Executive Council Meeting

November 12, 2016
Muncie IN

President's Report
Executive Vice President's Report
Chief Financial Officer's Report
Executive Director's Report
Committee Reports
Old Business
New Business

1. Opening Business 

a. Introductions: President Bob Brown, Bradford, PA; Executive Vice President Gary Fitch, Delevan, 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; Interim VP District V-Andy Griffith, Jacksonville, FL; VI-Randy Cameron, Springfield, MO; VII-Tim Jesky, Monroe, MI; AVP District VIII-Tony Breyen, Wichita Falls, TX; AVP District IX-Paul Frankum, Lenexa, KS; X-Lawrence Tougas, Fairfield, CA; XI-Chuck Bower, Langley, WA; Executive Director Dave Mathewson; Legal Counsel Felix Gora, Rendigs Fry Kiely and Dennis; and Paul Bretsen, Harry A. Koch Co.

Others in attendance: FAI President Frits Brink; FAI Secretary General Susanne Schödel; CIAM President Antonis Papadopoulos; President MAAC Rodger Williams; Dr. John Langford, NAR/NAA; AMA Staff: Colleen Pierce, Vicki Barkdull, Michael Smith, Rob Kurek, Ilona Maine, Eric Bachmann; AVP D-II Al Kanser; AVP D-III Randy Adams; AVP D-VI Donald Way; and AVP D-XI Bryan Wood.

b. Additions to the agenda:

New Business - Paul Bretsen presentation.

c. Final Flight recognition:

Additions to the list: William Reynolds (NJ); Bill Shaffmaster (MI); and David Burrow (GA).

2. Consent Agenda

It was moved, seconded, and approved by acclamation to accept the Minutes of the July 16-17, 2016, Executive Council meeting.

The following conference call/mail votes were read into the minutes:

July 18 – Distinguished Service award for Eric Henderson to be presented posthumously (passed unanimously).

July 22 – RC Flight Deck/Event Squid (passed 8-Y; 6-N).

July 27 – Legal Defense for Clubs (passed unanimously).

August 2 – Fall Executive Council meeting date (passed 7-Y).

September 12 – WRAM Show (passed unanimously).

3. President’s Report

• The President thanked the FAI/CIAM representatives and those who attended the FAI meeting on Friday; from the comments he received he felt it was a positive day.

• Travel – Attended EAA AirVenture and worked various AMA booths. He thanked Mark Radcliff for working the evening outdoor flying area and staff for their efforts. Attended IRCHA; MultiGP Nationals in Muncie (thanked Tony Stillman for assisting MultiGP); Rhinebeck, where Eric Williams presented the club the AMA National Aeromodeling Heritage Program Plaque in recognition of it being an historical site; NEAT Fair in Downsville, NY; Red Bull Air Races in Indianapolis, met with FAI Safety Coordinator Ben Ruijs and FAI Flight Surgeon Dr. Thomas Drekonja; and attended the NAA Reception for Jonathan Gaffney in Washington, D.C.

• Participated in Budget Committee conference call.

• Coordinated efforts on FAI meeting held in Muncie November 11; the President thanked all those who were involved.

2017 Executive Council meeting dates

It was moved, seconded, and approved by acclamation to accept the dates for the 2017 Executive Council meetings: January 9, 2017 (Monday) - CA; April 1-2, 2017-Muncie; July 15-16, 2017 - Muncie; October 28-29, 2017 - Muncie.

Dr. John Langford-Foundation (Appendix)

The Foundation is at the intersection of two big trends; the aging aeromodeling population (and the implication of a generational transfer of wealth the Foundation would like to capture and make available to the next generation) and the arrival of drones. There are more drone operators than licensed pilots in the United States. This trend profoundly impacts the FAA, the AMA and the FAI. The Foundation is built around these two trends. The goal is to put the hobby in a good position for the next hundred years. As we look at building the endowment for the Foundation, people don’t just give to good causes, they like to have specific purposes to which they give. An example of what a specific purpose might look like that people have opened their wallets for, is the Team America Rocket Challenge, as the National Association of Rocketry (NAR) has done. He reported this has been the most successful thing they have ever done in terms of outreach to students. It has been a successful combination of subject matter knowledge, the volunteerism of NAR and financial support of companies that make up the Aerospace Industry Association (AIA).

