Executive Council Meeting

January 11, 2016
Ontario CA

President's Report

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

NAA Report
Committee Reports
Old Business

1. Opening Business 

Note: District X VP Lawrence Tougas was not in attendance. District V AVP Andrew Griffith sat in for absent VP Kris Dixon; EVP Gary Fitch and Executive Director Dave Mathewson attended via Skype/conference call.

a. Introductions: President Bob Brown, Bradford, PA; Executive Vice President Gary Fitch, Franklinville, NY; 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; IV-Jay Marsh, High Point, NC; AVP V-Andrew Griffith; VI-Randy Cameron, Springfield, MO; VII-Tim Jesky, Monroe, MI; VIII-Lawrence Harville, Hurst, TX; IX-Jim Tiller, Custer, SD; XI-Chuck Bower, Langley, WA; NAA President Jonathan Gaffney; Executive Director Dave Mathewson, AMA Staff Director Joyce Hager and AMA Legal Counsel Felix Gora, Rendigs Fry Kiely & Dennis.

Others in attendance: Archie Stafford, SUAS Specialist; Mandee Mikulski, AMA HQ staff; Tony Stillman, AMA HQ staff; Rich Hanson, Government Affairs; Chad Budreau, AMA HQ staff; Steve Brehm, AVP Dist. I; Gary Himes, AVP Dist. VI; Paul Frankum, AVP Dist. IX; Brandon Koch, AVP Dist. IX and Yuan Kang Lee, representative for 2018 Indoor F1D World Championship bid.

b. Additions to the agenda:
Education Committee report—STEM Project; Bylaws Committee report—results of Bylaw LM vote; Take-off And Grow program; FF World Championship proposal.

c. Final Flight recognition (Appendix):
A moment of silence was observed.

2. Consent Agenda:

It was moved, seconded, and approved by consensus to approve the Minutes of the October 31, 2015 Executive Council meeting.
The following mail votes had been approved and were read into the Minutes:

Nov. 16, 2015 to accept MultiGP as a Special Interest Group
Dec. 16, 2015 to file petition to remove the FAA abeyance
Dec. 16, 2015 to hold FAA registration until AMA advises
Dec. 29, 2015 re Executive Director Contract

3. President’s Report

• Committees:
The chairman of the 2016 Nominations Committee is Randy Cameron; Jim Tiller was added to the Scholarship Committee (replacing M. Johnston). Each of the VPs received a copy of the Committee List. The President asked that the Committee Chairpersons submit a list of their committee members to himself and Joyce Hager by February 1, 2016. If the list of committee members is not received by that date, he presumes the chairperson no longer wishes to be in that role and another will be appointed.

• VP Replacements:
Each VP is required to name two replacements in the event the VP can no longer serve (until a special election can be held). Listed in priority: I – Steve Brehm, Tom Rocheleau; II – Charles Davis, Reid Condon; III - Randy Adams, Jim Martin; IV - Rusty Kennedy, Nick Burhans; V - Andrew Griffith, Don Wise; VI - Gary Himes, Donald Way; VII - Marc Shelstrom, Randall Gibson; VIII - Tony Breyen, Benny Behrens; IX - Brandon Koch, Paul Frankum; X - Forrest Barton, Jim Mohan; XI - Bryan Wood, Chris Rankin

• President’s travel:
Attended the National Miniature Pylon Racing Association (NMPRA) Championships. This was held in cooperation with NMPRA, the Radio Control Association of Central Florida (RCACF) and the Southeastern Miniature Pylon Racing Association (SMPRA). The pylon racers held a raffle/auction and generated over $11,000 for the Cliff Telford Scholarship Fund. Attended the Orlando Heli Blowout, CDed by Carey Shurley. In conjunction with the Heli Blowout, the National Championships for MultiGP was held. Chris Thomas, along with members of the MultiGP board put on a great first-time effort. Following these events the President met with Tim Nilson of getfpv.com and was able to acquire sponsorship of the flying area during the AMA Expo.

4. Executive Vice President's Report

• Met with entire board of the RC Pulsars RC club and landowner concerning legal action taken against the club; the club is willing to accept some financial responsibility. Negotiations for settlement are ongoing.

• The EVP attended the Horizon Indoor Festival in Columbus, OH; the 40th Anniversary of Walt’s Hobby Shop in Syracuse; had numerous meeting with B. Brown to discuss issues at hand, primarily the FAA and AMA concerns. Worked with A. Argenio and E. Williams to develop a response letter to the hobby manufacturers and responded to KBYF inquiries.

5. Chief Financial Officer's Report 

• The early renewal campaign was successful.

• 2015 was a tough year for the markets and was reflected in the investment account; 2016 is proving to be equally as challenging.

