AMA appointed to a high-level advisory committee/team

We are excited to share that AMA has been appointed to the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Drone Advisory Committee (DAC). Dave Mathewson, AMA executive director, will represent the AMA as he joins a small group of executive level stakeholders from across the aviation industry to discuss UAS integration into our nation’s airspace. Together, we will work to set the path forward for further UAS integration, while at the same time maintaining the safety of our skies for all.

The FAA’s DAC is a broad-based, high-level advisory committee/team facilitated by the Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics (RTCA) that will provide the FAA with advice on key UAS integration issues by helping to identify challenges and prioritize improvements.

AMA members have a strong safety record due to our well-established safety guidelines and educational programs. AMA’s participation in the DAC reflects the progress made in our outreach and advocacy programs over the past eight years, and appointment to this high-level committee demonstrates AMA’s respected role in the UAS and aviation industry overall.

AMA’s government affairs team and advocacy efforts lead by Rich Hanson have raised the AMA’s profile in the aviation community and the emerging unmanned aircraft industry. Top level involvement in the regulatory and legislative process has assured the aeromodeling community has a voice in the development of new laws, regulations and policies that impact our hobby. Congratulations and a job well done go out to Rich Hanson and the entire government affairs team.

We look forward to sharing more about AMA, our programs and experience during the upcoming DAC meetings, which are scheduled to begin September 16.


  1. Good job AMA and FAA! It would seem each organization knows a thing or two about flying remotely piloted aircraft. Inter-organizational collaboration just makes sense. May you enjoy a long and fruitful relationship.

  2. Does the FAA view the AMA as representing the model airplane industry, or its membership of enthusiasts? They are not the same thing; what’s good for the industry is not necessarily good for the average enthusiast. It’s important that FAA does not view AMA as just another industry representative, with all the business-related biases that carries. Ideally, the committee should include a separate industry representative in addition to AMA, so that AMA can truly claim to represent the hobbyist. JG

    1. That’s a trade organization which we are not. I think the FAA can figure that out. Let the hobby industry take care of itself. We have enough to do just to stay in the air.

  3. We are so screwed. To quote a manager of a large AMA field “AMA only wants your money” and now they are able to screw the drone pilots even better.

    1. I can’t yet say that I agree or disagree with this comment. I’d only like to comment on the vast difference between flying a model AIRPLANE or HELICOPTER, vs flying a “drone.” Airplanes and Helicopters require a fair amount of skill merely to fly, whereas “drones” require far less so. Some [drones] take off and land at the touch of a button, and some can even fly pre-programmed routes. Though all of these require knowledge of the skies to fly SAFELY (ie: don’t fly a plane, copter or drone into a person, watch out for trees, don’t fly in gale-force winds, etc…) it would be nice for the AMA and its clubs to not require flight tests for most semi-autonomous drones.

  4. To: Rich Hanson: congratulations for a very difficult job that was well done! Thanks to your efforts our credibility as responsible citizens, as well as modelers, has been significantly enhanced within the FAA. AMA has, thus, validated it’s value once again. Gus Diaz

  5. Congratulations! It’s far more effective to be sitting at the table engaging and leading the discussion, rather than locked outside of the room yelling at only yourself.

  6. The FAA did not belong as a “monitor of our hobby” Those that caved in on the AMA for Pecuniary and reasons “Have in effect” sold us out just as the “Outsourcing Mongrels have destroyed the labor base of the nation- WE NEED AN ENTIRE CHANGE IN THE UPPER MANAGEMENT OF THE AMA- We just may be able to save this august body for our progeny
    I am voting for Larry Tougas and suggest we all do so-We need to put the airbrakes on and stop this premeditated stupidity–If you can;’t take the heat the the heck out of the kitchen-The excuses I have received from some of the “elite” is comparable to what is ongoing in Washington-VOTE FOR A CHANGE VOTE FOR TOUGAS FOR PRESIDENT

