AMA Media Update-Educating the Public About Safe Operations

-AMA President, Bob Brown

As you know, there have been a number of news articles and broadcast stories that have reported on “irresponsible use of drones by hobbyists” and, most recently, the FAA’s data on “drone sightings near airplanes.” We are very concerned by these reports and are working on several fronts to insert ourselves into these stories both in print and broadcast media as well as proactively reaching out to reporters and news programs about AMA safety efforts. We are also looking at several ways to better understand what is actually occurring.

On the latter, AMA is working on an analysis of the FAA’s data that will provide us an opportunity to determine the credibility of this information and what role AMA could help play to advance safe and responsible flying. Once we have finalized that report, we plan to release it to the public and will share the findings with all AMA members.

At the same time, we are continuing to push out information about AMA’s safety efforts, including the Know Before You Fly campaign. As you know, AMA spearheaded the launch of this campaign last year with the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), and we are continuing to help sign on new supporters of the campaign each week. Many of these supporters are helping us put safety information directly into the hands of consumers by placing our brochure inside the boxes of model aircraft and unmanned systems.

As for media coverage, we wanted to share with you a short summary of the success we have had the past few months in getting stories published about the campaign, placing opinion columns that outline AMA’s education efforts and publishing letters to the editor urging the FAA to enforce guidelines more strictly.

-USA Today and the Washington Examiner published opinion pieces from us in June. Both pieces outline AMA’s long history in educating the model aircraft community about safety and what efforts organization has done to evolve with the ever-changing technology.

-In California, we submitted a number of pieces reminding users about safety guidelines and temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) around wildfire areas. Our letters have been published in several outlets including the San Diego Union-Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard, Los Angeles Daily News and Los Angeles Times.

-In the New York City area, AMA placed a letter to the editor in the Staten Island Advance. We also contacted the authors of the pieces related to the “sightings” near airports, leading to the Star-Ledger in New Jersey to write a follow-up article profiling the Know Before You Fly campaign.

-Finally, The Washington Post published a response from AMA to an article detailing the FAA report of sightings of unmanned aircraft by manned aircraft. The response urged new users to fly safely and responsibly and stricter enforcement of the existing FAA guidelines that are in place to prevent irresponsible use.

Below is a listing of some of the more prevalent pieces that were recently published online. In addition to monitoring daily coverage, we are regularly reaching out to reporters and news programs to encourage more stories on AMA safety efforts. If you see something, please pass it along and we will contact the outlet immediately. We will also keep you updated on our various other efforts to address safety concerns and correct the record about the hobbyist community.

Bob Brown

Learn more about Know Before You Fly


Hobby group calls on drone pilots to ‘Know Before You Fly’, Times of San Diego, August 6, 2015

Want to go fly a drone? Here’s what you need to know to stay legal, The Star Ledger, August 10, 2015

Drones: Love them or hate them, they’re likely here to stay – Here’s what you need to know about these tiny aircraft, The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona, August 28, 2015

Can You Curb Wayward Drones With a Dog Fence in the Sky?, Bloomberg Business, August 31, 2015

Want to fly drones? Learn the ropes before you take to the skies, Washington Examiner, June 8, 2015

FAA rules clip hobbyists’ wings, USA Today, June 27, 2015

FAA rules clip hobbyists’ wings, USA Today, Dave Mathewson, June 27, 2015

No one should fly drones near emergencies, Eureka Times-Standard, Dave Mathewson, July 28, 2015

Education key to proper drone use, San Diego Union-Tribune, Dave Mathewson, August 9, 2015

Safe drone use, St. Paul Pioneer Press, Dave Mathewson, August 10, 2015

Campaign seeks to educate drone flyers, Los Angeles Daily News, Dave Mathewson, August 20, 2015

There are already rules on flying drones over fires; we need to enforce them, Los Angeles Times, Dave Mathewson, August 21, 2015

Maintaining safety in the skies, Washington Post, Dave Mathewson, August 24, 2015

Enforce federal rules on drones, Staten Island Advance, Dave Mathewson, August 25, 2015

Keep skies safe, Lincoln Journal-Star, Dave Mathewson, August 30, 2015



One comment

  1. How is the AMA going to educate anyone on the Safety of drone/FPV flight when they will not address the fact the more and more AMA chartered clubs are prohibiting FPV flight at their field? How is the AMA “embracing” this new aspect of our hobby?

    The AMA seems to completely ignore this elephant in the room.

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