He noted it is great to see people like Chris Thomas of MultiGP taking initiatives to promote the group and activities. Programs like the Sky Robotics program John is involved with (hasn’t launched yet) could be used by the Foundation.

D. Mathewson is of the opinion the Foundation currently lacks and should have a short-term and long-term strategy. The Jesky ad hoc committees’ recommendation regarding an AMA Camp could be the long-term strategy; he felt the AMA’s UAS4STEM program which has been extremely successful is the direction to go in the short term.


FAI President Frits Brink: The FAI is a global air sport organization; it was founded in 1805 by seven individuals, one of which was American. Mr. Brink reported one of his goals is to see more global development outside Europe; to some there is the perception that FAI is too Euro-centric. He explained there are 85 air sport organizations and the National Aeronautic Association is one of them, there are 11 air sport commissions; FAI is the facilitator for all air sports. The World Air Games (WAG) was held in Dubai in 2015; there are currently two bids to host the next WAG, one of which is Albuquerque, NM. In closing he stated we all must find a way to affect youth in the air sports.

FAI Secretary General Susanne Schödel: The FAI is very complex; there are nine staff members at FAI Headquarters that work with the air sport organizations. They handle member services, record activity, manage competitions and promote all sports. Aeromodeling comprises about half of the activity in FAI. The FAI sanctions World and Continental Championships, and recognizes world records. Ms. Schödel reported they will work more to promote air sports and improve communication.

CIAM President Antonis Papadopoulos: He thanked Council for the opportunity for the discussions of Friday, we all have common problems and need to work to common solutions. We must work together and will move forward.

4. Executive Vice President's Report

The EVP attended various flying/non-flying events meeting and talking with members; the FAA was a dominant subject. He participated in the informative calls held by the Executive Director to keep Council up to date. One of the key areas that will be talked about today will be the budget; he spent two phone calls with the Executive Director discussing and getting questions answered. He received a couple of critical emails and phone calls; he found that if one takes the time to personally call and respond to these, the members are very appreciative. He met with Marketing and Membership Directors on Thursday. A membership report was handed out; the EVP felt the report was critical in Council’s thinking strategically. He believes that Council will rally around the newly elected President and he is dedicated to working with Council to accomplish this. A Power Point presentation followed. The EVP requested it not be shared outside of Council now but should be considered for future action.

Council viewed the comparison of paid and youth memberships 2007-2016. In 2007 paid memberships were 138,910; youth were 12,484. In 2011 paid memberships dropped to 128,039, youth memberships had grown to 15,162. The administration changed, I became chair of the Marketing Committee, Jeff brought in Barry Elk from MCA, and through the efforts of staff, we turned around the membership decline and have had five years of growth. Looking at 2016, the paid memberships is back up to 138,224; youth membership is at 56,858; that is a tremendous growth in youth and is in big part due to AMA’s relationship with the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA). Council then reviewed a breakdown of the various categories of membership. In 2015 AMA announced a significant dues increase and AMA was concerned with how it would impact membership. The marketing and membership departments plan assuaged the impact and AMA did not experience a decline in membership (although it was noted they may still see an impact in the next few years but the affect will be much less). Open adult membership renewals are on the decline; must think about how to increase this. There was a decline in the Senior adult membership 2015 to 2016. As the dues went up, the Park Pilot memberships increased almost 33%, 2015 to 2016. The conversion rate on youth members is extremely low. AMA wants to develop more educational programs for the youth but the key is being able to reach out to them; must do through the internet and social media. Ideas include providing youth with a free digital magazine; educational programs working with clubs allowing them to reach out to youth in their area that have joined the AMA.

The growth comes from print and online advertising; Google advertising (best growth investment); retail hobby shop program and partnership programs. Next year will expand to more on-line channels including Facebook and continue with existing programs that are our core membership growth mechanisms.

