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Should the AMA "Go Commercial" , or die ?

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View Poll Results: Should the AMA go commercial , or die ?
Go commercial , AMA survival at all costs .
26.09%
Die , once the hobby is gone the AMA should perish with it .
73.91%
Voters: 23. You may not vote on this poll

Should the AMA "Go Commercial" , or die ?

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Old 11-11-2017, 07:49 AM
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init4fun
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Default Should the AMA "Go Commercial" , or die ?

Ok Gents , been a while since we had any kinds of Poll thread , so how bout this ;

It's become plainly obvious that us old farts who like actual models of real airplanes , the ones who built the AMA , are a dying breed . To the youngsters today , by and large , the RC aircraft hobby means multicopters instead of models of actual airplanes and to me that's fine , airplanes captured our youthful imaginations and drones are "It" for the youth of today . I wouldn't ever want to force my version of the hobby onto anyone else just as I wouldn't want to be told what to fly myself , to each their own and if they are having fun and not endangering anyone (following the rules of safe operation) well then God bless them .

BUT !

Now here's the fly in the ointment for the AMA ; It appears many (most ?) of this "new breed" of hobbyist RC flyer has no use for the AMA , despite both efforts to force them to be members (the whole CBO farce championed by none other than our very own AMA) and efforts to entice them to be members . Neither have been successful , obviously , since now the AMA EC's focus appears to be set on becoming a player in the commercial arena of modern and future drone operations . Guys , I honestly believe our "hobbyist" organization HAS it's "days numbered" in it's present incarnation , and so thus begs the question ;

"Should our hobbyist organization go commercial to survive , or be allowed to die as the hobby it was created to cater to no longer can sustain it ?"

Now of course there is no real right or wrong answer here . Some will believe that the AMA should survive at all costs , even if the hobby no longer can support it , and go commercial . Some will believe that if the original intent of the organization is lost then there is no reason for the AMA to continue , and should be disbanded . Donate the contents of the AMA museum to the Smithsonian Air & Space museum perhaps , liquidate the rest (muncie & all) , and reincorporate as an all new commercial company catering to "the drone revolution" perhaps ? Thing is , if the present AMA structure that was built by and for hobbyists goes and becomes something different entirely , a for profit commercial enterprise , there IS gonna be all kinds of legitimate ripped off and taken advantage of feelings among those upon whose backs the hobbyist AMA was built .
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Old 11-12-2017, 02:10 AM
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OR, we could vote out all of the current Executive Council and replace them with people who represent us. There are people on the council who have been there more than 25 years. We don't need a ruling class!
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Old 11-12-2017, 05:03 AM
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LOL

Vote them out? You're kidding right? There's term limits, there's one or two that wouldn't even be able to run IF someone would run against them. Guess what, nobody does. So until you can find these people willing to step up and give it a go, maybe you perhaps? Then what you have is what you get.

That aside, I know most or all of those guys, they ARE modelers. Competitors in scale and aerobatics competition, a couple of jet guys, glider pilots.
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Old 11-12-2017, 06:07 AM
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It's admirable that you support your friends. Cynicism aside, I stand by what I said. They need to be replaced. Me run for the EC? Interesting, but not practical for a number of reasons. Thanks for the compliment!
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Old 11-12-2017, 06:31 AM
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The image of an organization sticking with its traditional focus of "what got it here" is a myth. No organization lasts more than a few years without changing with the times. The AMA started for the sole purpose of organizing competitions for teenage boys and being a source of knowledge about building and aerodynamics. When is the last time any of you heard of a free flight contest where the bulk of competitors were under 20? I never have. In the 70's, the AMA took on an activist role, lobbying for a protected band of AM and then FM radio frequencies. I wasn't around back then, but I'm sure there were some backwards looking people who said, "The AMA is about competition and education, not government. They've lost their focus." But those people would have been wrong, as the 72mhz band made our radios so much more reliable and allowed continued growth of the hobby. A similar conversation happen more recently with drone regulations.
So now the AMA wants to provide commercial insurance for drone pilots. Am I the only one who can see that this makes good sense? The AMA is the only company in the US with specific experience in providing insurance for RC pilots. They are in a position to do it best, estimating risk most accurately and providing coverage at the lowest cost. That will help commercial drone use grow. If the AMA doesn't take this step, another organization will, probably with disappointing results.

To my mind, the AMA getting into commercial insurance coverage is very much like our local hobby shops stocking the RTF toy grade planes and trucks alongside traditional building materials. Sure, the old farts complain about lost shelf space taking away some of their selection, but if those toys are the money makers then you should appreciate them for keeping the shop in business. Commercial drone insurance may very well mean the survival of the AMA, and if it does that also means the survival of flying site assistance, national competitions, and government advocacy for aeromodeling. To refuse to change with the times is to deny the AMA's historic values and to doom the organization to irrelevancy within one generation.
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Old 11-12-2017, 07:24 AM
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I keep hearing "getting into"

They aren't getting into the commercial insurance business any more than they are getting into the rental car business.

