length of AMA membership - RC Groups
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Dec 31, 2002, 06:55 PM
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length of AMA membership

I cant find the last thread about this, but wasn't it stated somewhere that the $48 renewal fee for AMA membership, for those of us that had lapsed, would finish 2002 and cover 2003 as well? I renewed in July, for $48, and found out today that my membership expires today, and they want another $58 to cover 2003. I gave them $48 for 5 months membership and 4 magazines! If this is my own fault, I'll accept it, and learn from my mistake. I'm not bashing the AMA. As you can tell, I'm trying to join them. I called them today, and was told the only renewals that would carry over to 2003 were those made within 2 months of the end of 2002. Even someone paying the full $48 in September, would owe another $58 just 3 months later. The AMA offered no apologies for this policy. Again, my fault for not getting it right, but geez! I was not told about this when I renewed. I REALLY do want to support them, but its a bitter pill to swallow.

Update, I went to the AMA site, renewal page, and it states that any renewals after October 1st will cover the remainder of that year, plus the next year. I renewed in july, so I screwed up. It's at the bottom of the page in the fine print, but it is there. I think its a ridiculous policy, but my own fault for not seeing it.
Last edited by MKH; Dec 31, 2002 at 11:26 PM.
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Jan 01, 2003, 01:46 AM
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Danny Troy's Avatar
I think if we all renewed in July, and expected to be covered for the next year, everyone would renew every other July.
I always renew in December since my club wants to see a valid AMA card when paying for the clubs yearly dues after Jan. 1st.
Speaking of which, it's been about three weeks since I paid and still no new card!

One gripe I have with AMA is the quality of the magazine. My opinion, but I think it's the worst of the bunch, although I'll admit they're featuring more and more electrics.
Jan 01, 2003, 10:31 AM
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bullseye000's Avatar
I don't really like the AMA's payment schedules either. It seems that the dues are flat based on the yearly schedule instead of on an individual basis starting the calendar year when a member joins. Maybe it's too much of a logistical nightmare for them to track memberships on a per member basis.

Actually I'm pretty found of the AMA magazine. I've tried them all and still buy them on occasion. RCM is a total waste of paper. This year I was able to get a subscription for Model Airplane News and Flying Models at a really reduced rate. I usually get throught MAN in about 15 minutes. I think Flying Models is one of the best. I tried Backyard Flyer and don't like it. Anyone ever notice that every kit or product they review is good?

We should probably do a poll to see what everyone is reading and what magazines have the best content.
Jan 01, 2003, 08:33 PM
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Duane's Avatar
I joined a couple of years ago, like in the middle of the year, and the next year, my re-new was only about $32.00 (pro-rated) This makes sense what you guys are talking about, because I have a friend that joined about mid-way through last year, and he did not get a pro-rated re-new application. I guess they quit that this year! I also have to pay NHRA about $87.00 each year to go racing, and get a weekly paper, National Dragster, but it re-news by the month. Then, there is a fishing license, $19.00 each year, expires Sept 1 (?) So if you buy one late summer, only good for a couple of months! We spend a lot of money, just to be allowed to have our hobbies.... AMA needs to wake up, and and have 12 month memberships, then, money would come in year round.
Jan 01, 2003, 11:17 PM
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The AMA sends out the renewal membership applications in October of every year. I states that to maintain membership continuity you should renew prior to a certain date in I believe December. There has been in the past the opportunity to join for two years at a slightly reduced rate. Those of us who chose that option did OK as we got this year at last years rate. I believe the toyal savings come to about $12. Except for your initial year your membership does indeed cover 12 months.

Like everything else in this world there has to be limits. Join mid year pay for full year. Join in October get 14 months your first year. It's all in the timing. I started working for a company whose year was based on the unlikely date of May 10. My start date was May 30. Since I started after May 10 I had to work an entire year to qualify for benefits. If I had started May 9--well you get the idea.

The magazine's primary purpose is to deliver the AMA news to the membership. The rest is secondary and while I admit that it is at times less than interesting it has in recent years gotten better.
Jan 02, 2003, 12:11 AM
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I renewed in July, because I'd been meaning to renew, and thought I'd understood from posts on Ezone that mid-year renewals would carry over through the following year. I ignored the October renewal notice because I thought I was covered through 2003. It was my own fault for acting on something I'd misunderstood. I do think the AMA would fair better if they prorated the dues. As it is now, you'd be dumb to renew before the end of the year, like I did. I went ahead and renewed online last night. I'll accept the $48 loss as a lesson learned.
Jan 02, 2003, 09:16 AM
Originally posted by Duane
.... AMA needs to wake up, and and have 12 month memberships, then, money would come in year round.
Actually from the AMA's position doing a monthly renewal is not a big problem. This has been discussed a number of times in EC. The main reason not to do this is the trouble it would cause the local club secretary. In essence the local club would be checking almost weekly to see who was still a memeber of AMA and who had dropped by the way-side. The extra work for the club is seen (by the EC) as an unneccesary hard ship.

