COVID-19 Impacts Model Aviation

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Written by Rich Hanson, AMA President President’s Perspective As seen in the June 2020 issue of Model Aviation.

THE OUTBREAK OF the COVID-19 virus has had a dramatic effect on our nation and our society. To a lesser extent, it has impacted the aeromodeling community. By the time you read this, we’ll hopefully be on the back side of the viral proliferation curve; however, as of today we’re still anticipating a peak in the spread of the virus and new guidelines, restrictions, and precautions are put in place daily. It’s important that we follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and adhere to local health authority and government directives.

This is not to say that we can’t continue to participate in the hobby and enjoy our aeromodeling activities, but we need to consider our fellow hobbyists and club members and be attentive in practicing safe hygiene and preventative measures. The average age of our members falls within the vulnerable age category, making it imperative that we be vigilant in adhering to the current guidelines and restrictions.

The impact of the COVID-19 virus varies significantly across the country. Some areas have been severely impacted with thousands of infections, while others report only a handful of cases. It’s important to follow local restrictions and directives. AMA clubs and members need to consider their individual circumstances when participating in model aviation activities. The following suggestions are offered to protect yourself and others while allowing everyone to continue to enjoy the hobby:


  • Clubs should endeavor to provide hand-cleaning materials at club facilities or members should supply their own.
  • Clubs should sanitize club facilities such as restrooms, kitchens, dining, and seating areas.
  • All members should adopt good hygiene practices and social distancing when interacting with others.
  • Members should not use communal cups or shared kitchenware. Bring your own or use packaged, disposable utensils.
  • Members should frequently wash their hands in warm water for a minimum of 20 seconds, use paper products to avoid directly touching doors, club locks, refrigerators, etc., and avoid touching their mouthes and faces.
  • Avoid personal contact such as shaking hands. A congenial wave, eye contact, and a friendly hello make for a great greeting.
  • Clubs should consider suspending communal meals such as snacks, barbecues, and potlucks, and encourage members to bring their own food.
    • If supplying food, clubs should ensure that food preparation complies with local health standards and is served using gloves, aprons, and hairnets to prevent contamination.
    • Avoid sneezing or coughing over food or in the presence of others, and use a tissue or your sleeve to capture escaping droplets.
    • If you have any COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue or difficulty breathing), self-isolate and don’t participate in club activities until you’re clear of symptoms. If diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus, wait to go out in public until you’re cleared by competent medical personnel.

Club Events

AMA has recently issued the following policy regarding aeromodeling events affected by the COVID-19 outbreak:

"Because of the administrative and insurance costs associated with issuing a sanction for an event, AMA policy does not offer refunds or credits for canceled or rescheduled events. Given the evolving situation with COVID-19 and guidance from the CDC, AMA will be temporarily amending this policy for events scheduled through May 31, 2020. If a CD [contest director] or EM [event manager] cancels an event, AMA will allow sanctions, events ads purchased through the sanctioning portal, and insurance certificates to be rescheduled at no additional charge. Events must be rescheduled during the 2020 calendar year.

"We will make every effort to promptly reschedule the event to include updating the online event listing at Because of deadlines with Model Aviation magazine, we cannot guarantee rescheduled events will be reflected immediately in the magazine. To reschedule your event taking place between now and May 31, 2020, at no charge, please email or call (765) 287-1256, ext. 252, and provide the name of the CD or EM, event details, and new date change."

Clubs should consider postponing large events and postpone or cancel events that involve attendance by members from other clubs or the public occurring during the COVID-19 pandemic.

These suggestions are not exhaustive, and clubs should consider implementing other preventative measures as appropriate. All individual clubs face unique conditions within their respective communities. As such, they should make their own rules and policies based on their local circumstances; however, all clubs should consider putting in place temporary rules necessary to protect their members and the general public.

Safety is our primary focus. Whether it is rules regarding the operation of our model aircraft or the procedures relating to hosting events and meetings, our responsibility is to our community and the general public.

In the grand scheme of things, the saga of COVID-19 virus will be relatively short-lived and we’ll soon be back to enjoying this great hobby that we all love.

safety is our primary focus


COVID-19 for the latest updates.

safety is our primary focus


the FAA and their non sense rules ,companies like amazon and others trying to control the air space so they can use their "Drones" have more impact on the hobby than the cover-19
I hope AMA takes notes of this and do something about it ..

While I share the hope that this thing will be gone soon, none of the commonly available data supports the hope.
And, each day brings reports of many hundreds of new cases, and too many deaths.
My wife and I go to the store with masks and gloves, and maintain our distance from others as best we can. Then, we come on the (usually) younger fellow or girl, no mask, no gloves, making no effort to maintain Social distance.
And we wonder why this thing keeps on growing?
For every 100 of us seniors obeying the safety guidelines there are 20 or more younger (and thinking to be immune) folks busily spreading the bug.
Makes a fellow want to start wearing a T-shirt with a rude saying about those folks, for what good it would do.
Sorry. Just venting.
Bob Cowgill
AMA 331166

Anyone over 60 is just plain STUPID to engage in any field activities especially if they have underlying health conditions as many of us do. The cost to us O'l Geezers is pretty much a death sentence. That's according to the CDC and the Statics for our survival bare this out.
Just My Humble Opinion ... but I feel better safe and ALIVE than foolish DEAD. Besides ounce your dead all your friends will try to get your stuff as cheaply as they can.

Since we are being advised to cough or sneeze into our elbows, I'm not sure that the "elbow bump greeting" is a particularly good idea. Just sayin'.

With over 130+ members the last thing we wanted was to get a crowd build up wanting to use our new fabric runway, so to assure equal chance for everyone to get an opportunity to use the new runway we chose to schedule 2 hr time slots. Starting at 7 am thru out the day and with 10 individual 16ft canopy areas we have been able to control who shows at the field and when,
it’s been working great so far and we ask the weekday guys to give a chance and give the weekend only guys a chance to get their names on the schedule on weekends,
so everyone (and we have people coming from 3 county’s) have guaranteed times to fly and enjoy the new runway. Members are also able to see the slow times on the calendar and are able to choose slower times to get their flying in and with 1 pilot per 16ft square canopy areas we are well beyond the CDC recommendations -Jack

please wear a mask and stay 6 feet apart.

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