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Did the AMA just try to stab us in the back?

PsyBorg

Wake up! Time to fly!
Mentor
#1
I was just reading my emails and came across the latest AMA newsletter. In it there was a link to an op ed posted on the news outlet "the Hill" site. I try to keep up with new things regarding drones and what is happening. I even started a thread to help the guy seemingly wanting to side with drone users get voted in reminding people the vote was coming and who stood for what. We got the vice president elected that says he stands for drones.. Sadly the President however just threw us all under the buss with an op ed post on that site.

In it it reads to me like anyone NOT in AMA is getting portrayed as rogue pilots and need to be punished. This jerk lumped anyone not under AMA into the catagory with the morons with the Phantoms screwing everything up for the rest of us. No regard if we are responsible pilots or not. If you are not AMA he portrays us as rogue pilots.. At least thats what I read out of what he stated.

Read it for yourselves and let me know if you get the same feeling about what he writes.

http://amablog.modelaircraft.org/amagov/2018/01/02/punish-rogue-recreational-drone-pilots-not-the-rule-followers/

If the general consensus is what I got out of this I think action on our own behalf needs to be put forward and slap some sense into this guy for trying to lump us pilots making the effort to fly right in with the morons. According to him only 200k registered AMA drone pilots are safe and the remaining 700k registered with the FAA non members are not.
 

makattack

Winter is coming
Moderator
Mentor
#2
I think it was a poorly written op-ed that relied too much on "technicalities" or technical details, and requires a nuanced understanding of the issues which the general public doesn't have. I think that essentially, he was saying, if you're not AMA, you're flying under part 107, which means you're only in violation if you fly commercially or outside the parameters set forth in 107 (no night flying, no FPV beyond LOS, with spotter, etc)

I believe, technically, he is correct in pointing out that distinction, but what's the point in doing so? He's essentially pitting those "in the know" with those who aren't or those who choose to ignore what they should know. I think that's terrible for the hobby. We shouldn't be fragmenting it nor blaming others. We should be united and hold to the ethos of what I thought the AMA stood for, which is the promotion and advancement of the hobby for new and experienced people.

His op-ed came off like a swarmy scam artist trying to convince you with a cold call to buy the latest "software protection" because they detected malware in your system.
 

cranialrectosis

Faster than a speeding faceplant!
Mentor
#3
IMO he speaks like he thinks he is protected and will be safe when the hammer falls because he has a deal. So he wants us to come join his club (for a fee) and join in on the deal.

I guess he doesn't know history or he would understand what happens to people who make deals with politicians.

He sounds naive to me.
 
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sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#4
Funny you should bring that up. I was at the AMA meeting on Saturday for the AMA Expo West, and that very topic was brought up. What was said was that there are pilots who are not flying under the AMA guidelines of safety, which is rule 336, and there are pilots who are flying under rule 107. Now, what was left out of the article (and very poorly written) is that the pilots who are under that 107 category are SUPPOSED to be going and getting drone certified under rule 107. OR, they can fall under rule 336, under a club/community program that is theoretically supposed to police and enforce its own groups for safety.

Now, what I took away from that is that the FAA expects pilots to either join a community program or club (i.e., the AMA or some other club aircraft program, even a smaller local club that doesn't require AMA membership) and fall under the rule 336 guidelines (which are, essentially, the AMA safety rules like flying in line of sight, not flying over crowds, not flying in restricted airspace, etc., which are pretty much common sense to most of us), OR you have to go get FCC 107 certified, meaning that you have a pilot's license for flying UAS aircraft, regardless of being commercial or hobbyist.

Are they (the FAA/US Government) enforcing the rulings? Only when idiots get caught, like the guy who flew out 2.5 mi. with his DJI Phantom and collided with a Blackhawk helicopter. And personally, I think they SHOULD throw the book at people dumb enough to do something like that.

