Sailplane Pilots and the AMA - RC Groups
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Jun 30, 2007, 06:54 AM
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Murocflyer's Avatar

Sailplane Pilots and the AMA

I'd like to get your opinion on the AMA. There is a poll going on right now in the electrics forum about who are members and not members of the AMA.

It seems that the parkflyers' crowd feels they are not represented in the AMA. And they have expressed their dislike of the AMA numerous times and often with volatile posts.

Now on the flip side, the Fuel/Glow guys, as you might expect, are all pretty much dedicated AMA members and understand what the organization is and what it has done and continues to do for our hobby.

Since Sailplanes can be flown in many different areas of the country and are not typically flown on an AMA sanctioned field, I'd like to get your take on the AMA and whether or not you are members.

Thanks for the feedback. Thoughts and comments are welcomed.

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Jun 30, 2007, 07:13 AM
AMA membership is required at my club field. If it was not ,I would not join the AMA.I don't compete in contests and if you read the fine print about the insurance,it only kicks in after your homeowners is exhausted.
Jun 30, 2007, 08:07 AM
Registered User
I am 76 years old. I jointed the AMA 1969. I have been in 7 AMA clubs. I have been president in 3 clubs . I have been News Letter editor in 3 clubs. I'm a AMA Leader member. I was a AMA Contest Director. I was FSS treasurer. I am member LSF with IV.

Next year I won't rejoin AMA. I won't be flying in the future. I am uninterested in AMA's direction and its Model Aviation Magazine and its direction and the hobby's supplers. Too bad.
Jun 30, 2007, 09:47 AM
Be an organ donor


Compared to most, I'm a newbe in this hobby (about 5yrs). I am a member of AMA because it is required by our club. If I did start flying at a non-club location, I would probably drop my membership. Why? Because last year a survey was put out by AMA and when it came time to answer a question about what I flew, gliders/sailplanes were not to be found. I was an "OTHER." This made me feel like a bastard child. There are not so many areas of model aviation that all types can't be spelled out. Power, I would imagin is the larger group, and sailplanes appear to be declining. It's also no surprise that power and sailplanes are like oil and water when it comes to flying at the same field. I guess that majority rules!! The Model Aviation Magazine rarely does anything for me. If I were to give up this hobby, I would go fly full size sailplanes (where my love is anyway) but I really don't have the time to give to both.
Last edited by kwmtrubrit; Jun 30, 2007 at 09:57 AM. Reason: Addition
Jun 30, 2007, 11:35 AM
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Jim Deck's Avatar

What would you have the AMA do for you?

From time-to-time, questions and discussion about the AMA and R/C soaring arise in these forums. I'd like to hear just what the "casual" soaring pilot expects from the AMA. I use the adjective, "casual" to differentiate from the soaring pilot actively involved in competition. So, just what would you like to see the AMA do for you and why?
To prime the pump, I'll start. I'd like to see the AMA produce a brochure that describes R/C soaring in an adult, non-rah-rah fashion describing, in particular, the impact of R/C soaring on a site. This would provide me with a tool when I'm seeking permission to fly at a sod farm or other site. Now, let's hear from others.
Jim Deck
Jun 30, 2007, 12:38 PM
Registered User
I will not fly anywhere near fliers that are not AMA members because I do not know if they have insurance. I have heard that some claim to be covered by their home insurance but I don't believe them unless they can show me a current policy that specifically states that it covers flying model airplanes. Insurance companies have expert lawyers that find loopholes to deny payouts.

I also don't like freeloaders who don't want to pay for AMA's work in obtaining the frequencies we all use.
Jun 30, 2007, 12:46 PM
ciurpita's Avatar
here in new jersey, where open space is scarce, almost any flying contest or event is at a club field, and many club fields are in county parks. however, since the clubs are dominated by power plane pilots, flying field rules are based on AMA guidelines that seem specific for powered pilots. this leads to significant disagreement about what is safe during the rare events when sailplanes are flown on those fields.

i've even heard a club president say that the AMA doesn't provide any protection for someone not flying at an AMA santioned field. he was stongly suggesting that i was breaking some rule by flying at the local high school. it seems that there is significant confusion about what AMA guidelines, rules or sanction are. more importantly, there is confusion about what is safe!

i think that if the AMA is trying to encourage model aviation in general, and not just competitions, then one area of signiicant decline is areas where flying fields are being lost. i think it would make sense for the AMA to clarify the safety issues so that different types of flying (power, sailplanes, heli, control-line, park, ...) can co-exist instead of allowing confusion that favors one while discouraging another. this issue off urbanization will only become more significant, making it more difficult for people to enter the hobby in those areas.

without clear guidelines from an organization such as the AMA, local park people can only go by what people in local clubs say, and if there is confusion or disagreement, may not even agree to allow any flying at all.
Jun 30, 2007, 01:04 PM
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jbrandon's Avatar
I too often question my membership in the AMA. It is expensive for what it does for me, just about nothing. As stated the insurance is only good if you do not have home owners and if you do then it is after what it pays. The magazine is a joke, even if there is a soaring article it is usually of no interest to me. At one time you could join without subscribing to the magazine but I do not see that option anymore. Many years I have had checkbook and pen in hand to pay the lifetime dues but have always ended up writing the check for the current year’s dues. Now like Ollie I am at an age that it behooves me to stay year to year, I just do not know how many more years I will be able to fly.

