Signed at the AMA Expo, Ontario California. DTV is there and will report back!

Memorandum of Understanding between Academy of Model Aeronautics and Federal Aviation Administration

Concerning Operation of Model Aircraft In the National Airspace System


This Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) establishes a cooperative working relationship between the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA).


AMA is a nationally recognized, non-profit membership organization that was established in 1936. The organization has provided leadership for an expansive aero-modeling community throughout the United States and its territories. Over time, AMA has developed and maintained a National Model Aircraft Safety Code, which provides guidelines for the safe
operation of model aircraft.

Until 1981, there were no federal guidelines or directives for model aircraft operations. In June of that year, the FAA published an Advisory Circular (AC 91-57) titled “Model Aircraft Operating Standards.” Although not directive in nature, AC 91-57 provided general guidance for the operation of model aircraft.

On February 17, 2012, President Obama signed the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (FMRA) (Pub.L.112-95) into law. Within this Act, a special provision for model aircraft was enacted. Section 336 of the FMRA provides a definition of the term “model aircraft”, requirements for operating model aircraft, and reinforces the authority that the FAA possesses to pursue enforcement action against persons operating model aircraft in an unsafe manner. In addition, section 106 and 40103 of Title 49, United States Code provides the authority of the Federal Aviation Administration to prescribe aviation standards and regulate aviation operations in the National Airspace System (NAS).

In addition, in the FMRA, Congress acknowledged the efficacy of community-based safety programming, and specified that if a model aircraft is operated in accordance with a community-based set of safety guidelines and within the programming of a nationwide community-based organization, the FAA may not promulgate any rule or regulation regarding that model aircraft.

This MOU outlines the relationship that will be maintained between the FAA and the AMA.

The AMA and the FAA intend to work together by openly communicating any questions and needs as they arise. Technology and operating environments are always changing, and thus establishing an understanding of the nature of the cooperative working relationship between the two organizations is critical to meet the mission needs of the FAA and the AMA.


The Academy of Model Aeronautics agrees to:

 Develop, establish, and maintain a comprehensive safety program to educate and direct its members in how to safely operate model aircraft in the NAS.

 Develop, maintain, and enact appropriate guidelines, procedures, and operating standards for its members responsive to the minimum safety criteria established in PL112-95 and implement the AMA Safety Program to include the PL 112-95 Enactment Standards.

 Maintain the AMA Safety Program by regularly reviewing relevant safety data and updating the program to address any issues that are brought to light by the data.

 Continue to establish appropriate safety guidelines for emergent technologies and novel facets of aero-modeling activity.

 Provide the FAA with an updated copy of the AMA Safety Program whenever substantive changes are made, or upon request.

 Foster a positive and cooperative environment within the aero-modeling community toward the FAA, its employees, and its regulatory structure.

 Serve as a conduit between the aero-modeling community at-large, the hobby industry, and the FAA in order to provide relevant and time-critical aviation safety information to all parties.

 Bring issues and questions to the FAA when matters arise related to model aircraft that could impact the safety of the NAS.

 Maintain Safety Programming documentation on the public section of the AMA website in order to promote safety throughout the entire aero-modeling community, even among non-AMA members.

The Federal Aviation Administration agrees to:

 Review AMA’s Safety Program and advise the Academy on safety issues related to aero-modeling operations within the NAS.

 Educate and inform appropriate FAA field personnel regarding the most current aeromodeling policies, procedures, and operating standards.

 Address model aviation safety and operational issues through the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Office, AFS-80. This office will act as a conduit to other areas of the FAA in order to resolve and address matters of mutual concern and interest.

 Foster a positive and cooperative environment towards model aviation within the agency’s national, regional, district, and local offices.

 Maintain an open line of communication with the AMA to exchange information and provide relevant and/or time critical notices regarding aviation safety and airspace operations.

 Cooperate with the AMA in dealing with and resolving issues of concern to either or both parties.

Effective Dates

It is understood and agreed by the undersigned that the intent of this MOU is to state shared goals and to establish and maintain cooperation toward meeting these shared goals. This MOU does not create any binding obligation on either party. Each party agrees to conduct its representative activities in a coordinated and mutually beneficial manner. The FAA and the AMA will evaluate their respective participation with the terms of this agreement periodically and communicate any issues with the term as soon as they arise.

