Executive Council Meeting
Ontario CA
January 12, 2014

President's Report

Executive Vice President's Report
Chief Financial Officer's Report
Executive Director's Report

NAA Report
Committee Reports
Old Business
New Business

Note: Executive Vice President Gary Fitch and District IV VP Bliss Teague were not in attendance.

The meeting was called to order at 8:00 a.m. by the President. He thanked Jim Wallen and Jose Soto, outgoing District Vice Presidents, for their service to the Academy. Newly elected VP’s Kris Dixon (V) and Jim Tiller (IX) were introduced to Council.

1. Opening Business 
a. Introductions: President Bob Brown, Bradford, PA; Chief Financial Officer Keith Sessions, Burlington, KY; District Vice Presidents: I-Andy Argenio, Smithfield, RI; II-Eric Williams, Schenectady, NY; III-Mark Radcliff, St. Marys, WV; V-Kris Dixon, Dexter, GA; VI-Randy Cameron, Springfield, MO; VII-Tim Jesky, Monroe, MI; VIII-Mark Johnston, Albuquerque, NM; IX-Jim Tiller, Custer, SD; X-Lawrence Tougas, Fairfield, CA; XI-Mike Mosbrooker, Oak Harbor, WA; Executive Director Dave Mathewson; Jonathan Gaffney, NAA President, and AMA Legal Counsel Felix Gora, Rendigs Fry Kiely & Dennis.
Others in attendance: Mitch Rose, AMA Government Liaison; Steve Brehm, AVP Dist. I; Gary Himes, AVP Dist. VI; Randall Gibson, AVP Dist. VII; Jim Rice, AVP Dist. VIII/Education Committee chairman; Chuck Bowen, AVP Dist. XI; Tom Berry, Dist. XI member; Barry Elk, MCA and Tony Stillman, Flying Site Assistance Coordinator.
Attending from AMA HQ were: Rob Kurek, Rich Hanson, Jeff Nance and Mandee Mikulski.

b. Additions to the agenda: 
New Business – Canadian citizens being members of AMA.

c. Final Flight List (Appendix I)
The following names were added to the list: Russ Nitsch, Russ Collins, Mike Martin, Kenneth Smith and Ray Meyers; a moment of silence was observed.

2. Consent Agenda: 
It was moved, seconded and approved by acclamation to approve the Consent Agenda. Consent Agenda items: approval of the October 19-20, 2013 Executive Council meeting minutes as amended; approval of November 11, 2013 mail vote re National Model Aviation Day (NMAD).

3. President’s Report 

The President reported there were certain things he would like to see accomplished over the next few years. These will be discussed with Council over the next couple of months.

VP Replacements: I- Carl Vogel, Steve Brehm; II- Reid Condon, Charles Davis; III- Jim Martin, Randy Adams; IV- Henry Mausolf, Jay Marsh; V- Andy Griffith, Rick Grimm; VI- Gary Himes, Lou Akemon; VII- Lee Fredrickson, Randall Gibson, VIII- Bill Holland, Jim Rice; IX- Tom Neff, Kendal Baerg; X- Forrest Barton, Peter Vogel; XI- Chuck Bower, Chris Rankin.

Committee Review (Appendix II): The President named the chairman and liaison; in some cases he also named additional members to the committee.

BaseCamp: Some committee members have been utilizing BaseCamp to conduct their work; the more the members use it, the more effective it becomes. The President would like all committees to conduct their work on BaseCamp; HQ will provide assistance to those not familiar with it.

Executive Council Agenda Items: All agenda items AND their supporting material must be received at Headquarters 30 days prior to the EC meeting date.

4. Executive Vice President's Report

No EVP report

5. Chief Financial Officer's Report (Appendix III)

The CFO has been updating documents in association with AMA’s investment accounts. The investment policy statement AMA has now was written several years ago and in his opinion is fairly restrictive. His primary objective with updating the policy was to manage risk and get the proper reward for investments.

MOTION I: Moved by E. Williams (II) and seconded by M. Johnston (VIII) to adopt the Statement of Investment Policies, Guidelines, and Objectives as presented January 12, 2014.
MOTION passed unanimously.