They are partnering with someone in that business to offer a discount for our members.
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Old 11-12-2017, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Lifer View Post
It's admirable that you support your friends. Cynicism aside, I stand by what I said. They need to be replaced. Me run for the EC? Interesting, but not practical for a number of reasons. Thanks for the compliment!
Lifer , I do agree 100% that it seems rather odd that the EC "romanced the drone" in the first place since it appears so few who fly them were interested in an AMA membership . Failing that , either wooing them or forcing them to be members , you watch , over the next 5 or 10 years what the AMA becomes , and I DO believe us hobbyists who built it in the first place will be the ones pushed aside by this all new , commercial enterprise ....
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Old 11-12-2017, 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by BarracudaHockey View Post
I keep hearing "getting into"

They aren't getting into the commercial insurance business any more than they are getting into the rental car business.

They are partnering with someone in that business to offer a discount for our members.
It happens in steps . Baby steps at first so as to not rile the general membership . As the years drag on and the membership numbers keep drooping , the baby steps will advance to a jog , and then finally to a full on run . If it's really true that "Millions" of hobbyist drones are being sold every year , and that our membership numbers have not increased by the same exponent , then it's just a sad matter of time till the dwindling (by hobbyist membership participation) numbers can no longer support the AMA in it's present form . At that point , yes I do believe the AMA should disband and if the former members of EC then want to reincorporate as an all new company totally apart from hobbyist operations , at least it won't seem as much like the hobbyist AMA got "hijacked" and turned into something totally different . This isn't a case of "changing with the times" , It's a case of there not being enough of us left to keep the lights on , and yes indeed I AM not happy to think that a hobby like our can't sustain a dedicated organization like the AMA into the future . This is NOT a "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead" gloating of the bleak future I see for the hobbyist AMA , just an educated extrapolation of what the dwindling membership $$$ will bring to our organization in the not terribly distant future .
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Old 11-12-2017, 09:04 AM
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Too bad the SFA was destroyed by the AMA so many years ago. I also believe the AMA's days are numbered, at least in the form it is today. Hopefully, an alternate will arise and offer reasonably priced liability insurance for the average airplane driver. In any event, my Homeowners policy at least has general liability as an alternate.
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Old 11-12-2017, 11:25 AM
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Believe me , I'd like to see the hobbyist AMA last well into the future , and not just for myself or for my style of hobby flying only , but to be an all inclusive organization for all hobby based unmanned aircraft flying . What I don't want to see , and do believe is coming , is an AMA that caters to the commercial side first with us hobbyists becoming an afterthought . I see lifer has an AMA number of 77967 and Andy has 77227 , well couple that with my 80274 and I'd say we got collectively like 200 years of AMA membership right here and I'd like to see many more years (for the youngsters , if they want it) of the AMA advocating for us hobbyists but know the financial reality of a dwindling membership base will ultimately be it's doom (in present form) .

I don't blame the AMA for what appears to be a general lack of public interest in all kinds of clubs . Just for kicks I researched the club for stamp collectors and found that they're hurting members wise compared to years past as well . If the greater majority of the general public really does not want to be involved in such clubs what can the AMA or any other club do to make itself attractive to a disinterested public ? That's why I think it may be best to focus on the hobbyists who DO want to be members , cater to their interests till so few remain as to become impractical to continue , and then take the same place in the hobby's history footnotes that SFA now occupies ...
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Old 11-12-2017, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by init4fun View Post
Now of course there is no real right or wrong answer here . Some will believe that the AMA should survive at all costs , even if the hobby no longer can support it
I think the AMA can survive and be relevant up until there are simply no more "traditional" modelers left for it to support. Of course, as membership declines, so must their budget, staff, facilities. JUST LIKE IN REAL LIFE FOLKS. When a clubs' membership declines, do they go out and try to recruit, say, pottery enthusiasts into their fold for the sake of bolstering membership numbers and revenue?
I do not understand the mentality of some here that a bigger AMA equals a better AMA? BIGGER very rarely equates to BETTER. In this case, a bigger AMA is only better if people are lined up WANTING to join, not being "forced" or "enticed" into joining.
Originally Posted by init4fun
there IS gonna be all kinds of legitimate ripped off and taken advantage of feelings among those upon whose backs the hobbyist AMA was built .
I believe that has already started.....The AMA doesn't seem to care!

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Old 11-12-2017, 04:55 PM
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BTW, I voted, but didn't like the two options!

