practically undetected. Our enemies have surely taken note of it and you can bet that any new restrictions that will be placed on model airplanes will deter them!

  8. A drunk govt employee at 3 am? So that makes us all bad? Typical. It only took a few individual terrorists to give us the TSA. Probably why you will never hear another word about this employee. Most likely a govt plant paid to do what he did to give the govt the excuse it needs to further try and wage it’s war on the American people, freedom and our hobby. This administration and most of the govt in our country is power mad and completely crazy. I for one don’t recognize their authority to tell us anything when they don’t abide by the law themselves & have demonstrated no intention of following our Constitution, the bill of rights or give a damn about our civil liberty.

  9. This by far is the best letter I have seen the AMA put on regarding this issue. Pointing out the fact the P-51 (the prohibited airspace over DC) is the most regulated airspace and this still happened I believe was genius! This is why I am a member of this organization.


  10. Just want to add this because a lot of folks are wondering if joining the AMA is going to get them unlimited protections and rights to the sky to fly their multi or other….The AMA organization only exists to serve its members as recreational modelers operating under the umbrella of model aircraft “rules” or “code” in a safe environment.
    In other words, anyone else (AMA member or not), who experiments, flies, crashes, annoys, creates a lawsuit, or brings upon themselves any other perilous situation involving model aircraft (especially multi-rotor aircraft) are simply put, ‘on your own’.

  11. Thanks Bob! Good response from AMA. Not everyone will be happy with any response. The important things are covered in your response. Now, if someone in the administration will try listening for a change . . .

  12. as with all things, someone doing something stupid will eventually cause heavy regulatory involvement in our hobby. then we will find out that those of us who follow rules and regulations, will be the only ones flying safely while those who don’t belong to the ama, do as they wish. if future regulation is based on the individuals responsibility instead of the group/industry, heavy penalties for bad behavior might leave most of us untouched.

  13. A big part of the problem is the media and society’s use of the word “drone.” By most applicable dictionary definitions, a “drone” is a UAV or ship that “can navigate autonomously, without human control or beyond line of sight.”
    This AMA statement is perfectly on-point, and KnowBeforeYouFly.org is a great first step at targeting the real audience. That said, as long as the media and less-informed folks continue to mis-use the term “drone” (see also: RotorDrone Magazine) our R/C hobby will continue to be stigmatized and held in the same regard as the bad guys who are (illegally) mis-using the technology. Neither my Telemaster40 or my Blade Q300 with camera are “drones.”

  14. Let this be a lesson that no matter how much you cave in to the Government by doing its social engineering bidding – a la the “No Such Thing As Good Enough” article in the February 2015 Model Aviation – and other acts of accommodation, it will never buy you any favor. The story is sad, but the unfortunate soul is not renowned in the model aviation world, and while AMA Hall of Fame members get a page or two upon their demises, this story received four photo-filled pages in a publication whose editors routinely lament lack of space for printing all it would like to print. I truly apologize if I’m wrong (a single irrelevant sentence betrays the story’s agenda), but it falls exactly in line with the way companies and organizations are routinely bullied by ‘preferred’ political and special interest groups. It just makes a sucker out of anyone that succumbs because just like a schoolyard bully that keeps taking your lunch money, the cretins continue to make more and more demands and NEVER reciprocate with fair treatment. Find a way to work around the FAA or the AMA will forever be a tool of the bureaucrats. Expect a license fee and government certification soon – it’s inevitable.

    1. From a January 30, 2015 message by AMA president Bob Brown: “At this point, there is nothing the government can do to manage the activity. The FAA doesn’t have the time, money, or resources to try to manage the tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of modelers who have been attracted to this new technology.” (see AMA Government Regulations Blog)

      I hate to say, “I told you so,” but I told you so. Here today we get news that the FAA has ignored all the effort and good will put forth by the AMA and has begun a mandatory registration process for all R/C pilots. This is just the beginning. Not far off will be a requirement to register each new aircraft purchased through a distributor – sound like a familiar scenario?