6. Executive Director’s Report

Club support/NMAD: The intent of this item was to include participation in NMAD as an elective in becoming an AMA Leader Club.

It was moved, seconded and approved by acclamation to add club support and participation in National Model Aviation Day, as an elective to be considered for Leader Club status.
(Note: this is not intended to be a requirement to achieve Gold Leader Club status. It was also pointed out that by prior Council action, a District VP can waive 1 (one) elective for a club to achieve Leader Club status.)

Plans service: Negotiations are at a stand-still; nothing new to report at this time.

During the July 2013 EC meeting the ED brought up the Northrup plans service; at the time Council decided it was not a good business opportunity for AMA. Renegotiations have provided a more favorable opportunity. The ED reviewed the proposal and noted HQ is currently working through a verification issue.

MOTION II: Moved by E. Williams (II) and seconded by R. Cameron (VI) to authorize HQ to pursue the opportunity to obtain the Northrup Plans service.
MOTION passed unanimously.

Foundation: Council received an updated copy of the section of the 2014 operating budget which was changed to reflect the launch of the AMA Foundation. When the budget was originally produced it was thought that approval of the Foundation would not be received as quickly as it was. There is no change to the bottom line; all that was done was take those expense items that were always intended to be allocated to the foundation, separate them out of PR and Government Relations and move them into the foundation budget.

Association Management Systems project update – Appendix IV: HQ started with developing a timeline. Each department then conveyed the features/functions they wanted the system to contain to work internally. HQ defined roles for AMA and Commonplaces (vendor); developed a wireframe and started to develop a style guide. Timeline going forward for some of the deliverables: in February some time HQ intends to have a webinar or conference call with Council to uncover what features they would like incorporated in the new system to help them do their work. By April HQ expects to have the first drafted system built in a beta form. A major milestone will occur in May when the database and web content is migrated over to the new system; it is expected this will take an entire month to complete. Following this will be training and testing of the new site in June. The new system is expected to launch mid-July which will give HQ a couple of months to catch any bugs and get familiar with the system prior to the 2015 membership renewal process.

Council can anticipate a webinar or conference call in February re wants/needs they would like incorporated into the system.

Digital Model Aviation: The first model that was launched in 2011 did not work out as well as HQ hoped it would; because of the relationship with Apple, Google and Adobe, the only way to make that work financially was to charge a subscription fee to non-members and members. A fair number of subscriptions were generated but HQ barely broke even. It was revealed during a member survey that they would like to receive this as a benefit of membership. The model was retooled and is now offered as a benefit of membership; there is the subscription option as well. C. Budreau is working on a model with features that were available in the Adobe model that is hoped to be available later this year. The ED offered the following figures: 12,106 members now receive some form of digital MA; 8,802 transitioned from the print to digital; 2,988 are paying the additional $9.95 to receive both print and digital; and 316 are paying the $9.95 to receive the digital version that don’t receive the print magazine as a benefit of their membership (such as youth members).

R. Kurek noted that there are expenses related to the digital version of the magazine; once it was brought in-house there were still things that need to be done. Kurek’s vision is that video is clearly the future for a lot of content delivery. AMA must still invest some of the savings in the technology that is going to enable us to increase our content to the members. The amount of bonus content compared to 4-5 years ago has increased by a third.

Advertisers have the option of purchasing print or digital ad space; Kurek will provide hard numbers for Council on how many are choosing print, digital and both for comparative purposes.  Kurek is currently working with some advertisers on advanced-feature advertising in Model Aviation formatted videos, and HQ hopes to offer this option to advertisers later this year. The ED reported that the digital version of MA is getting a 4.7 out of 5 approval rating.

Membership/Clubs: It is early in 2014 but the number of chartered clubs are up 10-12; this is the first increase in ten years. Paid membership was up in 2013; this year unlike last year when membership revenue was flat because of transition from Open to Senior Citizen, membership revenue will be up. Unrelated business income is going to be up percentage wise to double digits, as will donations and non-dues revenue.