I want people to be responsible for their actions on drone flight. That said, I also want the ability to fly. Do I think we need some restrictions? Yes. I don't think we need to be flying over the neighbor's backyard while they're having a pool party. I don't think we need to be barreling through a public park with our EFX pylon racers or P-51Ds at full open throttle where there are a bunch of people picnicking. And I think the people who ARE doing that need to be held accountable so that they don't make the rest of us who are flying reasonably look like jerks. It's a fine line, and nobody's going to be happy with it - either you're going to have people that feel that they should be able to fly and do whatever they please because they hate government (and believe me, I know some FPV drone pilots like that - I walked away from a FB group because I didn't want to be associated with whatever they brought down on them), or there are people who feel they should be able to shoot a drone down just because they see one flying (that legislature almost came to pass in Texas).

I think we need people to be educated, because clearly, there are people who AREN'T, and there are too many people willing to point to those examples as a way to prevent us from flying.
 

FlyingMonkey

Stuck in Sunny FL
Staff member
Admin
#5
(The following is strictly the viewpoint of the author and may not reflect the views of well, pretty much anyone else...)

The AMA is a business. They want more customers. This was an attempt by the PRESIDENT OF THE AMA to get support to get law enforcement to harass non AMA members into becoming members. It did not go over well, even on the AMA Facebook page.

Unfortunately, for the AMA, the regulations as written do not mandate that you need to be a member of a CBO (Citizen Based Organization), but you do have to follow the safety guidelines of one. \

Unfortunately for the rest of us, as far as I know the AMA is the only recognized CBO.


As hobbyists, we fall under an exemption from the Part 107 regulations. But only as long as we meet the criteria that is specified under part 336. (there's some code 104 decimal point, more numbers... or other, that I've seen thrown about on the UAS legal groups on Facebook, but I couldn't find any info on it online, so I'm sticking with part 336 for now). Technically FPV falls outside of the scope of part 336, so according to that you are not exempt, and must be part 107 compliant if you intend to fly FPV. That said, there's supposed to be a loophole under the CBO regulations. As long as you follow a CBO's safety guidelines for FPV flight, you then are back under that part 336 umbrella. Or at least that's how I've come to understand it.


But to answer the OP's original question. Yes, I think the AMA did just try to stab every non AMA member in the back.
 

Tench745

Active member
#7
It's tactics like this that reinforce my decision to leave the AMA. I don't fly big enough models to need a club and I don't plan on attending group flys, so I don't need a membership to enjoy my hobby.
The way the AMA has handled drone regulations seems almost as criminal to its members as the way the government handled the registration regulations. So yeah, you're not alone in your feelings PsyBorg.
 

PsyBorg

Wake up! Time to fly!
Mentor
#8
I have seen and read their drone articles these last few months and I am wonder if they are merely clueless about this part of the hobby. I sent a comment about their latest article where they were putting outdated information out and using pictures of the old flamewheels as modern multi rotors. It seems to me these guys are all stuck in a time bubble that locked in on the 1970s era and never progressed.

I think I am going to continue to poke them with sticks and see if some sort of interaction occurs. Maybe we can drag one of em over here to start catching up with the times and see what the "REAL" community is growing into. I told them to come see what was happening here in the last comment I posted. So far nothing I have sent to them has actually BEEN posted in their comment sections for the articles they write.
 

PsyBorg

Wake up! Time to fly!
Mentor
#9
I was just looking into part 107 and watched a video done by a lawyer type dude. Rules for non commercial (Part 336) state they should go by a CBO (community based organization) set of guidelines. So far the government only recognizes the AMA as an official CBO. Flite test is technically large enough and country / world wide and strong enough it could easily be considered a CBO.

I am thinking since the AMA obviously does not always have ALL of our communities best interests aligned with their own agendas maybe we as a community with the help of Josh and the rest of the FT core should form our own official FT CBO and delegate people from the community as well as the core team to come up with official guidelines covering all aspects of RC. That way we are large enough to have a little power to realistically control safe practices and yet include everyone in all aspects of flight that could / would be viewed by the government as a second viable CBO.

Just a thought so kick that around in your heads and post your opinions good or bad so we could have a real (respectful) conversation on a community level for protecting our hobby.
 

lrussi750

Rogue Pilot
Mentor
#10
Flite test is technically large enough and country / world wide and strong enough it could easily be considered a CBO.

