Does your city want a flying site?

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Written by Tony Stillman Flying Site Assistance Column As seen in the February 2018 issue of Model Aviation.

National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA) and the National League of Cities (NLC) update: Through fall and winter of 2017, I was able to attend the NRPA annual convention in New Orleans, and the NLC annual convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. Tyler Dobbs, of AMA’s Government Relations department, was also there and worked with me in the booth. The goal of attending these shows is to bring awareness to local government officials about model aircraft, including drones. We wanted to let them know that AMA and its clubs and members can be a vital resource for them and can provide guidance and expertise concerning issues about model flying sites and government regulations. This year, we found that a surprising number of officials were coming to our booth to ask us how to create flying sites in their parks and cities! This was a big change from the previous year when these same officials wanted to know how to get rid of RC aircraft. In speaking with them, they seemed to understand that creating a dedicated flying site for this activity is the best answer, but they were unsure how to do that. Our answer was for them to engage with a local AMA chartered club that could assist in choosing the site, and then manage it after it was in operation. Many took this recommendation and asked us to connect them with a local club. I agreed to find local clubs that were interested in connecting with these city officials, and to ask them to reach out to the contact person concerning creating a flying site. After getting back to the office, I went through our data and identified those who wanted to work with a club, and for each interested official, I reached out to a club in that area to see if the members would be open to possibly creating a new flying site in cooperation with the local city. Of the roughly 40 clubs that were contacted, only 12 clubs agreed to reach out. Of those 12, only four have reported that they contacted the city and had some kind of result.
Tony Stillman (L) and Tyler Dobbs attended the NRPA and NLC annual conventions in 2017.

With so many clubs having flying site issues, I would have expected more interest. In an effort to improve this statistic, I wanted to make our general membership aware of this opportunity. In some cases, the clubs already have a site and are not interested in supporting an additional flying site because of their limited resources. It could be that there are AMA members in the area who are not part of a local club and would be interested in pursuing a new flying site. Following are the cities that had representatives contact us. If you are an AMA member in one of these areas and are interested in a new flying site, please feel free to contact me and we can discuss the situation. If you are not a member of a club, you might want to consider starting one so that you can make use of this flying site potential. Creating a club is easy and only requires five members. I would be glad to assist you, and I can provide you with the contact information of the local official. This could be the start of a new club and new flying site for your area! You can contact me through the information at the end of this column. The cities that expressed interest include North Little Rock AR; Forrest City AR; West Memphis AR; Irvine CA; Palo Alto CA; San Louis Obispo CA; Colorado Springs CO; South Bay FL; Eatonton GA; Nampa ID; Madison IL; Morton Grove IL; Mapleton IL; Dolton IL; Lockport IL; Shawnee KS; Georgetown KY; Mandeville LA; Lake Charles LA; Apple Valley MN; Missoula MT; Hackensack NJ; Altus AFB OK; Franklin TN; West Valley City UT; Spotsylvania VA; Fairfax VA; Tacoma WA; and Edmonds WA. If you have a story that you would like to share, send me an email. I would be happy to review it and put it in my column for other clubs to read and learn from. Is your club looking for a flying site and needs assistance? I am here to help! Feel free to contact me at AMA at (765) 287-1256, extension 230, or by email at I will be happy to assist you! See you at the field! -Tony Stillman

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