Remembering Bob Underwood

It is with great sadness that we report that former AMA Executive Director Bob Underwood has died. A longtime resident of St. Louis, he was 92. 

Bob served the AMA through a variety of capacities. In addition to executive director, he was the longtime technical director, the contest director for five Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) world championships, creator of the AMA Education Committee, chairman of the AMA Safety Committee, and founder of the National Association of Scale Aeromodelers (NASA). 

He held several AMA volunteer leadership positions, including District VI vice president on the Executive Council and as an associate vice president. 

Bob flew a variety of model aircraft but was passionate about Scale modeling. He attended countless model aviation events throughout six decades. Bob was a builder and also wrote for several aeromodeling magazines, including Model Aviation. The AMA Foundation has decided to dedicate the 2024 AMA National Fun Fly in his name.

He was a friend and mentor to many.  

“The value of his leadership during AMA’s transition from Reston, Virginia, to Muncie, Indiana, cannot be overstated,” noted Rob Kurek, AMA director of communications. “Bob was one of those rare individuals who could be both a boss and a friend at the same time, someone whose calm demeanor created hope at a time of many challenges for the AMA staff and leadership.”

Bob was an AMA Fellow with many awards to his name, to include the President’s Award and Distinguished Service Award. He was a member of the Model Aviation Hall of Fame. 

Bob was very active on an international level. In addition to serving as contest director for five FAI world championships, he competed and placed in several world championships and served as a FAI Jury member. He served as FAI/CIAM technical secretary for six years.

Our condolences go out to Bob’s family and friends. He was a beloved member of the AMA family and will be greatly missed. 


  1. Bob will be missed. He was a huge asset to this hobby; I would call him for guidance, help, and insights. Bob’s efforts will continue to have a lasting and positive impact.

  2. Bob Underwood was a great role model and mentor for many AMA EC members and others fortunate to have known and worked with him on AMA committees, especially for me as chair of the Bylaw’s Committee. His wonderful stories always incorporated humor to convey meaningful content and provoke engagement. In his many AMA roles, he was a master at facilitating collaboration and teamwork to confront challenging issues and accomplish some of the AMA’s most important strategic goals. My deepest sympathy and prayers to Bob’s family at their loss. Someone so special can never be forgotten.

  3. I am so sorry for the loss of Bob. I have had the pleasure of working with him on the AMA Museum Acquisition Committee. He was a wealth of knowledge about AMA and model aviation and a fine gentleman. I will miss him dearly. Prayers for the family.

  4. Bob was one of my favorite AMA leaders. I am a life-long District VI member and loved the time Bob was my VP. He was a great model builder and flyer and had an infectious personality. Bob was polite, professional, and kind. He was the definition of a “good man”. Anyone that had the pleasure of meeting Bob knows exactly what I am talking about. God bless Bob and his entire family. Soft landing.

  5. After reading about his award winning scale HiperBipe built years ago, it was a real pleasure meeting Bob in person at one of my club’s scale events and seeing his plane perform so well. He was a real gentleman. His achievements were many and significant for our hobby and organization. His initiative, guidance and personal relationships will serve the membership, inspiring many well into the future.
    Rest in peace, my friend. You are missed.

  6. Ì met Bob a few times over the years. A very kind gentleman would be his description if I was asked. R.I.P. Bob. Deepest sympathy to his family.

  7. I met Bob way back in the late 1960’s as I too lived in the St. Louis area. He and I flew at Buder park for many years as he flew R/C I flew CL. We worked together to put on airshows at Buder park.
    Later on in the 2000’s I was on the GSLMA board as a treasure for several years. Whenever we would need advice when dealing with the park department, I could always count on him to give us useful information. He was a great friend, and I will miss him. RIP Bob.

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