AMA Reminds New Drone Owners to Operate Aircraft Safely

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Academy of Model Aeronautics promotes safe flying practices as new drone owners take to the skies after the holidays

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We would like to welcome these new hobbyists to the model aviation community and remind them to keep safety a priority each and every time they fly

Now that this holiday season’s gifts have been unwrapped, there will be many proud new drone owners taking to the skies. Before putting their new gifts in flight, the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) would like to remind first-time flyers to take the proper precautions and practice safe flying techniques.

“We have been anticipating lots of new model aircraft taking flight after the holidays, with drones being a popular gift item this year,” said Dave Mathewson, executive director of AMA. “We would like to welcome these new hobbyists to the model aviation community and remind them to keep safety a priority each and every time they fly.”

AMA recently launched its Discover Flight campaign to help illustrate why there’s never been a more exciting time to embrace the adventure and hobby of model aviation. Discover Flight, highlighted at, aims to bring the possibilities of model aviation to life, opening up this exciting world to flyers across the country. With that message, AMA wants to ensure that new hobbyists embrace the sport with safety as a top priority.

To help maintain safe skies, AMA provides a set of guidelines to its members, which include labeling their aircraft with important identifying information before flying them. AMA’s more than 2,400 flying clubs and 3,000 flying fields located throughout the continental United States have made the safe opportunities to fly virtually endless. And an AMA membership includes additional protections, such as liability insurance.

AMA would also like to welcome everyone to its annual AMA Expo, held this year in Ontario, CA January 8-10 at the Ontario Convention Center. To learn more about the event visit

A few important tips for new fliers of drones, also known as small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS), and all model aircraft include:

  •     Do not fly higher than necessary, and always remain under 400 feet.
  •     Fly within visual line of sight.
  •     Stay clear of other aircraft, and always give the right of way to any manned aircraft.
  •     Never fly within 5 miles of an airport without contacting airport authorities or air traffic control.
  •     Avoid flying over groups and stadium events.
  •     Obtain permission before flying over private property.

An overview of AMA’s safety guidelines are available at

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has recently put forth requirements for all unmanned aircraft to be registered with the government by Feb. 19, 2016. The AMA is asking its members not to register with the FAA until the deadline while the association pursues legal and political actions, under the firm belief that federal regulations should not be burdensome to model aviation enthusiasts. Members may register if they wish, but the AMA suggests holding registration until this deadline. To learn more about registration with the FAA, you may visit or call 866-835-5322.

Since it was founded in 1936, and with the launch of the Discover Flight campaign, AMA has remained committed to helping model aircraft enthusiasts discover their passion for flying. As technology has advanced, AMA, its members and its industry partners are embracing these changes; supporting the evolution of model aviation in hobby, sport and business; and helping everyone realize they, too, can fly model aircraft. AMA advocates on behalf of members and works to protect the sport of model aviation and promote a shared sky.

To learn more about the AMA, the benefits of becoming a member or to join, visit today!

Story Assets
For AMA Safety Guidelines, please visit The AMA has also created a media asset page that includes the Discover Flight video and other visual assets you may need to craft your story. To access these assets, please visit

Interview Requests
The AMA team is here to help make your story unique. For interview requests with AMA staff or members, location shots, or general assistance with story development or additional asset needs, please contact media(at)modelaircraft(dot)org.

About AMA
With its national headquarters located in Muncie, Ind., AMA is the largest association representing model aircraft enthusiasts in the world and has been helping its members discover flight since 1936. AMA is committed to being the leading voice and advocate for modelers throughout the world and is dedicated to making modeling the foremost sport and hobby across the globe. The Discover Flight campaign was created to bring awareness to the sport of model aviation and advance the AMA’s efforts to reach a new generation of modelers. To learn more about the Discover Flight campaign, visit You can also learn more about AMA by visiting or following them on Facebook (, Twitter ( or YouTube (

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Mandee Mikulski

Mandee Mikulski
Academy of Model Aeronautics
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