I am thinking since the AMA obviously does not always have ALL of our communities best interests aligned with their own agendas maybe we as a community with the help of Josh and the rest of the FT core should form our own official FT CBO and delegate people from the community as well as the core team to come up with official guidelines covering all aspects of RC. That way we are large enough to have a little power to realistically control safe practices and yet include everyone in all aspects of flight that could / would be viewed by the government as a second viable CBO.
I was thinking the same thing while reading your original post Psy. I just received a letter last night from the AMA urging me renew my membership. I have not renewed for 2018 and have no plans of doing so in the future. The AMA is past its time and needs to be put down! Out of the ashes a new all encompassing CBO like the "Flite Test Academy" should rise to govern all aspects of model aviation. I would gladly spend my hard earned money on this membership. Put my on the payroll and I'll put my 25 years of insurance experience to work for the good of the community!
 
#12
I have to admit, I'm normally a pretty strong supporter of the AMA, but this article definitely hits the wrong way. As Flying Monkey said, you simply have to follow the RULES of a CBO, joining is NOT a requirement. It really surprises me that this is the stance they decided to take after all the talk of being open and inviting to the multirotor community. They should be marketing the AMA as what it is. Insurance, having a nice field to fly at, and a group to fly and learn with. That should be enough! Not this legal guilt-trip method..

For me personally, I'm invested in AMA at this point. I have too many EDFs with small wheels that require a runway to fly to go anywhere else. However, if I was entering the hobby now, especially from the multirotor side of things, I don't think I would have given a thought to joining up at most clubs. Especially with the attitude towards them by many of the older members. Ironically, they have no problem with any of our formerly fixed-wing pilots who have transitioned to multirotors and FPV. However, if a new member who flies FPV quads wants to look at joining they are automatically seen as dangerous. I think that's starting to slowly change, but its taking far too long.
 

makattack

Winter is coming
Moderator
Mentor
#13
Thankfully, at my club, all the new multirotor members looking to join are considered dangerous when they don't stick to proper frequency control methods. Enough so that even though our flying field is at a public park, we've considered changing the old 72MHz frequency board to a FPV 5.8GHz frequency board... the past two presidents had mentioned at meetings that they witnessed people powering up FPV equipment and causing both non-members and members to be shot out.
 

PsyBorg

Wake up! Time to fly!
Mentor
#14
Well this is what the whole "Club" thing was supposed to do.. Teach and pass on information like proper etiquette so things like that happen less then they do. Its all about educating people and AMA seems to want to educate by segregating. I think they need to spend less on fighting the multirotor community and spend more effort on viable education. They can run ads for how much they fight for us while they pull crap like that article and that money and effort could be used better for a campaign out to the general public about safety and why its important to learn from others and not just by something off a shelf and toss it in the air.

I am sure if they stopped that good old boy mentality that membership in general would really rise with all the new tech coming to the hobby. Instead they still insist on power tripping and rudeness to keep people in line.

I am sure FT and our community could better serve the hobby even if it is simply having STEM classes or clubs put flyers on bulletin boards at school regarding safety and how to learn properly then the smoke and mirrors tactics being used currently by AMA. I know the FT program is all about safety. Maybe simply adding a public out reach part to it could be huge. Get parents to come to a learn about drones night or a come see what we can do open house and have a presentation about how to properly participate in the hobby done by the students. Make an assignment for public outreach part of the program so more people hear about it in a good light instead of just the media and government spin on how evil the hobby is. Sorta like a mid term or something.

Ok.. gettin to fired up.. who wants the soap box next!!
 

cranialrectosis

Faster than a speeding faceplant!
Mentor
#15
Anger is an expression of fear. Anger will be used against us to prove the FAA's, and now AMA's, position that we are rogue and dangerous and hateful.

The antidote for fear is education.

I'm headed to the school tonight to help re-build an Electrohub. No one from the local AMA club was interested. As a direct result I am no longer AMA though I do bring AMA rules to the school.

IMO the AMA wants to stay relevant by rolling back the clock. It won't work and if the AMA fails to invest in the future it won't be relevant for long. We will all lose if this happens.

My point being this. If you don't like the way things are, work to fix them. Fighting amongst ourselves even after being backstabbed by the AMA won't help. The only way we win is through collaboration, patience and education.

