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Written by Tony Stillman
AMA News
As seen in the February 2019 issue of
Model Aviation.


AMA News

It looks like winter has a firm grip, at least on us living here in the Midwest! As an old Florida boy, I am not used to this (I don’t think you could ever get used to it!), but one advantage is that you do have a building season. I always struggled with finding time to build because it messed up my flying. Well, that’s not much of a problem here in Indiana, unless you have a good indoor site available to you.

I’m working on expanding my Giant Scale warbird fleet for 2019 with the addition of a Byron F4U Corsair and a 1/4-scale S.E.5a World War I biplane.

Flying on Military Land

I work almost daily with Tyler Dobbs, AMA’s government affairs and public relations representative. Tyler does amazing work on our Government Relations team, trying to keep the government from interfering with our hobby as much as possible. That’s not easy and sometimes there is just no stopping it, but he and AMA work tirelessly on this task.

One such situation has been going on for some time because of the attacks that happened on 9/11. That is the increase in security at military bases, which usually has a negative effect on flying sites on these facilities. Several AMA clubs have contacted AMA because they were forced out of a military base flying site since that time. We were able to assist several to regain their flying sites, but a recent increase in security at military facilities has had a negative impact.

Our Government Affairs and Flying Site Assistance departments met with the Homeland Defense Capability Development (HDCD) division of the Department of Defense (DoD) on November 15, 2018. The HDCD is tasked with approving waivers for extracurricular activities on military properties across the country.

We were assured that model aircraft activity can occur on military property nationwide if the base commander wishes to file for an exemption to allow the operations. HDCD said that it receives waivers on a regular basis and recently approved drone racing and a host of other events across the country. We specifically mentioned a situation at an Outlying Landing Field in Florida and were told that bases can file for an exemption to fly at outlying fields and other military-managed properties. We were also told that the filing forms could be found at the base’s Acquisition office or Spectrum office.

With that stated, there could still be confidential security issues at specific locations across the country that will remain off limits for all extracurricular activity. The director of HDCD in the office of the Secretary of Defense informed us that she can only send the required form to a DoD employee or contractor doing work for DoD.

If you are in a similar situation with your club losing access to a flying site on military property, there is a way to file for access if the base commander approves. Please contact Tyler Dobbs or Angie Martin in the AMA Government Relations department and they can provide you with the information to get the document to file for a waiver.

Now, back to the building room!

4 comments

The base no longer lets us keep the club on the base. Security is the main reason from what I here, but we are willing to work with them. Do you think you can help?

You guys and all of AMA does a fantastic job for AMA members
Rusty L716

I live in an area in New Mexico where the government has a " special use airspace " restitution zone right over my house/property. The closest commercial airport is over 21 miles away. However this restricted airspace over my house/property is just a buffer zone for White Sands Missile range on the other side of the mountains.
Can you tell me if I would be in violation flying my drone over " my property " below 200 feet. Isn't there a law or regulation that states that a certain amount of airspace above my property is " mine " and for my use and can not be restricted? If you can't answer the question would you please direct me to who can. There is no information on who to contact about this restricted airspace above my house/property.
Thanks for your help.

Hi Harold. I obtained the following information from our Government Affairs department:

“Restricted or "special use" airspace is for certain areas where drones and other aircraft are not permitted to fly without special permission, or where limitations must be imposed for any number of reasons. It appears that the area in question is labeled “restricted” , meaning there are operations that are hazardous to you and your drone flying in the vicinity. Restricted areas denote the existence of unusual hazards that are often not immediately visible (for example, artillery firing, aerial gunnery, or guided missiles).

It would likely require permission from the nearby military base to fly at this location. More about Special Use Airspace can be viewed at following link https://www.faa.gov/uas/recreational_fliers/where_can_i_fly/airspace_res...

In regards to how much airspace you own, the FAA maintains they control all of the airspace above a blade of grass. Where navigable airspace begins may ultimately be determined by a court sometime in the future, but for now, Congress has vested the power to control the airspace to the FAA.”

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