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  • You are 100% on the spot Allen and as a fellow AMA member, I thank you for posting here.
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • True
  • I guess I will say that anytime that you have a bureaucrat making rules under the color of law is a recipe for disaster to my freedoms to do what I like to do.  How long do you think it will be before the D H S (Department of Homeland Security) decides that it is too risky for you joe law abiding citizen  to have all this technology " why you might program a styrofoam airplane to ram into a building or something", causing untold damage and scaring the poor people inside.  At the least limiting or keeping a file on those that engage in such behavior for fear of a terrorist gaining access to such high tech wizardry ... "saints preserve us we must have new regulations".

    Laugh if you want to .. that is how these things get started.

  • I don't belong to the AMA. Where I fly, the only thing to crash into is tumble weeds.
  • Exactly. Only those who the current board approves of get on the ballot.

    Just like the wonderful system in the former USSR.

    You really prefer these guys to the FAA?

  • Sounds like "The good ole boys club."
  • If they allow Horrace Cain to run in the elections this year, there will be a whole lotta shalin' goin' on.

    He has been nominated and more than meets the AMA's qualifications and requirements, but the currently elected board gets to refuse to allow anyone from appearing on the ballot.

  • Maybe its time for a shake up within the AMA. When people are there to long, they seem like they can dictate to others.
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