• The IRS audit is going well; Sessions will report back to Council as soon as he gets the report. It is not known what prompted this but the IRS had made it known they were going to look into 501(c)3s.

• Session’s reported there is an issue with the AMA Foundation taking [tax-deductible] donations specifically for government advocacy; further clarification is forthcoming. He reported it may be worthwhile looking into setting up a 501(c)4 for this purpose.

• In 2014 AMA did have to pay taxes; Council was again asked to turn in their asset list to the comptroller for write-offs for 2015. This list should include anything over $500.00, going back three years. Going forward it is important to make sure physical assets are accounted for and get an asset tag.

6. Executive Director’s Report

• AMA ended 2015 with a 3% increase in paid membership; overall membership was up 7%. These are great numbers, we are moving in the right direction.

• Best Buy Program: the program is underperforming, not meeting expectations by a wide margin. Reasons might be that the program was launched late and during the holiday season sales were softer than expected; the ED felt Best Buy did not promote the program and it was not launched in as many stores as it could have been. Mathewson has a call scheduled next week with Luke Thornburg their Product Development Manager to try and get this program back on track. Only 903 cards activated for redemption in Best Buy stores and of those, only 285 have been activated with AMA.

• The AMA museum loaned the 747 and Shuttle Orbiter models to the Space Center in Houston for their exhibit highlighting the period of development of the shuttle program. Michael Smith has been invited to attend the Space Center’s exclusive Premier Party next Friday. Michael and his wife will attend representing AMA, being able to talk about our program, and museum in front of some credible people in the museum world.

• The ED cleared up any confusion on the roles of Chad Budreau and Rich Hanson. Rich is transitioning back into a consulting role with AMA, focusing on advocacy, interacting with Congress, and working with our lobbyist and legal representatives. Funds had been budgeted for an additional position and a half for the government affairs/public relations area. Chad will move into the director’s position and there is the need for an assistant for him to pick up some of the load from interaction with members, the rest of staff (IT and web page and media department), allowing Chad to do more of the work with CLS and outreach.

• Phone calls following the registration announcement – HQ fielded 5,301 phone calls between December 14, 2015 and January 8, 2016. This averages out to about 331 calls/day; peak day was December 15 with 442 calls. Mathewson wanted to recognize the staff for the work they have done; this group comes together in the time of crisis and this was truly evident over the last month.

• The ED wanted to thank Joyce Hager for holding down the fort as she has done so many times in the past.


NAA had a good year. The big thing coming up is the Collier Trophy Selection; B. Brown will sit on the selection committee.

NAA/FAI Relationship -
For about a year now, NAA has experienced growing problems with responsibilities, lines of authority and it is very complicated. It came to a head at the annual board meeting in December where the NAA Board of Directors delegated the authority to Jonathan to rework the relationship, up to and including getting out of the relationship with FAI completely, sometime before the first of April. B. Brown and J. Gaffney have ongoing discussions, as have the other U.S. Air Sport Organizations (ASOs). The relationship between NAA and FAI, will impact the relationship between the ASOs and FAI; there is no preconceived outcome yet but Gaffney will share that when determined. He believes it will be pointed in the right direction in about a month from now.

Back in December
the NAA held their Fall Awards Dinner; this is when they hand out a number of NAA and FAI awards. Rich Hanson was presented the FAI’s Paul Tissandier Diploma. It recognizes individuals who have made a tremendous impact on sporting aviation in the world. Gaffney re-presented the award to Rich in front of the Executive Council.

8. Committee Reports

a. Marketing
Nothing new to report at this time. Waiting on the ED’s follow-up with Best Buys Product Development Manager next week relative to the program shortfalls.

b. Education
Archie Stafford reported: Camp AMA West in December had a small turnout but all had a good time. He and B. Pritchett have been to numerous events talking to groups about safety, the KBYF program, and various other AMA programs.

Council was updated on the UAS4STEM Search and Rescue Challenge. Initially ordered 50 kits and they were gone before the end of 2015; ordered an additional 30 kits. Expect around 75-80 teams for the competition this year. Will start taking entries for the following year, in April 2016. The Civil Air Patrol (CAP) is looking into doing their own similar challenge.

Stafford reported they have created a Middle School UAS4stem option which costs under $500 for the kit. The CAP will have a badge for sUAS; their cadets will be able to go through program and have sUAS background that covers all the ground school information.

Six months ago, Stafford was tasked with building a functional UAS program; the direction of that has changed with the NPRM. It is focused more on the educational side. They created a functioning sUAS site (not live yet). They also created a functional Moodle site; everything is operational. Examples of what this can be used for are Competition Director (non-CD) tests, turbine waivers, etc. They would take the test on the site, it would be scored and the results would be kept in their profiles. It could be used with any type of program, educational, marketing, put up club resources, etc. This Moodle site is free to the AMA and can be modified. He updated Council on his working with Skyward to create an airspace map (depicting known, actual functioning airports).

