Executive Council Meeting

July 18, 2015
Muncie IN
Official

Introductions
President's Report

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

NAA Report
Committee Reports
New Business

Old Business

1. Opening Business 

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; 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-Chuck Bower, Langley, WA; Executive Director Dave Mathewson and AMA Legal Counsel Felix Gora, Rendigs Fry Kiely and Dennis.

Others attending: Al Kanser, Dist II AVP; Tom Neff, Dist IX AVP; Bob Reynolds, Brady Ware; Paul Bretson, Harry A. Koch Co; and Ilona Maine, AMA HQ staff.
 
b. Additions to the agenda: Marketing Committee Report.
c. Final Flight recognition (Appendix I): A moment of silence was observed.
 
2. Consent Agenda

It was approved by consensus to approve the Minutes of the May 16, 2015 Executive Council meeting.

The following votes were read into the Minutes:
Mail vote – May 17, 2015 re Park Pilot Increase Passed: Y-8; N-4
Mail vote – June 8, 2015 re Award of Excellence for Richardson (TX) Club Passed: Y-12
Mail vote – June 18, 2015 Hall of Fame recipients Passed: Y-11

3. President’s Report 
 
Council members have a copy of the President’s report; the photo’s that accompany the report are not for publication. He was invited to attend a seminar at Google which had to do with the national air space and working with the FAA. During this past week he was in on a conference call with Amazon. He presented Dub Jett the Hall of Fame award during the NMPRA (National Miniature Pylon Racing Association) 50th Anniversary banquet.

4. Executive Vice President's Report

The EVP had several informational calls with the Executive Director and attended the EC conference calls. He’s worked on several Know Before You Fly (KBYF) supporting members; four more have met the requirements (JR, Castle Creations, Hobby People and Hobby Manufacturers Association). Invitations to join the program were extended to Flite Test and the Toy Association. The total supporting members as of now are Castle Creations, Futaba, HiTec, Hobbico, Horizon Hobbies, Hobby Manufacturers Association, Hobby People, EAA and JR. The EVP attended Warbirds over Delaware with J. Marsh and has had numerous conversations with several VP’s and the Executive Director. This past Thursday spent most of the day with J. Nance, S. Grubbs, T. Stillman, R. Kurek, M. Benson and the ED relative to marketing/membership efforts.

5. Chief Financial Officer's Report 

The CFO had a meeting with the investment people; it has not been a good year for the market but it is rebounding. They talked at length about the foreseeable future; Sessions is pleased with the work they are providing.

Audit report- Bob Reynolds presented the audit report. He thanked the Executive Director, V. Barkdull and the rest of the staff for their efforts during the audit process. In 2012/2013 there were some problems with preparedness but Reynolds noted things had improved tremendously since V. Barkdull returned to AMA and the process went well. This year it is a Consolidated Financial Statement Presentation. With the creation of the AMA Foundation, since AMA, as one non-profit organization, has both a financial interest as well as an element of organizational control, the accounting standards say even though they are independent organizations you are required to put them together. This is a reporting technicality. Highlights included: the change in assets from 2013 to 2014 is a direct result of taking cash to retire the bonds; income vs. loss–2014 was a break-even year; while the number of members may be increasing, the member revenue is flat (a result of discounts, etc.); there was a decrease in investment return; an increase in operating expenses; and an increase in the insurance that is applicable to AMA as a corporation. Reynolds believes that with the dues increase, HQ will realize more of an impact in the fall of 2016 and 2017. During a conversation with the ED, Reynolds brought up the possibility of a collaborative effort between the AMA and the US Air Trade Show.

2016 EC meeting discussion- Sessions noted as we head into budget season Council needs to be aware of the differences in cost when holding an Executive Council meeting someplace other than Muncie. (Muncie-approx. 12k-15k; Ontario-approx. 26k; SC during Joe Nall-more than 26k and that will increase in 2016 as hotel rates are increasing.) Another option would be to hold three EC meetings (Jan/May/Oct) instead of four. He pointed out that Council meetings and district budgets come from the same funding source. If we don’t hold Council meetings elsewhere, there could be additional funds available for district budgets. Council members who feel they need additional monies in their budget should discuss this with K. Sessions prior to the budget being set.

