Alternative proposal to AMA tiered memberships * EC agenda item

Eye Indo wrote:


Actually I think AMA does serve a useful purpose in promoting safe flying practices among other things. If I was going to pick on them my gripe would be they do not go far enough. For example they publish rules on layout of a flying field. These rules have required set backs from the edge of the field to the pilots stations. Setbacks to the pits area. Setbacks to the parking area. They say the pilots should have some barrier in front of them. Things like that. Yet the AMA is perfectly willing to give coverage to fields that violate all these written rules. In the extreme I know of a club that parks ten feet from the pits area. The pits area is not defined in any way. It is simply the edge of the runway. It is also the area you stand in when you fly. The guys in that club routinely fly in 360 degrees from the point where they stand. The field is fairly square so they take off and land in any old direction. They do not have so much as a wind sock to tell wind direction. No one uses any restraints when starting engines. It is a great field to go to on Sunday if you like to watch crashes. I just suggest kevlar vests and a hard hat.
In my mind AMA should have a field inspection program where every field is inspected once a year and those that do not meet the written rules given the choice to upgrade or be denied any club or landlord insurance. As stated above the coverage for the pilot is minimal at best anyhow. Lawyers do not sue individuals for more then they have insurance as they can not collect the money. So more insurance = more chance of getting sued for more money. Short of an inspection at least a no cost, no work solution would be to require every club to sign a statement to the effect that the club flying field layout conforms to all written specifications of the AMA and that violation of any of these specifications invalidates the insurance coverage. Cost for this = zero. Possible savings to AMA and thus all of us that try real hard to live by the rules, simply because they make good safety sense, might be substantial in reduced insurance payments.
Manpower sure can not be used as an excuse to not do field inspections. We have more AMA assistant VP's then you can count. And getting even more should be no problem at all.
Of the five flying fields that I personally know well only one of them comes even close to meeting the AMA written requirements. That one qualifies in every respect. But perhaps I just live in a high risk area? Do not know.
Have a good holidays all.

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I am sure you made your post believing what you posted.
The AMA membership manual is here: http://www.modelaircraft.org/PDF-files/memanual05.pdf
On page 5 you will find the RECOMMENDED flying site specifications. There are no written rules. As a matter of fact, on page 5 we find the following excerpt: "The suggested specifications are not intended as mandatory requirements..."
The purpose of the AMA, set forth in the by-laws on page 10 of the same manual state in part: "the primary object of the AMA is to promote and foster educational and scientific advancement in model aeronautics...". As you read through the purposes of the AMA, you will NOT find supplying insurance as a purpose. Insurance is a benefit of membership, not the reason for it.
IHO, the last thing we need are more rules. The AMA is to be commended for taking an axe to the Safety Code in 2004 and reducing the rules to those that actually promote safety. No set of rules can cover all fields. To make the point, go to a glider slope site. The flight line is generally the top of a slope or cliff. Landings most often take place behind the flight line and pits. Most slopes are quite safe.
The last thing we need is to have a quasi police force attempting to enforce rules or regulations. We seem to have enough of that already and are apparently alienating many newcomers. Leave it to the clubs to determine what is safe and what is not, within the terms of the Safety Code.
OH! And Merry Christmas to all (or happy holidays of that offends you).
JR
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J_R wrote:

I understand the difference between recommended and required. I also know of one case where an assistant VP required changing the location of parking by ten feet as the recommended set back as original was not in compliance. The alternative to changing was he would recommend AMA not charter the field. Now I am sure AMA would have still chartered the field. But it was a lot easier to keep peace and make the small change. I also realize clearly that situations may exist such as slope flyers that require changes to the set back rules. It is perfectly easy for any club to clearly identify such factors and cover required modifications in club by laws such that safety is preserved.
I think you miss my main point thou. Namely safety in the hobby is vital for our future. Every time there is a major accident like the one a year or so ago where a guys leg almost got cut off by a prop or someone gets killed it is big time negative headlines. We need and AMA needs to do what can be done to prevent accidents. Both need to do what can be done to protect participants, spectators and neighbors as I am sure no one wants any of these people to get hurt. But also we need to protect the hobby or the bad publicity just gives the anti airplane crowd another arrow in the quiver to shoot at us. If we do not do this none of us will be flying short of an FAA permitting process. And maybe not even then if the locals will not allow us to have fields.
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I agree that it is important that we fly in a safe manner. I think we have all seen flying that does not meet that criteria. Typically, those violations are also violations of the Safety Code. It is fairly rare that I have seen unsafe flying that was within the constraints of the Safety Code.
There has been a tendency to make too many rules, both by the AMA and by clubs. It is my opinion that if a rule truly needs to exist, it should be made. If there is any doubt to it's value, it should not be made. Rules that are just fluff are the things that drive many away from clubs. In addition, there are many "facts" that appear on the internet that are not facts when they are chased down. As I understand, when Casey was hurt, it was not at an AMA club field. Most deaths AMA reports among it's members for insurances purposes are heart attacks at events.
Now, the fact is that we are involved in a hobby with some risks. It is pretty unlikely that putting a shroud around every prop, or putting a heat sink behind every turbine is going to take place. There are just some risks that are part of our hobby. Sitting around trying to eliminate risk completely is not helpful. That is the reason one carries insurance... to mitigate risk.
Dave Brown, the AMA president, in particular, has become obsessed with looking at every possible situation and trying to eliminate all risk. It was his views that caused problems with the turbine flyers, and the same is true of those that wanted the infamous "rule #9" eliminated. When the EC looked at the rules they had made, in retrospect, they agreed with the turbine pilots and those that wanted to hover and changed the rules.
The case in point is made by the fact that clubs generate 50% of the dollar amount of all liability claims handled by the AMA. These are not flying accidents, but, trip and fall accidents. Time might be better spent in looking around our flying sites for potential problems. A few years ago, a small child was crushed to death by a windsock pole being erected and left in place for the weekend.
Sure, we would love to eliminate every cut finger. Heck, we would like to totally eliminate crashes. It just ain't gonna happen, and there has to be good sense used. Making too many rules has more detrimental effects than too few, in my opinion.
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Not bad JR.
One thing.............DB is not obsessed with eliminating all risk. He is obsessed with eliminating AMA insurance liability for claims that may arise from risk. The difference is more than nit picking. Exclusions from insurance coverage don't alter the risk exposure, they just relieve the insurance company from having to pay when a loss due to an excluded activity occurs. Something clubs should bear in mind, too. Club rules are incorporated into the Safety Code by reference (Gen rule 3), so violation of them may void AMA insurance coverage. Better be sure you really need that rule and are prepared to enforce it vigorously, as you may have done little more than provide another out for the insurance company.
Abel
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wrote:

Abel, That last sentence is a real killer unless your group is so far out of the ordinary as to be angelic. I have fought stupid rules that cannot be easily enforced and I have fought silly rules that just make someone play policeman. Unfortunatly, there are days when I am sure that is exactly what my "betters" in the AMA want me and my club to do.
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zara crystal ball predicts: "some of the Dickheads here, will not appreciate your post".
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Why do you even bother posting anything about the AMA? You have your own private 100 acre flying site after all, you Navy pilot!
--
Paul McIntosh
RC-Bearings.com
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