    1. Although I agree on some points you made (like FAA having no business regulating the hobby), I don’t think returning to the way things were back in the 70’s, 80’s or even the 90’s as far as “traditional” modeling is concerned is the answer. Things have changed and no matter how much you don’t want it to (or wish it wouldn’t), it has and will continue to change. Alienating an entire group of people because they don’t fit into the “traditional modeler category” isn’t the answer either. For some, multirotors were a door into the world of modeling. I have seen an increase in our club’s membership because of people who started to fly Multirotors and then decided to get into more “traditional” modeling genres. One of two things will happen in this case…

      1. We Engage ourselves in the global community and accept things are changing and bring in multirotor flyers into our folds (which will alienate anyone who will not accept change or the “Traditional Modeling Elitests” who don’t like multirotors and think they are the scourge of modeling


      2. We try to go back to the 70’s, 80’s or 90’s carrying a strict view of who and what constitutes a “traditional modeler” and then either alienate those who don’t fit into this view or try to convert predominantly multirotor flying pilots into our “traditional modeler” narrowed view (which will alienate an entire group or even an entire generation who may flock to flying multirotors instead of traditional means of flying


      3. We do nothing in the hopes that drones (multirotors) are a fad and will just go or fad away on their own (which will get more regulations from the FAA in the process).

      I don’t know about others; neither one of these is without it’s drawbacks, however two are worse than the other. When choosing who to vote for, keep in mind the candidate and which scenario they represent and vote according to which scenario you desire most. Each candidate has drawn a line and you much choose which line will help the AMA grow the most.

    2. The AMA has no legal right to block any thing the FAA wants to do. IF YOU DON`T LIKE IT , THAT`S TOUGH. The AMA does the best job trying to show the FAA that we are smart fliers and not dangerous to people and property.ALL OF THIS MESS CAME ABOUT AS A RESULT OF QUADS BEING SOLD BY JUST ABOUT EVERYONE . No training required. ANd they go on U Tube to brag about it.CAN YOU EVEN THINK OF LETTING SOMEONE GETTING IN YOUR CAR AND DRIVING IT WITH NO DRIVING ABILITY? NO YOU WOULD NOT. Yet people with no ability can fly anything any where they want reguardlell of the danger. THIS IS WHAT THE FAA IS TRYING TO STOP. Do you have any constructive ideas how to help stop it?/

      1. I tend to agree with you – I was at my local BJs (discount price megamart) and they were selling DJI Phantom 3s for about $499. I live in Nassau County, Long Island, NY (within a 5 mile radius of JFK,) and I wonder how many of the people who bought those things even took the time to register them, let alone fly them safely and responsibly.

        Sadly (on Long Island,) per the B4UFly app, there are only about 23 square feet in which it is permissible to fly. (This is due in large part to there being helipads just about every 2 miles.)

        My fix for this is threefold:

        1. The FAA should produce TV/Web commercials that advise people that “drone” flying requires a license.
        2. The FAA should entice states, and municipalities to open up more areas in which drones (and other model aircraft) can be flown legally.
        3. The FAA should enforce the fines ($~27k) against people flying without a license.

        1. Mike – I tend to agree with you. In congested areas such as Long Island, NY ( use to live there years ago ) control of the masses with drones in hand and no clue as to regulations, AMA, etc is a MUST ! I now live in the Pacific northwest where things are a bit more tame but flying in an area around Seattle or Portland ( Oregon ) or other areas is no different when it comes to safety. It’s those who ad hoc purchase these drones thinking they are toys without a clue is what’s making a bad name for the rest of us who do have a clue ! Also making it a requirement for merchants to sell with regulations in hand and municipalities to open up safe flying areas would go a long way to keeping model aviation what it should be and always has been – SAFE !

      2. Tougas is not the answer, his type of mentality is what will eventually make the hobby extinct. And to say that the FAA has no business regulating the hobby….well you are partially right. The FAA has to do what they can to protect the NAS…with increasing reports of model aircraft operating in Class B,C,D airspace the FAA has to do something. There is no doubt that the FAA is behind in its approach to handling the matter but they are doing their best to catch up. Remember, they have no obligation to include the AMA in anything, but so far have in pretty much every workgroup/committee there has been so far. The “old-timers” need to stop being so stubborn and come down off the ledge.