      When you vote into office people with an authoritarian, superior mindset who are willing to sacrifice the freedoms of harmless, law-abiding citizens in order to implement a politically correct social agenda, this is what always results. You get hordes of agencies and their appointed regulators seeking to control every aspect of your life from cradle to grave. The AMA has spent roughly a million dollars thus far on this campaign to pacify FAA bureaucrats – all to little or no avail. It was a noble fight by a lot of highly talented AMA people, but ultimately our model aviation ambassadors were merely a source of irritation for FAA officials to laugh at in the privacy of their ivory tower taxpayer-funded offices. They do not like it when the ‘little people’ try to tell them what to do.

      The only real option we have is to be careful who gets our votes. Elect people who promise to take from someone else to give to you and it won’t be long before you discover someone else elected that same person to take from you to give to them.

      Say, maybe if we AMA members offer to house combat-age male Syrian refugees in our homes, that will make the government like us more and treat us more fairly…

  15. Great Statement by the AMA. I fully support what The AMA stands for and am proud to be a member!

  16. I believe that President Bob is turning a blind eye to the reality of the situation…..most ‘so-called’ FPV and drone enthusiasts have nothing but contempt for following rules and regulations necessary to ensure safe flying. They will do what they want, where they want, whenever they want no matter who tells them they are not allowed to do so.

    As a long time member of the AMA and avid ‘LINE OF SITE’ flying enthusiast of everything from pattern planes to giant scale monsters to turbine jets I believe that the ultimate result of this ‘pig-headed’ drone/FPV inclusion movement by senior members of the AMA Board will result in ever tightening rules over me and those who have, and always will, follow safe flying practices.

    Sorry folks, but you need to open your eyes and admit that this ‘so-called’ inclusion effort is doomed to fail and likely to take our flying freedoms with it

  17. The most potentially potent threat to the entire (not just \”drones\”)R/C aero modeling community is evolving at the senatorial/congressional level, as some states are preparing to introduce legislation to make the flying of ANY unmanned aircraft illegal! Yes – read it again – ANY R/C AIRCRAFT! It\’s one thing to recognize the inherent futility in the FAA\’s capability to realistically effectively police R/C aircraft and to shrug this off as a mosquito without a stinger. However, if it becomes a matter for local law enforcement, for example analogous to jay-walking, then the local law enforcement agencies can add it to their existing \”catalog\” of enforceable offenses, post a \”NO FLYING OF ANY R/C AIRCRAFT PERMITTED\” sign anywhere they choose and make it quite manageable and attractive to issue citations, assess fines and who knows – maybe eventually lock up someone for flying a foamy, micro park flyer! If you think this sounds ridiculous, it is – but only from the standpoint of how over-reaching this is becoming and how elegant and feasible it is to implement and execute, if legislation is passed at this level! If the aero modeling community and it\’s right to fly is to remain viable moving forward, we need to amass some serious \”horsepower\” (IE citizens concerned with inappropriate governance, aero modelers who believe it\’s their constitutional right to pursue the hobby, hobby manufactures, distributers and retailers who want to protect their livelihoods, ET AL) and get organized and start lobbying with the visibility and the voice commensurate to the task at hand! It is unconscionable and Ludacris and hard to imagine that the days of a parent sharing with their children the awe and magic of exploring aviation and piloting a model airship in a local park or school yard may someday be against the law! However, current prevailing attitudes suggest that this possibility is looming largely and gaining momentum and it\’s going to take a unified effort across the hobby at every level to defend the right to fly! Think: FAIRLY REGULATE, DON\’T OBLITERATE!

  18. I hope I live long enough to see it. This is the perfect distraction. While non-hobbyist are chanting & drumming “regulate those drones”, manufactures are developing full scale drones for commercial & government use within our civil airspace. I cannot wait for the first commercial drone sighting and read the news report the drone & operator is properly licensed by the FAA. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., is correct in reiterating what is already in progress. Schumer said, “There is no stronger sign that clear FAA guidelines for drones are needed.” The AMA needs to continue its fight for the hobbyist to fly a ‘drone’ within the AMA guidelines.

  19. The AMA is on this (finally) in a professional and savvy manner. Well done. This is exactly why the AMA is there… to represent us and insure that we get to continue our hobby.

  20. I think one way to help with this problem is to include information about the AMA or similar organizations on AND inside the box and on the paperwork for ANY aircraft (fixed, rotary, and multi rotor winged) sold in the USA and territories. Just my 2 cents worth.

