AMA on the Hill

January 27 and 28, a dozen AMA members, staffers, and executive councilmen descended upon DC.  The visit granted the AMA the opportunity to meet directly with members of Congress and their staff  to advocate on behalf of our members for the protection and enhancement of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft.

Currently the Special Rule for Model Aircraft prohibits the FAA from promulgating regulations regarding model aircraft flown within the safety programming of  a community-based organization, like the AMA.  We believe the FAA is acting contrary to Congress’ intent by continuing to apply manned aircraft regulations to our hobby, most recently through UAS registration.  Therefore we’ve suggested changes to Section 336 that would clarify and build upon the protections in the Special Rule.  We also discussed with Congress changes that would clarify the protections afforded other applications such as the use of model aircraft as an educational tool and in teaching STEM curriculm.

The advocacy trip included more than just talks with Legislators.  The AMA also hosted a press junket with the likes of Reuters, Washington Post, Bloomberg, Popular Science, Politico, and more.  The AMA shared testimonials and data that demonstrates how AMA’s community-based model has successfully kept our our airspace safe for decades.

The visit was very productive as AMA addressed concerns and formed allies.  As we continue to work toward strengthening, enhancing and protecting the Special Rule for Model Aircraft we will need your help. Please continue to visit, visit our social media, and check your emails for updates.



  1. Thank you for providing an update about AMA’s government outreach in Washington. However, what about substantive details of the meetings? With whom did our representatives meet, and what specifically did they discuss?

    Most importantly, this update makes no mention of the DC SFRA. RC model aircraft pilots in the DC Metro Area remain grounded. Did the AMA team make any progress toward reopening RC flying in the DC area?

    1. Hi Roland,

      We met with 37 different offices during our visit, primarily with those on the Transportation and Infrastructure committee. SFRA was part of our conversation and we are continuing to make progress. At this stage, we believe the best solution for SFRA lies with advocacy work through agencies such as the FAA. We are close to finding a resolution.

      1. Are you not allowed to discuss the details of those meetings or did you just miss that part of his question. I’d particularly like to know what, if any, statements were made by those offices and what their intentions are moving forward to protect our hobby.

        1. His reply was like a politician, no content just filler. And the fact he states transportation and infrastructure and not FAA or DOT means they are not fighting for us but rather to include themselves in the regulation aspect.

          1. Hi Robert,

            You can read about our ongoing efforts with the FAA in other blog posts. This post is to convey that our advocacy efforts also include strengthening 336 through Congress.

          2. The Ama in all their email updates to us all say the same thing, nothing. His comment is the same filler as you said, the same as every email. No substantial information. The Ama is going along with the faa, has since day one. This is not a theory this is fact. Instead of backing its members and protecting the hobby, they reach their hand out to the money grab of the thousand of quad copter users hoping for membership. New flash Ama, I sell those quads and they were the most sought after and sold item in the store. Out of all the purchases virtually none became a Ama member. Those same people and almost equally crash and giving up. That leaves the modelers the member base you want to keep. Well we are seeing a lot of members giving up selling their rc planes thus affecting our sales on new rc planes. Now we only have the die hard builders but that is not enough to keep up in business. However on the positive side since the Ama has helped destroy the hobby, we are selling tons of cars now! So Ama please do not get into the rc car hobby, we would like to have that one for awhile….

        2. We do not have the authority to share too many details of pending legislation. In addition, while we do have many allies on the Hill there are some who are oppose to our efforts. Our intent is not to hide details from our members, we just have to be careful as to what we expose. And as mentioned, our hands are tied and we can only share what we are permitted. As this progresses and modifications are made the FAA Modernization and Reform Act we can share more details.

        3. “[W]e just have to be careful as to what we expose.”

          I submit that any organization that is altruistic as they say, or as good as they say, needs to hide nothing – in fact they relish being open and fully transparent.

          On the other hand, if they “have to be careful as to what [they] expose…”

        4. hi robb, i wonder also , it looks to me that the AMA is just going to make themselves a part of the process and not fight for us . They want to keep themselves relevant so they can still exist ….for what i do not know… ,since it looks like the FAA will have final say in everything AMA will just make themselves a required avenue for all of us. sad sad indeed..

      2. I, like others here have stated, would like to see more details on which government officials were seen and what was discussed.

      3. Thank you, Chad. If the solution to the SFRA shutdown lies with the FAA and other agencies, does this mean that legislators are generally supportive of RC flying, but want AMA and clubs to jump through more administrative hoops to address supposed concerns raised by the security agencies? Or does it imply that legislators agree that RC model aircraft flying 15-30nm from DCA constitute a threat to national security, and should remain grounded? Can you please identify tangible signs of progress? Can you quantify the chances that AMA clubs in the SFRA will be able to resume flying, say by cherry blossom season in mid-April?

        On a related note, Popular Science and Politico provided coverage of AMA’s lobbying effort.
        PopSci: and

        I would also still be curious to know whether AMA is aware of Senator Rand Paul flying an RC toy quadcopter in downtown DC last week, and if so, whether this may be a sign of support for reopening the SFRA to RC model flying.

        Safe landings (to those who are able to fly)!

        1. Legislators are generally supportive of modeling activities, but a resolution to SFRA is not likely going to be through Congress. We are working very hard to resolve this and should get you back to flying very soon.

          1. YYYYY do you guys keep saying it will be soon its ether yes or no the Gov. don’t say maybe

          1. NM is a abbreviation of Nautical Miles and that is the problem. Really? 30 miles form the capitol? What are they thinking. It’s a power grab by the FAA and the future of many others if we don’t do something about it soon.

      4. Hi Chad, I just want to make sure that you and any ranking members of the AMA understand how your activities and release of information, or lack there of, effects the way you are perceived. I have been flying model aircraft for over 20 years. I tend to spend a more than a reasonable amount of money on the hobby. Although very aware of it and having followed most of its guidelines, I had never bothered to join the AMA in the past but decided to do the trial membership due to a park in my new neighborhood that had and AMA members only flight area (park flyer I guess). I also wanted the opportunity to see what value might be gained with membership to the AMA and also figured it would be helpful to offer my support by paid membership due to the coming new regulations. When it came time to actually join as a full member I had to not only weight the benefits of the AMA but also the value, perception, and message being presented by the organization. After doing so thoughtfully, I decided to decline. Although the AMA does seem to have a long and rich history in the model aviation community and it’s safety practices outstanding, (as I followed them even not being a member). I find it hard to reconcile the value of the membership in this current day and climate. The perception of the AMA at this point is very diminished and simply comes off as minuscule and ignored by the greater authorities and probably second to that of the manufactures that were part of the FAA discussions. The message that comes off is that of join us and fund us because you need us, but I have not seen where you are fulfilling the true needs of your members or the hobby. I state clearly that this is simply my opinion and perception, but I think it may be one that is shared and that you should be concerned and aware of. In today’s society consumers want value for their money, people want to rally behind someone that will actually fight for them and you don’t seem to be providing either. The AMA is by no means required to be a part of this hobby but you would at least think the organization would want to be desired. At this point it would seem that the organization is failing at that. News letters, magazines, and emails may be great but they are just fluffing and not real substance and true value for those that truly love the freedom of the hobby. Not one but two damaging blows have been done to the hobby. One with the new FAA regulations and more to probably come over time and two with the decline of what once seemed a valued organization that supported the hobby. I have not made any new purchases or flown any of my outdoor aircraft in the last 4 months and I have not registered with the FAA at this time. I definitely have not and will not join the AMA at this point either. Personally I feel that if you want my membership as well as others you should start with the premise that you have to do something to earn it and continue to earn and not that you simply deserve it because you were originally part of the hobby.

  2. The best solution is to get Congress to stop the FAA from continuing to walk on our rights and on Congress’ toes and get behind John Taylor on his lawsuit.

    1. This…. The FAA is not going to relinquish anything… When the AMA leadership going to figure that out… What progress I being made??/ I keep hearing that statement being made, but there appears to be no substance/examples…

        You can write to John Taylor at

        @T.Bert. Granted, there’s a few idiots that have screwed up the hobby.
        Does the AMA do anything helpful? Not what I’m seeing.
        Does John Taylor have a very good case? YES.
        A court doesn’t have to over rule the FAA on safety issue. They have to over rule on FAA breaking a law passed by Congress. They are in direct violation of sec 336 and they know it.
        Drone law experts all believe that John will win.

        1. Not anymore. the AIRR HR.4441 section 441 has strengthened the registration, and speaking with John it may be what kills his suit.

    2. What RIGHTS? Flying is a privilege. Period. Just like with any other unlawful acts- regardless of substance- the government response IS DRACONIAN PUNISHMENT. Either through regulation,fees or laws.

      The FAA is RESPONSIBLE for the airspace we fly in. The threat of a midair collision involving ANY model aircraft is real- those that think the threat is somehow exagerated or a fabrication are truly part of the problem. There is no way a group of less than 200,000 will influence political direction in this country. This administration has acted in direct violation of the US CONSTITUTION and not one court has taken action. We dont have a right to put anything into the air. The privilege has been abused by the irresponsible few and as per the governments knee jerk mentality ALL WILL SUFFER.

      The AMA has shown its political side. No letters from the membership expressing negative viewpoints whatsoever appear in the Feb2016 magazine. Any criticism of the current management isnt, in my opinion, is taken as a personal assault. I dont question the AMA motives- I question their judgement. There isnt a court in this country that is going to over rule the FAA on safety issues. Post 9/11 General Aviation; ie light airplanes- is dead. The days of vfr flying for a $$$ hamburger are long gone. I believe the hobby of model aviation is not far behind. The proliferation of no skill to build or fly kits should have made the AMA address the industry with safety concerns. We know that wasnt done. Just look at the majority of ads on the website and magazine. The genie is out of the bottle. This issue isnt going away.

      1. Spot on.

        I would like to add the idea of separating the ages old “RC hobby” from the “Drone Fad”. I was worried about drones from the first news of loose cannons doing anything they pleased and I am embarrassed when I get asked about drones when they they make yet another appearance in the news highlighting yet another dronnie making bad and dangerous choices. The cats out of the bag but I say those of us that want to fly as we have for decades need to separate ourselves from the cause of all these new laws and regulations. It’s kind of like hanging out with the bad group makes you guilty by association. While I understand many old timers like me have drones I will make my stand and not participate in the activity that has us all worried.

  3. It’s so sad to see that it has come down to this because of ill functioning bureaucrats. The AMA having to spend its time and funding so as to put some sense into the heads of politicians. The government law passed into law for model aircraft is clear and a law. Yet when you have the powers to be controlled and swayed by corporations and special interests, common sense and what doesn’t serve them ( even laws ) get thrown out the window. Sad; yes it’s truly sad times we now live it.

    1. I’m a modeler, mountain biker, and gun owner. Whether it’s the FAA ignoring Section 336, the BLM creatively reinterpreting the Wilderness Act at the behest of legacy stakeholders, or legislators anywhere ignoring the Constitution they swore an oath to uphold, government functionaries will overstep the limits of their authority as long nobody holds their feet to the fire.

  4. I’ve noticed reference to emails received by other AMA members from the AMA . I have yet to receive an email regarding any of the action taken by AMA or FAA. member AMA8855 please add it to your email distribution.
    Thank you

    1. We show that you unsubscribed to our emails in 2012 requesting to not receive communications from the AMA. We have reactivated your account to begin receiving emails again. Thanks.

      1. So AMA does not have enough forethough to send an email of such importance anyway?

        1. If He did opt out not to receive any more Emails from AMA,
          then it’s a Privacy Issue, which is his Right. Why would you want
          AMA to violate that Right, they honored his request. If I made that choice, I would expect that Choice to be Honored and not violated.
          That’s my Right!!

