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Sunday, March 6, 2011

AMA -- Under the Microscope

After the recent, ongoing move by the Academy of Model Aeronautics to terminate all Americans' rights to fly RC models outside of a national club's purview (which they claim they are the only one, see, I decided to evaluate my own membership.  I joined the AMA nearly 35 years ago.  No more.

First, I have always disliked the way the AMA discouraged model flying without an AMA membership.  Lets face it, the more people who enjoy this hobby, the better the economies of scale are for everyone.  Exercising and enjoying our basic rights as Americans is the vital reason this nation was founded.  Yet, most AMA clubs ban non-members from materially participating, including competitions.  This organization has always had an immense arrogance problem.

I'm sure some will say, "we prohibit others to exercise their right to fly RC models for our own club members' protection," because not only are we safer than everyone else even if their experience level dwarfs our own, but along with AMA membership comes liability insurance.  The AMA's attempt to jam through legislation that ends the right of Americans to enjoy RC flying has caused me to step back and examine the legitimacy of that claim.  In my opinion, it turns out, that AMA members have no significant insurance.  Have you examined the policy's small print posted on the AMA website?  What a scam--read it carefully for a belly laugh.

Here are a few examples when the AMA refuses to pay:
  1. You lose control of the model for any reason
  2. You lose sight of the model
  3. You do not possess a permit to fly the model at that location
  4. You injure a family member or yourself
  5. You injure someone on your property
  6. Your have other insurance the covers the same, low per accident limits
  7. You injure someone who is engaged in physical activity of any kind
  8. The list goes on... and on... and on
    Essentially, every reasonable way you might crash a model and the most likely people you might injure, and then some, are not covered.

    The more I look into this organization, the more I realize they are a dues-focused scam that are only working hard to snatch away the rights of everyday Americans just to pump a few dollars into a dwindling bottom line.  Please consider saving your money by CNX'ing this un-American outfit trying to outlaw RC flying in the U.S. sans paid protection money. 

    Positives?  Of course, there is social benefit to belonging to a club.  The AMA claims they pay out some token money to communities in the form of scholarships and endowments; utterly microscopic compared to revenue--only a fraction of a percent.  That hardly requires national control, or a legal lock-down on American's trying to have fun in their free time which is the very essence of freedom.

    If you want actual liability insurance, there are a large number of insurance companies with a net worth capable of paying a claim.  The AMA is only worth about $11M according to their website, hardly enough to back 140,000 members with hard assets, or even just one large claim, without folding.  Real umbrella liability insurance is quite inexpensive and it covers all of your activities.

    Academy of Model Aeronautics rating: F

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