Fitch asked Council to consider funding several areas for new growth. He believes primary growth in the near future rests within the multi-rotor community and would like Council to consider a new membership category for this demographic. He would also like Council to make an investment in the youth by providing free magazine digital downloads to those youths with an email address; this would allow the development of a database and maintain contact with this demographic. Would also like to establish a new committee (Council members and others) to study the effects of a multirotor membership classification, price points and insurance and to develop recommendations for Council consideration. We need to act swiftly and provide recommendations in a few months and act on these.

The EVP thanked the FAI/CIAM guests and Dr. John Langford.

5. Chief Financial Officer's Report

Operating Budget
The CFO thanked the Executive Director and Controller and all the managers for their work on developing the budget; for several years now it has been not only a balanced budget, but a budget surplus. Everyone received the budget three weeks ago, a request went out for questions. Sessions noted line item 7240-000 (bank charges/fees) was cut in half. This is the result of a tremendous amount of work done by AMA’s Controller V. Barkdull, renegotiating contracts with financial providers from investment management, to the bond issue, gaining a line of credit at a very low interest rate and moving the business checking accounts from one bank to another.

Sessions received one question regarding an increase to a district budget. He stated that all the district budgets were adjusted last year; he then went on to explain how the budget for districts was allocated. The district budgets are for the VP and his/her AVPs (at the VP’s discretion) to use to represent the AMA throughout the district.

Discussion included: concern relative to geographical challenges within districts that many VPs face; AMA may want to consider redistricting territory; share AVPs between districts; with regard to the formulary used to determine district budgets, tolls are on the increase and should be taken into consideration; in the short term VPs should leverage their AVPs; the ED noted that last year a line item was added specifically for government advocacy but can be used when a VP is required to attend a legislative or regulatory function outside of the norm; it was also recommended that committee budgets be discussed and reestablished.

The 2017 Budget will be voted on as presented; the Executive Director recommended that if a VP has a specific need relative to his/her budget, they should present it to the Finance Committee for consideration. Concerns will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.

The EVP noted that there was no increase to the budgets for club programs (TAG, Flying Site Grants, Disaster Relief, et al). He felt if we do a better job advertising these programs (through leader members and clubs) there would be more applicants.

MOTION I: Moved by R. Cameron (VI) and seconded by M. Radcliff (III) to accept the 2017 Operating Budget.
MOTION passed unanimously.

Capital Budget – There were no questions. Additional full hookups will be added to Site 3; this is a nice improvement for our members.

MOTION II: Moved by M. Radcliff (III) and seconded by G. Fitch (EVP) to accept the 2017 Capital Budget.
MOTION passed unanimously.

6. Executive Director’s Report

The Executive Director thanked senior staff for giving up their holiday to meet with Council and our FAI guests; he also thanked V. Barkdull and the senior staff for the developing the 2017 budget.

On Monday, the ED will upload the staff Program of Work (POW) to Dropbox. This is AMA staff’s operating goals and objectives for the coming year. This is typically built on the organizational SLRP but since we are running behind on that it was built on what headquarters believes are the most important initiatives and challenges that the AMA will face over the next year.

It has been mentioned in the past that we don’t do enough to recognize our volunteers; we need to emulate what EAA does. Each Council member received a bag of Volunteer pins for distribution; let the ED know how they work out, more can be ordered.

Action items from last meeting – An Award of Recognition was created to recognize local members for exemplary service in their area. Two have been given so far and the recipients have been very appreciative. This award is available to any VP and it can be turned around in a couple of days.

Rantoul – at the last meeting we were presented with the concept from the CL/FF community about possibly acquiring an old hangar in Rantoul, IL to be used as an indoor flying site for free flight and possibly RC and CL. The site was looked at by T. Stillman, C. Bower and R. Cameron. The facility would have cost $250,000, but needed around $1 million in renovations. The consensus was it was not the direction we wanted to go. In the event Council is interested in moving forward with an indoor-type project, Stillman was asked to look into the possibility of creating a facility on the Muncie site that would serve that purpose. The ED believes we could probably build a much better, more adequate site here (close to the same price range) that would serve the needs of our membership. An update will be presented in January for Council consideration.