  5. AMA, you have my support; please continue advocating for the flying privileges of the aeromodeling community.

  6. You mention “We believe the FAA is acting contrary to Congress’ intent by continuing to apply manned aircraft regulations to our hobby, most recently through UAS registration. ”

    So did you state to the congressman that this registration program is illegal? If so what did they say and if not why not?

  7. Time will tell whether your meetings make a difference. I doubt it from what I’ve seen thus far. It has been proved time and again that elected “officials” are only interested in benefits to themselves. Ken

    1. You couldn’t be more correct. The Congress is only interested in those that will help fill their bank accounts, and in this case it’s Amazon that’s helping fill their accounts. Why do you think there’s that box to check, when you register with the FAA, that states that you will not fly above 400′. Amazon wants the currently uncontrolled airspace from 400′ up to, I believe, 1200′ They plan on using that airspace for their package delivery drones.

      1. I agree with you about Congress caring about only filling their bank accounts. I believe part of that money would go to helping them get re-elected. That’s why I believe many of them talk out of both sides of their mouth, saying just about anything to get re-elected. That being said, I don’t think Amazon’s using delivery package UAS (drones), is totally practical right now. The idea is called line-of-sight. They would have so many of these vehicles that they could not keep track of them all, even with the video screens the military uses. And their flying over 400 feet would open yet another can of worms – the possibility of one of their drones getting hung up in a commercial airliner’s engines. Then we’d be back to square one on the entire drone issue.

  8. Dear sir:

    I do not see the need for my hobby to be regulated by both the FAA as well as the AMA. If the FAA is going to regulate my hobby, I do not see the point of having the AMA setting rules and standards of behavior if the FAA supercedes these rules with it’s own.

    1. I’d much rather have AMA do it than FAA. From what we’ve seen, FAA would kill the hobby. After all, it’s hard to fly a sailplane only below 400′ when it launches at 600-800.

  9. I, as well as others have noted, would like to see details as to the content of conversation. I also would like to see or hear that the AMA is no longer supporting anything beyond line of sight. If the AMA continues to support beyond line of sight it will be a lost battle. Everything about our hobby has always been line of sight and is even noted in Section 336. I feel congress and the FAA would feel more at ease if there were separation of us (line of sight) modelers. I also believe it would be easier to mandate separation if recreational flyers were to be restricted to AMA chartered fields. But the AMA would have to allow people to be chartered for flying outside of a designated club such as myself of which have open pasture to fly from.

      1. Unless AMA doesn’t hold anyone accountable, in which case why follow any AMA rule?

  10. I hope that despite the important of these activities, the AMA staff is not ignoring other local and important issues and efforts by the membership to promote our hobby. I left a message for Rich several weeks ago on an issue that he has particular knowledge of and his input would have been helpful. I never got a return call.

  11. Why not go to the speaker of the house and majority leader of the senate, explain this contradiction and get it on the docket in each house of congress for a hearing?

  12. I hope the AMA will form a permanent advocacy team based in Washington to push back against the FAA from now on. This is all happening 10 years too late because the AMA made a crucial strategic blunder by assuming that the FAA and the public would recognize an obvious difference between model aircraft and UAVs (or drones), but the proliferation of consumer grade drones has made that distinction almost irrelevant. The AMA needs to come up with a new plan that enables its members to operate model aircraft responsibly without interference from the federal government and this plan must include a permanent lobbying and advocacy effort to push back against government regulation and to provide a vision of how our modeling activities should be conducted. If we don’t get ahead of this situation soon it will only get worse and I think the AMA needs to switch to a proactive strategy rather than a reactive one. The first step needed is to come up with a strategic plan that will serve the modeling community for the next 25+ years and then advocate aggressively for this at the federal government level. This strategy should not rely solely on perceived distinctions between aircraft types (i.e. drone vs model airplane) but instead should be broader. For example, the AMA might choose to advocate self-regulation for all unmanned aircraft under 55lbs flown by a ground based pilot within visual range of the operator. This would eliminate distinctions such as “UAV” or “model airplane” that have not served us well. We also need to consider how to make free flight models legal since they have no ground based operator to perform a see and avoid function.

    1. YUP! AMA needs to take some plays from the NRA handbook. AMA waited WAY too long on this. Should have happened LONG ago!

  13. I am a professor of engineering at a university in Chicago. For a number of years we used model aircraft as a tool in our teaching and outreach activities. We have now ceased doing this on account of uncertainty in the rules. This is, I feel, a great detriment to our students for no actual, measurable enhancement in safety.

    Thank you for including STEM activities in your efforts.

    1. Don’t stop, in fact intensify your efforts as my group has done. I inner city mostly Latino kids kids to build planes from kits, then fly them. I also teach with the probation department Fatherhood program and bring them flying. If you are instructing them at an AMA field they are covered by your registration on the plane.

    2. Why would you stop using models? The issue with the FAA is about registering models so if someone flies where they shouldn’t be the FAA/police can go after them (I’m sure it will lead to other problems for us in the future). If you fly the models within the AMA rules then you shouldn’t have an issue. I know that University of Southern Cal uses models as part of the Aero. Engineering courses.

    3. Professor,
      As I see it, if you are flying under 400 feet, are the required distance from an airport, and are not flying in what could be considered a reckless or unsafe manner, then you are good to go. Period. That’s how I see it.

    4. “We have now ceased doing this on account of uncertainty in the rules.”

      There is no uncertainty. Last month the AMA advised us to register. This is because right now the only rule interpretations that mean anything are the ones we get from the FAA and that’s not going to change anytime soon.

      Unless there is some hidden agenda here, all it takes to fly is to register. Deal with the changes when and if they come.

    5. That’s the whole point. They want to sniffle learning and intelligence. Remove actual learning and intelligence from the equation and what do you have ? A populous which is more sheepish to the powers that be. I received my PhD in electrical and computer engineering ( specializing in system identification, signal processing, and simulation ) with experience ( including high level research ) in aerospace ( mostly DoD related ) and on-and-off ventures in academia. Today’s PhD is now equivalent to yesterday’s MS degree. That’s how far things have regressed.

  14. UAS registration is a tempest in a teapot. The real danger is the FAA’s complete shutdown of the flying fields of 13 AMA afialiated clubs and threats of legal action against law abiding modelers if they fly in an arbitrarily determined SFRA. This has happened and is currently ongoing in the Washington DC area and affects possibly 4000 model aircraft enthusiasts. If this is not challenged in the most determined way, there is a serious possibility the FAA will impose shutdowns on other areas of the country. I’m extremely concerned that my club and the others in the DC area will dissolve because we have no place to fly within a reasonable distance of our homes. This will be a loss of many outreach programs as well as a very negative effect on the hobby merchants who have donated much time and merchandise to further our educational and club programs.

    1. How about operating RC surface vehicles at the site for the duration of time that the closure issue is being discussed with the FAA and Homeland Security? There are a lot of interesting ground vehicles that could be used for activities including youth programs, etc. This could possibly include ground effect machines (hovercraft). Another fun ground vehicle is the sail-propelled land yacht (aks a wind wagon). Yet another fun vehicle is the ice boat (sail or power propelled). Think outside of the box and have some fun doing it.

  15. With all due respect, I believe it is time all AMA members sat down and sent an email to their Senators and Representatives in Washington and let them know how we feel about the FAA, its regulators, and the outright ignoring of the law by the FAA.

    Not only send emails, but call their district offices near you and voice your opposition to what the FAA is doing. This is an election year for all of the House of Representatives and 1/3rd of the Senate. Let them know how you feel and where you stand.

    Time to stand up to the bureaucrats and regulators. Thanks for your time.

    1. It is way past time. They are not just “ignoring the law”, they, like the IRS, VA and probably other agencies we don’t know about yet, are thumbing their nose at the Congress, our representatives.

      I posted the following somewhere else a month or two ago, can’t remember where, but I believe it to be even more true today.

      This was the FAA’s response to the assertion that the registration of model aircraft is prohibited by section 336 of Public Law 112-95.:

      “The FAA disagrees with the comments asserting that the registration of model aircraft is prohibited by section 336 of Public Law 112-95. While section 336 bars the FAA from promulgating new rules or regulations that apply only to model aircraft, the prohibition against future rulemaking is not a complete bar on rulemaking and does not exempt model aircraft from complying with existing statutory and regulatory requirements. As previously addressed, Public Law 112-95 identifies model aircraft as aircraft and as such, the existing statutory aircraft registration requirements implemented by part 47 apply.

      This is the real problem.

      From the FAA FAQ:

      Q6. Does the FAA have the authority to require registration of UAS used by modelers and hobbyists?
      A. Yes. By statute all aircraft are required to register. Congress has defined “aircraft” to include UAS, regardless of whether they are operated by modelers and hobbyists.
      my note: I think this definition comes from law written many years ago when no one would confuse a model aircraft with a real one.

      This is simply a poor definition by congress that allows the FAA to lawyer their way around the intent of the law. Our representatives need to modify the definition in the law so there is no way the FAA can be yet another agency that thumbs its nose at the Congress.

      For the AMA to be talking to the FAA at this time is a wasted effort that should be directed to our Congressman.

      AMA is clearly over it’s head dealing with the FAA and the government’s seemingly unlimited legal staff. Instead of asking each RC pilot to write an individual letter to congress, AMA should follow the lead of other organizations by putting a petition on their web site for all RC pilots, not just AMA, to sign. All Congress cares about is the signature being from their state anyway, they don’t read the letters.

      This was done by AARP when Obama tried to cut Social Security to pay for “Obama care” and they successfully stopped it. Over a half million signatures got there attention.

      Somehow AMA needs to rediscover the organization that got section 336 passed in the first place.

  16. I am curious of one thing. What words are spoken by OUR Congressman when you tell him
    that another agency is stepping on a Law of these United States? What are the WORDS?

    1. It makes not difference because they are getting their ass handed to them by the VA and IRS.

  17. It is so disappointing,the FAA can have such a kneejerk reaction to opportunities lost due to “FEAR”. Hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens are being punished with useless regulations that can’t even be policed.
    The manufactures of drones can easily install equipment to police the drone. Equipment that refuses to ascend more than 400 feet AGL. Equipment that avoids aircraft. Equipment that avoids traffic and cities and populations.
    By reading the News everyday it it obvious, even the manufactures can’t fix stupid. Nor can the FAA.
    I would like to see a lot more common sense from our government leadership!

  18. What every body does not realize, is the government does not care about us. The FAA suddenly realized that they could collect a fortune from AMA members. Lookat it like this at $5.00 dollars per member, nearly 2 million members. Do the math. All government officials are a greedy bunch. We need to recycle the entir U.S. Government, from the president on down, just clean house.

  19. With the FAA takover of the model aircraft I have no use for the AMA. The FAA is now in charge of safety for model aircraft. I am not flying any planes at this time and do not intend to acknoledge a corrupt buracracy that is using faulty data to push a registration agnda which is pushed down to the local level to police. Anyone who registeres with the FAA is simply giving in to political pressure, and now is on a list to be harrased at any time for no reason. It is sad that I must sell my planes and no longer enjoy flying while every licensed driver in this country operates a far more deadly piece of equipment every day and yet you can break numerious laws with them and still be allowed to drive.

    1. I completely agree. I have begun selling off all my planes. I have been doing this for almost 50 years and I am gut punched over this whole thing, its like saying good bye to a cherished friend. I am a bass fisherman so I guess I can spend my weekends fishing, but it just wont be the same.

    2. In the AMA proposed update to PL112-95 section 336, I noted that it now includes an expanded definition of what it takes to be a CBO. Hasn’t AMA already been designated one? So why is this added?

      The language adds a requirement that the organization be involved in flying sites. In doing so, what AMA is doing is raising the bar for any potential competitors – so it’s clear the AMA’s goal isn’t so much preservation of the hobby as it is subtly using the law to compel membership in AMA vice other organizations.