I got into the school by googling the school, finding the tech guy and making an offer. I pass a background check annually, I am never alone with a student and I will not charge lipos in the school.

I find it time consuming (I do not have children), challenging, frustrating and utterly, completely and fantastically rewarding.
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#16
Thankfully, at my club, all the new multirotor members looking to join are considered dangerous when they don't stick to proper frequency control methods. Enough so that even though our flying field is at a public park, we've considered changing the old 72MHz frequency board to a FPV 5.8GHz frequency board... the past two presidents had mentioned at meetings that they witnessed people powering up FPV equipment and causing both non-members and members to be shot out.
San Diego Electric Fliers have actually done just that at their site - and it really IS a good idea. In order to walk up to the pit area, you pass by the board, which is a big, metal thing with the various frequencies on it for the 32 different channels, and it lays out the sections that you block out (basically, a channel on each side for bleed-over, is what they told me). You put a baseball card sized magnet over the channel you're flying on, and it covers that channel and the frequency above and below, to ensure you're not stomping on someone else's signal. They also said that you're supposed to power up your goggles first BEFORE you power up your quad, and if someone's flying on your channel, you wait until they've landed before you can power up and change frequencies.

I'm actually planning that at our field when we get the go ahead - our new president WANTS multirotor pilots, and sees it as new blood and membership coming in, and is focused on us building out a race course/freestyle FPV area. I think some of that came about because I was over at the helicopter area of the field, "pestering" the guys there to let me fly, and at first they were frustrated because I was taking up their flight time. Then they saw me doing dives, flips, rolls, etc., and keeping up with some of the copter guys (although I'm not able to fly 3D on my multirotor just yet and flip upside down to trim weeds), and they went, "Hey, this kid's alright."
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#17
Well this is what the whole "Club" thing was supposed to do.. Teach and pass on information like proper etiquette so things like that happen less then they do. Its all about educating people and AMA seems to want to educate by segregating. I think they need to spend less on fighting the multirotor community and spend more effort on viable education. They can run ads for how much they fight for us while they pull crap like that article and that money and effort could be used better for a campaign out to the general public about safety and why its important to learn from others and not just by something off a shelf and toss it in the air.

I am sure if they stopped that good old boy mentality that membership in general would really rise with all the new tech coming to the hobby. Instead they still insist on power tripping and rudeness to keep people in line.

I am sure FT and our community could better serve the hobby even if it is simply having STEM classes or clubs put flyers on bulletin boards at school regarding safety and how to learn properly then the smoke and mirrors tactics being used currently by AMA. I know the FT program is all about safety. Maybe simply adding a public out reach part to it could be huge. Get parents to come to a learn about drones night or a come see what we can do open house and have a presentation about how to properly participate in the hobby done by the students. Make an assignment for public outreach part of the program so more people hear about it in a good light instead of just the media and government spin on how evil the hobby is. Sorta like a mid term or something.

Ok.. gettin to fired up.. who wants the soap box next!!
I'm for education, Psy. Here's the problem that I see with the multirotor community at this point (and I'm stressing multirotor, because that's what's getting the press right now - it's not the fixed wing, EDF jockeys, or the old warbird group that probably flew the full size versions before settling down to fly small scale versions) is that there are SO many multirotors that are out there for sale outside of the hobby shops that there's no incentive for education. Walk in to a Best Buy, Fry's, Target, Walmart, heck, even a Dick's or Big 5 Sporting Goods around Christmas, and you'll find multirotor drones for sale, whether it be a Syma, or DJI, or even an Air Hog. They're touted as toys (and in many cases, they are; I'm not going to discount that), and so, because of that, people have this mentality that they can just go out to any park and throw them up in the air and they're no more dangerous than a NERF Football or frisbee.

The big box stores have no reason to want to educate the people buying them; they want to sell these things at anywhere from $25-$2000+. They see no reason to educate. They figure it's the responsibility of the people buying them to learn the rules for when/where/how to fly safely. And short of a quick blurb in the instruction manuals, there's nothing really to indicate rules on safety for a lot of these things. And even if there were, how many people are going to read them? How many people are going to want to go through a safety class to fly what they feel is a children's toy?