As one of you said, soaring is the illegitimate (I really wanted to use the “b” word) child of the AMA and for many years many of us (soaring) have campaigned to get a bigger voice in the politics of the AMA. But with every inroad we made it seems that we actually loose more ground. I have not been to the nationals since the ‘80’s and will never attend again due to the way the soaring portion was handled.

But in defense of the AMA, it has banded the vast majority of modelers together in one big voice which has helped over the years in the finding and keeping flying sites either by intervening or providing the necessary group insurance required by the property owner and in working with the FCC to gain more frequencies for our use.

I think one of our problems is we are the “silent fliers” and the “silent minority” of the hobby (obsession) and we do not stand up and make the noise we should. I know I will quite often just pack up and go home instead of sticking it out in the fight. It is just not worth the fight, I came to fly, have fun and catch up on old times with my fellow fliers and I do not need the AMA to do that and I will probably not pay the dues next year either.

Jun 30, 2007, 01:07 PM
Registered User
Change AMA publication policy (other than Model Aviation Magazine) like RCSD or Quite Flyer or or, etc.

Change AMA Safety Code including LSF practices rather than only R/C Power practices.
Jun 30, 2007, 01:51 PM
ein flugel schplinterizer
seanpcola's Avatar
I have been an AMA member for over 25 years. Here is my two cents worth:

Downside: I don't compete, nor do I fly at AMA sanctioned fields often. The only time I need my membership is out of town meets. The insurance would not help me in most cases.

I agree that the magazine kinda bites but it does have good information if read cover to cover.

I do feel that as a group, we soaring flyers are a minority and probably benefit the least.

Upside: I think they really do fight for all of us on the frequency front and field aquisition and retention. I do not mind contributing my fees to help the whole RC community and feel that I have benefited from their battles with the FCC and so forth.

I will continue to pay up every year unless I see us soaring guys really getting the shaft or they neglect the above mentioned areas (field and frequencies).
Jun 30, 2007, 01:53 PM
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Stan_in_AR's Avatar

Talk to your agent about homeowners coverage

I'm a retired insurance agent with 25+ years experience. DO NOT repeat DO NOT assume that your homeowners/renters policy covers you for liability. Because your planes/equipment is "personal property" that would be covered for theft,fire, windstorm, etc.(total of 18 named perils)

None of the companies covered liability until the mid 80's when a power flyer 's plane,that had homeowners insurance with Farmers Insurance Group, hit a person. The r/c flyers claim for liability protection in that accident was denied by Farmers in a civil action and he had to take his case to a Federal Appellate Court(I believe that was in Penn.) for a favorable ruling.

Most companies the either rewrote their policies(redefining the word "aircraft") or their claims department took a more favorable posture in these type of losses.

Have your agent show you in your policy were "aircraft" is defined as other than a model.

Jun 30, 2007, 04:24 PM
Fortunately, in the UK, anyone can join the BMFA - the Government recognised body for model flying - including CAA representation - CAA = FAA in the States. The cost is approx $50 per year and has 3rd party cover to £5million. No Club membership is necessary. However most Clubs are affiliated and include the above insurance in their annual subs. BUT if you a solo flyer you pay your money and get International cover ( first advising the BMFA of your intended location) if you wish to fly overseas and in accordance with local rules and frequencies. This Insurance is recognised by 99% of local authorities and the MoD (Ministry of Defence - ie the military).
Indeed a powerful and very active body in defence of our sport which, I believe, is second to none the world over.
BMFA = British Model Flying Association.
Jun 30, 2007, 04:47 PM
allanp's Avatar
Originally Posted by ChuckA
I will not fly anywhere near fliers that are not AMA members because I do not know if they have insurance. I have heard that some claim to be covered by their home insurance but I don't believe them unless they can show me a current policy that specifically states that it covers flying model airplanes. Insurance companies have expert lawyers that find loopholes to deny payouts.

I also don't like freeloaders who don't want to pay for AMA's work in obtaining the frequencies we all use.

So let me see if I understand this correctly ! The Goverment OWNS the airwaves !!! I don't think so ! Also I don't bellieve that AMA has ever done anything to protect the interest of sailplane pilots
Jun 30, 2007, 07:19 PM
Promoting Model Aviation...
Murocflyer's Avatar
Wow, some very interesting comments. Very interesting indeed.

One question though. How does sailplane pilots differ from any other RC pilot? besides the obvious plane choice? Are sailplane pilots ONLY sailplane pilots?

Jun 30, 2007, 07:24 PM


I'm an AMA member since the early 60s, actually earlier, but left my membership lapse in the late 50s..
I support the AMA, always have and always will.. We would still be flying in cow pastures if we could bribe or befriend a farmer or the owner of some old vacant swamp.. The leadership over the years has been nothing short of outstanding.. I read the mag from cover to cover several times, but I do agree if folks don't want them (Model Avation) they should be able to opt out for a nominal fee.. I think the MA mag alone is worth my years membership.. My 2 cents.. Brian Smith. AMA 1044, and proud of it..

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