      It’s all about they money. The “preserve the hobby” is obfuscation. AMA is all about preserving the hobby so long as they’re the only ones doing it.

  20. Might I suggest someone (like me) hosting a fun fly on Feb. 20th of non-FAA registered aircraft only. We could promote it as a protest and hope they would not trample our 1st amendment rights… wait…2nd amendment…no, no, its 1st amendment…protected using the 2nd amendment…

  21. More money wasted so they could take pictures of themselves after meeting with not a sole with the power to do anything for us.
    Party time on our $$$$.

    1. Yeah, I also noticed they wouldn’t name the specific Congressmen or Senators who agreed to meet with them personally. Suspect the list is short.

  22. I. too, wish to learn the responses of those with whom you met. Especially Senator James Inhofe who was instrumental in getting the Special Rule for Model Aircraft enacted.

  23. I concur 100% with with Techieferret’s February 2, 2016 reply…..

    “The best solution is to get Congress to stop the FAA from continuing to walk on our rights and on Congress’ toes and get behind John Taylor on his lawsuit.”

    Our AMA leadership needs to MORE VIGOROUSLY get behind the current lawsuit and put a stop to what the FAA is attempting to do. The courts interprept laws NOT the FAA.

  24. If I refuse to register my aircraft with the FAA, what penalties will I face? What legal transgression has taken place? How big a fine, what time in prison?
    If we all refuse to register what will the FAA do?
    Particularly, as the FAA is treading on the feet of a Congressional ruling on Model Aircraft, what power does it have to administer such draconian regulations?
    In view of such questions, I too, would appreciate more details of what was actually discussed and what were the replies by those in Congress. You met with 37 different offices. What were their replies to your questions and points made?

  25. I have just started flying model aircraft as a retirement hobby. I have opted to fly sailplanes (gliders). I have equipped my sailplane with an altitude limiter that is settable from 50 to 150 meters (165 Ft-495 Ft) AGL. Total flying weight is 0.83 Kgm
    (30 ounces). I am a member of an AMA chartered club that maintains a fixed flying field. The club adheres to all AMA rules.
    During the recent Christmas season, I observed retail stores, including the so-called big box retailers selling “DRONE” multi bladed aircraft literally by the thousands TO ANY ONE without any mention of having to comply with any “rules or regulations”.
    If the FAA or even Congress thinks that they can regulate the ownership or use of these devices they are badly mistaken unless the actual manufacture and sale of such things is made illegal. Then the enforcement of such “laws” would become not only impossible, but ludicrous.Heaven help us.

  26. Is the Faa legally able to create funds for itself? With our members money at 170000 times $5 they will get $850,000. Plus any non AMA money. Do they have to prove this money is just to cover the cost of this necessary rule? Or does part of our just used to pay for wages and graff? Who do they report any profit to ? I know it `s three years away but this seems like a lot . They are given funds to run their office and now they seem to have found a way to get more money.

    1. It’s pretty ironic that I can go out and buy a 240 lb. Quicksilver, or other ultralight and fly it with no registration, and yet if I were to build a 2.4 lb. R/C model of the same aircraft that would require registration before I could legally fly it.

      And no, ironic isn’t the word I’d like to use to describe this, but you get the idea.

      1. I argue there’s an important difference why. What happens if you’re flying your quicksilver recklessly and something bad happens as a result? Now what happens if you’re doing the same with your model? Two vastly different levels of personal risk. The level of risk you assume when flying the Quicksilver recklessly far outweighs the risk of flying a model recklessly. Now, if modelers want to find a way to assume the same personal risk if they crash their model as they do when they crash their airplane, then fine – make the registration requirement the same. But I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

  27. What specific actions will the members of Congress take as a result of this meeting?

  28. All I see here is the AMA took a vacation in Washington DC no proof that anything they have done so far is anything more then hot air and a waste of our money. As I previously stated this is what I get for becoming a life member. The AMA is just another nut less gutless wander

  29. I have written to both my Senators and my Congressman from Colorado. I will say that the Republican Sen and Congressman responded positively to my inquires But Sen. Bennet as usual, sent me a form letter saying thanks for the input, We have no action in the Senate on anything to do with FAA so there is nothing I can do. Just the usual bureaucratic response that I have gotten from him in the past…

  30. It is indeed sad that the FAA has obviously overstepped their bounds by trying to regulate “model aircraft” What in the congressional mandate is unclear regarding the term “model aircraft”??? ‘Seems like the FAA is trying to “muscle” its way into the lives of hobbyists in spite of what Congress intended.

    It also seems that the major concern is with “drones” (i.e. “multicopters”) and their abilities to invade airspace where they should not be flying. So perhaps the FAA should try to regulate “multicopters” (and any other UASs that have cameras and/or FPV capabilities) and leave us “regular model flyers” the heck alone!

  31. The U. S. Government is injecting their political views upon the public.
    The apparent lack of “common sense” and the lack of meeting in the middle
    serves no AMA member well.

  32. It would be very wise if the AMA would add a link to ALL modelers Senators and Representatives as the AMA has done in the past. What is profound is the fact only a dozen went with the AMA and its higher ups to address Congress. While that is a good start, how about including EVERYONE just like the time the AMA made it very convenient to go to the AMA’s website and one could easily be linked to members in Congress and write them a heartfelt letter. I believe since the FAA wants to be relentless in violating the LAW, it is only fair that we, the SAFE model aviators that we are, also be relentless in reaffirming the LAW! How about it AMA? Sound like a plan?

  33. Its time for the AMA to file a strong class action suit against the FAA’s illegal bullying of modelers, and particularly of our organization.

    What’s next? Registration as a means for future confiscation? Model aircraft aren’t guns,for pity’s sake! Are gun owners legally obligated to register their weapons with the BATF? No, they’re not…

    Enough is enough. Time to fight hard for our rights.

    Thank you!

  34. A lot of nice pictures but I still had to register with the FAA. I’m not impressed.

  35. What were the ages of AMA member attendees and legal representatives attending this
    meeting? Was Senator John Cornyn present in this meeting? Furthermore, has anyone at
    the AMA ever called John since this back flush began?

    There is a reason Spl. Pro. 336 was written into the law which passed. Would make a
    little more sense to gather up what’s left of our Senate friends for an earful of FAA
    non-compliance with provisions of John’s and Sen. Kay Baily Hutchison (ret) “LAW”.

    You’ll note the FAA waited until Kay retired before practicing creative law 101…like
    their boss does on a daily basis. I’d bet Kay would accept an invitation to attend the
    next meeting you conduct. Ask John if you need some help with Kay… 😉

  36. Unfortunately, attaining support for this issue (by offering a reasonable and fair solution) from our current bureaucrats, will be as difficult as finding an honest politician. Nevertheless, I appreciate your efforts and hope for your success.

  37. It appears that the AMA just waisted a bunch of money on a trip to Washington. Perhaps it is time to accept the inevitable (based on the precious success of AMA input for pre legislative action and resign the AMA mission to non-regulatory, and simply provide insurance at a reasonable cost for all flyers.

    Good luck on your futile attempts at controlling or even providing input on legislation in Washington DC!

  38. Kay and John held purse strings to the FAA Modernization Bill. Threatened with no
    funding FAA would rewrite their proposed law to exclude Recreational Radio Control Aviation.

  39. It is my sincerest hope that enough members of the AMA tell them to “get stuffed” and drop their membership. The AMA in it’s current form has changed from an organization to a business. Outside of the insurance exactly what good is the AMA? It’s my opinion that the whole board should be voted out of office and replaced with people who actually have “a pair”. Look to the NRA for a model to follow. If enough people stepped away from the hobby then the Hobby Kings and DJI’s of the world would notice the drop in revenue and push their lobbyist to push back on our representatives. My current membership expires 12/2017. Is there any way to get a refund of the remaining dues if I quit?

    1. Ask what’s the value? You’re forgetting the first class flying club in Muncie that all of us fund for the AMA execs and staff.

  40. CHAD,

    1. Yes, you can read about this in our emails, posts, and and comments starting on December 15, 2015.

  41. You can’t fix stupid. If you point a laser pointer at an aircraft its a Federal Offence. Why not make breaking the rules we adhere to the same or similar offence?
    And make belonging to the AMA & a club mandatory to fly RC anything. Then you would be taught the rules of safe modeling,getting a Pilots licence to fly alone once you’ve completed training. Let the AMA handle this as it has for decades, but with a little more muscle. The multi-rotors are just to easy to fly without instruction.

    1. “Make belonging to the AMA & a club mandatory…”
      Talk about restrictive regulation!
      “Getting a Pilots license to fly alone once you’ve completed training…”
      Sorry, Nick, but you’re proposing more regulations than the FAA.


      1. I agree! That’s the whole problem! MAKING and FORCING people to do things that VIOLATE their CIVIL and CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS! Being free means having a choice. And whatever choice your given, there should never be a THREAT to impose excessive fines and FELONY criminal charges. Especially when those choices are written into LAW!!!

        What a bunch of damned thugs and criminals we have running these CRIME organizations!

        We ain’t free. You want to play? Then go PAY! Right AMA?????

  42. I want to thank the AMA for their efforts in dealing with the FAA and advocating for its members.

    I realize, after spending hours on the AMA blogs and other blog sites that there is a lot of negativity towards the AMA and what has transpired in the last months with regards to the registration process, so here are some of my thoughts.

    We, AMA members, would not still be in any negotiating position if it wasn’t for the AMA and its efforts leading to PL 112-95 in 2012. This resulted in PL112-95 Sec. 336 and will become, in my opinion, the pillar for our hobby’s legal argument going forward, AMA has to be credited for this, period.

    Just like the FAA is needing to educate modelers about safety in the National Airspace System (NAS) mostly addressing the need to educate uninformed newcomers to the hobby, non AMA members, that purchased their sUAV at Walmart, BestBuy, Amazon etc… (and I am not directing this towards the FPV community at all), the AMA is now faced with educating the FAA (and many of its newly appointed UAV employees) about exactly what is involved with model aircraft operation under PL112-95 Sec. 336. It is unfortunate, that under extreme political and media pressure, the FAA felt compelled to lump Sec.336 operators in a national registration scheme.

    I am still hopeful that, because AMA’s efforts with having Congress create an exclusion for model Aircrafts flown under PL112-95 Sec. 336, that we can achieve a solution that does just that, keep AMA clubs and members excluded from direct FAA oversight, but this will take time.

    So my 2 cents for some solutions:

    The FAA, in my opinion, has already created the solution by setting a precedent under Part 103, Ultralight operations. What I don’t know is whether the FAA realize it and also if the AMA realize it (AMA please feel free to chip in).

    Ultralights are defined in Part 103, but aircraft certification and pilot licensing is essentially left up to Community Based Organizations (CBO) like the EAA and the USUA.

    With this in mind, the creation of a “Part 103 Sub. B” (or however it needs to be called) for model aircraft operations under PL112-95 Sec. 336 should be a relatively simple process.

    To me, it would be a “win win” situation for the FAA and the AMA. “Part 103 Sub B” Model Aircraft Operations (if I may call it so), would now be defined under the FAR’s (Basically the text in Section 336), it would be in compliance with PL112-95 Sec. 336 (as I believe Congress intended for Model aircraft not to be affected or burdened by any new FAA regulations) and oversight would be left up to the AMA under their current bylaws and safety guidelines as a CBO, with their 80+ years of experience.
    Seems simple enough, why has this not been brought up yet? At least I have not seen any reference to such a solution.

    On another point, why are AMA sanctioned Clubs, model aircraft flying sites, not added to the manned aircraft Sectional Charts by the FAA?
    I believe the FAA has also created the precedent for this. In their best efforts to improve the safety of the NAS, the FAA should do this now.