  7. This could be a good thing…….or possibly not. I have been involved with another government agency in a similar situation this year. They invited our group to meet with them and state our recommendations because they wanted feedback and cooperation they said. Turns out they just wanted to be able to tell Congress that they had met with us and were working with us to solve the problems at hand. In the meantime, they totally ignored our recommendations and did exactly what they had planned from the beginning. It took them 1,249 pages to tell us how to complete a 4 page long contract. Government at its most deceptive and over-reaching worst. While the FAA isn’t the CFPB, they are a government agency which also has a lot of authority granted to them by Congress. If they won’t work with us, our only recourse will be through the House and Senate for specific legislation which is next to impossible to get.

    All you can really do is take them at their word and see whether they really want the assistance from the AMA to develop solutions which work for everyone. If they are the back biting, lying weasels we encountered with the other agency, there isn’t much you or the AMA can do about it.

    1. EXACTLY ! Follow and smell the money is what they do best at the expense of the poor peasantry populous they have created in the process.

      1. Hell, the “Follow the Money” advisory is the MAIN reason the AMA has taken up the colors for the Multi-Rotor industry. When half (or more) of the advertising in MA is for drones and drone hardware in just one or two years, that wasn’t end user driven. Are there drone-oriented publications out there? I honestly don’t know. But here was a widely distributed, credible and established vehicle (MA) to push their stuff on AS WELL AS the really cool fringe bennie of insurance coverage for any bozo that bought one of these annoyances and joined AMA. For a time I wondered why there hadn’t been an association conceived and developed JUST FOR DRONES – but I answered my own wonder when the facts of the previous sentence eventually dawned on me.
        Oh, it’s not like I don’t understand that there’s no going back on this. It’s as stupid a hope as the current “Take our country back” wishes that prevail these days.

  8. I hope all involved understand this is a time when we need fewer regulations not more. I hope Trump keeps his promise and clamps down on the regulators..

  9. Although modelers have been given free rein of the airspace until a common term “drone” lumped all in with the military drones. The accidents that have involved aircraft with “hobby drones” probably amount to less than a bird hitting aircraft. Are they going to register the birds that are in the airspace? Now, all modelers are under the microscope for something that was nothing. More regulation though government intervention does not do much good. It however will create a new revenue stream for them. I agree now it has started it is better to be part of the solution than take what is coming. God Bless us all!

    1. No registrations of birds. The full sized aircraft are tested against birds by shooting frozen chickens out of a cannon at them. They can’t yet figure out how to get a model airplane down the barrel o the cannon!

  10. The AMA gets an honorable? place at the FAA table. and I get to look at $3000 worth of planes and equipment in my garage that I will never get to use–unless I submit my personal information to an insecure and illegally instituted registry modeled after the sex registry. One of the several reasons the AMA sat down with no visible struggle last December while we were being told to register was the FAA told them “you may get some flack from your members, but when the dust settles we’ll make sure you get many new members from the drone people to make up for the one’s that quit and you will get to play a bigger part in what we have planned.” AMA–listen, last Fall you got to sit on the advisory board and make intelligent and supportive suggestions concerning the coming changes, and then almost EVERYTHING you did was summarily ignored by the FAA. “Fool me once!” Here we go again.

    I miss flying. I don’t know what to do with all my unusable flying investments. My tears are making it hard for me to have joy in your new committee membership.

    And to the several people who have throughout the time kept telling you (the AMA) what a great job you are doing–“You people are part of the problem not part of the solution.” The AMA has not done a good job for more than a year. The problems it faced required real solutions and real problem solving using creative intelligence and aggressive counter actions. It did none of these things. Instead, we got self promotion, marketing, corporate double-speak, and denial. In addition, I got to never fly my planes again. Nice job AMA!

    1. If it is your CHOICE not to register…and never use your $3K worth of planes and equipment… then so be it. Your choice, your loss. If you have nothing to hide and fly within the rules of the AMA then why not register?

    1. Here’s hoping Rich changes the Academy of Model Aeronautics’ (AMA) to match it’s new focus. That would work out to the Academy of Flying Toys (AFT). Hopefully, real modelers will form their own organization to promote real aircraft modeling. “Modeling” that doesn’t pop out of a box – ready to fly.