  21. There are many facets of the direction the AMA is taking regarding multirotor aircraft that is troubling.

    Being a one third partner in a group which represents the commercial use of said aircraft seems in direct conflict with the mission of the AMA. When concessions are made as are required in government dealings, how are you as a minor partner not placed in a subservient position to the needs of the majority partners and their commercial agenda?

    Considering the ease of use for the multirotor owner I have little faith you will attract any serious numbers interested in driving to an AMA club, adhering to the rules of flight, and then feel a significant amount of fulfillment sharing airspace safely and predictably with pilots of traditional aircraft.

    As members we are bound to support the policies and programs of the AMA, yet we were not given any information as to the fiscal commitment or the path the board had chosen until a vote was called for. You expect our support to implement any programs set forth, yet there was no concern shown as to our opinions or direction the membership would like to see as the AMA addresses the multi, quad, ” drone ” aspect of model flight.

    With Respect and Concern,

    Rusty Jarrett
    AMA #946414

  22. Well stated reply. Modelers were subject to the FCC rules and regulations during the early years of RC. The AMA eventually rid us of that. Look at the technology of everything that moves and it is all being outfitted with “drone” autonomy. Aerial FPV and cameras allow the virtual freedom of spacial movement. It is natural for government agencies to seek to empower themselves with totalitarian controls. The NRA has fended off our losing the right to bear arms. The AMA is similarly the best defense for protecting our use of the air around us.

  23. I think they should have a rule in order to purchase any type of air craft you have to be a member of the AMA and hobby stores cannot sell the product unless they the person has a membership!

  24. I understand that the vast majority of AMA members are responsible, but I really believe that nothing less than the threat of Federal prosecution will get through to the bad actors. These things are potentially really scary, and asking people to Please Be Nice isn’t enough.

  25. I think these machines should be regulated before they land on my head or on my car while going down the freeway. I do believe if the AMA picks a fight it may lose this one and then all the airplanes we fly would be included in the additional regulations sure to come. Just my .02.

  26. I own 2 multirotors and probably a dozen planes, and enjoy this hobby as an AMA member immensely. That being said, I’m disappointed with the “for education not regulation statement” from AMA leadership (yes I’m a member and a member at my local flying field). Politically charged, chest thumping, statements, or even those that stand a chance at being perceived as such don’t educate… They only lead others to QUESTION the education and political leanings of those that issue such statements. The AMA, with all the good they do in championing a wonderful hobby for ALL, need to demonstrate the GOOD this hobby does and not posture as though we in any way challenge the government or anyone else for that matter. There are too many out there that mistakenly believe that that RC modeling is a threat. We can’t keep foolish and irresponsible individuals from making bad choices. Nobody can, including the government. But we can make the CORRECT choices in our responses and show the positives the hobby offers: Critical thinking skills, problem solving, science and math skills in PRACTICE, creative thinking, and a celebration of the history of aviation development through our modeling and education of new hobbyists. Aspire and appeal to better. Drawing lines in the sand as the “official/responsible” voice for the hobby IS NOT how I care to see my member dollars invested!

  27. Great comments about a very difficult problem! Putting this in perspective, I lost count on how many times I have approached folks at local parks, or on our own flight site on off days who were flying their contraptions irresponsibly, and in some cases dangerously close to observing individuals. Mentioning the AMA and flying safely results in a red face followed by the finger! They just feel they have a right to do what they want to. One guy actually called us AMA Nazis!! A few years back when park flyers were the new rage, many who bought the craft believed the advertisement that said “Step out your door and fly!” We had chaos in our area until 2.4gig came along and saved the our ability to fly with safety at our field. There will always be those who will cast a shadow over our great hobby, no matter what they fly. I agree that education helps, but regulation is another can of worms!