    The FAA publication named “FAA Aeronautical User’s Guide, 12th edition October 2013”
    depicts, on page 48, symbols that refers to “Miscellaneous Airspace Areas”, they are:

    • Parachute Jumping Area
    • Glider Operating Area
    • Ultralight Activity
    • Hang Glider Activity
    • Unmanned Aircraft Activity

    So why not simply add “Model Aircraft Activity”?

    This would effectively and immediately improve the safety of the NAS.

    Yes, I know we are, as Model Aircraft Operators, tasked with the “see and avoid” concept and must stay clear of manned aircrafts, no arguments here. But so are manned aircrafts under Part 91.113.

    I am not saying that manned Aircrafts should give way to model aircrafts but if manned Aircrafts do not know who we are, what we do and most importantly where we are, an opportunity is lost for manned aircrafts to identify our activity during their preflight planning and possibly avoid direct over flight of model aircraft flying sites. It is truly no different than for the above mentioned 5 activities and why they are published on the charts. As a matter of fact, this is one of the argument the FAA is using to justify the NEW Operator registration Requirement.

    Finally, in the short term, and with the intend of improving the safety of the NAS, why not allow sanctioned clubs to publish a NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) with their exact location defined, and type of activity (i.e. Lat/Long, Navigation Facility Bearing and Distance, 1 mile radius, up to XYZ altitude. XYZ being affected by overlying airspace like Class B/C/D of course).

    I would almost say that technically, under current FAR’s, clubs should do this (in my opinion, not legal advise). NOTAMS are designed to alert Manned Aircrafts of any potential activity that could affect safety of flight. As an example, temporary cranes, towers under construction, fireworks near airports, the same for laser shows and the list goes on. Some of those examples eventually make it to the charts permanently, just like Model Aircraft Fields should.

    I think this concept is consistent with FAA Regulation and their mandate to improve safety of the NAS
    These are relatively simple solutions, am I missing something here?

    Unless the safety of the NAS is not the number one priority here (and I am only suggesting these solution for Model Aircrafts flown under PL112-95 Sec. 336), then in my humble opinion, this should not be that difficult to achieve.

    Yes I realize politics and large special interest are involved here but I deliberately do not want to go into this discussion in this blog. Let’s just focus on Model Aircrafts flown under PL112-95 sec. 336 consistent with Congress’ intent, FAR’s and AMA.

    AMA, can you comment on the above potential solutions and whether they have been raised with the FAA:

    1) A new subpart under Part 103 (or equivalent).
    2) Inclusion of Model Aircraft Fields on Sectional Charts.
    3) Issuance of a NOTAM by sanctioned clubs over their flying fields.

    Thank you for your efforts.

    1. At this time we cannot share too many details about proposed revisions to the FAA Modernization and Reform Act, but we did discuss flying sites.

    2. Thank you for your thoughtful and reasoned comments, Gunnar. It’s refreshing to see some constructive ideas emerge from the too many cathartic outbursts. Like you, I appreciate and support AMA’s efforts to protect the hobby its members love and enjoy. Of course, I encourage the leadership to keep their minds open to members’ proposals, such as yours. In fact, I plan to pass them along to my Congressman and Senators.

    3. Your comments are respected and appreciated, but Ultrlight Aircraft are not R/C aircraft, in that they have a human on board, an essential part of the definition of Unmanned Aerial Systems, or, as we like to call them, R/C aircraft.
      An important piece that is overlooked is that the AMA may think of themselves as a unique entity, but a regulation would need to allow members of “community-based organizations” to be included. That means ANY R/C club or organization. People could just make up clubs at will to avoid registering. How could one enact a law that places a PRIVATE organization in a position to allow exemption from federal regulation? Where is the precedent?
      FYI: your note regarding definitions to miscellaneous airspace areas includes “Unmanned Aircraft Activity”, which is R/C. Adding “Model Aircraft Activity” would be redundant.


      Scott R. O’Connor

      1. Scott, thanks for taking the time to read my comments and respond to them, it is this kind of positive debate about the issues we need.
        I would like to respond to your remarks with what I understand to be the significance of the UAV symbol. While the FAA has muddied the water in its reinterpretation of model aircrafts it did define them a SUAV’s and not UAV’s. It is my understanding that the UAV symbol represent civil and Goverment test site facilities, but I may be wrong. However, if it did represent model aircrafts, why are our fields not depicted? By what means would the FAA know where they are? The AMA surely has not given them that info or they would have mentioned it. I would love to be wrong as I would push for our club to be depicted.

        On the issue of anybody becoming a CBO I feel that this is what the FAA could define in whatever part they choose to create for model aircrafts, 103 B or other. While I feel AMA safety guidelines would need to be tweaked to lign up with airspace requirements, over all they have a longstanding safety track record to be the first “official” CBO for madel aircrafts. I certainly understand you argument and do not want to see hundreds of small groups popping up like you said, that’s where I feel the could have a say in certifying the CBO itself.

        Thanks again for your comments and I hope this may clarify my comments.

  43. I have over 30 rc aircraft.Glad to see I only have to register myself. But I like to fly gliders the most. I still have some I built in the 1970s.Us glider pilots don’t start flying till over 4 or 500 feet.What are we to do ? I have put an aircraft up over 1800′.My personal best. We always have spoters, and look outs. Our motto is ,We fly high,We fly low,We fly safe! Nova.

  44. Since AMA is representing me, as a member of AMA, I would like to see the transcripts/notes from these meetings. Who spoke and what did they say?

    Thank you

    1. I am also an AMA member (#1082138) and second the call for a list of who was met with and complete transcripts of all meetings on The Hill. In the absence of this information, we only have leadership’s word that “much was accomplished”. If this is not forthcoming, I will call for a vote of no-confidence in and immediate emergency election to replace current leadership and recommend all members do the same.

  45. Typical of all the statements that I have received from the AMA, long on words – short on facts. Still no reply to the first commentator. Whom, by name and function, did our team meet with? What was their reply to the FAA’s infringing on 336? What compromises were discussed. IN DETAIL! That’s MY money you are spending on your actions and I am currently less than impressed.

    In today’s climate of concern for terrorist activities do you really believe that any legislator or Judge will speak/act in any way that suggests that the FAA will be blocked? If so please share with us your diet secrets! And I would actively fight against any “AMA designated flying spaces only rule”. I am a member for insurance and some ability to have our viewpoint heard – not to have a new lord and master. I have spent over 40 happy years in parks, parking lots, fields, etc. And yes – I do not fly when others are nearby plus follow all the safety rules.

    Again……facts please.

  46. Out of the five news agencies mentioned in the sentence about the “press junket,” I saw just two articles: One by Popular Science and another by Politico. I’m not sure the first one is a top drawer read for staffers, but it’s good they wrote something. What concerned me was the Politico piece mentioned what sure sounds like significant opposition in the Senate.

    Did you meet with any members or just their staff?

      1. Ok, it seems we have to be very specific in our questions….

        By name, which legislators did AMA meet with directly? After all, some here might want to send letters of thanks.

        1. Wasting your breath Frank…AMA doesn’t want to tell you their secrets. They sold out on everyone and are working with the FAA, not CONGRESS! Anyone who can’t be open with the ones they represent are NOT honest! Laws are made behind closed doors and laws are passed without no one ever reading them first which is in fact UNCONSTITUTIONAL. For The People my ass. It’s more like what benefits them and the hell with the rest, in spite of the fact we are the reason they are there in the first place. Hush, hush, don’t ask anymore questions because if they told you the truth, it would expose who and what they were about all along…….LIARS and THUGS!!!

          Anyone interested in starting a REAL Community Based Organization (CBO) let me know. I believe it’s time we get rid of the AMA and start a new Model Aircraft Organization that is willing and able to fight for its members RIGHTS and be TRANSPARENT! We will make John Taylor our President as he is a lone VOICE that took it upon himself to do what needed to be done and because it is the RIGHT thing to do!!!

  47. There is a reason why Persephone, an idol of the Goddess of he!! stands on top of our Government.

    The AMA needs to do more than send me advertisements of overpriced T shirts and hats.

  48. I wanted to take the time to post my findings on this topic.
    This is my official response to the FAA assumed authority upon model aircraft. Which is prohibited by congress mandate “special rule for model aircraft” sec 336 of the 2012 modernization act.

    I wish to address the issue of SFRA and the FAA imposing impossible “real aircraft” regulations upon “model aircraft” and “SUAS” in the 2120 square miles around DC outside the FRZ. The SFRA has no wording contained in its special rules that say “model aircraft” or “Small UAS” must comply with the rules of the SFRA.

    The inclusion of such requirements in the revised version of “Advisory Circular” 91-57a. This document is “advice” to “model aircraft” operators and nothing contained in 91-57a gives the FAA the authority to treat it as enforceable law. The word “advisory” has a very clear definition.

    The FAA recent attempt to redefine the word “Aircraft” to include “model aircraft” and “SUAS” Is an unsubstantiated legal claim. The FAA, by this legally questionable spin of words is attempting to bypass the mandates of congress. Thus retroactively applying all the rules for full scale aircraft upon model aircraft and SUAS.

    The inclusion of the SFRA against model aircraft and SUAS operations, which have occurred in the SFRA and outside the FRZ for decades without issue is illegal and unenforceable. The idea that someone flying a model aircraft in the middle of the Chesapeake bay is a threat to national security is ridiculous.

    Rules and regulations must be administered with the scope and scale of the craft being flown. The FAA has no rules for model aircraft or SUAS and by its attempt to apply all full scale aircraft rules. It’s clearly shown it will not create rules that make sense or are based on true and relevant dangers. This attitude and approach by the FAA will only further delay rules that are based on size, weight, height and area.

    I welcome the FAA to make rules that apply to SUAS and the legally accepted definition by congress. I do not accept or welcome the FAA attempts to regulate “model aircraft” as defined by congress.

  49. Congress gave the bureaucrates the stultify to make regulations so those that make the regs carry the big sticks. What comes next, background checks, 3 day waiting period, mental exam? So what happens to the models over 55 lbs. Register as a full scale aircraft and be forced to comply with all FARs.

  50. It seems to me that the FAA should worry about the millions of drones that are sold in stores. AMA members are responsible users of drones etc. The FAA should find a way to register all drones that have been sold!

  51. What will be the point of the AMA if we all instead end up bound by FAA rules and purchase third party insurance (if we choose). $5 every 3 years for FAA registration sounds better than $75 annually through these AMA. Talking and inviting people out to flying fields won’t change anything. Not sure who thinks that is a good strategy. Unfortunately, we are in an age where lawsuits and media pressure are the only things that invoke change. Go on 60 Minutes, 20/20, Dateline, something.

    1. There is definitely a conflict of interest here with AMA, in that getting the FAA to identify the AMA as an organization which would allow one exemption from federal regulations could result in driving people to join the AMA instead of registering with FAA.
      This would be a great windfall for the AMA, or any other organization charging dues and allowing one an exemption from regulation.

      Scott R. O’Connor

    2. Todd,

      You’re on to something. I pulled the most recent IRS990’s for the AMA that are publicly available – 2011, 2012, and 2013. Each covers a four year period, so in looking at these, one can actually see data going back to 2007.

      (1) Per these forms, AMA consistently gets about 93% of its revenue from “membership dues.”

      (2) In constant 2013 dollars, AMA membership dues have fallen each year between 1.44% and 6.48% for a total drop over the period of 19.8%.

      To me, this creates a powerful incentive to use law to drive membership.

  52. Chad,
    Please answer the question. Why won’t the AMA publish what was said? It’s not illegal by any means. “Not Answering” will imply that nothing was accomplished. This question and it’s answer will be published on RC Groups, along with whether or not the question even gets published here.
    The time has come for talk, to put up or walk.

  53. I agree that the very best solution to this ridiculous situation is also the simplest. LINE OF SIGHT! If you cannot see your aircraft while flying, you need to register it. We just need to stick to this most basic rule.

    I know this is far easier said than done with “politicians” involved, but our best shot at this is if each member will take the time necessary to contact as many of their representatives as possible and set forth this very simple distinction regarding flying model aircraft.