  11. I have been building and flying model airplanes for 60 years and been a private pilot and airplane owner for 35 years. I don’t much love the FAA but it is a necessary organization. I readily sent in my $5 and wrote my number (with a sharpie) on the side of my planes. no big deal. If a drone comes thru my windshield I sure want the operator to be held accountable.

    1. Jeff – I don’t much mind the FAA registry part and labeling the aircraft for identification purposes like full-scale aircraft are required to have ( I’m also a private pilot like yourself ). An accident is and accident large or small so safety and identification come first. However what bothers me is will the AMA eventually become an integral part of the FAA is another matter. If that happens then the AMA may just become the lap-dog of the FAA and be dictated to their wishes and desires from there on out.

  12. Congratulations AMA on being named to another big committee!

    The work on the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Registration Task Force (RTF) Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) was breathtaking, as were the results. I can only imagine what will come from AMA involvement as part of this latest effort.

  13. I believe this perceived problem began with the Rotary Wing Aircraft with Camera, not the Fixed Wing Aircraft. In my opinion, the FAA should have focused on the problem, “Rotary Wing Aircraft”. Most Fixed Wing Pilots belong to a club with a runway and AMA Safety Rules. They should not even be affected by the FAA/Government Regulations.

  14. I only hope that this turns out to be a good thing, but I have no faith in these on the job for life bureaucrats. Look what they did with the 2012 Reauthorization Bill. Even though the bill specified that they were not to regulate model airplanes, that met the requirements, they still made AMA membership jump through hoops to the tune of 1 million dollars of member funds. As I understand the latest reauthorization act that gave us the “right” to fly is not permanent and subject to the whim of the next congress.

  15. From this vantage point will the AMA be able to eliminate the requirement that kids who build their very first foamy airplane with their own two hands place their names into a federal registry?

    If not, you can skip mailing me a membership renewal.

    1. How can the AMA say what it will or will not be able to do in the future? Perhaps you should just go fly a kite!

    2. Some of us (perhaps more than anyone wants to admit) have decided to never register themselves with the FAA. I’ve been a long term AMA member since the early 70’s and a modeler since the early 60’s and I don’t intend to. They can stuff that BS where the sun doesn’t shine!

      1. I agree and wonder if the number of people who don’t renew there membership
        for this reason will ever be known

      2. Register or not; they already know everything about everyone and it’s not necessarily for the security hoaxas-pokas reasons they keep throwing out at the public. I’m feeling INSECURE in a more secure world is how I look at it !

    3. 12 and younger cannot register and must fly their foamy or whatever (I refuse to say UAS or drone) with the registration number of someone 13 or older who do have to register. It’s all on the FAA website along with some really dumb ways of wording things.

      1. DUMB is absolutely correct. I can not fathom the IGNORANCE and STUPIDITY that now exists in society; especially from these so-called higher-ups ! You would think they would have more sense than what they display.

    4. More old crusty reps representing the AMA who is out of touch. Why do people stay in the AMA? I am not renewing my membership. I wish someone would get together and form a new organization that will offer the insurance cause that’s the only reason people are in the AMA so they can fly at these fields otherwise this terrible organization would not exist.

      1. The problem with Americans is they don’t know when and how to retire. Compared to other countries where people work to live; in the U.S. people live to work ! They are stuck to their seats stronger than super glue could hold them. There are MANY in the congress and senate who are prime examples of this.

        1. jc – … just look at some of these ‘ crusties ‘; especially like the ones in the congress and senate. With what people like these have reaped in their lifetime, they wouldn’t be able to eat it all before their natural time is up. People like these don’t know when it’s time to pass the baton on to the next generation and as a result the next generation suffers and lags. In fact, they even cause those still in the prime of their work lives to be ousted earlier as well.

          I thought America was based on breaking-away from a monarchy form of rule. Instead, it has found its way back to it with people in their seats for life just as a king and queen.

