FAA and AMA to Sign a Landmark Agreement at AMA Expo 2014

James Williams, executive manager of the FAA Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Office, will join AMA President Bob Brown on the main Expo stage at 3 p.m. PST, on Saturday, January 11, to sign a Memorandum of Understanding. This agreement institutes a formal relationship between the FAA and the Academy of Model Aeronautics and establishes the platform upon which the AMA and the FAA will jointly work to ensure the continued safe operation of model aircraft in the National Airspace System.

“The execution of this document puts the Federal Aviation Administration one step closer to fully enacting the Special Rule for Model Aircraft established as part of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012,” said AMA Executive Director Dave Mathewson. “Still to be realized is FAA’s formal recognition of the AMA as a community-based organization as described by Congress and the agency’s acknowledgment of AMA’s Safety Program as a means of substantiating the safety guidelines and overseeing the operation of recreational unmanned aircraft.”

The AMA has served as the national body for model aviation for 77 years. During that time, the aeromodeling community has achieved an excellent safety record through adherence to AMA’s National Model Aircraft Safety Code and its comprehensive safety program. The efficacy of AMA’s community-based safety program was acknowledged by Congress in the 2012 FAA reauthorization bill, now Public Law 112-95.

The premier exposition for model aviation, AMA Expo 2014, takes place January 10-12, 2014, at the Ontario Convention Center in Ontario CA. Anyone with an interest in the emerging unmanned aircraft systems technology or model aviation in general is encouraged to attend. AMA Expo provides an opportunity to learn more about the hobby, view and purchase the latest in model aircraft technology, mingle with aeromodeling enthusiasts, and listen to presentations by aviation experts.

AMA Expo is hosted by the Academy of Model Aeronautics and is sponsored in part by Go Professional Custom Xtreme Cases, Aerial Media Pros, International Radio Controlled Helicopter Association (IRCHA), Castle Creations, Southwest Aerovista Hobbies, AUVSI’s Unmanned Systems, Estes Rockets, Gorilla Glue, U.S. Scale Masters, Nationwide Insurance, and others.

A complete schedule of events, ticket information, and more can be found at http://www.amaexpo.com.

The Academy of Model Aeronautics has been the nation’s collective voice for approximately 164,000 modelers in 2,400 clubs in every state and Puerto Rico since 1936. A nonprofit association headquartered in Muncie IN, AMA sanctions more than 2,000 events and competitions each year under the auspices of the National Aeronautic Association.

sUAS News will be there watch out for a special edition of Drone TV https://www.youtube.com/suasnews

In almost related news France has underlined its fine scheme for illegal UA operation. So watch out if you are in France.

  • Enforcement against unlawful UAS activities: During the same meeting, France’s national aviation police (“GTA”) provided insights into enforcement activities. This follows the industry’s criticisms deploring unfair competition practices from few UAS actors. As of October 2013, around ten investigations have being carried out against French UAS actors. Those face criminal (i.e. fine up to €75,000 and/or one year of imprisonment) and/or administrative (i.e. withdrawal of authorisation) sanctions. To date, only one company based in South of France has been sanctioned.

That one company in the South of France is permitted to operate out to a distance of 100km!


Views: 886

Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on January 8, 2014 at 2:27pm

So do AMA members actually get to SEE the document before their president signs it, or is this a secret agreement?

Comment by Gary Mortimer on January 8, 2014 at 3:10pm

Well if you are an AMA member it will be all good I am sure, if you are not an AMA member perhaps not so much.

One thing is for certain its all been happening behind closed doors. Much like the ARC 2 process with the AUVSI representing the interests of small business and many major military players having seats at the table.

The FAA Test site selection certainly seems to have been a process that was politically twisted they left out one of the best candidates Dayton Ohio

Right now its a land grab for the 2017 civilian test contracts, every man and woman for themselves.

Comment by Joshua Johnson on January 8, 2014 at 7:15pm

Glad to see that sUAS News is all over this story!!!  Please keep the sUASNews.com Blogs comming.  I don't know how else I'd would of ever found or seen this story!

Thanks Gary!,


Comment by crystal garris on January 8, 2014 at 8:12pm
@ Joshua. Participating in an organization is about the easiest way to keep aware of thier planned action. This story was discussed in the latest newsletter.

I urge every one to join and support the AMA. They are the only organization standing up for your rights as a RC modeler. If you don't participate I don't think you should complain.
Comment by Joshua Johnson on January 8, 2014 at 8:20pm
I don't believe I'm complaining? I'm simply stating I'm glad that this was share with the community. The AMA is amazing and I've been a supporter and follower for a long time.
Comment by Joshua Johnson on January 8, 2014 at 8:21pm
Why do you feel I'm complaining?

Comment by crystal garris on January 8, 2014 at 8:44pm
Hey Joshua. I didn't mean you. I have seen many people complain about the AMA especially when it comes to FPV out of line of site stuff .
Comment by Gary Hunkin on January 9, 2014 at 5:38am

I am sure the AMA are more level headed than their counterparts in other small countries. Hope this works for drone community.

Comment by Gary Mortimer on January 9, 2014 at 5:49am

Well the BMFA has an excellent relationship with the CAA in the UK and quite rightly did not want to be involved with commercial UAS operations. The worry in the USA is that UAS operations by non certified operators will only be allowed at AMA fields. We will find out soon!

Comment by R. D. Starwalt on January 9, 2014 at 6:39pm

Model Aviation magazine (print or digital for AMA members) has a new columnist -- one of the Roswell Flight Test members - Patrick Sherman


The AMA is reaching out to all hobbyists. This does not mean if you go to your local AMA listed flying club that the members there will understand what you are doing. For the 'old iron' Warbird flyers, multirotors may never be considered a part of 'their hobby'. That is OK.

The folks that love HLG - Hand Launch Gliders - have their own niche that doesn't include Warbirds.

In short - It's All Good!

A major benefit with AMA membership is the liability coverage if you are acting according to the safety rules.



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