MCA Recommendations: Last year at this meeting B. Elk offered some recommendations as a result of their survey. The ED reported on some of recommendations that HQ has begun to implement. These include: promote the value of AMA insurance; offer a digital version of MA as a benefit of membership; expand non-dues affinity programs; expand partnerships with other aviation organizations; investigate engaging other hobby interests; reorganize PP editorial staff (brought in-house); and as a result of renegotiating the contract with the printer, AMA got a $10k technology credit. This credit will be used to build the digital version of PP magazine.

The ED asked Council to consider changing the membership year from calendar. He is not asking for a vote today, but would like to have a follow-up conference call.

Mathewson noted that for years we have been hearing concerns from our members relative to a calendar year membership period. The membership year runs from January 1-December 31 and this works out well for those members that join by December 31; they receive a year's worth of benefits for a year's worth of dues. That is not the case with most of our other members, so two years ago AMA began offering the pro-rate on the front end of a new membership. This has slowed some of the complaints but has not totally eliminated them. A number of years ago when Council considered changing the membership year, concern was expressed by club contacts and secretaries that it would be extremely difficult to keep up with who was/was not a member at any given time. Mathewson noted that with the new AMS system HQ will have the ability to target and send push emails to those whose memberships are about to expire and remind them to rejoin; at the same time HQ can send emails to club contacts to inform them that a club members AMA membership is about to expire.

J. Nance explained the challenges in marketing to potential new members with the current calendar year structure. With the AMS system in place, using anniversary date renewals would allow for profiling of members to do appropriate marketing, such as offering automatic renewal. HQ would be able to study members’ renewal behavior (those that renew in advance, on the exact date or wait) which would help with cash flow management. It would also allow for increased ad spending during high usage times (Spring/Summer); automatic renewal marketing via email and mailings and would reduce the onslaught of year-end membership fulfillment times and resources, as well as allow for effective and efficient year round marketing with one message….join for $58.

Discussion included: some current promotions would become obsolete (quarter or half year pro-rate); each members’ individual expiration date would be displayed on their membership card; using the new AMS system, an email reminder would automatically be generated and sent to members whose membership is about to expire; moving to anniversary date renewals would have no impact on insurance coverage; and if AMA moves to anniversary date renewals, it will be critical that club secretaries are made aware of the change. The President asked Council members to canvas their district over the next three weeks to uncover the thoughts about AMA moving to anniversary date renewals. A decision must be made soon so the developers can adjust the AMS system accordingly.

Mitch Rose update: He will play a unique role in the future in helping to grow the association. Rose reported that AMA has come from the FAA being our strongest enemy so-to-speak, to putting out a press release telling members of Congress they want people to be involved with the AMA. The MOU signing results in AMA being in a transition from the state of being concerned, to a point where we will be on the offense. He hopes the MOU will result in AMA seeing a growth in membership and revenue. The federal government is saying the Academy is the ‘good guy’ and Rose’s job in Washington will be to help people/policy makers move people toward the AMA. We will have a significant role to play in trying to defend the achievements that we have made, trying to educate people. The message we have to send is that we are responsible modelers. We are not going to Washington asking for anything anymore, we are going to Washington saying we are here to help; we are the line of defense that can do the best we can do. What we see as new technology bringing in new members and expanding horizons, many people in Congress see as a threat. That is our challenge.

AMA is moving toward the PR aspect; HQ is encouraged to convey AMA’s privacy policy to people and incorporate that policy into everything we do. Rose noted it is very good PR in Washington if AMA inculcates that policy in whatever we do. AMA must continue to build up the education level and good will in Washington.

AMA/EAA Partnership: AMA has had a longtime partnership with the EAA. J. Nance traveled to Oshkosh in October to do some planning on how to move the relationship forward. Nance introduced Rick Larsen (EAA VP Marketing) and Shawn Elliot (EAA VP of Advocacy and Safety). Both are modelers and long time AMA members. They reported on where they see the opportunities and areas to focus on. What binds EAA and AMA is the core passion in the magic of flight. EAA’s mission is to grow participation in aviation, and modeling is considered one form of participation. The potential EAA sees in collaborating is the opportunity to work together to grow engagement and participation. They will continue to work with AMA on the government relations side. R. Hanson has been very proactive with EAA and they will do the same with AMA; particularly being well aligned and coordinated with regard to the NPRM. AMA can expect to see more integration of modeling into AirVenture. Larsen reported they will integrate some model demonstrations into the daily air shows. They expect to expand the Eagle Flights/Young Eagles/Chapters tent to be a discover aviation center and they invited AMA to be a part of that area. There is expected to be more opportunity for demo flying. They will put more focus on the youth side and make it more effective and engaging. They will work together with AMA on ad swaps to expose their membership to model aviation. The demographics of EAA and AMA are quite similar. Larsen, Elliot and J. Skiles wanted Council to know they are committed to working in the most mutually beneficial way they can.