    This is just another sickening example of our government run amok. Please spread the word and take the time to be proactive about this situation. Thanks.

  54. I find it deplorable that the FAA can run roughshod over the mdeling community in the manner which they are doing. I , also, agree with most of the above comments. Where are our freedoms going? It appears our government is no longer interested in representing us “little” people, but furthering the erosion of our rights established by our founding fathers

    We need to continue to bring pressure on our elected officials. Either they need to curb this intrusion of our rights, or we need to elect someone who will.

  55. I saw a newscast today, some Police Dept. is now training Hawks to capture a drone in flight, they showed a real video of a hawk in action so looks like we don’t need the FAA to control things.
    Anyway, after working 57 years in Aviation under FAR’s, I don’t see where or how the FAA expects to Police every Model Airplane or Helicopter Pilot. They are so short of manpower they can’t cover the Nation’s Airway system, MRO’s, FBO’s, Pilots and Mechanics, plus now they have a shortage of Air Traffic Controllers.
    What AMA needs to do is wash their hands of anyone violating AMA rules or flying in the NAS where they should not be..and the Federalies need to punish those who do so.
    Making us register our models is just another way for government to track us.

  56. First of all, I think the modeler community needs to come up with its own set of rules regarding how its members fly their aircraft, rather than allowing the FAA to dictate the rules. If modelers sit on their butts and wave their hands in the air saying that nothing can be done, then they are just getting what they deserve and are abandoning their hobby to government bureaucrats who do not care and are only concerned with piloted aircraft. Several years ago government bureaucrats tried to abolish high powered rocketry. People in that hobby resisted and preserved their hobby. It is time for aircraft modelers to do the same. Second, there are people in the FAA who are themselves RC modelers who fly model aircraft with autopilots (I personally do not like the terms UAS or drones, because those terms were created by the government for aircraft which only the government can afford). Those FAA modelers are not common, but they are the best potential voice for the modelling community in the government, if the government is listening.

  57. I keep getting the same old emails from AMA stating the same thing.. What is being done to STOP the FAA from their illegal law requiring registration…I joined the AMA not even a year ago, then this whole drone debacle started.. We all were told to hold off on registering our model planes until further notice, then we were told to go ahead with the illegal registration policy, but as far as I know was never told why the sudden change to go ahead with registration..I haven’t even had one club President or member contact me. I have sent emails when I have the time with no response.. In short, exactly what are we paying for with AMA membership? PLEASE tell members what is going on within the AMA. As you can tell people are starting to get upset as if back door deals are going on, and if that is the case why should I even bother to be a member….Sorry, but it feels like we can’t trust anyone anymore…

  58. Did the AMA meet with Senator James Inhofe (R-OK)?

    If not, then why in heck not?????

    Inhofe sponsored Sec. 336 which specifically exempts RC hobbyists from FAA rules.
    This was passed into Federal law.

    Again, Sec. 336 is the law of this country.

    The AMA should expend effort to enlist Inhofe….rather than fight the bureaucratic capriciousness of the FAA.

    This is a political issue, in a sense.

    The head of the FAA is merely a political hack, whose only proven expertise is to “bundle” campaign donations for politicians running for election/re-election.

    In return, these hacks get appointed to a high government position such as the FAA, as Huerta did.

    Our hobby is “easy meat” for the whims of feckless bureaucrats with a political agenda.

    Sen. Inhofe is on our side….take advantage of his being on our side.

    Heck, why not contact Trump? Have a AMA club in the NY area(or invite him to an event…..get him on our side.

    From my experience, this is the “way things work”.

    Nambypambying with the FAA will get us nowhere, as we have seen.

    The AMA and it’s membership has formed a “community based” organization in all 50 states. Which can be used to “influence” political candidates to see it our way….or we will use our organization to vote out those politicians that are not with us.

    It’s dirty…it’s messy….and sadly…..that’s the way things are now.

    It’s time for the AMA to “take off the gloves”.


    1. I forgot to include this…..

      For all the good the AMA and it’s membership does……with regards to “kids”, food drives, etc……How on earth could any politician be against us?

      They would appear as being against the “kids”…against educating kids…..against food drives…..etc……They would looks like total fools, and would be fearful of our organization’s influence.

      And then, we would all be playing on a “level table”.

      Sad…but that’s the way it is.

      1. Joe – It’s easy for them because they can no longer be considered part of the human race. People who have been engulfed with GREED, POWER, and CORRUPTION have had their souls robbed of any dignity !

  59. If anyone would like contact information in the Pa,Lehigh Valley area for Pat Toomey just let me know. He is one of my customers. There was a comment made earlier in the thread about ‘line of sight’ and I have to agree. The AMA should not be accepting registration or responsibility for aircraft that fly outside the line of sight of the operator. The FAA even refers to the term ‘Drones’ numerous times in their BS ‘law’ that was enacted. This is their main point of concern, not remote controlled airplanes that are within the limits of your line of sight. Drones should be classified in an entirely different category from planes. Possibly drones and helicopters (any type of aircraft with the ability for sustained hovering capabilities which is equipped with any form of audio or video recording devices or has the abilities of autonomous flight) should have their own classification separate from model aircraft and be excluded from the AMA and would need to be registered with the FAA. Now this type of addendum I can understand and also could understand the concerns of these type of craft being flown without any documentation being on file with the FAA. We need to pick our battles here and not just be trying to wipe what the FAA wants under the rug. A compromise needs to be attained and I think the fore mentioned would be the way to approach the situation.

  60. The AMA is not providing any relevant information in this communication. Is the AMA pursuing the wishes of their members or their own agenda concerning beyond line of sight drones/UAV’s? Defending beyond line of sight model operations is a loosing battle and is partly the blame for where we are today.

    The AMA states that the FAA is burdening modelers with registration requirements. It appears to me the most destructive burden and contributor to loosing fields is the AMA’s defense of beyond line of sight flying camera tripods at the expense of its members and our flying fields.

    I have nothing against quadcopters, however, the ability to fly beyond line of sight due to on board camera’s and guidance systems has proven to be detrimental to our hobby and should not be supported by AMA. Perceived dangers they pose, whether real or not, will not be tolerated by the general public, who are the majority.

  61. What if anything was discussed RE: Control Line Flying, or has AMA totally abandoned Control Line? Admittedly C/L is not the size of RC but it’s what started AMA in the first place. Let’s not forget our heritage and roots. Very little justification for the laws re: RC absolutely NONE for restrictions on C/L yet there seems to be NOTHING on the radar of our AMA officials on this issue. Perhaps it’s time to get new AMA officials, I hope such is not the case but the optics seem to suggest there is not the slightest interest by AMA in resolving the issue for C/L members

    1. CL and FF models not considered unmanned aircraft systems by the FAA. You can read more details in our previous emails and blog posts.

      1. At a recent FAA presentation in Los Angeles, the FAA representative specifically answered the question – his statement was that CL IS included as is anything over .55 lb. This is consistent with the FAA document here:

        and this

        Nowhere is there ANY distinction between RC/Drones and CL or FF models.

        This distinction made by the AMA as “not a UAS because it doesn’t use a ground control station” is *nowhere to be found* in any official document. Maybe they do not intend to regulate FF and CL but their intent is not actually stated outright anywhere.

        This distinction *must be made* in OFFICIAL FAA documents to be of any use. Please acknowledge that the AMA is actively pursuing a clarification, or tell us if they are not.

        1. As part of the UAS registration task force, CL and FF were not intended to be part of UAS registration. The FAA website confirms this by stating unmanned aircraft system includes the communication links and components that control the small unmanned aircraft along with all of the other elements needed to safely operate the drone. Since most FF and CL aircraft do not have communication links, they are not UAS.

          As the old saying goes, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.” Right now the FAA doesn’t consider FF and CL as UAS. It is probably advantageous for FF and CL pilots to not squeak too much to the FAA for fear the FAA may apply grease and give that discipline of modeling more attention.

          1. Hold on a minute! This was a reasonable question and request, and I don’t need a threat in response.

            We have FAA representatives saying we ARE included. We have “guide for law enforcement” that says anything above 0.55 lb is covered and mentions nothing about “communication links” or ground control stations. A reasonable person might consider a pair of wires a “communication link” and a C/L model a “tethered drone”.

            Only a convoluted reading of the actual bill language of the “intent” that suggests otherwise. I think you/the AMA is reading the intent correctly, but that doesn’t really help too much.

            This needs to get clarified and the AMA is supposed to be our representatives. No other conduit to the AMA seems to be responsive, so I am asking here. If this is not the right place, then please let me know where is the right place.

          2. Hi Brett,

            Sorry if my reply was interpreted as a threat, of course that was never intended.

            The text from my post above was a direct copy and paste from one the FAA’s definition on their website. Reviewing that definition, coupled with our our direct communications with the FAA, we are confident that CL and FF are excluded from UAS registration.

  62. Here’s an idea – instead of putting the only people doing the fighting on the spot, why not get together and pitch a few tents outside to not just show that we exist, but also to show our support for them and to raise public awareness to at least counter the ill-intended propaganda that has gone unchecked for the past few years.

    1. Hector – something is definitely needed because there are now too many people with THICK skulls where GREED, POWER, and CORRUPTION have robbed their souls of any human dignity. Perhaps something like back in the 1960’s – 1970’s – 1980’s with people showing their distrust and disdain is in order. Remember Woodstock !

      1. Hector – RC flying was so much more enjoyable with the San Francisco sound of the Airplane ( ” Jefferson Airplane ” ).

      2. Well, I wasn’t referring to a camping scenario, but more of an information booth type of interaction with the public.

        1. Hector – that’s nice but I don’t think more information is the real problem here.If information was the real issue then this should have been brought up a long time ago before this all happened.


      3. How about Watergate? We had a situation where our president, living in fear of not getting re-elected (when in fact there was no way he was not going to get re-elected), helped cover up a burglary that affected the Democrats in 1972. Remember the repeated denials as public pressure grew? Heck, a certain lead singer and keyboardist in a band who just got inducted into the Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame actually created a song asking said president to “please be gone – go away and leave us alone.” And it got recorded for posterity in said band’s Carnegie Hall album. This guy in said band actually predicted said president would quit a full year before the Watergate break-in took place. When it all finally came out about what really happened at Watergate, and that 18-minute gap in a tape, it was all over for said president. I will never forget the anger and distrust shown in the president and other public officials during and in the wake right after this. It isn’t just the model aircraft community that should be doing this, but the public at large, really holding these public officials accountable and let them know if they don’t start doing the right things, they will get fired by the voters. I hope it doesn’t take another Watergate for this to happen. I hope people don’t lose their sense of right and wrong, and their sense of idealism. And thanks to the newly-inducted members of the Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame – Chicago – the band one would least expect something like this from, for helping pointing the way. But then again, in the band’s early days, they were performing protest music to the hilt. And some of them became hits.

  63. Does the AMA put a section in their magazine that shows what Congressmen and Senators are pro RC Modeler versus who are against. This is a tactic the NRA has used for years and gets results! These politicians do not want to see their name in a negative to potential voters in anyway. Especially in some so lightly sensitive to the voting world.

    1. Chris – the ones I saw mentioned in the media are Dianne Feinstein ( California senator ) and Charles ( Chuck ) Schumer ( New York senator ). Namely the senator from California seems to be at the forefront.

      Take a look at … Thu, February 19, 2015

      ” California Senator Plans Legislation Regulating Recreational UAV Use … Calls Lack Of Recreational Limits A ‘Glaring Gap’ In FAA’s Authority ” … b87279f0d2

      Apparently, this senator has been at it for some time. Take a look at this from Politico March 16, 2014 .

