The AMA responds to an article in Smithsonian Air and Space Magazine.
Note that the AMA claims it is "The national body for aeromodeling operations".
Wow! FAA step aside, the AMA is running the show now !
Comment by Bill Vickers
" I don't belong to the AMA. Where I fly, the only thing to crash into is tumble weeds. "
If the AMA gets their way with the FAA or Congress you will have to join the AMA and follow AMA rules at an AMA club field, whether you like it or not.
I have been an active member of the AMA for nearly 20 years and have seen firsthand how the AMA deals with new and advancing technologies within the boundaries of weight, speed, control and power systems. The most recent example was the begrudging acceptance of turbine powered "models". It took years before you would see the word turbine in Model Aviation magazine. The initial certification requirements to fly turbine powered models at AMA sanctioned fields, levied by the AMA, were akin to becoming type certified as a pilot (which I also am). The advent of UAVs, FPV, Autonomous UAVs, etc. is yet another step in the continuous evolution of heavier than air flight. The AMA began with control line flight and eventually adopted radio control. It evolved from doped cloth wings to shrink-wrapped airframes. It begrudgingly watched as models grew from ounces to pounds. Now we are in the midst of integrating micro-components, GPS receivers, powerful software routines and high-speed wireless communications for command and control solutions that allow anyone with some disposable income and initiative to participate in what has been historically the purview of government, universities and well funded commercial enterprise. Here is where the risk is and where I believe we may be headed.
The AMA knows it is at a crossroads with the FAA. The control of airspace has been and will continue to be the exclusive purview of government, whether we like it or not. At the end of the day, the relationship between the AMA and the FAA is political and fraught with all the backroom dealings that that entails. My concern is that the AMA will offer up (if it hasn't done so already) a sacrificial lamb to ensure its own survival - the lamb being UAVs, AUAVs, FPV and any related technology that permits autonomous flight operations. Both the AMA and the FAA will see this as a win/win opportunity. The AMA will keep their historical control of airspace below 400 feet while promising to exclude UAV flight operations within its domain, leaving the FAA to deal with the UAV issue through restrictive rule making.
Sadly, the end result will be - the stifling of innovation and research in Robotics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Power Storage Solutions, Search/Rescue Tools, innovative Crime Fighting Tools and a plethora of derivative technologies that made Spirit and Opportunity possible. Historical review clearly shows that government is rarely the source of innovation. The greatest contribution the government can provide is a blind eye and forgiveness for those who are willing to take risks. I for one will continue to explore, experiment and innovate in as safe and secure an environment as I reasonably can. I hope all that read this blog will do the same.
I agree with what you say Allen, but in history, there are those that have always been timid, so to speak, and afraid of progress. But there are always those that will boldly take risks to achieve their goals. If we didn't have those bold people, we would still be swinging in trees.
Like I have said before, I don't advocate breaking any laws, but there are times when a person will do what they have to do to complete a experiment that has been burning in their being.
I will continue to fly where I do, and do my experiments. I will not do them if there is any risk to body or property, but I will continue to do them.
Who tells the bird, it can't fly into my window? life is a risk, live it or die wondering why you didnt...
edit: Reminiscent of days past; when unmanned aviation was just getting started...
Marilyn Monroe (Norma Jeane at the time) worked in UAV's as seen here.
Where I intend to fly the most serious thing that could happen would be to lose control for whatever reason and inadvertently fly into a cow, or a fence.
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