The AMA insurance liason, Ilona Maine, has identified model aircraft used in manufacturer demos and sponsored pilots to be commercial uses and not covered by AMA insurance.


"You asked if a noon-time flight demo for the purposes of promoting the future sales of a RC product constitutes a "commercial purpose" as it pertains to AMA’s insurance.
The Westchester liability policy has a specific exclusion for commercial enterprises and/or business pursuit for individual members.  The policy does not provide coverage for any business entity. Whether or not noon-time demo flights fit into the business pursuit is difficult to determine and there is no “one answer fits all” response. As with any other claim, final determination would be up to a claims adjuster/insurance company based on the specifics of each individual claim. The situation is obviously a bit more transparent when a major manufacturer holds a noon-time demo utilizing their own employees as the manufacturer's insurance would apply. Generally, when we receive inquiries regarding sponsored (non-employed) pilots doing demo flights for manufacturers/distributors, we advise that they should not rely on AMA coverage. We cannot guarantee that the policy would respond and we don't want anyone to be caught by surprise in case of an accident. "


Since they consider them commercial use does that not mean they need to follow the current FAA regulations for commercial sUAS like everyone else?

Shouldn't they have to get experimental CoAs like any other commercial sUAS user?


By allowing commercial activities , although not covering them with insurance, aren't they aiding and abetting criminals?

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  • Please don't get me wrong, I love the AMA. It was been an inspiration and help to millions of members and non-members alike for the last 70 years. That great organization has taken a hiatus in the last decade due to miopic (at best) leadership.

    I dislike the current leaders who simply see the new regulations as a means of increasing AMA revenues by means of forced mambership and also, as an American, I find repulsive the idea of a dozen self-elected amateurs making the regulations (read: laws) for the entire country.

  • I pay the phone bill for the local volunteer fire department. Coincidentally the fire chief/farmer let's my use his field for flying whenever I please. The nearest AMA field is larger and more ideal yet somehow uglier ;)
  • The Senate version of the FAA reauthorization act grants authority to the AMA,  as does one of the recommendations being consired by the FAA in the current process.

    Yes it big news (my blogs several times). Sadly, few  seem to care, understand or listen (not sure which).

  • So you are saying that "commercial use" and "commercial use" are two different things?

    How does the FAA definition of commercial use sUAS differ from the FAA's? 

    What about when the FAA (or Congress) hands over all recreational sUAS regulation into the hands of the AMA?

  • Hi, I´m not into the american rulemaking but I can share the experience since we had exactly the same problem some years ago in germany.

    It finally turned out that you have to separate aviation rules and insurance... Regarding rules they considered a model airplane flown by a RC company for demonsration or test by a paid pilot still a model airplane because of it´s purpose (model airplane = intended for fun/hobby and NOT photography etc.).

    The insurance however say it´s your buisness and they see higher risks in that (what is actually questionable, because you are more professional as a pro...) and are offering a special fare (higher, of course...) for that (it´s called "commercial use of model aircraft insurace"). Sounds weird but works since some time now...

    So probably you got a similar problem here??

  • Doubt the FAA will press the issue since the FAA and AMA seem to be sleeping together, at least that is what one if them is saying. May turn out to be date rape for all we know.
  • No. But if I pay you to demostrate the ones I make and sell, then yes. Pretty sure the FAA will see it the same way. Take pictures of your house with your AP set up is OK. Get paid to take pics of my house and it is commercial.
  • T3
    So if I take a model to the field and want to sell it to another AMA member and I show him how it flies does that constitute commercial use...I need an air sickness bag.
  • Wow! This is getting uglier by the minute, but by the FAA definition it is commercial. The FAA has a tiger by the tail.
  • Moderator

    Its not that they don't like toys,...its just that they only want the same toys we've had for 50 years.


    "Antiquated dinosaur" is right

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