Safety Issues and Concerns
Macon Aero Modelers Spring Safety Thoughts 2012
It was a mild Winter, so thoughts of Flying are Surfacing!!
Safety Coordinator, Macon Aero Modelers
The mild weather we’ve had the past few days reminds us that spring flying season is not too far off. As your Safety Coordinator, I’d like to encourage you to review the AMA National Model Aircraft Safety Code and our Macon Aero Modeler Club rules and safe flying practices. Also, allow me to bring you up to speed with latest on the AMA vs. FAA issue.
When is the last time you read through the AMA Safety Code? When you received or renewed your AMA membership you were sent a copy of the code, dated January 1, 2011. It is also in the back of your monthly Model Aviation magazine. Let’s review a few key provisions. Section 2(f): Ensure the aircraft is identified with the name and address or AMA number of the owner. Section B1: All pilots shall avoid flying directly over unprotected people, vessels, vehicles or structures. Section B2: A successful radio equipment ground-range check IAW manufacturer’s recommendations will be completed before the first flight of a new or repaired model aircraft. There are many other provisions that apply to us as pilots—take the time to read the code.
The Field Safety Regulations of our Macon Aero Modelers club were last revised 11/10/2009. A copy should always be available for you to review at the field (check the metal box located between the two carports). These rules are in place for the safety of you, other flyers, spectators, and property owners. Let me point some places where we’ve gotten lazy. First, rule 4 requires pilots to post their AMA membership card on the frequency board…and take the appropriate frequency control pin. [This shows that you are a member of AMA and therefore have insurance.] We need you to take a frequency pin [“red”] even if you are flying 2.4GHz receiver/transmitter! Rule 19 provides guidance on flying alone. For your safety—we discourage it! The only exception is that a member may fly alone if you are flying an aircraft that meets the AMA Park Flyer criteria. Rule 19 also specifies that if two (2) pilots are flying they must be within 20 feet of each other. If 3 pilots are flying a spotter shall be present. [The spotter should remain alert to the flight paths of both aircraft and not be engrossed in a conversation with one of the pilots]. Let me remind all members that safe flying operations are fundamental to our club’s survival! Many a club has closed because of an accident to a member, property owner, or spectator.
Over the past year AMA has met with FAA representatives over pending rules regarding the growing use of small unmanned aircraft vehicles (sUAV). While the United States Air Force has controlled the large Predator-type UAVs seen in Iraq and Afghanistan, each branch of the military now has sUAVs, some not much bigger than the model aircraft we fly. A growing trend is for Police and other local agencies to start using sUAVs. A key difference between sUAVs and model radio-controlled aircraft is that we fly line of sight. Another key difference is that we fly under the specific rules of a National organization and, additionally, under a set of local club rules. In February, the President signed the FAA Reauthorization bill and that legislation includes a special provision for model aircraft protecting it from FAA regulations. Section 336 provides specific guidance. “The Administrator of the FAA may not promulgate any rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft…if (1) the aircraft is flown strictly for hobby or recreational use; (2) aircraft is operated IAW a community-based set of safety guidelines…[read AMA], etc.” Further, “a model aircraft is defined as an unmanned aircraft that is: (1) capable of sustained flight…; (2) flown within visual line of sight…; (3) flown for hobby or recreational purposes.”
I encourage you to review the AMA Safety Code and our club safety rules. See you at the field!
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We hope to see and hear from you soon!!
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