Best Buy Program – The program continues to generate revenue. When we initially conceived the program, it was a bundle package where they would bundle an AMA membership with certain multirotor platforms that would be sold in stores. While the program didn’t work out as we envisioned it, there were also AMA membership gift cards that were placed in kiosks, racks, and near checkout lines and this seems to be where most of our sales are coming from now. The amount of revenue generated per (gift card) membership is just shy of $75. T. Jesky will reach out to Best Buy to determine their level of interest in continuing with the program.

Goldberg Award – This award includes a $200 stipend. If the VP wants to contact the winner, they should FIRST contact the nominator; many times, these awards are meant to be a surprise. E. Dobbs can provide the information needed for contact. AMA awards five each year; this year there were only six applications. We need to promote this program to spark more interest and enthusiasm.

AMS Update – On track with the program. Contracted with a professional to help guide us through the initial stage. While it is taking a while, it is the most important stage in the development of the whole system because this is the foundation of what we will need going forward. We are through the needs analysis, and the features and concepts wanted in the new system. It is an association management system which includes both our internal and external needs through our web site. Next couple of weeks will be working through the RFQ process at which time we’ll review the RFQ. Jay Marsh will be involved in reviewing those; Barry Elk (managing the project) is expected to be at the January EC meeting where Council can make a decision on going forward. Hope to have the RFQ vetted and into Dropbox in time for Council to review prior to the meeting.

Aero News Network – They have been very supportive of AMA in their daily online newscast. They are developing a concept where they will create programs that target specific audiences (model aviation multirotor community, general aviation full-scale community, and the commercial multirotor community). They have invited AMA, AUVSI, and EAA to be part of this program. They will provide weekly newscasts specific to AMA and our technology using input from AMA. Our objective and responsibility is to provide that content to Aero News every week and they will turn that into a program and produce it for us and put it live. This is a huge opportunity to supplement our AMA Air program which is going extremely well. The project will start after the first of the year and there is no cost to the AMA.

Plans Service – In 2015 AMA became the fulfillment center for Model Builder plans and in 2016 for the National Free Flight Society plans. We are now the fulfillment center for Model Airplane News plans. In early November AMA signed an agreement with Ed Sweeny who donated the ownership/copyright to American Modeler magazine from 1966 through 1975 and American Aircraft Modeler. This also comes with the plans they had within their inventory.

AOPA (Airline Owners and Pilots Association) Visit – This visit came about through a discussion B. Brown had with Mark Baker (President AOPA). R. Kurek and some staff went to talk about strategies in the publication area through print magazine and digital opportunities. Takeaways included AOPA has expressed willingness to collaborate and share information with AMA relative to legislative and legal issues. They want to help AMA and spoke highly of our education outreach efforts. We have talked about having a bigger presence in the D.C. area to deal with legislative issues; somewhere in the future if Council is so inclined, Mark Baker has offered AMA office space in their office in D.C.

DAC (Drone Advisory Committee) – D. Mathewson was appointed to the committee a couple months ago; other members include Stanford University, AOPA, ALPA (Air Line Pilots Association), Air Traffic Controllers Association (ATCA), American Airlines, Amazon, Intel, Google, the mayor of San Diego, MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Rockwell Collins, UPS, Helicopter Association International and DJI. The ED pointed out that our community (the recreational community) is represented primarily by DJI and AMA. Depending on the direction the committee goes, it is incumbent on us to make sure they keep in mind recreational model aviation should not be caught up in regulations directed toward commercial operation. Initial priorities were set at the first meeting which included focus on safety, airspace integration, and collision avoidance. Long-term issues include focus on online site operations, the certification process, and autonomous operations BVLOS (beyond visual line of sight), including sense and avoid technology. Next meeting will be in Reno, NV, in January 2017. The DAC set up several subcommittees and AMA was fortunate to have Rich Hanson appointed to one of those subcommittees that will be addressing preemption issues, privacy issues, and access and certification to the airspace.