      ” Dianne Feinstein wants drones regulated ” … 04718.html


  64. I think it’s high time AMA members (and maybe those representing us) wipe their noses and dry their eyes and stop fighting like children with the FAA.
    It seems ironic that the President of the AMA would publish an article in the November issue talking about the regulatory requirements of wireless video downlinks (FCC regulations).
    In this article, Mr.Brown proudly relates a tale of going through TRAINING and REGISTERING at a TESTING CENTER to take an EXAM to get his no-code FCC LICENSE to operate FPV gear.
    Mr.Brown gleefully jumped through hoops and had to take an exam all for an FCC license, without any statements about how the AMA should fight the FCC to remove the burden of licensing from model aircraft enthusiasts.
    Why do we willingly register our cars, boats, handguns, full-scale aircraft, snowmobiles, four-wheelers, CB radios and dogs but we don’t understand why we should get a no-action-required “permit” from the FAA?
    People take Hunter Safety courses before they can have game licenses. People born after 1995 must take a Safe Boater’s course before piloting watercraft. Pilots at our club need a check flight before they can fly at the field. I must buy a fishing license.
    I’m astonished that so many safety-minded aviators would be so blown away by a regulation of aircraft by the agency charged with regulating aircraft.
    How could any reasonable person really define a difference between “types of R/C aircraft”?
    A glow-powered plane, a gas-powered plane, a turbine-powered jet, an electric R/C plane, an R/C helicopter or a multi-rotor craft are all the same by definition. They go in the air and are controlled on the ground and there’s no one on board to take control.
    Why would we think an exemption should be made from federal regulations if you belong to a club? It would need to be ANY club to be enacted as law, you realize. AMA, IMAC or even Bob & Jon’s R/C club. People could invent R/C clubs just to get out of registering and then we’re back to square one.
    What will it take to convince aeromodelers that this is not only unavoidable (it’s ALREADY law) but is really no burden to a law-abiding, flag-waving safety-conscious R/C pilot?
    Do we need to see an R/C aircraft sucked into the turbines of a passenger jet, causing a crash and fire taking dozens of lives?
    Do we need to see some other ungodly tragedy involving R/C aircraft?
    As Mr.Brown stated in his rather untimely article, we’ve been operating under FCC regulations for fifty or sixty years and it hasn’t hurt us. I’m sure the FCC regulations prevented a lot of interference with a variety of systems including control of your own aircraft over the years, but I don’t see us fighting that. Do you WANT unregulated radios all around your airstrip and your R/C craft?
    It’s about time members of the AMA started acting like responsible adult American aviators, not children fighting over which cartoon to watch.
    We must be making a great impression on the FAA at this point, sounding like a bunch of drunken rabble clamoring for a later last call. Do we look like cooperative safety-minded individuals willing to support initiatives for the safety of all and the perpetuation of our hobby?
    Did anyone read the comments by the MANY OTHER RELATED ORGANIZATIONS, such as professional airline pilots associations, agricultural aircraft groups, experimental pilots groups and the like? Did anyone notice how courteously and respectfully they addressed the issue?
    Thanking the AMA for the opportunity to express comments on the rule, expressing succinctly and professionally their reasons for supporting the rules, or their objections to them.
    MY PEOPLE, the AMA, nearly to the point of embarrassment, just got on there with cut & paste complaints about how carrying a slip of paper in their pocket is going to infringe on their freedoms as Americans and destroy the future of R/C modeling.
    It doesn’t make any difference to me what fights ensue, I’m almost ready to quit the AMA on principle. As others have stated, who asked the AMA reps to keep fighting with the FAA anyway? I’d much rather we had a cooperative and supportive relationship with the agency, a policy which would go much further than the rabble-rousing rioting in the streets, railing against the corruption of the machine.
    Honestly. Grow up.


    Scott R. O’Connor

    1. If those in power are not held accountable for their actions to their employers ( the people ) then all hope is lost. They want you to roll over and play died while they steam-roll with whatever they want. Haven’t you even noticed how arrogant and above the laws they behave while for the rest of us what doesn’t apply to them equally, applies to the rest of us pinons.

      Growing-up means standing up for your rights which are quickly evaporating if you haven’t already noticed.

    2. Scott,

      Well said. AMA is already using PL112-95 Section 336, paragraph (a)(3) specifically, to require membership. I asked Chad in another blog if AMA would inspect non-member aircraft (let’s say folks who don’t fly at an AMA field), and he said they would not. Now, HR 4441 contains an expanded definition of a CBO that makes it tougher for other CBOs to be recognized. Again, could this be so it too can be used to drive membership? I think so.

      Why? Well, despite what they said in the most recent MA, the fact remains that per the last three IRS990’s publicly available, 2011, 2012, and 2013, one can see that in constant 2013 dollars the AMA’s membership revenue has dropped each year between 1.4% and 6.4%, for a total drop of 19.8% over that period. The same forms show that AMA gets 93% of their revenue from membership dues – hence what I believe is motivation to use the law as a membership driver.

      As for how the AMA appears to the FAA, I also agree with your characterization. I also fear for our hobby that AMA’s safety management system has not been adapted to the operational, regulatory, and media environment of the future. Just because things have worked for the last 80 years does not mean they’re right for today – let alone the future.

      I think the FAA has a really tough job ahead of them in trying to incorporate UAS into the NAS, and I submit that the more the AMA fights sensible regulation by the FAA, the AMA comes off looking like less of a partner and more like an organization that’s just in it to boost membership.

    3. Scott,

      To answer your questions..

      “Do we need to see an R/C aircraft sucked into the turbines of a passenger jet, causing a crash and fire taking dozens of lives?
      Do we need to see some other ungodly tragedy involving R/C aircraft?”

      No.. of course not!

      Now let me ask you a question, but do you really think registration is going to prevent it?

      Look at the recent tragedies that have occurred. Did registration prevent them?


      1. Pete:

        Thanks for your reply. The questions are rhetorical, of course.

        Will regulation/registration improve safety?

        Traditionally and historically, there can be a positive impact on misuse, neglect or unsafe use of things when they are regulated.

        Perhaps handguns would be a good example. 120 years ago, anybody (including 14-year-olds like Billy the Kid) could own, wear and use a pistol. We all know how the Wild West turned out with famous tales of shootouts.
        Fast forward to modern times. Sure, there are still nefarious individuals that may illegally possess or use a handgun, but their numbers are drastically reduced. This regulation did not interfere with anyone’s rights to have hand guns, and anyone can still get one if they get a permit, but it made it a crime to possess one illegally. Imagine the fights that ensued over that law! (Being able to specifically cite our constitutional freedom to keep and bear arms!)
        Who can know how many people won’t cross the line of the law even when tempted, because they know they will go to jail for it? Who knows how many Billy-the-Kids have not gone forth with pistols, how many victims have been saved?

        Many examples exist to support this concept: requiring people to wear helmets on motorcycles (another big Freedom Fighter issue in some states), and eventually on ATV’s and even bicycles. The number of people that have been saved from massive head trauma is innumerable.
        No regulation can prevent criminals from pursuing criminal activities, but it can keep law-abiding and conscientious individuals safer.
        Even the example given, of Bob Brown getting his FCC license for his FPV downlink. I bought a wireless video camera for my plane ten years ago, and discovered the output power was limited unless I had an Amateur Radio License.
        I had the option of getting the license (my liberty is not curtailed), but chose instead to skip that and go with the lower power transmitter. Thusly, my operations did not interfere with other radio operations because I followed the regulation. That doesn’t mean my neighbor can’t put up a transmitter emitting 1,000 watts. It does mean the FCC can come to his house and shut the thing down and cite him if he’s operating it outside of the law.
        Back in the 70’s when CB radios were all the rage, anyone could buy one from retail stores. You COULD NOT, however, LEGALLY operate the CB without applying for an FCC license for Citizen’s Band. I don’t recall if it was free or super-cheap, but it was no obstacle. There was a paper form right in the radio box with the FCC’s address on it, and you were instructed to use your initials followed by your zip code as a temporary call sign until your license arrived.
        This didn’t prevent people from “talking skip” (tropospheric scatter transmission beyond 25 miles. Cool for licensed Ham operators, illegal for CB’ers).
        It didn’t stop people from adding amplifiers to boost their signal above the legal maximum of 5 watts. Those things were unlawful, though, and if you got caught doing these things you could have your license revoked.
        Most folks just stuck with the rules because frankly who wants to get in trouble over things like CB radios or motorcycle helmets or unlicensed FPV operators?

        Moreover, if entirely unregulated, it’s no exaggeration to say there would be thousands of these things flying around us. With the application of FPV, they could be semi-blindly flying into all kinds of dangerous situations. If a paper in the box (or a warning outside or within an advertisement) said the thing has to be registered with the FAA, most folks would do the same as Bob Brown did with his license for FPV, or my Dad did with his CB radio, and I did with my wireless camera. They’ll choose a path that doesn’t violate laws.
        With a registration number, at least we can track down the folks responsible for crashing the UAV into a school bus or landing it on the Whitehouse lawn. Enforcement would be possible only if there is a rule to enforce. With registration a requirement, these things could be spot-checked or investigated during incidents. Much like the way a Game Warden can ask to check your fishing or hunting license. At least violators could be fined, and law enforcement would perhaps have some power to confiscate a UAV that is unregistered. If someone was found to be suspicious in their activity, for instance, law enforcement could ensure this person is legit rather than being forced to say “Well, they have a UAV with FPV gear on it and they’re parked out in front of the state capitol, but there’s no legal way to stop them until they do something illegal with it.”

        How many other simple regulations have made our world safer without infringing on liberties? There was a time when there was no such thing as a speed limit, no seat belts or seat-belt law, people were free to drive like lunatics and kill themselves and innocent bystanders on the road.
        How about texting-while-driving laws?
        Regulations that require foodservice workers to be trained in food hygiene.
        Establishment of the USDA inspection of meat-packing houses.
        Regulations for approved baby/child seating and seat belt use.
        Outlawing the practice of smoking cigarettes in commercial airlines and eventually all public spaces.
        Web sites must be registered to owners. Securities traders and nurses and electricians need licenses to practice.
        Codes, codes, codes for electrical work, for plumbing, for safe building construction, for highways and bridges.
        The list goes on & on. These things, when unregulated, represented hazards to the community or public at large.
        Regulation can not prevent violations, but it keeps most people safer within the law, and provides a recourse for those few individuals that defy the law and place others at risk.

        Scott R. O’Connor

        1. Great post and I agree with the lot of it. However I still dont like being regulated by an agency that would patently lie to the public in order to fear them into a sense of urgency and blind obedience.
          Your assertion that unlicensed guns (or gun owners) are somehow on the decline, or that the wild west is gone, would disappear like your breath on a frosty morning in some of the towns the Cartels and Street Gangs are turning their attention on.

          Regulations do get in the way. The fact that according to some, virtually every combat troop leaving the middle east has some level or form of PTSD, (which by the way at least in California makes it illegal to own or even posses a firearm) means that although they may be the best qualified to actually handle and use a firearm, and actually have the best chance of using it effectively to defend themselves or others in a crisis, because someone wants to clasify PTSD as a disease or defect (to garner more money for treatment from the government no doubt),they are technically precluding the most qualified among us from legally owning or possessing a firearm.

          1. Sorry, somehow it decided I was done with the post. Yes, a very small number of all of our serving members with extreme cases of PTSD may commit an act of violence, but to exclude an entire segment of the society by painting them with a broad brush is wrong on so many levels I cant begin to enumerate them.

            Do I agree that regulation is a small burden to bear for the ability to fly our RC equipment? Yes. Do I believe that more onerous and draconian laws and regulations are on the way, probably.

        2. Scotty, do you honestly believe a 13 year old that is registering is going to fly it responsibly?

          Honestly, I don’t see how it is even legal for a 13 year old to legally enter into an agreement, let alone, having a credit or debit card in order to register.

