AMA Value proposition by AMA Executive Director, Dave Mathewson


Rogue Pilot

It time to let the AMA know how you feel. If you have the time please go to the link and respond to this article.

Written by Dave Mathewson
View from HQ
Monthly AMA News Column
As seen in the September 2017 issue of Model Aviation.

"We’ve all heard the question, “When a tree falls in the forest and nobody is around to hear it, did it make a sound?” The logical answer would be “yes.”

I was speaking with another association leader recently who put a spin on that question. He asked, “If an association offers value to its members and the members do not take advantage, did the association deliver value?” He felt most would answer that question with “no.”

His reasoning centered upon value proposition. Today it is critically important that associations such as AMA provide a high level of value to their members. Occasionally, when an AMA member is asked about what he or she receives from his or her membership, the person is at a loss for a good answer.

This is typical in most membership organizations. In AMA’s case, insurance is usually given as a reason for belonging. After that, the member sometimes has a hard time articulating other reasons, although most know that there are many.

Most of AMA’s members can be broken down into two categories. Those in the first category will continue to belong to AMA no matter what. Many have been modelers for decades and AMA members for nearly as long. They know the organization and believe in it because they’ve lived it. They know firsthand how their AMA membership has enhanced their ability to enjoy model aviation.

The second is a more challenging group. Those in this group are generally willing to join an organization if they believe that the value they receive from membership is equal to or greater than the cost of dues. They are typically younger, have busy lives, and their available recreation time is limited. They see association membership as an investment and want to see a return on that investment.

AMA Executive Director, Dave Mathewson
AMA offers dozens of membership benefits. Not every member wants or needs each benefit, but all want or need some. Make a list of all AMA membership benefits. Some of the most recognizable include AMA’s work to allow model aviation to remain free of overly onerous government regulation; its work as a liaison to other government agencies including the EPA, FCC, and Department of Homeland Security; the Disaster Relief Program that has helped dozens of clubs faced with loss or damage to their flying sites as the result of natural disasters; the Flying Site Assistance Grant Program that has helped clubs improve their current facilities or purchase a permanent flying site; the Take off And Grow Program that provides financial assistance to help clubs introduce model aviation to others in their communities and build the club’s credibility with its neighbors; the Legal Defense Fund that provides matching dollar financial assistance to help clubs overcome the threat of losing flying sites; and subscriptions to AMA’s flagship publication, Model Aviation, or Park Pilot magazine, or both.

Add to this impressive list the Charles H. Grant Scholarship Program that has awarded more than $1 million in scholarships to young members beginning their college careers; AMA’s education outreach efforts that provide support to clubs in their effort to introduce model aviation to younger members of their communities; a structured system of competition rules and a sanctioning process that helps manage more than 2,500 individual club events each year; and being the only organization in the US that represents model aviation on an international level through our affiliation with the NAA and FAI.

Then add a significant benefit, the one most members think about first when asked about AMA: the liability insurance protection AMA provides to each member. This excess coverage for members is well above what most of us individually carry and provides peace of mind for many. Possibly more important is the primary protection that each of our chartered clubs can offer flying site owners as a result of their AMA affiliation. This benefit has allowed hundreds of clubs access to good flying sites that they might not have otherwise had.

To complete the list, add the dozens of other benefits, too numerous to mention, that are also included with an AMA membership.

So now that you’ve compiled a list, place a dollar value next to each item that would equal the value of this benefit to you. Values will be different for every member. Some members feel certain benefits have no value to them while others might place a high value on that same benefit.

After you’ve assigned values go back and add up the numbers. If the number is greater than the cost of your dues, membership in AMA is a good value for you. I truly believe most will find that AMA membership is a great value.

See you next time …"


Drinker of coffee, Maker of things
From my limited searches in the past it seems like trying to actually file and get a return on insurance is pretty hard. I guess being part of the ama for the FAA requirements are good. Honestly though they only reason i am part of the AMA is to fly at FliteFest.


Wake up! Time to fly!
My answer being a quad guy would be how much value is supporting you if you are trying to segregate if not eliminate my part of the hobby. All the other "Benefits" become useless really fast when that happens.

Like Nate the only reason for now that I am AMA is Flite Fest. The insurance is a non issue as I already know how that works. When you need it it will cost you more in legal fees to fight to get it activated. Insurance is 60% of the evil in the world the rest is .......


Faster than a speeding face plant!
I think the draw of AMA is being able to fly at a field with a big flat area to land/take off. Most clubs need a bunch of members to afford the runway.

If you don't need a runway or a big flat place to land you don't need the collaboration of a bunch of members at a big field.

At that point it becomes optional to fly solo or with a group of people.

Quads don't need a runway or a big flat open place to land. I can take off from a bucket and land in my hand. This changes the game....radically. You no longer need to be in a group of 50 to 100 people with money to afford a field/runway. It lowers the cost dramatically.

Lots of people prefer solo. Maybe more than prefer to fly in groups. Lots of people, like me, want to be able to do both.

If you like to fly in groups such as FliteFest, I think, AMA makes sense.


Wake up! Time to fly!
I am not debating the place AMA has within the hobby. The hobby would not be what it is today with out them starting at a good time for a good reason. That starting mentality has eroded over time as the entity slowly changed over from an organization into a business. To keep the business part of it in control it has a totalitarian almost militant way it forms and controls itself. This is why that whole good ole boy "I'm the dictator of my field" mentality is so prevalent. This is also why they seem to be segregating the new tech out so that structure does not change and the power shifts back to the members.

Don't mind me these are only the rantings of a madman but I don't think I am alone in my thinking. (barring the other six people in my head yelling at me now to shut up.):rolleyes:


Active member
From my limited searches in the past it seems like trying to actually file and get a return on insurance is pretty hard. I guess being part of the ama for the FAA requirements are good. Honestly though they only reason i am part of the AMA is to fly at FliteFest.
I Have often wondered how hard it would be to make a claim, EX: flying a super sportster into someones house on accident... I would be willing to bet that they arent as welcoming then as they are when you pay them the $75 annually, granted, i'm a member and the insurance gives me a sense of safety when flying. Just curious if anyone has ever actually had to make a claim.


Master member
The ONLY reason I just joined AMA is I like to fly at one of the local clubs sometimes and they require it. I do not need a club as I have a farm I can fly at, but the comradery is fun sometimes. There insurance does nothing for me as I carry $1,000,000 liability policy because of the farm. There are a few of the club members that want to change the AMA rule as long as that person can show insurance to cover any incidence`s.