Doug Barry
Charlotte NC
Jan 02, 2003, 10:12 AM
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Thats interesting Doug, but anyone with a week's worth of bookeeping could tell you that is not the case. Also, if dues were prorated, membership would still end as it does now, at year's end, so most members would always be due for renewal at the same time. No hardship for the club secretary. Thanks for your ideas.
Jan 02, 2003, 10:31 AM
Registered User
Membership is prorated, but only for new members, I believe. If you join in July, you get 1/2 credit for the next year's renewal, and your renewal notice will reflect this.

If membership renewals were prorated by the month, nearly everyone would wait until May to renew their AMA membership! I'm pretty sure that this would result in an appropriate dues increase, because the AMA operates year-round to ensure that you still have the privilege to fly. It's a pay-me-now-or-pay-me-later situation.

MKH, how do you figure that it wouldn't be an administrative nightmare for the club secretary if the AMA offered month-to-month membership options? That's the precise reason why nearly every club in the USA is AMA Chartered. Your renter's/homeowner's insurance usually covers damages from R/C mishaps, but if you miss a monthly payment, your coverage goes away. The club can't risk letting you fly without coverage, so a club representative would have to continuously make sure your insurance coverage is up to date. Club secretaries are not paid, and this is not a trivial task. If you're an AMA member, all you have to do is flash the appropriately-colored card, and the club secretary knows you're covered for the entire year.
Jan 02, 2003, 11:08 AM
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Originally posted by mkirsch1
Membership is prorated, but only for new members, I believe. If you join in July, you get 1/2 credit for the next year's renewal, and your renewal notice will reflect this.

If you're an AMA member, all you have to do is flash the appropriately-colored card, and the club secretary knows you're covered for the entire year.
Exactly right. I just received a nice email from AMA telling me about the partial credit for mid-year sing-ups, for first-time members. Second point, also right. A new club member flashes their card once, and never needs to show it again, until the end of the year when renewals are checked. No administrative nightmare at all. I was never recommending a 'month to month' membership as you put it. Again, this misunderstanding was my fault, and I'm not at all mad at the AMA, or anyone else.
Jan 02, 2003, 12:50 PM
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When my wife and I first joined two years ago, we sent in our dues in early February. We didn't hear a thing from AMA till I sent a follow up around May asking what was holding things up (the check had been cashed in Feb). Later in May we got our cards so that we could actually fly legitimately at local sites, but the magazine didn't show up till I sent yet another querry, and our first issue arrived in June or July (probably the august issue or so, I don't recall exactly). We then proceeded to get 2 more sets of identical cards over the next couple months.

Then around October (three magazine issues later) we got the renewal notice for full price.

Although I do like the magazine (compared to the others I have seen), and the insurance coverage letting us fly at the local sites, I was not impressed by this scenario. We got < 7 months of flying and ~5 issues of the magazine for the entire year price.

I have been a member of many national clubs with similar magazine/insurance benefits (USHGA, APBA, etc), and all of the others were much more responsive to getting new members in with a relatively painless and quick application process.

Jan 02, 2003, 05:09 PM
Web Monkey
As a new Member, I joined AMA in May, my renewal this October was prorated to adjust for the late joining.
Jan 02, 2003, 10:54 PM
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I went for over a year without paying... figured flying little stuff nowhere near a club field I didn't need it.... But prior to the last NEAT fair, I renewed, and asked for my old number.

I got a black AMA membership card that has the year 2003 on it, and at the bottom says 'membership ends december 31st of the above year' or some such, so I got a year and a half for my 48 bucks ...

I just got back from visiting my family down in VA, and found that I had a letter from the AMA that was simply a new red/white card for 2003. I don't know why they spent the money on that if my other one was good. Oh well.....

Jan 02, 2003, 11:28 PM
Registered User
For most of us in Northern Climes we get about 7 months of flying for a full years dues while those of us fortunate enough to live in the warmer states get 12 months of flying for their dues. Perhaps we should have the AMA charge us geographically.

I have served in just about every capacity in clubs over the years and I can atest to the problems secretaries have trying to keep track of AMA membership status. There are as many excuses as there are people to chase. It has gotten to the point that we created a new office in the club called "membership co-ordinator"who will be responsible for checking AMA membership,setting training schedules and maintaining our wings program.

You must remember that most club officers usually work full time jobs--have families and other responsibilities in the community. Their time is limited. Chasing 75 members to verify AMA is quite a chore.
Jan 03, 2003, 10:48 AM
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Perhaps the AMA should charge us geographically.
Perhaps the AMA should let us buy a specific number of months' worth of insurance.
Perhaps the AMA should charge less for electric/park/glider/casual fliers.
Perhaps the AMA should offer a no-magazine membership at a reduced cost.

The fact that most of us only fly from May to September doesn't mean that our privilege to fly isn't being threatened from October to April.

The current AMA dues schedule is very simple and very inexpensive to administer. To go with a more complicated schedule is to increase administration overhead and cost dramatically. Plus, the AMA is still a year-round operation. Where do you think the money to pay for it will come from? Increased dues, of course. Pay me now or pay me later, like I said before. The only people this will benefeit are the extra adminstrative people who get hired by the AMA.

As far as the magazine goes, it's a necessary evil, as some would put it. The AMA is a not-for-profit organization, not a business. By law, they are required to publish a newsletter for the membership. Model Aviation is the newsletter. Even if the AMA could let you opt-out of the magazine (I don't think they legally can), it's again more administrative overhead to keep track of who does and doesn't get the magazine.