Third Quarter Government Relations Update 2017

Over the past few months, the AMA Government Relations team has been hard at work representing – and protecting – the model aircraft hobby in Washington, D.C. and across the country. We wanted to share with you some of our work and progress during the third quarter of 2017.

Federal Government Relations

As you may be aware, the team worked for many months with federal lawmakers to ensure the Special Rule for Model Aircraft was protected in Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization legislation. On September 28, the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives passed a six-month extension of the FAA’s current authorization, which provides continuity for those in the model aviation community. This extension means members can continue to fly safely under AMA’s set of community-based guidelines.

Still, we believe a longer-term extension of the FAA is needed. We will continue our work with Congress to strengthen the Special Rule for Model Aircraft in the new legislation, and may call on our members for support in this effort. Please keep an eye on the AMA Government Relations blog for the latest information on this bill.

Also in the past few months:

  • The team continued to work with the FAA toward a possible VIP NOTAM/Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) waiver for those flying during President Donald Trump’s travels in the Bedminster, New Jersey area and around the country. Michael Wong, president of the North Jersey Soaring Society, spoke with the Bernardsville, NJ Patch about the implications of VIP TFRs on local hobbyists during Trump’s visits. Read the full piece here.
  • AMA attended Drone Advisory Committee (DAC) meetings to discuss the appropriate role of state and local governments in regulating unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into our nation’s airspace.
  • The team also continued to work with the Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) on remote identification and tracking of UAS. We hope for this committee’s recommendations to be made public soon.

State and Local Government Relations  

The AMA Government Relations team also continued to track many state and local bills with an eye for legislation that could negatively affect the model aircraft hobby. We’re glad to share that in the past few months, we’ve worked with AMA members throughout the country to combat several problematic state and local bills in California, Indiana, New Jersey, New York, Colorado and Nebraska through direct outreach and education. 

Also in the past few months: 

  • AMA worked with the New York Parks Department regarding a flying site relocation of the Suffolk Aero Modelers.
  • The team worked with a local AMA club in California to ensure ongoing success to a 23-year-old flying site managed by the Army Corp of Engineers.
  • AMA continues to work with local lawmakers in Raleigh, North Carolina to amend a problematic UAS Park policy. AMA also worked with local leaders in Holly Springs, North Carolina regarding the development of flying sites.
  • AMA members have successfully published opinion articles in newspapers in The Sale Lake Tribune in Utah, The Jackson Free Press in Mississippi and The Lincoln Journal Star in Nebraska focusing on the impact model aircraft has had on their lives.
  • In September, AMA President Rich Hanson spoke at Aviation Safety Week events across Virginia with other industry stakeholders. He discussed the importance of integrating UAS into the skies surrounding airports. Read more here.

Members of the AMA team also attended the National Recreation and Park Association’s (NRPA) Annual Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, where AMA discussed the development of new flying sites. In addition, Chad Budreau, AMA’s Director of Government Affairs, was a guest on NRPA’s OpenSpace podcast, where he shared information on flying model aircraft safely.

Lastly, this quarter AMA participated in the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale meeting in Switzerland, as well as InterDrone in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

Members like you continue to be an important part of our work at the local, state and federal level. Thank you for your continued support in 2017. We are successful because of you and your dedication to our longstanding hobby!

AMA Government Relations Team