          I’m an adult, it should be MY decision and my RIGHT to decide what is in my own best interest, not the government and especially, not at my expense!

          If the damned government is so concerned about protecting me from myself and everyone else’s anxiety, then the government should pay for it, not me!

          As a rule, if I’m paying money for something whether it’s for road tax, products, memberships etc.,then I gain RIGHTS from the seller or to whomever I exchanged money with and the seller relinquishes their RIGHTS.

          With that being said, operating your car down the road is in fact a RIGHT! Driving is a RIGHT and NOT a “privilege”

          Wearing a seatbelt totally violates your RIGHTS as well! Are you not an adult? Wearing a helmet violates your RIGHTS!

          But, you just keep on handing them your money and let them continue to violate you of your “RIGHTS”

          This is one of the reasons why this country is beyond messed up.
          You my friend, have been conditionally brain washed if you just play along and be a good tax payer, somehow, the government is going to “PROTECT” you and everything is going to be just fine.

          Yeah, just go get a permit to have a gun. That’s the damn point my friend, the Constitution says I shouldn’t even have to do that.

          What the Constitution does say is THE RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED! Go look up what infringe means. In essense, there should be absolutely no rule, regulation or LAW to keep one from exercising that RIGHT to have one to defend my person, property and HAPPINESS.

          The LAW wants people to respect the LAW.

          So tell me then, how can one respect the LAW when the LAW itself is LAWLESS??????

          If the FAA doesn’t want to respect the LAW, why should one feel obligated to even listen, let alone, to comply with ANY rule, regulation or guideline coming from the FAA?

          There isn’t no children crying here my friend. Just ADULTS who want ACCOUNTABILITY from the CHILDREN at the AMA and FAA that have comprehension problems and the ones who don’t play by the RULES themselves.

          You can go back and tell your FAA friends that because its obvious your with the AMA and/or FAA…………

        3. Where does it stop though? Each new rule, new regulation, new law, requires more time, more resources, more attention to things unrelated to the enjoyment of my hobby. And that’s just the point of having a hobby in the first place. It’s not a building trade or a health care issue, it is for the largest part of the participants, club fliers and AMA members a toy plane, put a camera on the front of it and it becomes some thing else.

        4. It’s a hobby not a building trade, or health care, I think the “hazards to the community or public at large” especially from club fliers with AMA membership is being extremely overblown.

  65. I agree with Chris! We should know who is against the hobby and all for control. If it was anyone in my district that was up for reelection they would not get my vote! And I would be sure to spread the word to my like minded friends and family. In the end all they are worried about is staying in office.

    1. Well then; here they are … the ones I saw mentioned in the media are Dianne Feinstein ( California senator ) and Charles ( Chuck ) Schumer ( New York senator ). Namely the senator from California seems to be at the forefront.

      Take a look at … February 19, 2015 .

      ” California Senator Plans Legislation Regulating Recreational UAV Use … Calls Lack Of Recreational Limits A ‘Glaring Gap’ In FAA’s Authority ”

      Apparently, this senator has been at it for some time. Take a look at this from Politico … March 16, 2014 .

      ” Dianne Feinstein wants drones regulated ”


      1. Can anyone please have these two crooks arrested for TREASON and promoting anti american ideals. Let’s not forget to add charges for accepting BRIBES from lobbyists!!!!!!

      2. “Chucky” Schumer and Feinstein how about that? They just happen to be probably the two most vocal legislators in the fight to regulate gun owners.

  66. This sort of miserable bureaucrat-language, along with the fail to prioritize FPV, is the reason why I keep deciding not to join the AMA despite the extremely strong reasons why I should.

    If the official voice of the FAA would just take on a drop of courage in its communications, say “Beyond-Line-Of-Sight or Bust”, say “We won’t stand for this!”, and make it an advocacy for aeromodelers, not “members”, I would abandon my obstinacy.

    1. Yes! Thank you for identifying “beyond line of site” as the segment that has the most potential for harming our hobby.

  67. H.R. 4441, the Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act, introduced on February 3, 2016 by Congressman Bill Shuster, includes a section addressing FAA regulation of model aircraft. In particular, Section 45507, starting on page 215 of the full text of the bill available at

    addresses model aircraft. The bill states that the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration may not promulgate any rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft, or an aircraft being developed as a model aircraft.

    The AMA should work with Congressman Shuster to add text to the bill specifically negating the FAA requirement to register model aircraft. His press release on the bill is found at

    1. We don’t need no more damned legislation! What we do need is to prosecute these thugs for grossly VIOLATING the LAW!!!


    1. Who’s gonna buy your stuff? I used to deal in nice second hand RC kits on ebay and now I have to practically give them away.

  69. I want to thank our AMA leadership for trying to make the best of a bad situation- we must do our best to support their efforts- they have a lot of irons in the fire right now and a relatively small staff to process it all-since we are up against the ” outstanding” democratic minds of Finestein, Shumer,Reid,and their ilk(who,by the way, set all this in motion)our people are trying to talk sense to a herd of arses- as there is talk of new legislation regarding the FAA and contracting out air traffic control, now could be the time to contact your congressmen and senators to effect a positive change for AMA members.

  70. Love the pictures without captions. Particularly that one of the backsides of I am ASSuming the AMA leadership LOL. Secret meetings indeed.

  71. What I see is INSANITY moving at full speed. Many things in the country look INSANE as it stands now, and now we have icing on the cake. All that was needed was for the FAA to require AMA membership and compliance, for members of the flying community, or else face consequences from the AMA, the FAA and/or both. A simple solution gone totally array due to bureaucrats and politicians who don’t know a propeller from a wing let alone what they call a drone is. Lack of intelligence, knowledge, and know-how have gone sorely array and it’s getting worse. PLEASE BRING BACK SANITY – I REALLY DO MISS IT !

    1. Fixed wing 3d pilot, I don’t see how any of this should have happened. I fly pretty low and in line of site. Oh well there are plenty of farmers and ranchers with large fields that do not want to take my money. Keeps the hobby fun.

  72. In your recent email, you talk about how Bill Shuster’s new bill (AIRR) strengthens and clarifies the special rule for MA. (Section 336)
    It also mentions that he intends on repealing section 336.
    Parts of the bill refer to laws from 2012 and deadlines the FAA failed to meet in 2012.
    So is this some double speak that he shows section 336 and then recommends repealing where we have no rights?

  73. To every question the answer usually begins with,

    “We are making progress with this , we are making progress with that,

    Never a set back or a less than positive meeting ever, that in itself is

    a pretty unlikely.

    The AMA has claimed to be making progress for so long now, you would imagine the

    problem would have been resolved.

    Somebody is getting snowed here

  74. Putting aside all the comments about the FAA and impact of the AMA it is clear that the AMA is achieving it’s real agenda. To reach past the present membership dues income to a size that dwarfs their present revenue. Consider the language that the AMA is desperately trying to get inserted into any regs:

    .—Notwithstanding any other pro-vision of law relating to the incorporation of unmanned aircraft systems into Federal Aviation Administration plans and policies, including this subtitle, the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration may not promulgate any rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft, or an aircraft being developed as a model aircraft, if:

    (1) the aircraft is flown strictly for hobby or recreational use;
    (2) the aircraft is operated in accordance with a community-based set of safety guidelines and with in the programming of a community-based organization;


    is exempt from tax under section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986; the mission of which is demonstrably the furtherance of model aviation; provides a comprehensive set of safety guidelines for all aspects of model aviation addressing the assembly and operation of model aircraft and that emphasize safe aeromodeling operations within the national airspace system and the protection and safety of individuals and property on the ground; provides programming and support for any local charter organizations, affiliates, or clubs; and provides assistance and support in the development and operation of locally designated model aircraft flying site”

    A clear attempt to block any other “community based organization” from being started/utilized. And to make any flying at locations other than under AMA’s charter club locations, and control, tantamount to illegal. I would propose that the startup of another organization as once existed would bring welcome competition to the situation. I am an AMA member, have been flying for over 40 years but still am appalled at AMA’s performance and shudder at the thought of only flying in a “AMA world”.

    On a related issue to demonstrate the AMA’s inability to get the job done – I contacted them for an informational package to present to local town legislators with an invite to attend our field. I feel that being proactive would help prevent knee-jerk local restrictions from being enacted. AMA has no such package! They reported that they were “working on one”! Really? After how many years of existence? Color me unimpressed.

    1. It seems AMA has had no interest in getting involved in local government over the years. That’s why so many localities have outlawed RC airplanes to some extent. Here in SE Virginia the cities of Chesapeake and Virginia Beach Regulated us out of all city parks years ago.

      This is an odd stance for an organization that has been pushing a Park Pilot program for years.

      1. How many people actually work at the AMA, How many cities and counties are out there…. do the math, they can possibly provide the tools, the information and the logical reasoning to allow sensible rules, but it is up to US to get the local governments on board. Some of our local parks have an RC area designated and set aside for us to use. I agree that park flyers have it tough these days. We need to educate not escalate.

        1. Can’t imagine where you are coming from I asked only for an information package – not a visit from the AMA. Even the prior poster that you answered didn’t detail what that involvement would mean. Not only would it be constrained to support for the local people but it is not every town in the country. How about first focus on the towns containing an AMA field?

    2. Wasn’t there a Sport Flyers Association or some thing like that a few years ago that gave us an alternative to the AMA? I seem to remember the club I belonged to at the time would accept membership in either one as a prerequisite to club membership.

  75. Fixed wing 3d pilot, I don’t see how any of this should have happened. I fly pretty low and in line of site. Oh well there are plenty of farmers and ranchers with large fields that do not want to take my money. Keeps the hobby fun.

  76. Love the pictures, the rotund in front of the rotunda. Look like lonely tourists.

  77. Early in this posting’s replies people started slamming the AMA because they did not reveal what in detail they discussed and with whom. While this might be construed as a possibly nefarious plot to keep us in the dark, personally I doubt it. There ARE people against our hobby, and letting those people know who we are trying to influence and how, it setting us up for failure.

    The FAA has already proven they are not on our side, and negotiating with them is useless. They will benefit from the draconian regulations with bigger budgets and more control. They have already proven they are capable of lying to anybody and everybody to achieve this. I need only remind you of the “LEAKED” report of supposedly near misses that preceeded the whole registration issue.

    The AMA, not congress and not the FAA went through all of those reports and released a report showing that only 24 (or 27) of the over 700 reports could be even remotely linked to sUAS or Drones and in only 3, thats right THREE cases did a pilot feel that a course alteration was necessary. But the FAA and the Media wanted to scare the public so it sounded like by their wording that there were in one report 700 airport incursions, where people were flying drones inside the boundary of the airport, (patently false) or that each was an identifiable situation of a drone encounter, (totally wrong).

    This was done to push the FAA’s agenda, and to sell newspapers. The USA Today had a Photoshop image of someone looking out the window of an airliner at a sky full of drones to make the uninformed public think they were everywhere and soon they would start eating dogs and baby’s!

    While we all would like to think the FAA is some sort of wonderful government watchdog protecting the traveling public with unflinching truth and justice on their side, the truth in this case is something far below that mark. They are just another government agency with a impossible mission, trying to get you to believe they can accomplish that mission if you give em enough money.

    The 700 report as I would like to call it, is a clear example of someone in the FAA who is out of control. Going to Congress, since they obstinately are supposed to be in control of them is the logical thing to do. And since Congress passed the special rules for model aviation, in the FAA modernization act…. and the FAA is not following, and in fact is flying in the face of those words which hold the weight of law…. (yes pun intended)… I would wonder what the AMA was doing if they were NOT going to Congress.

    You can not just go to the National Transportation Safety Board, or the FAA and say hey, lets change a law, and with the case of the FAA still never answering how they “leaked the 700 report, or issued any correction or apology for deliberately misleading the country, you can see that working with them on this REALLY WOULD be a waste of our dues. In the beginning the AMA tried working with the FAA, despite multiple assurances that they could work it out, in the end the FAA patently ignored every input and suggestion they received from the AMA and others, and did what they planned to do all along. Public comment on proposed regulations had little to no effect.

