Advantages of having an AMA charter for a flying field? - RC Groups
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Mar 24, 2003, 07:57 PM
Registered User
Mike C's Avatar

Advantages of having an AMA charter for a flying field?

A group of us have been discussing getting a charter. Our field is at the end of a grass runway. Right now the only requirements by the owner are for us to have an AMA membership for insurance purposes, come down immediately if a real plane needs the runway and stay away from the hangars. Very simple.

What are the good and bad things about being sanctioned? I would like to hear your experiences on the topic.

I am not worried about getting snobbish or political with these guys we have been together for a while and have had no problems with that. As a matter of fact these guys will go out of their way to help a newbie at the field. It looks like about 10 guys are interested and at least 3 of them have over 20 years of experience each.

So what do you think?
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Mar 24, 2003, 08:24 PM
Ascended Master
Sparky Paul's Avatar
You might check into whether the AMA sanctions the field ( I doubt that) or the club... more likely.
Mar 24, 2003, 08:50 PM
Registered User
Dzlstunter's Avatar
You don't actually charter the field, you charter the club and provide AMA insurance for the field owner. My understanding is that the big advantage is to the landowner. Your individual AMA insurance is secondary--if something happens, your homeowners or other liability insurance will be primary, AMA will be backup. If you have AMA field insurance for your landlord, it is primary insurance for liability claims against him regarding AMA members flying on the field. But don't take my word for it, check at the AMA web site. Doing this will cost an annual charter fee for the club and an insurance premium for the landlord's field. Good luck, Dzl
Last edited by Dzlstunter; Mar 24, 2003 at 08:54 PM.
Mar 24, 2003, 08:52 PM
Registered User
It will also have to get political as per AMA rules you need officers, pres, vice pres and so on but thats not a big deal.
Mar 24, 2003, 09:03 PM
Registered User
Mike C's Avatar
Sparky you are correct. I was using the two words interchangeably

Cue, we have talked about officers as well and that shouldn't be a problem. I have read about some fields where the members get snobby and act like they are the keepers of the place and I don't see that happening with this group. I sure would like to have a nice asphalt runway like the rams field has though
Mar 24, 2003, 10:22 PM
Registered User
rcelectfly's Avatar

The way you have it now the land owner is not covered at all by AMA. If there is an accident the owner could loose big. If he knew that your AMA insurance did not cover him you would be out of there in an instant.

To cover the land owner you need to become an AMA club and get the insurance to cover the land owner. I believe that insurance is only $25 a year. That is in addition to the club chartering fee.

Mar 24, 2003, 10:33 PM
Registered User
Mike C's Avatar
I thought that AMA membership included insurance that would cover whatever my homeowners insurance didn't. Therefore as long as we are following the guidelines set forth by the AMA he would be covered if say one of our planes struck one of his and damaged it.
Mar 25, 2003, 12:30 AM
Registered User
In todays legal environment it is common practice to name everyone in a law suit. The fact that tha accident occured on his land makes the landowner a party to the action. Your insurance covers you but not him. The fact that he has given his permission for you to use his land makes him an active party in any law suit.

This is how it was explained to me. I can't say that this is true in all states. One thing for sure--even if the landowner is exonerated he will have spent a bundle on lawyers fees.

Safest route--form a club--get an AMA charter--insure the landowner. It's worth the cost just for the peace of mind.

Mar 25, 2003, 12:58 AM
Registered User
Diesel 10's Avatar

We chartered Barn Owls (an indoor RC club in Seattle) recently with the AMA. Our site is owned by the City and they were very sensitive (I think appropriately so) to ensuring we had the appropriate insurance. Other folks posting here are correct ... the individual AMA membership does not provide any insurance to the site owner. So if a plane hits a spectator, the land owner would be at risk of a law suite and not have any protection. This insurance is available to AMA charter clubs though. It has gone up to $60 this year (still a good deal). AMA calls this "site insurance". Although there was some paper work, I didn't find it unreasonable. In fact the process was very turn-key. The AMA was very helpful and responsive. Lois Pierce and Carl Maroney provided good support. Their basic insurance package satified the City without revisions. All the application info packages can be downloaded directly from the AMA website.

Mar 25, 2003, 10:13 AM
Registered User
It's much easier to go with the AMA than it is to go any other route. Do you really want to give up your flying time to do paperwork so your friends can fly?

There's no law against you doing it yourself, but you'll quickly get disgusted by the amount of paperwork necessary, and the cost. I don't think you can beat what the AMA provides, either in user-friendliness, or price. Fill out a couple of forms in January, send the AMA a couple hundred dollars (site insurance and charter fee), and you can forget it until next December.

Don't worry about the political aspects of it. Just go through the motions on paper (i.e. in your "meeting minutes"). Someone volunteers for each officer position. There's some resonsibility involved, but for the most part, the officers can just be figureheads.

Oh, and the insurance doesn't just cover airplanes hitting people. It covers the far far far far far more common "slip and fall" type accidents as well.
Mar 25, 2003, 09:58 PM
Registered User
Mike C's Avatar
It would appear that there is no reason not to go ahead with this then. Now for the hard part, coming up with a neat, unique name!
Mar 25, 2003, 11:19 PM
Silent Flight
daveWCO's Avatar


Originally posted by Mike C
It would appear that there is no reason not to go ahead with this then. Now for the hard part, coming up with a neat, unique name!
Mr. President of xyz Club (Mike):

People here are very good with coming up with names! Will the club be exclusively electric, or will slimers fill the sky, as well?

Keep us posted on your progress. The process sounds interesting.

Mar 26, 2003, 12:20 AM
Registered User
Mike C's Avatar
At this point I am the only electric flyer at the field but I am working on them! Since the field is grass it makes it tough for electrics to take off. We are going to meet on Sunday to talk about it some more and gather info to approach the landowner.
Mar 26, 2003, 07:47 AM
Over Engineered
Robert Hoffman's Avatar
Get the AMA club sanction. Its worth it and the easiest way. Be carefull with assuming that your homeowners insurance covers you in case of a model airplane flight accedent. Policies vary and you may not be covered. I would check with your insurance carrier before I would make any assumptions.

Besides the more of us sparkies that join AMA, the more they might cover electrics in the magazine. There is allot more to this than parkflyers!
Mar 26, 2003, 08:52 AM
Registered User
As others have said, (and you seem convinced) an AMA charter for the club is a MUST for the site owner.

The only other thing that might be a pain.... The AMA requires the club to have a set of written By-Laws, which have to be submitted to, and reviewed by them. (This is relatively new I believe.) They require some wording that would help in litigious situations.

AMA recently sent us a copy of their "approved" By-Law wording as a means of making it easier, so you could ask for those. We found some of their (lawyers) wording confusing and ambiguous, so changed it to suit or existing set.

Let me know if you'd like a copy of ours. I'll get an OK from the rest of the Board and e-mail a copy.