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Written by Tony Stillman
Flying Site Assistance
As seen in the December 2016 issue of
Model Aviation.

I have worked with several new clubs this year. Many of them are drone racing clubs that are new to AMA and are learning how we can help them with many things, including getting a flying site.

Multirotor clubs don’t need a traditional runway, so usually their cost for site improvement is less; however, they do normally want to have a place where they can set up a racecourse and leave it up for practice. This means that they need land of which they can have exclusive use.

These new groups are learning that by forming an AMA Chartered Club, they can purchase site owner liability insurance. This insures the site owner for any liability issues that might come up while model flying is occurring on his or her property. This $2.5 million policy usually proves invaluable to the club’s ability to obtain a flying site. Providing this insurance goes a long way toward securing a flying site.

AMA has made it easy to charter a club. You can click here to access a section of documents that pertain to clubs. There is plenty of good information, but in this case, we are interested in the Club Chartering Guide.

Click on it and you will see a PDF booklet with nearly everything you want to know about AMA Chartered Clubs and the benefits thereof. The document walks you through the chartering process and what information you need to provide to AMA, such as the club officers list, bylaws, and other items.

It would be wise to sit down with your flying buddies and have everyone review this document and decide how the club will operate. This is then included in the bylaws (of which there is a sample) that you will need to create and return with the club charter application and fees.

A benefit of being a club officer is that the officers enjoy special liability insurance coverage from AMA, which is explained in the document.

The club can also qualify for a Flying Site Improvement Grant. These funds are awarded each year to clubs to improve their flying sites. The grant process starts by the club submitting an application by the deadline of March 1 each year. The application process is online and Erin Dobbs at AMA (765) 287-1256, extension 272, can help with any questions you might have about the grant and the application process.

Each year, AMA awards roughly $40,000 in grant money to Chartered Clubs. AMA often has more funds to award than we do applicants! It is definitely worth your while to investigate this program!

Another benefit to chartering is that your club is now listed as part of the AMA family, and can be found on the “Find a Club” application on the website. This allows someone who is looking for a model club to be directed to your group’s website and flying field. This is a great tool to help promote your club and recruit new members.

There are many more advantages to becoming one of the more than 2,400 AMA Chartered Clubs that is pointed out in the Club Chartering Guide. Unfortunately, many clubs don’t take advantage of all of our programs.

I hope you will take the time to investigate what is available to clubs by reviewing the Club Chartering Guide. Even if you are a member of a longtime club, there could be some program that you are unaware of that would benefit you. Please take the time to review it!

Also, if you are a club officer, I hope you are receiving our Ground Control newsletter. If not, you can sign up for this free publication that is specifically designed for you at:

See you at the field!

-Tony Stillman

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