Stafford will send his Power Point Presentation to all Council members.

D. Mathewson stated that when Council approved the $250k for the program we had a vision on what we wanted in a small UAS program; that changed a bit when the FAA came out with the NPRM. We morphed and rebuilt the program into more of an educational/training STEM type program. The investment so far in the program out of that $250k was the minimal web development that we incurred and A. Stafford’s contract fee. Mathewson is not sure at this point that we need to invest that heavily in marketing. The program has picked up a life of its own; many are interested in it (EAA, CAP, Aurora Flight Sciences/J. Langford and possibly AOPA). We need to continue the program with a staff resource (which was talked about and was originally budgeted for) to manage and continue the program in Muncie. It still has some of the elements we talked about originally but the real focus is training and education, in addition to the UAS4STEM program.

c. Club Legal Defense – Ad hoc (Appendix)
J. Tiller reported on what the committee found on the current club legal defense fund; all of the original material was left in the committee’s update. They tried to make the guidelines more specific and offered additional items to include. These include: make sure the club was engaged in the process (in order to do that, the committee recommends offering matching funds); they can ask for an advance (but it would still be matching funds); the club must be engaged in the community and AMA; and the case must be winnable (don’t want to invest in something that has little chance of success). There must also be accountability; if the funds are awarded they must report back to AMA and the Council.

Areas that were left open for discussion were the make-up of the committee (five members was recommended) and the total amount a club could receive.

Eric Williams stated there is an important piece that differentiates these types of cases that needs to be discussed in Executive Session. The Committee Chairman and Executive Director will see that the HQ representative is removed from the committee.

E. Williams needs to have a discussion with R. Hanson and others; an email will be sent to Council concerning this fund and request a vote.

d. Flying Sites
Stillman will report on the contest side of things today; he would like to get some guidance from Council. There has been some interest in creating a secondary Contest Director (CD) type of position; for the sake of this discussion it will be called Event Director. They would have the same responsibilities as a traditional CD but their licensing application would be different; it would be focused on the knowledge that individual would be required to know to run non-competition events.

Using the Moodle site would simplify the process. Pools of multiple choice questions would be created in various categories. The pools of questions for an Event Director would be different from those applying for CD status. All questions would be randomly generated from different pools. It would provide more functionality in creating the educational process we want to create. Note: A Contest Director would be able to run non-rule book events, however, if an Event Director wanted to run a rule-book event, he/she would be required to pass the Contest Director test.

Stillman would like Council approval to update the Contest Director test and create the new category of Director for non-competition events (whatever that name is determined to be) and related test.

• This has been a long time coming, using this process we are tailoring the education we provide to them.
• It will help create a new step into leadership and involvement of our members.
• Stillman stated he would expect the Event Director to have the same level of responsibility/authority at their sanctioned non-rule book event, as a CD had at their rule-book event.
• Only Contest Directors would be authorized to run Category A and B rule book events, as well as C, C-restricted and D-demonstrations.
• Event Directors will only be authorized to run Category C, C-restricted and D-demonstration events.

Executive Council was in favor of T. Stillman moving in this direction.

Executive Session

Free Flight F1D World Championship Proposal (Appendix)
Mr. Yuan Kang Lee, F1D World Champion, is representing the group that submitted a proposal to the Academy to host an F1D FF World Championship in the United States (West Baden, IN). The FAI Executive Committee has approved the proposal with one caveat. The budget submitted shows a deficit and an individual from the Free Flight community has agreed to place funds in an account that would cover the deficit.

It was moved, seconded and approved by consensus that the United States submit a bid to host the 2018 F1D Indoor World Championships at West Baden, IN. Mr. Lee informed Council that he will keep the AMA up to date.

e. Bylaws (Appendix)
Argenio reported the Bylaw revisions began in 2013. At the end of 2015, we had ratified Articles III (dealing with membership), IX (dealing with nominations/selection committee) and XI (the Executive Council and how they act). He reviewed the results of the vote: 95%-96% of the votes returned were in favor of the changes; total number of ballots sent was 898; the total ballots returned was 582 (65% response rate). Six more Articles need to be revised; the President charged the Bylaw Committee with bringing three of those revised Articles to the April Executive Council meeting for review. Results of the Leader Member voting will be placed in Dropbox.

 9. Old Business

a. Foundation
T. Jesky reported on the highlights of the Foundation Board meeting. Donations for 2015 were $219k; AMA Foundation for the Future garnered approximately $15k. L. Jackson is passionate about establishing an endowed scholarship fund that will generate interest so AMA can help its members with scholarships. J. Langford will look to corporate America to help endow the scholarship. The end-game will be to have the funded endowment that will generate enough interest to perpetuate itself and to fund our scholarship program and many things after that. No target amount was discussed, will not set limit on ourselves. As of December 8, the AMA Foundation had $55k in its endowment, the total liabilities and equities was around $325k. Jesky reported it was his first time sitting down with the Foundation Board and stated they are ready to get things done!