  28. What I understand is the White House wants the copters included in the aircraft regulated in the White House airspace, not in my backyard. This is what we should be working on by talking to the administration. Scaring the membership into fearing an unseen threat is not healthy for any organization. If you can show where the administration said anything about banning anything please print it so we can all have an educated opinion. In short, find out where the war is before saying “CHARGE”.
    That should be part of the “EDUCATION”.

    member since the 60’s

  29. Is there any way too get manufacturers like DJI to include an AMA information card with the RTF kits? It seems that the RTF systems are the ones that are attracting all of the attention because you don’t have to be a passionate modeler to build one. You just buy and fly, and as mentioned before, these people have no idea what the AMA is and what they do. They don’t know that there is education and guidelines available to them. If some kind of info card was included, it might steer them to the AMA and safe practices.

  30. I’m tired of hearing the word DRONE for a quad copter.
    why not run an ad on TV to show how safe it is. people that know me are always asking”you gonna fly your drone today?
    the military flies DRONES I fly quadcopters!!
    why have they not punished the YO-YO that works at white house and was snookered at 3am flying something he probably is not familiar with. if it was me that had done that I’d be in jail accused of being a terrorist!
    I could go on but I wont. its a nice day here so I’m going out to our club field and fly my QUADCOPTER !!!!!

  31. I have been an AMA member involved in model aviation for the past forty years. I am also involved in hunting and shooting sports, therefore I know something about regulations and how certain people ignore those regulations. As our president Bob Brown stated, education is the answer, not regulation. As with any accident/incident/tragedy, politicians are quick to blame the tool and not the person using the tool.

  32. good job getting this out .this will be a tough nut to keep in line but maybe the white house could help by require the manf to post to the owners of the systems a warning that they should join AMA and advise them of current guild lines that are in place. But with any law that is imposed which might banned there use would be like the a gun law . the only ones that get hurt are those who go by the rules. a ret. Govt. worker.

  33. The AMA position regarding “new technologies” encompassing FPV, mulit rotors, video etc. is endangering our hobby flying “model” aircraft. What “model(s)” do multirotor drones emulate? Is the AMA so enamoured of the advertising of these technologies in our magazine that it is willing to risk further “regulation?” After all the years of meetings with the FAA we still do not see a favorable resolution to the needs of most of our members, and these questions of safety and privacy further cause concern. These incidents will sour our relationship with the lawmakers, not only in Washington, but in States and local government.

  34. I find it sad that he is blaming people other than his own people for this. If this were a civilian we would have been in jail and facing felony charges. “WE” need to educate the public that these quads are NOT drones, but multi-rotors. Drones are used in the military and designed to hurt/destroy things. Even the dicturney has labeled ANY RC model as a DRONE!! To me, this is wrong! The media has taken this to far and people are throwing things, shooting, and more at us now. Yes, as stated…. There are BAD apples out there that ARE causing this, BUT ANYONE belonging to the AMA knows and for the most OBEY the rules!

  35. No amount of education is going to stop the problem. Just ask the any member of MADD who has lost a loved on to a drunk driver. Remember when we had CB’s in our cars? You didn’t dare turn it on if you had family in the car! The profanity was so profuse everybody’s ears burnt. That was FCC regulated! Lotta good it did. Every hear of anyone being prosecuted for it? I can’t count the number of times I’ve been ask if I have any of those “drones” by people that know I fly R/C. Guilty by association! So it is with the AMA.

  36. Once again more tax dollars wasted over some Monday morning regulation that only punishes the innocent and stops nothing.

  37. I would like to know where is the modeling on something that is already prebuilt and flys itself? I think they are dangerous, there always be people with no common sense that will be doing things because they can,because is fun,because they don`t think ahead and because they don`t care. who is going to make sure they read the instructions and follow the rules? Most of the buyers view them as a new toy and don`t belong to any organization. do they have any traceable ID? I would like to know.

  38. I can’t understand why the AMA Is standing behind multi rotor copters. My guess not even one percent of retail sales will even become members Of the AMA. And the multi rotor community are into not following any rules. And there more than likely not going to become members. I do have a Hexa copter And I fly it responsibility at all times. I also fly airplanes at local sanctioned fields. never Have i seen a multi rotor copters being flown in a safe manner. I hear so many stupid people come up with stupid ideas. So before they regulate the the hobby of flying R/C AMA should separate the good from the bad. I don’t remember any problems about regulation before the multi rotor idea came about. Remember multi rotor flyers on a whole do not need much training to fly. This is as easy to fly If you can just read a manual. Its no longer for the hobbyist. I AM A HOBBYIST we are the one you need to protect.