Gaffney reported they had a good 2013. This year there is high concern as sequestration affected a lot of companies that support NAA; they have frozen salaries, cut expenses and will have a very careful business year. They are in the process of approving an individual dues increase which might have a small impact on AMA members. (Gaffney will discuss with D. Mathewson later.)  Gaffney applauded AMA on the MOU signing; the progress we have made in this process is due to AMA’s history and credibility.

8. Committee Reports

Marketing/Membership – Appendix V
Nance shared some membership updates and the status of the Google ad sense campaign. HQ started the campaign three months ago and it has generated 333 new members (Open/Sr. Citizen). The cost to obtain each of those new members was $8.20. In the last month a new landing page was launched that focuses on sUAS; this will channel a second Google ad sense campaign directed at the sUAS market.

B. Elk was charged with gaining a better understanding of the wants and needs of the recreational and light personal commercial use of sUAS operators in an effort to guide member product development for enhanced, expanded or alternative memberships. An on-line survey was launched to known users and during the Expo a small focus group discussion was held. The survey remains open through the end of January; about 3400 responses have been received so far. Elk reviewed the sources that participated in the survey. Open-ended comments revealed that particularly with the non-member audience, they were happy to see the Academy reaching out to the community, asking questions and doing a survey. This is a great reach forward in connecting with that community. The goal is to find out what benefits AMA might want to offer, determine if there is enough of a market to go to, and, at what cost.  We are at the point where we can look at the data and determine what we might want to offer as far as benefits.

Flying Site Assistance Coordinator – Appendix VI
Stillman reported there were over 150 cases that were handled in 2013. Of those, 36 resulted in obtaining/retaining a flying site; 34 were closed due to lack of reporting from club to give current status; 11 either lost a site or were not able to find one; and he’s currently supporting 69 open cases.

He is trying to get two flying site assistance volunteers in each state; they are tasked with assisting clubs in finding flying sites. Contacts were made in CA, OR, TX, NC and IN with groups or individuals willing to work with clubs in getting a flying site. A pin map located on the AMA web site shows where those contacts have been made and members are encouraged to contact T. Stillman for more information.

Past attendance at the National Park and Recreation Convention has provided many good contacts, including the Moral, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) department of the military. He has budgeted to attend two state-wide conventions or the national convention in Charlotte, NC this year.

With input from the D. Mathewson, J. Nance and the Education Department, Stillman developed a Site Acquisition Three Point Program. This program works with the corporate world, the military and at the park/recreation level. This program also has the potential to bring in new members. He has talked with J. Nance about creating a web page for each of the three areas.

1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

 As a result of Executive Session the following motion was made:
It was moved, seconded and approved by acclamation to put into effect the Executive Council Travel and Entertainment (T & E) Policy as submitted by CFO Keith Sessions; effective immediately.

Bylaws Status – Appendix VIII

Article III – At the October 2013 EC meeting the EC agreed to the Bylaw Committee’s proposed amendment of Article III Membership to delete all the membership classes and replace them with three membership categories “Adult Members”, “Youth Members”, and “Special Members” with new or amended definitions as recommended by the committee. However, discussion after that meeting revealed the committee was not in total agreement on the listing for the main categories.  Council was presented four options based on recent committee input. (This also included the sub-category Classifications and Definitions as recommended by the Bylaw Committee.) The chairman briefly reviewed the options and comments relating to the recommendations. The document outlining the options will be placed in BaseCamp and the chairman asked Council members to review it and provide feedback. He would like to be able to present a final proposal re Article III to Council at the April meeting.

There was concern with identifying all the references to Open Membership in all of the documents and changing them to Adult Membership. This would affect documents on the club level as well as safety documents and the PDF document listing. It was determined this would not be a problem.