Comments: During the Joe Nall is when the General Membership Meeting (required by the Bylaws) is typically held and EC attendance at this meeting should not come from district budgets; is the 11k difference (between cost of meeting in Muncie vs. other place) worth what AMA receives in marketing exposure; AMA members want/need to see us at these other events; by having the four Council meetings in Muncie, the additional funds allotted to district budgets would allow VPs to attend various events at their district expense; the CFO will review the district budgets and the formula used to disperse the funds, and determine if the formula needs to be changed; district monies should be spent to support members of the respective district; rotate the required General Membership Meeting on a yearly basis; the entire Council needs to be in front of the membership at the General Membership meeting and report as a single body; when attending events like the Nall or Expo, Council members need to be ambassadors for the hobby and meet with the members; when there is an EC meeting scheduled during an event, Council members seem to spend quite a bit of time talking amongst themselves discussing Council/committee issues; meetings held during other events don’t seem to be as productive as those held in Muncie; and it was questioned whether there are guidelines for using district budgets (there are and they are very broad in nature). The general consensus is to keep the number of EC meetings at four, possibly with two away from Muncie.

K. Sessions stated there will not be an across-the-board district budget increase of $2k; they are reviewing the formula, reviewing how money is spent, and where the needs are.

Sessions will determine the full amount budgeted for the line items relating to district budgets and Executive Council meeting; a conference call will be scheduled for late August/early September.

6. Executive Director’s Report

The ED reinforced the auditors’ comments regarding V. Barkdull; she has done a tremendous job since returning to AMA.

While the membership numbers were up in 2014, membership revenue was flat. The ED explained there was a significant amount of deferred membership revenue, which this year is up $215k.

The ED thanked the entire senior staff. They took a budget this year that had a significant amount of unbudgeted approved expenses added to it, and only came up 12k short. (131k in Foundation expenses was rolled back into the AMA operating budget again this year, expenses for B. Shulman, Tactic and CLS, which equated to about 435k.) This speaks to the job the staff is doing in managing their department budgets.

Our attorney (B. Shulman) who has been working through our petition for review with the FAA has left Kramer Levin and is working for DJI. This may work out well for us as he has reached out to us on a number of occasions. He is very supportive of the AMA and wants to continue working with us (not in a legal capacity) and provide guidance and resources, when and where he can. HQ is reviewing options for a replacement.

J. Williams retired from the FAA Integration office last month and has gone to work for our Washington consulting firm. AMA is looking forward to discussions with him in the future and may try to engage him in our regulatory effort.

Referencing the discussion earlier about Councils presence at events like the Expo and Joe Nall, the ED stated we need a much more visible presence at these, and any of the shows we attend. The ED shared some of the ideas he is considering and will discuss it further with the CFO.

Jamie Corn has resigned from AMA; C. Pierce is processing the sanctions and everything is up to date.

The ED hopes to have something to present at the October EC meeting relative to electronic balloting.

An email was sent to each Council member informing them that a Basecamp was created on the SLRP. For those that are not familiar with Basecamp, they just need to accept the email invitation; it is a collaborative tool to discuss issues back and forth among themselves.

The thumb drives accompanying each VP folder contains a file called Look; this is the membership file that used to be given on a disk.

R. Hanson is in CA at the Drone Nationals. Mathewson noted the revision to 336 and the new Reauthorization Act has been delayed to late August or September before it will make it to the floor. AMA has submitted revisions through our lobbyist. Hanson was on a conference call yesterday with Illinois Congressman Davis, Hobbico, Horizon and University of IL. It looks promising that their congressman in the Champaign IL area will be supportive of AMA and may sponsor revisions to 336 in the House. The ED sent emails to 4 or 5 VP’s about a letter writing initiative for club presidents, focusing on specific senators that are on key committees. HQ merged all the variable information needed on the letters (Senators name, club name, the location of the club, the number of members in the club, etc.), and all that needed to be done was for the club president to sign it. HQ sent out 226 letters and only 7 were returned. HQ sent out a follow up to those clubs; the ED stated the lack of participation by our clubs is disappointing considering this is such an important matter.

R. Hanson was awarded the FAI Paul Tissandier Diploma for his service to the cause of aviation; he was nominated by the NAA and selected by a committee of FAI representatives.

7. NAA REPORT
  No report; NAA President not in attendence.

8. Committee Reports

a. Nominations
The Nomination Committee met this morning; committee consisted of all VP’s in attendance. All candidates submitted the required documents in a timely manner and the committee approved the slate of candidates.