National Model Aviation Day (NMAD) update: $92k was raised; a total of 234 clubs participated in 2015. That is about 35 more clubs than 2014. M. Mikulski has spoken with the Wounded Warrior Alumni team and they indicated they will participate in NMAD in Muncie in 2016.

M. Mikulski reported that at the last meeting D. Bott made a presentation requesting the previously received $300k Bates gift be moved to the Foundation. Planned giving is a huge area that we need to get involved in. The $300k was given to the Academy, unrestricted, the whole point was to build programming with the AMA. The AMA Foundation was put together for this purpose as well; to raise money to move forward. That is why they would like the funds to be moved to the Foundation; so they can build the endowment, and start generating the interest. Mikulski indicated that the dollar amount needed to offset scholarships and grants is about 1.4 million. For all of the benevolent programs, it is about 17 million (this includes education, museum, etc. outside of regular membership activities.); we have a way to go.

The $300k to the Foundation would be money that would come right back to the Academy. The AMA Foundation is a supporting organization of the AMA; which means every penny we raise comes right back to the AMA. The Foundation Board is looking at fundraising only; they will be able to manage investments, will look at if someone wants to donate stock or property they will investigate. They need some direction from Council to tell them what they want to raise money for. The Foundation Board will find out how to raise that money. The $300k will not make the Foundation financially sound where they won’t still require support from the Academy. Mikulski indicated that of the $141k the Academy loaned to the Foundation, $75k was spent on a direct-mailing campaign; there are lots of costs associated with running a business and it will take us a while to have enough money in the Foundation General Fund not to rely on the Academy.

Mikulski would like Council to have faith in the Foundation, move the money over so they can start the endowment. They would also like Council to provide the Foundation Board with some direction, what would you like them to raise money for. Donor need to see the big picture, what they are donating to. In 2016, the Foundation is focusing on the Endowment and Planned Giving. The Foundation is here to do what the Council sees as the future of AMA.

The President created an Ad hoc Committee for providing direction to the Foundation. Tim Jesky was appointed Chairman and he will provide committee members’ names (Executive Council members) to the President by February 1, 2016.

MOTION I: Moved by T. Jesky (VII) and seconded by J. Tiller (IX) to approve the AMA Foundation Board of Directors request to move the $300,000 Bates gift to the AMA Foundation to act as the initial investment to build an endowment. The returns will be used for the AMA Foundation General Fund to assist with operational costs.
MOTION passed: 11-Y, 1-Abstain (EVP)
Take off And Grow Program (TAG)
The Grant Program is $22,000 in total; this is $2,000 for each of the 11 Districts. It came to E. Williams’ attention that in the last cycle there were two districts that had no applicants. The program was developed to encourage our members and clubs to promote modeling as a positive recreational activity to those in their communities; intended to indoctrinate and welcome the general public to our hobby.

Current policy is that if not all districts have applicants, the unspent funds are not dispersed amongst the districts that have applicants.

MOTION II: Moved by E. Williams (II) and seconded by R. Cameron (VI) that during an individual TAG grant year/cycle, any un-awarded TAG Grant Program Funds will be made available for even redistribution among all AMA Districts with unfulfilled but deserving TAG program applications. In no event shall any TAG grant exceed $1,000 per existing TAG limits.
MOTION passed unanimously.

AMA’s Legal Counsel F. Gora gave an update on Commonplace based on court filings.

The ED will submit an update on the computer system to Council by March 1, 2016.

Rich Hanson reported Council members received an email from Todd Bertoson suggesting AMA do a fly-in into DC with as many of the AMA leadership as we can. Would be a two-day trip on the January 26-27; these are key dates because they are expecting the mark-up (first draft) of the Reauthorization Bill to come out on February 10 or 11. Todd would like AMA to get in and talk with key staffers, key members of committees and have our issues known. AMA has submitted their changes to 336 and we need to re-emphasize those.

In a question about whether to tell our members to register with the FAA, Chad Budreau indicated we are close to finalizing where we are at with the FAA, but there are hurdles we will not get through before February 19. Therefore, we are suggesting members take advantage of the free registration. AMA does not believe we will have things finalized by then. Budreau has emailed an FAQ document to Council which they should review. In questions from members about the 400’ limit, Council should refer them to 336. This is the law and they are protected as a community based organization.


Distinguished Service – Mike Gretz (T. Jesky VII)
This award was unanimously approved.

Next meeting: April 16-17, 2016 Muncie IN

Meeting adjourned.