This MOU will be in effect at the time of the signing and may be terminated at any time by either of the signing authorities or their successors. One party or the other must serve the notice of the termination at least ninety (90) days prior to the effective date of that termination, or in the case of mutual consent, with no prior notice requirement.

Views: 1459

Comment by Monroe Lee King Jr. on January 11, 2014 at 1:41pm

 Model drones are going to be too hot for the AMA to handle!

Wiki Ninja
Comment by Gary McCray on January 11, 2014 at 2:49pm

At least it's something , sort of an agreement to try agreeing to something at some point in the future.

And I sort of agree with Monroe above,.

Basically if we don't start tooting our own horn with the FAA, we probably ought to start doing so with the AMA because at least the FAA acknowledges their existence and to some degree their relevance.

Comment by Adam Erickson on January 11, 2014 at 3:15pm

I think this is great. It means that the FAA is working to establish space in their institution for model aircraft while delegating some of the authority to an existing trusted body. An MOU is a sign of increasing collaboration that should benefit us.

Comment by Monroe Lee King Jr. on January 11, 2014 at 4:13pm

"This MOU will be in effect at the time of the signing and may be terminated at any time by either of the signing authorities or their successors. One party or the other must serve the notice of the termination at least ninety (90) days prior to the effective date of that termination, or in the case of mutual consent, with no prior notice requirement."

What this means is if the feases hit's the rotary oscillator the AMA can dump drones like a bad habit! Believe me if it get's too hot they will!

What this also means is if droners accept AMA regulation things could cool down. I'm not so sure droners will accept that kind of regulation? I do agree however if they will not band together this is the only other logical choice to accept AMA regulation.

Another thing if drones have an impact on the heavy type R/C aircraft (large) or the Gas Turbine crowd they will revolt! If drones have a negative impact on regular R/C you will be sorry indeed.

If droners can be regulated by the AMA I'm fine with that! But do droners really know what that will mean? The AMA certainly will not allow flights like a lot of the ones many have been doing. Some of them will be allowed but you will need a flight plan and approval with AMA people looking on.

Comment by Michael Pursifull on January 11, 2014 at 4:25pm

The Drone User Group Network is also a "nationwide community-based organization. 

Comment by Monroe Lee King Jr. on January 11, 2014 at 4:33pm

 I would be interested in DUGN "if" they had a membership fee and the funds to lobby for our hobby. I don't see that happening there? The AMA surely has membership fees to cover the expenses required to do business. "if" DUGN was a real 501c3 non-profit organization that was designed to handle issues with our government! Because THAT is what is needed.


Comment by Michael Pursifull on January 11, 2014 at 4:46pm

Talk to them. They are friends. And friendly.

Comment by Thomas J Coyle III on January 11, 2014 at 5:15pm


I am an AMA member and to me the most important use of membership funds is the liability insurance provide by the AMA to its members as a part of the membership.

Many UAS operators do not realize that they can be liable for property and personal damage caused by a drone crash. In many cases their automobile or home owner liability insurance coverage does not cover this kind of damage and they could be out of pocket for a large sum if they are sued. This is something to think about when flying a UAS in the public domain.


TCIII ArduRover2 Developer

Comment by Monroe Lee King Jr. on January 11, 2014 at 5:34pm

 That is indeed true Thomas! It is a benefit and one that is indeed important. My TRA membership allows me $1,000,000.00 in insurance if I fly rockets at a TRA sanctioned event. AMA has similar insurance for their members. I have not been a member of the AMA myself in a long time. But it may be time to join up again? If just to support our cause if that is the way we are going? Currently our team deals directly with the FAA and as so much we don't need the AMA but we have commercial interests as well so we are responsible for our own insurance.

 An entity for the drone community could surely provide insurance as well. I suppose being under the AMA hat that could be a benefit "if" your operating under their regulations. 

Comment by Monroe Lee King Jr. on January 11, 2014 at 5:47pm

I hope I have not offended anyone. I am just offering information based on my personal experience. IF the AMA can handle it and the drone community is ok with AMA regulation I am all for it. I just have concerns and today I had some time to post about it seeing these post. I'll get back to what I'm doing now and let you guy's figure out what you want to do. I just don't want my friends to be uninformed about where things may indeed be going. It really is up to the community.


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