MOTION I: Moved by M. Radcliff (III) and seconded by L. Tougas (X) to accept the report of the 2015 Nomination Committee. Names on the ballot:

District I – Eric Williams
District IV – Jay Marsh
District VI – Randy Cameron
District VIII – Lawrence Harville, Mark Johnston
District X – Jerry Neuberger, Lawrence Tougas

MOTION passed unanimously.

b. Museum (Appendix V)

The Villard Trophy (oldest known first trophy for model aviation) is on loan from the San Diego Air and Space Museum. The museum is working on collecting other artifacts, including a rubber-powered quad copter from a 1931 Model Airplane News. The Bing Autoplan aircraft has been completely restored; Gary Rice is working to create a set of plans for it.

The museum provided three tours; provided one outreach program at Maring-Hunt public library and continues discussion with the Boy Scouts on ways to promote museum programming for the scouts and plan a joint event for new scouts in the fall. Three biography research files and two club research files have been added to the history project. Vice Presidents should encourage their clubs and members to submit their histories and profiles for this. The library continues to add to its’ magazine count and Nats films continue to be digitized.

Volunteers have completed the installation of LED lights; seven events have been hosted in the McCullough room; and the roof repair has been completed and is holding up well. The museum building was constructed in 1993 and there are some issues with exterior panels (lower portions have failed and rusted); Williams has spoken with the ED and the PADCOM chairman and they are obtaining estimates for repair.

The committee has been working to bring the museum to the world and our members through web site upgrades and they would like to purchase a 360 camera for interactive views; these items are on hold for the time being.

The committee has taken over the acquisition process from the Acquisition Subcommittee; they will make a decision on numerous acquisitions this week.

It was asked whether biographies could be placed in the magazine from time to time, showcasing individuals and their stories; Williams reported they are placed in the Museum blog. On occasion things are placed in the magazine when space is available. Williams is of the opinion that the museum, the publications department and marketing could work together to bring these stories to the public. It was suggested that a link be housed in the digital version of the magazine that connects people to these biographies, archives, and Executive Council members; these items could be rotated from time to time. One of the biggest challenges for the museum is how to make it relevant, exciting and inviting.

c. Safety (Appendix VI)
The Safety Committee reviewed changes recommended by JPO (Jet Pilots Organization) to the documents SAFETY REGULATIONS FOR MODEL AIRCRAFT POWERED BY GAS TURBINES (an increase in single engine thrust from 45 to 50 pounds, for turbines with a maximum take-off weight of 55 pounds); and AMA RADIO CONTROL LARGE MODEL AIRPLANE PROGRAM (the maximum installed static thrust for the LTMA-1 class is limited to the aircraft’s weight, ready-to-fly with fuel, plus 5 lbs., or 75 lbs., whichever is less; the maximum installed static thrust for the LTMA-2 class is limited to the aircraft’s weight, ready-to-fly with fuel, plus 5 lbs., or 90 lbs., whichever is less; and the engine(s) thrust shall be verified by either the manufacturer’s published thrust-to-RPM numbers or by actual measurement).

MOTION II:
Moved by R. Cameron (VI) and seconded by M. Johnston (VIII) to accept the changes to the documents AMA RADIO CONTROL LARGE MODEL AIRPLANE PROGRAM and SAFETY REGULATIONS FOR MODEL AIRCRAFT POWERED BY GAS TURBINES as recommended by the Safety Committee July 18, 2015.
MOTION passed unanimously.

It was asked whether there has been any discussion with JPO about enforcing the 200 mph speed limit; it was reported that presently, there has been no discussion.

At this time the President presented the following awards:
Award of Appreciation – to Paul Bretson on his 10th anniversary of providing risk management counsel to the AMA
Distinguished Service – to Lawrence Tougas for his years of service on the Executive Council
 
d. Marketing/Membership (Appendix VII)

G. Fitch met with J. Nance, S. Grubbs, T. Stillman and R. Kurek on Thursday. One of the topics discussed during the May EC meeting was how to use the Park Pilot program as a means of moving PP members to the Open category. Fitch submitted some ideas to Marketing but they have not been developed yet because they are looking at the program as a whole. In the last year 384 PP members migrated to Open membership; 229 Open members migrated to PP membership.

The ED asked Marketing/Membership to come up with ideas on how to revitalize the Park Pilot program; two options were offered for Council consideration.

Option 1 - Based on the PP program history and the changing and growing market opportunity of drones, the committee recommended: only offer one membership ($75 Open/$65 Senior); end the elements of the PP program (membership program and insurance); relaunch the magazine covering all electrics, sUAS; increase the frequency of the publication to a minimum of 6x/year, possibly more; and offer the NEW magazine to members as an option choice with an open or senior membership.