I personally WANT education, I feel we NEED some sort of...well..."Policing", for lack of a better word, in our own community of hobbyists to prevent Big Gov't. from saying that we can't fly, period, and we need people to realize that the rules affect ALL aircraft, not just multirotors - it just happens that they're the most prevalent ones that are out of control at the moment, and giving those of us who want to fly safely, properly, and have a good time, a black eye, so to speak. The question is, though, how do we get education to those people who are buying these drones for their kids, and teach them to fly safely? There's no ads in Walmart to tell me, "Hey kids! Join the AMA to learn to fly your drone today!" All I see as of late are restrictions, saying, "Don't fly here," or "This park is restricted from radio controlled vehicle activity".

Ok. Time to step down off of the rant box. I'm getting aggravated over something I've got no idea how to fix, and I see a lot of stumbling coming.
 

PsyBorg

Wake up! Time to fly!
Mentor
#18
My point being this. If you don't like the way things are, work to fix them. Fighting amongst ourselves even after being backstabbed by the AMA won't help. The only way we win is through collaboration, patience and education.
This is my whole point for this thread. To get the wonderful minds here active and PRO active and maybe start the ball rolling and gain enough traction that possibly the FT core will see the need, the drive, and passion we have and maybe use some of their power to help push that along. The AMA while great in what it was is not anything but a money making entity bound to manipulate the government to making them sole overlords of the industry. If we as the people of the hobby wont step up then that will come to pass and no one will benefit other then the bean counters and upper echelon of the good ole boys club.

Hopefully people don't see what I am doing here as ranting or anger. I am not the most soft person when it comes to coddling people to get a point across nor will I ever be PC. I play nice here because the community is nice. I just want to see SOMETHING get moving to at least attempt to have an option other then what is happening currently.

As for education I think it actually has to go back further and add in rules to hold these manufacturers responsible. I see far too many ads now for "Selfie drone" where they show someone tossing up a cheap crap camera drone in the air around a crowd of people and everyone smiling and laughing. THATS where the education and regulation NEEDS to start. Stopping that practice will go a long way.

Same with those Geico commercials with Aaron Rodgers and his goofy team mate monkey boy portraying them putting a syma style drone thru a truck window and then stating THAT totaled a truck. It closes with monkey boy coming out with a whole "Gee did I do that" Erckle style thing then doing the cartooish "Sorry"

Subliminal messaging at its best. Insurance company showing a toy drone totaling a car by breaking its windshield so they can later cry all these drones have cost them so much that it MUST be mandated they all have a full coverage policy attached.
 

PsyBorg

Wake up! Time to fly!
Mentor
#19
Update on the new bill in Congress. Seems the AMA got what they wanted AND shot themselves in the foot at the same time.

They were so focused on getting recognized as THE CBO that they failed to pay attention to the rest of what corporate entities were lobbying for.

Seems the new bill will cut into AMA's finance stream by making some of their events illegal once the FAA gains full control over 336.

Get ready for mandatory insurance beyond AMA or home owners as well as licencing and testing.

I suspect DMV will have to add a line for drones in the next year or so.

Say good bye to things like gliders that need to be up high, drone racing like multigp thats not backed by huge corporations making DRL the new NASCAR instead of the WWE of the drone world.

Expect to have to put tracking devices on anything that flys so they can be tracked and later those things like insurance companies are working into cars so they can make you pay more if you are heavy footed on braking or throttle management.

Yes this is speculation and probably a bit conspiracy theory but so far everything I have fortold is happening little by little.
 

rockyboy

Skill Collector
Mentor
#20
Yeah, plenty of unfortunate things for us in this bill. One other thing that might be a tiny bit of good news for us is the clarification on what a CBO needs to do to be recognized by the FAA opens the door for other organizations to step in there. I'm thinking Multi-GP and/or FliteTest both have the qualifications and reach if they wanted to pursue it. Then instead of FPV only being allowed at AMA fields (yeah, like the public is going to follow that), it could be authorized for anywhere Multi-GP chooses to run races.