Relationship and Collaboration with FAA – Through our attorneys in Washington, D.C., we have drafted a letter (not sent yet) that will be sent to the FAA requesting a waiver from the registration process for AMA members. We’ve also asked for a meeting with the FAA; they have agreed to a meeting but no date has been set. We will request that they bring decision-makers to this meeting; this has not been the case in past meetings. Relative to the Interpretive Rule, some issues have been resolved, some have not. AMA’s case was put in abeyance by the courts until the FAA could review the comments they received. We have heard, unconfirmed, that the FAA has completed review of the 33k comments. We are reaching out again through our attorney to get an update on the process. If they have completed this vetting process, that gives us an opportunity, if necessary, to bring the case back to court for consideration. We have asked the FAA to consider granting the waiver to AMA members; AMA members would use their AMA number as an alternative means of compliance with the registration process (under Part 101). As soon as we hear back something substantive from the FAA, Council will be informed of the team from AMA that will travel to D.C. to work through these issues.

CD/Event Manager website – This is completed and beta testing is taking place. The intent is to automate the process; from someone logging in to the system, to taking the test, submitting their endorsement names and then paying the fee. This would automatically make them a CD on the spot. The sticking point is that the current process requires the District VP to approve/disapprove the appointment. If Council is willing to remove that requirement, HQ can completely automate the process. It was asked if a “time-delay” could be built into the system during which time the VP would review and approve/disapprove the application. Following discussion, the consensus was to maintain the ability for the VP to vet the applicant in the system; the VP will have five days to respond. The automated Flying Site Assistance Grant application is complete and in beta testing; R. Cameron and the committee should have it to review next week.

AMA Expo West – If you intend to stay at the Doubletree in Ontario for Expo West you should contact L. Knowlton; if staying at the (former) Ayers Hotel, contact J. Hager.

AMA Expo East – L. Knowlton will be handling hotel arrangements at the Embassy Suites and Hyatt Place; VPs should contact her if they will be attending. Note: the costs incurred by VPs for attendance at this show will come out of their district budget.

The election results should be available by Tuesday; the President will be informed and will notify the nominees. Once this is completed they will be sent to Council and posted online.

7. Committee Reports

M. Radcliff reported that NSRCA, the Pattern Special Interest Group, submitted a request to hold their portion of the AMA Nationals at a site in Blytheville, AR. Included in the reasoning was to generate new interest and more participation; hopefully this will help when they bring the Nats back to Muncie. Right now, it is a one-time deal; they might want to do it again in the future depending on the outcome. AMA will still handle the applications; they will then be sent electronically to NSRCA. The team trials would continue to be held in Muncie. There would be no additional costs to AMA Headquarters and Headquarters would still retain a portion of the registration fee ($45 per registrant). AMA has agreed to hold a time slot for the Pattern Nats in Muncie for 2017 until NSRCA can confirm arrangement for the event to be held in Arkansas. The dates will be the same dates that the Pattern Nats were held in 2016. Chris Thomas/MultiGP has expressed an interest in hosting a very large event onsite and HQ is trying to find a place to put them right now. AMA needs an answer within a month from NSRCA on whether the event will be held in Blytheville, AR.

It was moved, seconded, and approved by acclamation to allow the National Society of Radio Controlled Aerobatics (NSRCA) to hold their 2017 Pattern Nats event in Arkansas.

It was moved, seconded, and approved by acclamation to approve the 2017 AMA Nationals as a 5A event.
Outdoor dates June 23-August 3, 2017 Muncie, IN; Indoor dates/venue TBD.

Hall of Fame
Ad hoc Mark Radcliff asked that his report be deferred until the January 2017 Executive Council meeting.

8. Old Business


9. New Business

Paul Bretsen
Paul reported that 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of Harry A. Koch Company. He noted that it is their clients and customers that make them successful. On behalf of the Harry A. Koch Company he thanked the AMA for being a loyal and long-term customer of the company. A limited-edition vase made by a local artist in Omaha, NE, was presented to the Academy. Congratulations was extended to the Harry A. Koch Co.

Fellowship – To be announced later.

Distinguished Service – Dean Copeland (Tiller) The award was approved by unanimous acclamation.

Executive Session

Following Executive Session, the following motion was made:
MOTION III: Moved by E. Williams (III) and seconded by R. Cameron (VI) that the Executive Director receive the bonus compensation as agreed to by the Executive Council November 12, 2016.
MOTION passed unanimously.

January 9, 2017 Ontario CA
The meeting adjourned at 12:15 p.m.