Option 2 – T. Stillman has received numerous calls from towns and municipalities that have parks/green spaces available. This type of space is perfect for park pilot flying, also as a meet-up space for creating a “drone zone” for quad fliers. Also recommended: have the Education Dept. work with T. Stillman to develop support materials like DVDs to pass out; increase the weight limit in the program to 3 lbs. (AMA already insured for up to 3 lbs.; conduct a survey of PP magazine subscribers to determine if they would support increasing the number of issues to 6; round the PP program dues to $38 (from $38.50); develop competitions for sUAS and possibly park pilot; and promote the subscription of the newly re-launched PP magazine with Open/Senior members.

Discussion: Argenio would like to consider increasing the weight limit to 4.4 lbs. (the international weight for multi rotor/drone group) and incorporate the drone community in the PP magazine. B. Brown noted we would need to assess the risks associated with increasing the weight limit. G. Fitch is of the opinion that quad fliers should be Open members. M. Radcliff reported he is receiving a lot of email from his constituents stating local ordinances are banning drones and he feels partnering with towns to develop these green spaces would be welcomed. P. Bretson noted the policy relating to Park Pilot reads 3 lbs. right now (if the limit goes to 3 lbs. he recommended having Westchester endorse the policy to 3.5 lbs.); may also need to reconsider the insurance limit if adding larger planes to the program. E. Williams stated that the content of the magazine needs to fit the readership.

Hobby shop program – the committee would like to raise the hobby shop reimbursement to $10/Open member and $5/PP member. A new incentive program will be offered (with the same reimbursements) to Tower Hobbies and Horizon Hobbies and any other distributor/retailer that is interested.

We expect to see a decline in membership with the dues increase, but also expect to see a significant portion of the membership take advantage of the dues lock-in program which runs from July 1 – Sept. 14, 2015. Since July 1 AMA has seen nearly nine-times the number of renewals over the same time last year. Overall, membership is up 7.3% from last year; total members are 179,773 (this includes Youth).

Fitch reported AMA will be represented in five different locations at EAA’s AirVenture; this is the first time radio controlled flying will be permitted.

 9. Old Business

a. Revisions to Documents 550/560
 
Council received copy of Documents 550 and 560 which reflected the changes the committee recommended. Argenio reviewed those revisions. During discussion the following amendments were made:

Document 550:
2. b) delete the words “and not for payment or commercial purposes other than receiving compensation for flight demonstrations, flight instruction or competition awards.”
2. h) delete this item.
4. b) Separation – Add a statement “At the current acceptable distances approved by the AMA”. Delete the specific separation distances noted (fixed and rotor/multirotor), and refer them to a document that would cover separation distances.

MOTION III:
Moved by R. Cameron (VI) and seconded by E. Williams (II) to approve AMA Document 550 as amended July 18, 2015.
MOTION passed
unanimously.

EXECUTIVE SESSION
Document 560:
2. b) delete the words: “and not for payment or commercial purposes other than receiving compensation for flight demonstrations, flight instruction or competition awards.”
2. h) delete this item.
5. b) Separation – Add a statement “At the current acceptable distances approved by the AMA.” Delete the specific separation distances noted (fixed and rotor/multirotor), and refer them to a document that would cover separation distances.
8. Automated Flights – add a clause at the end “except for low altitude exemptions of VLOS” (Document 560A).

MOTION IV: Moved by J. Marsh (IV) and seconded by K. Dixon (V) to approve AMA Document 560 as amended July 18, 2015.
MOTION passed unanimously.

b. Flying Site Grant Procedures (Appendix VIII)

R. Cameron reviewed the changes the committee is recommending. Applications must be submitted electronically to the relevant District VP for review. If necessary there may be discussion of the application between the VP and the club president. The VP will review the application(s) and once approved, the VP will forward the application(s) to E. Dobbs at AMA HQ.

The scoring was changed, based on 100 points; four areas, each scored from 0 to 25 for a total of 100. The maximum award was changed to $3,000 (from $4,000); this would allow more clubs to be awarded grants. Applications may be submitted by any club officer. Council recommended the application should include a VP comment section, where extenuating circumstances on not meeting certain aspects of the evaluation form could be expressed.

