The AMA actively discourages the flying of "drones" why would you want to join them? If you go to a AMA field and tell them you are going to fly an autonomous system they will probably tell you to go away.
Go an find a nice quite field away from anything you can damage and enjoy yourself.
The AMA doesn't /actively/ discourage UAV flying, however it does keep a close eye on them (and FPV flying as well). You have to understand that the AMA is a 2 part entity, a. they provide insurance for members, b. they interact with government agencies on behalf of members/hobbyists to make sure we can continue flying anything. I'm currently an AMA member and would recommend ANYONE flying any sort of model aircraft in the United States to also be a member. Out of 3 AMA fields I've been to, 2 of which I'm a member of, nobody has ever said anything negative about UAV's, nor discouraged me from flying my ArduPlane Bixler. What they do say, however, is I must fly with a spotter at all times (only @ one field), and that any planned flight path remain in the airspace of the field (which is quite normally marked somewhere on the field with a map).
I've never had anyone tell me to "Go away", in fact most members, even the ones wary about UAV/FPV flying, love seeing the tech and how it works.
@Anthony, for UAV you'll definitely want the full membership though, park flyer memberships are basically for slow stick planes, and small foamie 3D planes
Finally @Sgt Ric, AMA doesn't want to BAN drones/UAV's, they want them to be monitored and regulated. Keep in mind that civilian UAVs are in their infancies and problems do and will occur. The AMA would rather have regulation to make sure those problems aren't huge ones.
park = less than 2lbs and under 60 mph + other rules (safety)
fpv = (yes ama has rules for fpv) less than 10lbs and under 60mph + other rules (safety)
among other types of flying......(safety first)
the word "drone" or "auto" is'nt even on thier website
all rules and regulations here
While that may be true, there are some slow inroads towards acceptance. AMA published updated guidance for "Manually Controllable Programmed Outdoor Model Flight Operations" available at http://www.modelaircraft.org/files/560.pdf
This permits UAVs to be flown at AMA fields so long as they meet the requirements spelled out in the document. AMA clubs hostile to UAVs generally use the "not covered by AMA insurance, cannot be flown from AMA fields" and not all clubs are aware of this new guidance.
I contacted a large local AMA club, and spoke with their President and the membership officer. I asked both about the tensions and controversy between the AMA and the UAV community. The officer in change of membership replied:
In my view, the subject of UAV flight is controversial or problematic only if one wants to disobey the AMA rules on the subject. That is, the AMA document you cited is very clear, and you must follow those rules if flying from our field. We are an AMA club, and we provide insurance for or [sic] field at <club field> through AMA. Thus, this becomes a legal and financial issue if we don’t follow the AMA rules.
I removed the field name because I see no need to identify the specific club or officer. Not all clubs are very accepting, and I think you can understand their thinking. Too many wiz-bang engineers have been flying gadgets perhaps too casually, and crashing drone jokes were just as common and more well deserved than jarhead and grunt references in the US military throughout the 90's and the last decade. So love them or hate them, even if the AMA does not do anything good for you, if you interact with an AMA club, do try to be a good ambassador for the UAV community. It might not pay off for you, but it may well pay off for the rest of us.
Hope this helps.
Well said, Mike!
I'm not sure of the underwriting of insurance with the AMA.
If there is a fire from certain events we want it to be in line of sight.
Otherwise the costs go up.
@Mike -- Thanks for posting this link. I, for one, was not aware of this AMA document. It's very encouraging. I have felt all along that the AMA would adopt these new technologies. I have to wonder if something similar wasn't going on when the hobby was predominantly control line (at least in populated areas) and along comes this "radio control" technology with planes flying around without those safe strings attached!
I'm not sure what kind of drone you are talking about. There are differences based in weight. It is not as critical for a 2-4 lbs park flyer but it could be an issue for a 300lbs airplane. Weight, size, operational altitude and speed play an important role when it comes to decide who's rules are you going to be flying under. Like the other poster said, for a Bixter that may be a non-issue, if you have something larger in mind you may want to look at current FAA guidance at http://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/uas/ FAA Order 8130.34A ( http://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Order/8130.34A.pdf ) provide instructions on all you have to do to legally fly an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle in the National Airspace. This is the issue. Depending on where you live, planes can fly as low as 500 Ft above ground (AGL). Current AMA and FAA rules limit flight of model aircraft to 400Ft keeping a 100Ft buffer between models and full size aircrafts. If your intentions are to fly your drone higher than 400Ft in the NAS you need to demonstrate the FAA you airplane is safe for the type of operation intended and such operation would not disrupt or cause harm to full size aircraft operation. In short, your plane must be "visible" to air-traffic, you must be able to communicate with air-traffic, and you must be able to see and avoid other traffic in the air. For example class G airspace is also known as uncontrolled airspace more common on the country side where traffic is less dense. The airspace around major airports are either class B or C and will be near impossible to operate a drone there. Education is the best tool. We are breaking new ground and need to keep our members as well inform as possible. The last thing we need is another "Bubba" in the 6:00 news having a mid-air or causing a terror alert in a major airport. The atmosphere is tense enough as it is. Please, please, please, if you don't know or are not sure, stop and ask first. Call your local AMA capter or you local FAA Flight Standards Office.