AMA membership mandatory in new regulations?

The AMA is claiming that the FAA has "forced" them to become the "manager" of recreational aviation that will force every recreational sUAV user to be a member of the AMA or not be able to fly.

From one of the AMA's "ARC" FAQs:

"AMA would prefer to see a single set of guidelines managed by a community-based organization

that establishes the standards for all of model aviation. AMA is actively developing a

comprehensive set of model aviation guidelines from its current safety standards for submittal to

the FAA and hopefully acceptance and approval before the sUAS SFAR becomes a reality in


This may sound to some like the Academy is trying to force all modelers to join the AMA.

Certainly AMA believes there is strength in numbers and the health and welfare of the hobby

undoubtedly depends upon the presence of a strong national organization that can speak for and

advocate the interests of the aeromodeling community. But, forcing modelers to join the AMA is

by no means the intent of the Academy’s approach to the sUAS rulemaking. AMA’s sole aim is

to work through this issue that has been somewhat forced upon us, and achieve an end result that

allows the modelers to continue to enjoy the hobby in much the same way as they have in the


Seems like a sneaky way to bolster their falling membership by millions. The AMA has no oversight policy for its members or clubs and its safety policies are based soley on what an insurance company will allow. Let us hope that the AMA will be ignored by the FAA. A set of atandards for everyone to follow instead of forcing everyone to get an AMA insurance policy is what is needed.

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  • They FAA already recommended to the ARC that members of the AMA not be tied to the new regulations that would severly limit non-AMA members (even more restricitve than AC 97-51 made mandatory). The AMA objected to this on grounds that no flying outside the AMA should be allowed.The AMA response stating this is available on the AMA website (top of page six in yellow highlight).
  • This seems like a case of history repeating itself. More than a decade ago, the Federal Communications Commission required that amateur radio repeaters (namely, the frequency pair their operate on) be "officially" coordinated by a bona-fide frequency coordination body. That body, composed of volunteers, was effectively a quasi-governmental organization (with no appeals process!). This was challenged back in 1994 (by yours truly), who set up the "220 MHz Frequency Coordination Commission" to compete with the existing 220 MHz Spectrum Management Association. The matter came up for administrative review at the FCC, and both organizations were required to disclose their basis for support and other details. In the end, the FCC determined that the 220 FCC (headed by yours truly) had more membership support than the 220 SMA, and that it was indeed also considered a bona-fide frequency coordinator acting in a quasi-governmental capacity. A summary of the findings, and their implications, appears here.

    How is this relevant to the AMA matter? Any organization with the resources and membership backing to provide similar (or parallel) services in a manner that fulfill FAA requirements will also have to be recognized by the FAA. You see, quasi-governmental monopolies are only allowed in certain industries.
  • it doesn't matter what the AMA says - it matters what the regulations say - and the chances of those saying "you must be a member of the AMA" is ..... ZERO.
  • T3
    Does this mean that the AMA becomes a semi governmental organization? It also means that the AMA will have to improve their policing of their rules and it makes them liable for accidents, injuries etc?
  • It is just making the AMA a mandatory insurance monopoly if enacted. The main reason to join the AMA currently is for club insurance and to get that requires all users of club feilds to be AMA members. If it wasn't for the insurance the AMA would have a few hundred members. Now they have a way to make the sale of a backyard coaxial require AMA membership. It isn't about membership but hundreds of millions dollars for the AMA.
  • Although this sounds good in principle for AMA - I think I side with broad guidelines that all can adhere too.
  • T3
    what a double edged sword...I suppose the AMA is going to have to start by administering eye exams...oh boy that would drop them down to sixty thousand members...
  • Ummm... What is the upside of an AMA membership if you fly on private land that is in the middle of nowhere? When I say middle of nowhere I mean places where you would have to pay for >5 miles of wire if you want utilities.
  • I wonder though if mandatory members add to the strength of the community...
  • This would be a fantastic move for the AMA to pull off. Their membership numbers have been dropping steadily for the last 6 years from a high around 170,000 now down to the mid 140's. Granted, UAV users are a small segment of the R/C hobby, any mandatory membership will create mandatory members.
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