AMA rule 9


Just to keep you informed about AMA policy, I have some recent data.

I was planning on a demo flight of the UAV DevBoard at an RC club fun fly. We checked with the AMA to see if I could do that. I explained that the flights were going to be electronically assisted, not autonomous. I planned to maintain visual contact, stay below 400 feet, and the control signals would be a blend of control from MatrixPilot plus the stick inputs. First AMA said no, then they gave approval, and finally they grounded me, saying the AMA insurance would not cover me or the club during the fun fly if I did any flying.

Best regards,
Bill Premerlani

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  • Moderator

    First of all the document you are referring to is not the sole work of the AMA, the AMA is but one representative of a diverse committee consisting of representatives for all areas of aviation from the governing body of the FAA to manufacturers of model aircraft as well as full scale aircraft, pilots associations, universities, and the Department of Defense. Secondly reading the document it would appear that most of the AMAs comments are pointed towards loosening the restrictions that are being suggested. It would appear that the AMA might be suggested as a "governing body" modeling it's structure after a well established hobby organization the NAR (National Association of Rocketry). The NAR has regulated model rocketry successfully for over 50 years. I believe the intent here is to model the regulations to be similar to those of the NAR,with exemptions for aircraft that fall within certain guidelines, such as below 2 lbs total TOW less than 60 MPH top speed, and below 400' AGL. You are not required to be a member of the NAR to buy or fly rockets that weigh less than 3.3 lb and fly on a G motor or less. The regulation is enforced by restricting the access to motors in class H and higher to those NAR members who have been certified by the organization as qualified. A similar restriction would permit "Air Hogs" and other free flight and "Park Flyers" to be flown without being a member of the AMA, and without violating the FAA regulations. We may give up some freedom at the extreme edges of our hobby, however I think preserving our ability to pursue our activity without fear of violating some obscure restriction we were otherwise unaware of is a fair trade. Lastly the AMA is far more than an provider of insurance for it's members. It is an advocate attempting to preserve our ability to pursue activities involving aviation in the NAS. They also reach out to the youth in our country through educational programs in an attempt to grow the hobby. Without the efforts of the AMA the future of the hobby might be left up to the DOD the FAA and the aviation industry who have little interest in our ability to fly our "toy" airplanes. Hobby industry manufactures benefit from the AMAs involvement in these negotiations in the same way we do so I don't think they are complaining, without a voice in these negotiations representing the hobby industry there might not be any business for the manufactures in the first place. As far as the elections go, if you want to volunteer your time to advance the hobby through your service to the AMA, get yourself nominated for a position on the ballot and maybe then there will be more than one person on the ballot. You don't often see people lining up to compete for volunteer service.

    Have a little patience and remember this is a work in progress, I think in the end there will be a program in place we can all live with that will be far better than the alternative.


  • Moderator

    First let me say thanks to you for all the great work that you do to improve our great hobby. I am disheartened by reading your e-mail. I also feel that the way AMA rule 9 is written, we are in compliance. I have been operating under that alube?
    I also live in the upstate NY area and was planning on attending a Fly-In at the Malone Aero-modelers field tomorrow. Although there wasn't a formal demonstration planned, I always attract a lot of attention wherever I go with my ArduPilot equipped Sr. Telemaster. I am always more than happy to take the time to explain the technology, and to demonstrate the capabilities. I always focus on the systems ability to improve safety when introducing inexperienced pilots to the joy of RC Aviation. It's a shame that fear of the unknown by some bean-counter could send our hobby into the dark corners of the state. It appears that the folks at AMA are open to the use of autopilots as rule 9 is written, and as we interpret it. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that the underwriter balked at the term "autonomous". I'll be very interested to hear what becomes of this. Please keep us posted on your correspondence.

    Just as a side note you might want to edit out the To: and CC: fields so your not spreading those e-mail addresses around. On second thought it might be good for AMA to hear what respectful, rule abiding, safety conscious AMA members think about this subject :)

    Best Regards,

    AMA District II High Peaks RC club VP, Keene Valley,NY (about 100 miles North of Albany, near Lake Placid)
  • Admin
    I live in North Texas and none of the AMA clubs within reasonable driving distance of my home town will take on new student R/C pilots. Therefore those of us in my area have formed our own club and fly, with permission, over cow pastures where we do not need insurance. To some extent the AMA and associated clubs are a bunch of self-serving snobs. They do provide insurance, if you are a member, but if they will not take on new members what is the point?

    Just a thought.
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