  16. The fact that this committee is called the ” Drone Advisory Committee” is significant. Whether we (traditional modelers) like it or not we are now lumped into the world of multi-rotors and everything that pertains or is blamed on them will be on our backs. The AMA represented on the DAC is a BAD thing in that it further connects us with all the drone hysteria. The AMA is out gunned in Washington and we will not be represented fairly.
    Here’s another thought. If the AMA is going to accept drone drivers and cover them with insurance, how much will an airliner full of passengers cost when it crashes due to a drone driver flying one into an engine? AMA will then be sorry but it will be too late.
    WE need to disassociate our selves with ALL multi-rotors or sanction their activity to only flying at a registered AMA flying site with all limitations in place. No rogue operators covered or accepted period…

  17. That’s the problem . If a drone comes through your window it’s going to be from someone who probably doesn’t even know what ama is . Of didn’t even think twice about registering his drone.

    1. Carl, That’s a blessing not a problem. Keeps um off our flying sites. I suspect that knowing about or even belonging to the AMA and registering with the FAA wouldn’t make much difference to the person you describe.

  18. CONGRATULATIONS!! This is a worthwhile and far greater use of AMA resources and members’ dues than getting involved with AUVSI which only represents commercial sUAS/UAS interests and is really none of our/your business (I’m glad AMA executive people enjoyed the dues paid for trip to Orlando and Disney World to attend their meeting). But, whatever. Kudos to Chad Budreau on the government relations team who started out deep in left field but did his homework and is now on track and doing a good job. Thanks to the many AMA members working in the FAA who have encouraged the UAS Program Office people at headquarters to recognize the contributions of model aviation.

  19. What experience does AMA have that makes them qualified to participate in integrating commercial UAS operations into the National Airspace System? Isn’t the mission of AMA to promote and foster the “HOBBY” of model aviation. I believe this is outside of the scope of the role of the AMA. Leave this to the engineers, ATC, TERPS, and those that actually operate commercial UAS. I see the AMA spending an extraordinary amount of money on projects that do not directly benefit modelers. Supporting commercial UAS endeavors should be the function of another organization.

    1. Todd,
      The DAC committee was created to provide advice on key unmanned aircraft integration issues, for both commercial and recreational operations.

  20. Is this meeting open to AMA members to attend and listen? I live in Alexandria, VA and belong two two AMA R/C clubs and am very interested in how the process will develop to protect traditional R/C modeling and enable responsible use of “drones” for both commercial use and recreation.

    1. Bill,
      The DAC meetings are open to the public, however space is limited and registration is required before attending meetings. The following information is available for attending DAC meetings through the Federal Registry

      “Although the DAC meeting is open to the public, the meeting location has security protocols that require advanced registration. Please email with name, company and country of citizenship to pre-register. Attendance is limited to space availability. With the approval of the Chairman, members of the public may present oral statements at the meeting. Persons wishing to present statements or obtain information should contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section. Members of the public may present a written statement to the committee at any time.”

      Additional information can be found here:

      1. Bill – Hoping all goes well with this process of the AMA having a seat at the table with the FAA folks BUT remember when to draw the line on various issues so that the FAA really does understand what goes on in model aviation side of things. I have a feeling that the AMA is being brought into the FAA because the FAA has realized it has lagged far behind developments ( technological and otherwise ) which have developed at a brisk pace on the model aviation side of aviation, especially in recent years. Model aviation has matured not only as a hobby but as a professional endeavor with aircraft sophistication now continually pushing the boundaries of technological development. Who but the AMA is better suited for perhaps bringing the FAA to their senses. Show what you ( the AMA ) and we as member fliers and future members are really made of ( not a rag-tag bunch ). Stress the intelligence, background, passion, and professionalism that exists among our group of aviation enthusiasts.

  21. Was about to hop the train into DC this morning when I got an email saying the meeting was at capacity and now closed. I will attempt to attend the next meeting when the next date is announced.

  22. Having registered too late for the first DAC meeting, I waited a few days and again requested to register for the next session. I received the reply “We currently have no pre-registration for the next DAC meeting and are not keeping track of requests at this time.”

    Does anyone at AMA HQ know of the schedule for the next session?

    1. Bill,

      The tentative date for the second DAC meeting is set for January 4, 2017, but this date is not set in stone. The second DAC meeting will also change locations, and will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada. We will update our members once more information becomes available.

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