Print this articlePrint this article

Written by Tyler Dobbs
AMA in Action
As seen in the July 2018 issue of
Model Aviation.

The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently contacted AMA concerning the use of nitromethane in gas-powered model aircraft. DHS regulates security at high-risk chemical facilities under the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards program, which works to reduce the security risks associated with certain chemicals that the DHS has labeled “chemicals of interest.”

Nitromethane, which is used as a fuel additive in some RC, Control Line, and Free Flight model aircraft, has been identified by the DHS as a chemical of interest and an Improvised Explosive Device precursor chemical. Nitromethane can be dangerous when used improperly; it was used in the terrorist truck bombing in Oklahoma City in 1995.


There is concern that extremist groups could use nitromethane to inflict harm and cause serious damage, so we ask our members to be vigilant and help identify any unusual behavior. If there is immediate danger, call 911; otherwise contact the DHS at (877) 394-4347. Any individual or facility that possesses 400 pounds—approximately 42 gallons—or more of nitromethane must report their chemical holdings to the DHS within 60 days by filing a Top-Screen survey (

If you currently possess this amount of nitromethane or more, you must report your chemical holdings immediately. If you purchase this amount of nitromethane in the future, you must report it to DHS.

Thank you for all you do to protect our longstanding hobby, including complying with processes such as those outlined. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the AMA Government Affairs team at (800) 435-9262.

—Tyler Dobbs
Government Affairs & Public Relations Representative


I had to chuckle when I read that it requires about 42 gallons of nitro before having to report it to DHS. Except for fuel blenders and sellers, who else would ever have anywhere near that much? Even for those professional modelers, that much would make almost 300 gallons of fuel if used at 15%. But, I'm sure the blenders and sellers already know the DHS rules for having quantities of nitro. Not sure I have burned 42 gallons of nitro in my lifetime, but then, I do about half of my flying with slope soarers and electrics.

I am a die hard nitro guy. Few of us are left still flying. It seems like the electrics have taken over the field. As they state" it's more convenient and no oil mess to clean up. But when I am out there flying then they remember why. I have three times as much flight time. More power and if I have a hard Landing my plane doesn't burst into flames. And now the government wants to regulate the fuel we use. Another excuse to go to Electric. Now the batteries that they use could be used as a terrorist weapon as well. Getting them too short circuit and burst into flames possibly as a trigger for a larger device.. we need to get the government out of our Hobby. We need to get the government to understand that we are responsible people and have been for many many years

With all due respect, there is no way I'm going to tell any agency about my personal property. Nitromethane is perfectly legal to own. They have no business in my personal business. Not that I even own a gas powered plane. But they already force me through their security theater too often. I'm tempted to buy that much just to see what happens.

It starts with little steps like this in the name of security. Unfortunately it's security theater, and will have zero effect at stopping an attack.

It is time to dismiss the rest of the lunatic fringe put in place by our former CIC-BHO, I think the DHS is correct .049 powered model planes are a severe threat to our security,we must stop them (NOW) ARE YOU KIDDING ME? This shows that bureaucrats only live to reproduce and continue to suck our country dry.

Why is the AMA always behind the power curve regarding legislation. Multi-rotors should be considered separate from model airplanes since you folded them into one rule 336 is now up to be repealed or modified.

I notice that you allow foreign companies to advertise cheap Chinese products in your magazine, anything for $$. Do your Job

Just for people's information, a 55 gallon drum of 30% heli fuel contains 16.5 gal of nitro-methane, so all our fuel, in drums we may order for club distribution, will be well below the 42-gal cutoff for DHS reporting.

For people's information, a 55-gallon drum of 30% heli fuel contains 16.5 gallons of nitro-methane. All the drums of fuel we order for club distribution will be well below the cutoff for DHS reporting, 42 gallons.

Add new comment