    No, the AMA is doing it right by going to the people who wrote the protections into the law that the FAA are now trouncing. I say let them do their jobs and make sure they have our backing and support.

    YOU can help them by downloading their report and reading it, and then giving it to anybody who will listen, be it your state or federal representative, your City Council, your mayor, and yes your local sheriff. Show them the truth, have your club do an event, let the public see the hobby, see what it is like to fly FPV and show them how we can’t see detail when flying so they don’t need to worry. More importantly, tell them how you and those around you use common sense every day in the hobby. Sitting around second guessing your representation by AMA in the halls of congress is a waste of time, time you could maybe spend writing a quick email to someone who should know the truth.

    Education is the key. Positive stories of Drone use, Lives saved by Equisearch, and others, Search and Rescue applications, the fact that the much vaulted New York PD helicopter encounter was caused by the pilot and observer seeing the drones below them, and then THEY approached the two phantoms as the pilots who were legally flying below the 400 foot minimum tried to avoid getting near the helicopters. The transcript of the communications between dispatch and the Pilot prove this.

    Please, the AMA really is our only chance at getting common sense injected into this debacle. They were the ones who got the special rules for model aircraft inserted in the first place. Support them.

  78. When the AMA is actively working to their own benefit in terms of increasing it’s dues paying membership by way of the FAA’s big stick I do not believe that they are working in our interest. Your premise is wrong – if you go to those offices where the AMA visited they will have publicly available visitor logs. There is no “behind the scene meetings” to protect. And there is no group that will punish a lawmaker for visiting with the AMA. So the father knows best meme is false.

    1. In latin there’s a phrase “Cui Bono?” It roughly translates to “Who benefits?” and it’s a good tool to use in analyzing actions. I agree that AMA’s grand strategy is to use ambiguity in the law to drive membership. Why? Well, the AMA’s IRS 990’s tell a story. For the last three that are available to the public, 2011, 2012, and 2013, in constant 2013 dollars, over the period 2007-2013:

      (1) Gifts, grants, contributions, and membership fees received (Do not include any ” unusual grants “) : DOWN $1,712,709

      (2) Gross receipts from admissions, merchandise sold or services performed, or facilities furnished in any activity that is related to the organization ‘ s tax-exempt purpose : Up $74,903

      (3) Gross income from interest, dividends, payments received on securities loans, rents, royalties, and income from similar sources : DOWN $381,003

      (4) Unrelated business taxable income (less section 511 taxes) from businesses acquired after June 30, 1975 : Up $207,406

      Change in Total support over the period 2007-2013 in constant 2013 dollars: DOWN 18.5% or a loss of $1,811,403

      While they saved $199,445 in expenses over the same period, it was dwarfed by the loss in total support.

      Also, these last three IRS 990’s show only 60,000 a year (2011-2013) spent on direct lobbying. Not sure where they get the larger figure they publicize, but it’s not supported by the actual IRS forms.

      So, as to why they voted, by a very narrow margin to include “MRs” as part of “US,” I submit they did it for 1,811,403 reasons.

  79. After holding off for a while, reading many posts, and much soul searching, I have decided it is in my best interest to register with the FAA.

    Since the hobby began, most RC flying clubs have been trying to promote the hobby, and increase membership.
    Up until recently, advances in technology that made it easier and safer to fly, have been welcomed and seen as helping increase participation.

    It is ironic that the same people who once championed technical progress, and increased activity, are now upset that it has “gone to far” and allowed “too many people” to join in the fun.
    Now they think, these newcomers are spoiling things for the rest of us.

    With increased participation in a potentially dangerous activity, comes increased need for education/regulation, to help protect both participants, and bystanders.

    While I try to have a grown up, enlightened point of view, I must admit that it bugs me, when anyone try’s to tell me what to do, or not to do.
    Even so, it would be selfish/unfair for me to think, that I should be exempt from the same rules/regulations, that I want to be enforced on others, when they are used to protect me from them.
    Not always being able to do what we want, is the price we pay for living together in a civil society.

    We must, albeit begrudgingly, agree to some oversight/regulation of our beloved hobby, now that it has become so popular.
    AS such, I will suppress my instinct to lash out against authority, and instead look for ways to welcome, and educate, those who seek to share my love of RC flying. I believe this will benefit us all.

    Best wishes for happy landings 🙂

  80. What we really have is a “camera” problem, cameras make it possible to put the operators eyes on the platform and I use the word operator because most of these “camera platforms” only require operators not pilots as the these Kwad Flawpers fly themselves the operator just gives height and direction commands. Please create a distinction between model aircraft and camera platforms AMA, because from reading these posts most everyone else in the organization can see a difference instead of lumping everything operated with an rc system into the same organization.

  81. The problem is not with the name. Flying a model aircraft over Dubai, or over the San Francisco Bay Bridge, or over a football stadium game, or over the busy city airfield, or over Times Square – that’s the problem. There is not a problem with flying a drone over an airfield sanctioned by the Academy of Model Aeronautics. The problem with flying a drone is not the name. A person should not be cautioned to avoid the word “drone’ when referring to his Multi Rotor Copter. That typical caution should be used toward those not adhering to safety regulations and field flying regulations. Trying to make the word drone a bad word is to misdirect necessary attention to the subject. Making drone a bad word does little to enforce the regulations that permit us to fly safely at our model airfields. Face it head on – our uas have now officially entered USAirspace – controlled for safety by the FAA – The Drones Are Here.

    You’re right when you say it is not the hobby we once knew. The camera, and GPS, and radio to and from the aircraft, and electric powered motors, have all contributed to the change. We all used to know that they were called airplanes and aircraft, but you never called them “toys”. And we all knew that they were unmanned.

    Most of us may have a little idea of what the FAA does for aviation. Reports of accidents are made so aviators can figure out what went wrong, and why it went wrong. Air traffic controllers give pilots taxiing and takeoff instructions, air traffic clearances, and advice based on information received from the National Weather Service, air route traffic control centers, aircraft pilots, and other sources. They transfer control of aircraft on instrument flights to the Air Route Traffic Control Center ( ARTCC ) controller when the aircraft leaves their airspace and receives from the ARTCC control of aircraft on instrument flights flying their airspace. They must be able to recall quickly registration numbers of aircraft under their control, the aircraft types and speeds, positions in the air, and also the location of navigational aids in the area. The Federal Aviation Regulations, or FARs, are rules prescribed by the Federal Aviation Administration ( FAA ) governing all aviation activities in the United States.

    Federal law requires aircraft registration. Registration helps us ensure safety – for you, others on the ground, and manned aircraft. Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) pose new security and privacy challenges and must be traceable in the event of an incident. It will also help enable the return of your UAS should it be lost.

    Failure to register an aircraft may result in regulatory and criminal sanctions. The FAA may assess civil penalties up to $27,500. Criminal penalties include fines of up to $250,000 and/or imprisonment for up to three years.

    Owners using the model aircraft for hobby or recreation will only have to register once and may use the same identification number for all of their model UAS. The registration is valid for three years.

    The Academy of Model Aeronautics ( AMA ) has been around since 1936, and has operated an effective organization of its members and their endeavors to be concerned with the safety of all involved. As the time for integrating Unmanned Aircraft Systems ( UAS ) into the United States Airspace has arrived, it is time for the AMA and the FAA to join together for the safety and defense of aviation and its people. Oh, O.K., just let it happen? No, not that easy – but just signing up is easy, and it is a good beginning for flying safely with the assistance of the FAA.

  82. Chad … I’m not going to point fingers or beg for an explanation .. or even ask what mysterious talks went on behind closed doors up on the hill. I’m hoping for a short and sweet answer to a simple question.

    I used to be able to fly my park glider in the grassy common area near our town homes … it wasn’t large … and the park glider honestly flies pretty slowly. I also liked to fly my tiny helicopter there. I did / do have a drone and that is fun to fly around too. The area is safe and well away from any dangers. We also like to fly at the local field with the other AMA members when thats convenient.

    I live in the DC environs in Reston Virginia …. with a 30 mile radius around for the No Fly Zone the hobby is pretty effectively dead for me now. Earlier we heard hints that there may be relief.

    Does that mean I might be able to fly again in my local area or …. what does it mean? What is the goal the AMA is striving for and how are we doing? I would probably feel much better if there were something that I could do to help. Its really the not being able to do anything and hearing nothing that is killing us.

    Thanks again


      1. The Academy of Model Aeronautics ( AMA ) has been around since 1936, and has operated an effective organization of its members and their endeavors to be concerned with the safety of all involved. As the time for integrating Unmanned Aircraft Systems ( UAS ) into the United States Airspace has arrived, it is time for the AMA and the FAA to join together for the safety and defense of aviation and its people. Oh, O.K., just let it happen? No, not that easy – but just signing up is easy, and it is a good beginning for flying safely with the assistance of the FAA.

      2. Chad:

        I get so tired of all of the AMA executives “parroting” the same message:

        1) We’re making progress


        2) Keep supporting (i.e. paying your membership dues to) the AMA.

        If one reads the messages from ALL of the AMA reps in the latest mag it looks like they were all “copied and pasted” from one to another.

        My membership is paid up through Dec of 2017. I would like to quit and receive a refund for the remainder of my membership. Now I paid my dues in advance in good faith that the AMA would actually protect my hobby. Since this is proving not to be so I feel that the AMA is in default of the “contract” I made with them by paying my dues. Can you tell me who I could contact to request my refund of dues?

  83. I think I see what the DOT’s overall plan is now. They are really upset with the 336 exemption for RC modelers, so what do they do?

    1. Start releasing news articles to scare the public into thinking a DRONE may crash into a passenger airliner.
    2. Find a loop hope in poorly drafted rules to make virtually every RC flyer register with the DOT.
    3. Now group all RC flyers together under the same hideous DRONE moniker.
    4. Help release another front page article (USA TODAY,2/9/16) that scares the public even more by saying that registered DRONES now exceed the number of piloted aircraft registered in the US, that overcrowded airspace is now threatened, and that the FAA receives more then 100 reports a month of pilots spoting drones. More of the same “if we don’t get the authority we want look what could happen to you”. They even quoted Captain Sullenberger, the hero of the Hudson River, as being DRONE phobic! Attached the end of that USA TODAY article only one single paragraph stated the AMA’s seemly self centered position on the registry being “burdensome”.

    Dear AMA, you are dealing with a giant that has unlimited resources and crafty burecrats that will use the media and the rules against you. You should really fight fire with fire and publish news articles to defend the core of your membership (line-of-site RC modelers) and refute the DOT’s infered stance that all RC aircraft are DRONES and are potentially bad, including the small foamie plane flown by the poor innocent kid at the local park. I can hear it now; “Oh my, that kid is going to bring down an airliner with his DRONE, call the cops!”

    Please tell me AMA that all hope is not lost, that you have a plan, and that line-of-site flyers will not be grouped with the FPV/gyro/GPS/IPAD controlled DRONES and regulated to the extent that we can no longer enjoy our hobby! GO BACK TO YOUR ROOTS AMA!

  84. Your latest FAA UAS Registration FAQ video says AMA members can fly above 400′..
    “Are we permitted to fly above 400′? Yes”

    Please provide a written document from the FAA that confirms this. AMA members keep getting told that it is ok, but we are still waiting for an FAA document, not an AMA rep speaking in a video. When LEO or an FAA FSDO rep shows up and asks how high I am flying, should I just say “The AMA ,says it’s ok” ?

    Anyway as a Commercial pilot I will not put my Certificate at risk, with possible civil and criminal penalties by flying model aircraft, while this ambiguity continues. Therefore I will not be flying ,any ,RC aircraft until this issue is resolved.

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