Article IX Nominations and Elections – At the October EC meeting Council agreed to the total rewrite.

Article X Officers – Section 2, item 1 was referred back to the committee during the October EC meeting – The chairman reported that he had received input and the recommendation can be found on BaseCamp.

Article XI – the changes agreed upon during the October EC meeting were incorporated into the article.

Between now and April the committee in consult with legal counsel will create a section to be included in the Bylaws that more closely defines the duties and responsibilities of the Executive Council as a whole. They will also create a “Special Counsel” category to be included in the Bylaws that would empower an individual with special status approved by the EC to participate in EC closed session meetings. 

Flying Site Grants
M. Mosbrooker reported he had talked with the chairman (R. Rachau) and E. Dobbs to see how many requests had been received at HQ; as of this date no requests have been received. Polling Council during the meeting revealed that VP’s had only received 3 requests. Mosbrooker is of the opinion that either clubs have lost interest in the program or they are waiting until the last minute.

Advanced Flight Systems – Appendix IX, Appendix X

The chairman recommended revisions to AMA Document #550 as a result of input from the community.

Section 3 a – When this decision was made it was felt that the buddy box system was an essential item. Later it was discovered that not all manufacturers’ transmitters are buddy-box capable and there was no way to comply with this item. Concern was expressed relative to creating a rule based on equipment and not the qualifications of the pilot. Following discussion Council agreed to revise it to “FPV novice pilots undergoing training at low altitude must use a buddy box system with an FPV spotter, or must go to a safer altitude if no buddy box system is used”.

Section 5 c – The chairman indicated that the committee is in agreement that this particular device does not help when used as a tool to enhance safety; therefore it should be deleted. Council had no objection.

Section 3 f – The chairman noted that people were interpreting the original item to mean that every time they experienced a slight loss of signal they were required to abandon FPV mode and fly VLOS or pass the transmitter to the FPV spotter who would assume VLOS control of the aircraft. To provide clarity the following was proposed: “If the FPV pilot experiences a problem such as loss of video link, orientation, or any other safety issue that does not appear to be a brief glitch, he/she must abandon FPV mode and fly VLOS or pass the RC transmitter to the FPV spotter to assume VLOS control of the model aircraft when transfer to VLOS is more likely to facilitate a resolution of the problem.” Another recommendation was to include a statement that if safe conclusion of flight is in doubt, the pilot must return to VLOS. Following discussion Council agreed the revision will read “If an FPV pilot experiences a safety issue that does not appear to be a brief glitch, they must abandon FPV mode and fly VLOS.”

Section 3 – The chairman recommended adding item i) which would read “AMA FPV pilots must first be capable of flying their FPV model aircraft manually before utilizing FPV flight.”  This seems obvious but should be included; Council agreed.

It was moved, seconded and approved by acclamation to approve the changes to Document 550. Changes:

Section 3 item a) now reads: FPV novice pilots undergoing training at low altitude must use a buddy box system with an FPV spotter, or must go to a safer altitude if no buddy box system is used.

Section 3 item f) now reads: If an FPV pilot experiences a safety issue that does not appear to be a brief glitch, they must abandon FPV mode and fly VLOS.

Section 3 add item i): AMA FPV pilots must first be capable of flying their FPV model aircraft manually before utilizing FPV flight.

Section 5 c) Deleted

Argenio presented a draft document pertaining to using FPV systems for indoor flying of ultra-micro and micro aircraft. This item should be posted in Dropbox or BaseCamp for Council to review.

9. Old Business

FAA/Government RelationsHanson began by reporting that the signing of the MOU with the FAA was a milestone event for the Academy and was a giant step forward in the process of enacting the public law. He noted another pivotal event that J. Williams mentioned in the panel discussion is the establishment and recognition of AMA as a community based organization (CBO). There will be an agency order which establishes the criteria for CBOs and the process by which the agency will evaluate, assess and recognize organizations as such. Hanson feels AMA is just weeks away from having the pivotal document in hand which recognizes AMA as a CBO; that document will be acknowledgement of AMA’s safety program as the guidelines for participants of the program.