It was suggested that when the application is submitted to E. Dobbs, an email be sent to all club officers reporting it has been received. (No action taken on this.)

It was approved by consensus to accept the changes to the 2016 Flying Site Development/Improvement Grant application as presented July 18, 2015.

 10. New Business

a. Intro Pilot Program

This item is being presented as a result of discussions J. Marsh had with a D.C. drone user group and the AMA chartered club that was in their area. The user group has 1,000 members and approached the club about using their field.

The proposal being recommended is to modify the existing Intro Pilot Program to allow experienced, non-AMA modelers the opportunity to witness and participate in activities at an AMA chartered club field, with permission of the AMA chartered club, for a one time period of 60 consecutive days with the same AMA liability insurance coverage that other AMA members receive while being closely supervised in their activities by an AMA Intro Pilot Instructor. This would allow those who are not AMA members but who are experienced at piloting their vehicles, the opportunity to experience what it is like to be in an organized, safe environment and see how a club operates. It is hoped that following this, the group would either join the club, or charter their own club.

Marsh noted a key element of this proposal is that when they come to the field, they will be put together with an Intro Pilot Instructor who will advise them of the club related safety rules as well as the AMA Safety Code and related documents pertinent to the type of aircraft to be flown. They will be closely supervised by the Intro Pilot Instructor; all other provisions of the Intro Pilot program will also apply. The club will need to be in agreement with the elements of the program; it will not be forced upon them.

Comments: The difference in programs is that this would allow the instructors to closely supervise a group. (The current program requires one-on-one supervision.) The instructors would be present at all times when they fly. Should we make it the responsibility of the instructor to ensure the non-members sign-off that they understand our safety code and related documents. The group members should have to demonstrate that they know how to fly before being allowed to fly with others. The only time they would be covered by AMA insurance would be when they are at the club field under the supervision of the instructor; the 60 consecutive days would begin the first time they fly at the field. The instructor will have a sign-off sheet (waiver) and collect names, addresses, and email addresses for these individuals so they can be tracked. I. Maine suggested offering them the free three-month trial membership. The reason Marsh didn’t suggest the three-month trial membership for the group, is that he wanted them to be educated on the club and AMA safety rules. The Intro Pilot Program does not specify a particular type of aircraft. Stillman suggested utilizing the three-month trial membership since the individuals must sign-off that they read and understand the safety code; Marsh would still like to require them to be instructed on club rules and any other documents pertaining to what they are flying. Fitch suggested taking a modified version of the Intro Pilot Program and fitting it into what Marsh is trying to accomplish. Radcliff felt the Park Pilot Program would work for these groups.

The President asked J. Marsh to refine the proposal and present it at the October 2015 Council meeting.
 
b. Contest Board Changes (Appendix IX) Stillman reported that Scale has always had one competition regulations section; this past year the Scale Contest Board worked with the CL Scale people to divide it into two sections. There are now CL Scale competition regulations and RC Fixed Wing Scale regulations. To serve on a contest board an individual must be active in the discipline he represents. Stillman has been working with a group representing the board but is requesting the Executive Council officially create a Control Line Scale Contest Board. The VPs will be responsible for assigning a member from within their district to this new board. (Stillman will forward the names of the individuals he has been working with to the respective VPs for their consideration.)

It was approved
by consensus to create a Control Line Scale Contest Board. (VPs to approve representatives of their districts.)

The Electric Contest Board was created when electric was still relatively new. However lately, the electric activity has been absorbed by the general discipline contest boards. Stillman requested that Council delete the Electric Contest Board. He reported that the CB Chairman and members are in favor of this.

It was approved by consensus to delete the Electric Contest Board. (Electric activity has been absorbed into the relative Contest Board.)

c. Revisit of Park Pilot Program Dues

G. Fitch reported that on May 17, 2015, Council voted via mail to increase the cost for Park Pilot membership to $38.50. In his presentation today he showed Marketing is suggesting this be reduced to $38.00.

It was approved by consensus to amend the May 17, 2015 mail vote re Park Pilot increase. Amendment – decrease the dues to $38/year.

11. AWARDS
Fellowship – (name is confidential at this time) – E. Williams (II)
This award was unanimously approved. Williams will forward the individual's name to headquarters.

Distinguished Service – Darrell Watts – T. Jesky (VII)
This award was unanimously approved.

Next Meeting:
October 30-31, 2015 (Friday October 30-SLRP, Saturday October 31 EC meeting)

Meeting adjourned at 2:41 p.m.