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Monday, March 14, 2011

Is the AMA trying to monopolize model aviation?

March 12, 2011 Addendum:

The FAA has published guidance on their website regarding this issue, specifically and officially stating that it is "a mistake" to confuse what they are doing with model aviation.  This is the same and only rulingmaking committee erroneously cited by the AMA as wanting to take away America's right to fly RC models for pleasure:
Small Unmanned Aircraft System Aviation Rulemaking Committee
Purpose: The law enforcement and aerial photography industries, plus others conducting remote sensing activities, have mistakenly interpreted FAA advisory circular (AC) 91-57, Model Aircraft Operating Standards, for permission to operate small UAS for research or compensation or hire purposes. To promote safety while updating and clarifying guidance, FAA will conduct a formal safety analysis of small UAS, and then promulgate federal regulations for their design, operation and registration.
Stephen A. Glowacki, AIR (202-385-4677)
Bruce Tarbert, AIR (202-385-4677)
This ends this issue as a factual matter.  The AMA has fabricated their story that the FAA is out to get you.  Like so many seeking a government bailout from tough economic times,  the AMA is simply trying to partner with Big Government to make a quick buck by selling our kids' freedom to operate RC models independent of national control and paid protection money to the AMA.  Original blog article follows:

In a highly advertised campaign, the AMA claims the FAA is about to end or regulate model aviation.   Any time an organization says, if you don't pay me money the Boogeyman will get you, I question them.  Here is the AMA claim:
"The FAA is developing new regulations that may place onerous and unnecessary restrictions on the hobby, sport and educational pursuit of model aviation.
 It is extremely important that all aeromodeling enthusiasts stand up and tell Congress to protect model aviation from pending federal regulation by the FAA.
 This form provides a sample letter that will be emailed to your district Representative and state Senators. Congress requires that all electronic forms of communication include your name, address and email to verify you as a constituent. Your information will remain private and confidential"
Yet, in all of these AMA ads and petitions, I can't find any proposed FAA language.  One thing that is easy to find is new AMA-sponsored legislative language, where they attempt to partner with big government to shut down non-AMA flying...
“Special Rule For Model Aircraft” that provides an exemption from regulation for model aircraft operating within the following parameters: Flown specifically for recreational, sport, competition, or academic purposes; operated in accordance with a community-based set of safety guidelines within the programming of a nationwide community-based organization.
Limited to 55 pounds or less unless certified through a design, construction,
inspection, flight test, and operational safety program currently administered by a community-based organization.
 ...essentially forcing everyone to pay the AMA protection money or stop flying their models.  I doubt there is any FAA language that pertains to radio operators standing on the ground, that is solely the domain of the FCC, but by cleverly inserting a model aviation "exemption" the AMA extends this bill to all of us by implication.  This smells an awful lot like a scam to trade AMA-votes for a government-sponsored, legal monopoly. 

When organizations get too big, they develop minds of their own and often turn on The People.  Stop the AMA from trying to send non-AMA fliers to prison.  This is just a money-making scam by an organization that values it's own proliferation more than your freedom.  These actions are un-American.

I canceled my AMA membership and you should do the same.  Private, blanket liability insurance is cheap and a real Umbrella Policy protects you from all liability claims resulting from any contingency--inadequate auto coverage, flying, boating, guests slipping down your staircase, legal defense costs from charges of slander, liable, or any other law suit filed against you--not just one type of claim resulting from a particular hobby when conducted in a particular way.

Also note:  unless you are flying your model above 1,200 feet AGL, or close to an airport or some other special use airspace (like the White House or a nuke plant) your model is in Class G airspace which is, and always has been, uncontrolled by the FAA.  Class G is annotated as "Gov't Free" on the FAA airspace diagram below.  That means that participants (the pilot in command of transiting civil and military aircraft) operating in Class G airspace accept complete responsibility to see and avoid other airplanes and obstacles, and in the event they hit your property (a tower, power lines, your windmill, your roof line, your pet turkey vulture, your model airplane) they have to pay you for damage they cause.

The FAA isn't perfect, they generally over-regulate both civil and military aviation with the philosophy shared by many government bureaucrats:  limiting the freedom of the citizens they are supposed to serve is the best way to limit their own bureaucratic risk.   But unfortunately, the same holds true for many large organizations like the AMA, that turn on the people they are supposed to serve just to feed a thoughtless machine.  When that machine needs money in times like these, it will do almost anything to survive, including this kind of immoral and unethical government collusion where they may find a similarly desperate band of bureaucrats willing to do anything for a few votes.   It is shameful, and it needs to be halted.

Please help stop the AMA from imposing unnecessary new regulations on RC fliers, these actions are purely designed to serve the AMA's self interest at the expense of the hobby.

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