We are moving into the legislation season (January-June) and we will be challenged by renewed or new legislation directed at privacy issues. District VP’s that had states that were discussing privacy legislation in 2013 should anticipate it will continue in 2014 and energize local modelers to keep watch over legislation in their areas. Hanson reported they will be tracking this at the national level and will update as things happen in 2014. Local people that have constituency leverage with their legislatures should start talking with them to express their concerns.

J. Rice stated that AC 91-57 established a three mile distance and 112-95 established a five mile distance for clubs to operate from an active airport. Hanson reported that for now all clubs should abide by the AMA safety code as it exists today. Once the CBO recognition is in place AMA will need to amend the safety code to reconcile the difference between the 3-miles and 5-miles and educate the clubs on how they are going to contact those airports and fulfill the requirements of 112-95. It will also be important that the airport field personnel know how to respond to clubs; Hanson was told that the air traffic controllers’ procedural guide will be updated to include this information.

M. Mikulski updated Council on the Foundation web site; the address is amafoundation.modelaircraft.org. The site offers incentives, programs, information on matching gifts, endowments, estate planning and provides the opportunity for pledges. A texting donation campaign ran during the Expo; this feature will continue for one year. (After the Expo the texting campaign will be named Foundation.)

Council was informed that a donation of $5,000.00 was received from Basil Cooper.

National Model Aviation Day (NMAD) will be held August 16, 2014; “Save the Date” notices will be sent to all clubs that participated last year. Mikulski noted there will be a web site dedicated to NMAD that will share stories and pictures from last year, and allow for on-line registration for NMAD. Registrations will start being accepted February 1, 2014.

HQ has a list of potential Foundation board members; the next step is to organize the board so fundraising can begin. We need a board that not only has name-recognition/celebrity but is willing to fundraise. The board will consist of at least five individuals. The ED reviewed the names on the list of potential members.

It was moved, seconded and approved by acclamation to give the AMA President the authority to select the initial Board of Directors of the AMA Foundation.

Personal Use/Light Commercial sUAS Program
Hanson noted that within the FAA there are varying viewpoints on what constitutes commercial use and what constitutes personal use. Hanson is of the opinion that the FAA is leaving the door open for the industry to drive the issue. If AMA moves forward and establishes a viable program that encompasses this community and draws people’s interest in it, he feels the FAA will not push back. If we do not establish a program, the issue will languish and be unresolved until the FAA comes up with the rule. Hanson feels that if the rule already contained a definition of commercial UAS operation they would be talking more specifics as to what they view to be commercial.

The Executive Director reported HQ is moving forward with developing the program. There are already companies out there selling insurance to the light commercial community; AMA’s intent is to put together a package that is more attractive to that community from a cost perspective. The ED hopes to have more to report at the next meeting.

Something for Council to keep in mind is that there will be some cost involved in moving forward with this. It will take staff time, time and travel, getting the word out in print and media, as well as attending conferences and talking with people.  We need to let people know that AMA is providing this support.

 10. New Business

Canadians Citizens as AMA MembersMosbrooker reported that a Canadian citizen discovered he could not be an AMA club officer because he was not an Open AMA member. (AMA members must have a U.S. address.) Mosbrooker is of the opinion that AMA could offer membership to anyone who wants to be a member, no matter where they live. They could be offered the digital magazine along with membership at the normal going rate (whatever it was at the time of joining) and their insurance would only be valid when flying in the United States. If they wanted a print copy of the magazine, they would be charged according to the shipping costs. There are insurance implications to be considered; F. Gora noted that when AMA’s insurance is purchased, the rates are dependent on who are the members, how many there are, and where they are from.   There was a brief discussion on allowing non-US residents to be “Open” AMA members; concerns that were brought up included by the very definition of Open, they would be allowed to compete in world competitions and vote in AMA elections. Council was not sure that is what Mosbrooker intended. Mike Mosbrooker and Eric Williams will investigate this issue further and report at the April 2014 meeting.

EC Meeting during the ExpoIt was recommended that Council give serious consideration to moving the EC meeting to another time during the Expo; possibly Thursday night/Friday morning.

All awards were approved by concensus.

Next meeting: Sunday April 6, 2014 (Sunday during the Toledo Show)

The meeting adjourned at 4:07 p.m.