  39. After reading this statement by Bob Brown, I was inspired to renew my dormant membership. This is the first rational stance I have seen taken with respect to the regulation of Model Aircraft, of which FPV flying is a significant segment. Some may wish to cast out those who they consider vermin from the organization, but that would act in contradiction to the goal of increasing AMA’s political capital. Divided We Fall. I insist that AMA firmly stand against a deliberate asphyxiation of model aircraft flying. If a legal battle is necessary, I will contribute funds in support of that action. Bob Brown’s words are my words.

  40. Stupid is as stupid does. No responsible AMA member would fly at night, while drinking, in a known to the world, no exceptions, no-fly area. I will say, though, that in over 25 years of RC flying, I have seen some really dumb stunts by AMA members.

    Education will help, but as long as these aerial vehicles can be bought by anyone anywhere with no guidance or regard for consequences, unfortunate events will occur. Remember the restaurant chain with the brilliant idea of using a quad copter yo fly mistletoe over patrons’ heads. That only hit one person and took off part of nose.

  41. I have about had it with these quad copters and FPV shenanigans. For the past year I’ve tried to remain open to it, but after watching a video today of an FPV quad copter shooting live fireworks at a ‘buddy’, I lost all patience and most of my respect. I am wondering if I should even bother renewing my AMA and selling off my model equipment as I feel like the hobby is doomed. And this is coming from someone who lived the ‘AMA dream’ where model airplanes helped guide me from being lost to creating a dream career in aviation. I don’t know what the answer is. My first thought was about making FPV and self-leveling technology illegal, so I came to AMA’s site to see what people were saying about it. The article makes some sense and I admit my thoughts were based on emotion, but I don’t see a path forward at this point. The machine at the White House was one incident, it drew a lot of attention. The ones that really get me are ones like the lost quad copters in the Hot Springs in our National Parks, the one that disrupted an air fire brigade over the fires out west, and clearly this one shooting fireworks at people on the ground. I understand why these people do what they do – but it threatens the thing that has brought me more guidance, satisfaction and reward than anything else I know.

    1. ———-“I have about had it with these quad copters and FPV shenanigans.”———–

      Many other people, including many young people are finding the joys of aviation through drone technology which they may not have through the traditional model aircraft route which can be an expensive and timely aspect of the hobby.

      ———-“My first thought was about making FPV and self-leveling technology illegal,…”

      You seem to have the thought process of a… In America, you have the freedom to believe what you want until those beliefs turn into campaign platforms, legislation and law, then you’ve overstepped our constitutional boundaries that protects otherwise free people.

      We don’t need any more laws placed on FPV/UAVs. More laws are not going to stop the idiots from endangering lives. Logic and reason based on empirical evidence would suggest that people in the hobby create a culture of safety and proper use of FPV/UAVs through determined effort. Flight clubs, UAV Member associations, flight fields, etc. should not hesitate to embrace the new technology to quickly facilitate a culture of safety and proper use of FPV/UAVs.

      “Banning” or making it illegal to use FPV/Drones/Multi-rotors/UAVs, etc. actually help drive the ignorance surrounding the safety and proper use of FPV/UAVs into the urban landscape, surrounding neighborhoods and highways by keeping it away from proper flight fields and trained liaisons.

  42. WoW! Many of the commenters here are really against multi-copters as being part of AMA. But who is AMA? It’s people like me that started modeling as a kid, who came from an airline family, and started with RC models back in 1975 racing 1/8 scale nitro cars in the mall parking lot (with permission), flying model gliders, and powered aircraft. A Vietnam era veteran whose been using a wheelchair for 46 years, I even obtained a private pilots license along the way and flew from my backyard airstrip. I recently started flying an RTF quadcopter on my rural property as it is a heck of lot safer than my aged hands flying an RC jet at a flying club.

    And some of you want to kick me out of the AMA? Okay, I can go and some of you grumpy old men can have it for yourself because changing times requires changing minds and model multicopters are going to be a huge part in the future of RC flying whether you like it or not.

  43. Well I’m glad I only bought the trial membership as it seems that multi-rotor fliers aren’t welcome here.

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