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Old 11-13-2017, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by astrohog View Post
BTW, I voted, but didn't like the two options!

Astro
I agree my friend , neither option is the "It remains a hobby based org and prospers forever" choice that we'd all like to see , but I'm afraid the existing options most accurately describe the two future paths our AMA is likely to follow .
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Old 11-13-2017, 03:21 PM
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A leading indicator of AMA's future may be in the most recent financial report. I maintain the principal reason for someone to be a member is that it gets them access to clubs. With that in mind, look at 2016 financial report, page 6, "Charter Club Fees" line. Note the change from 2015 to 2016. It's even worse if you adjust for inflation.
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Old 11-18-2017, 04:49 PM
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"Die, once the hobby is gone the AMA should perish with it".
I don`t think the hobby will ever be gone. I will continue to build and fly model aircraft as long as I am able to do so. If the AMA goes away, I think the hobby will survive.
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Old 11-20-2017, 04:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Stickslammer View Post
"Die, once the hobby is gone the AMA should perish with it".
I don`t think the hobby will ever be gone. I will continue to build and fly model aircraft as long as I am able to do so. If the AMA goes away, I think the hobby will survive.
Agreed. I see no reason why it would not. Could die due to lack of interest though.

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Old 11-20-2017, 05:59 AM
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I don't see the problem being lack of interest as much as I do too many excuses as to "why not to" or "why I can't".
Then again, the biggest obstacle for the AMA is the AMA's executive board itself. Some of the things they seem to think are important to get done are the very things that are going to kill the organization. I'm just glad I'm not a member of that board as I wouldn't want to see it go "to hell in a hand basket" and bankrupt on my watch
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Old 11-20-2017, 06:09 AM
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By "lack of interest" I was referring to we who are active in the hobby and are greying out. Just a few short years ago I was one of the kids at the field now I'm one of the "elders" . There's a shortage of youth in the hobby. We ( the AMA ) could take a page out of the National Association of Rocketry playbook another organization I belong too on just how to do that. The President of NAR gave a presentation to the EC a few meetings back on just how NAR does it. Now if the EC implements any of the recommendations is anyone's guess.

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Old 11-21-2017, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by rcmiket View Post
By "lack of interest" I was referring to we who are active in the hobby and are greying out. Just a few short years ago I was one of the kids at the field now I'm one of the "elders" . There's a shortage of youth in the hobby. We ( the AMA ) could take a page out of the National Association of Rocketry playbook another organization I belong too on just how to do that. The President of NAR gave a presentation to the EC a few meetings back on just how NAR does it. Now if the EC implements any of the recommendations is anyone's guess.

Mike
Hi Mike ,

Your statement of "There's a shortage of youth in the hobby" is exactly the same thought that prompted me to run this Poll . As we old folks pass on , there isn't the next generation of aircraft interested youth taking our places , and thus the hobby will slowly perish through attrition . And when enough of us go , the AMA will go with us since the forced membership thing didn't end up happening , and it seems the next generation of RC flyers don't have much use for an AMA membership .
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Old 11-21-2017, 11:26 PM
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There is, of course, another option but I doubt most would take it:
Everyone that doesn't have a lifetime membership SHOULD NOT renew their membership when it expires.
This would tell the board what everyone is really thinking, "I don't have any use for you" and, unless they change their ways of thinking, their income source will be gone along with the membership. I'm sure clubs, if they want to keep going, will drop the requirement of having an AMA membership since the AMA would be a "lame duck" organization anyway

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Old 11-22-2017, 03:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Hydro Junkie View Post
There is, of course, another option but I doubt most would take it:
Everyone that doesn't have a lifetime membership SHOULD NOT renew their membership when it expires.
This would tell the board what everyone is really thinking, "I don't have any use for you" and, unless they change their ways of thinking, their income source will be gone along with the membership. I'm sure clubs, if they want to keep going, will drop the requirement of having an AMA membership since the AMA would be a "lame duck" organization anyway
The most recent financials would provide some incite into that. One area that I noticed that was significantly down was Club Charter Fees from 2015 to 2016. I'm no accountant and maybe someone smarter than me can pull more out of them than I can.
Club charter fees 2016- $234,688 down from $296,838 in 2015

http://www.modelaircraft.org/Members...lstatement.pdf

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Old 11-22-2017, 06:42 AM
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Originally Posted by rcmiket View Post
The most recent financials would provide some incite into that. One area that I noticed that was significantly down was Club Charter Fees from 2015 to 2016. I'm no accountant and maybe someone smarter than me can pull more out of them than I can.
Club charter fees 2016- $234,688 down from $296,838 in 2015

http://www.modelaircraft.org/Members...lstatement.pdf

Mike
And it's even worse if you adjust for inflation. That represents loss of clubs, fewer events, or both.

I can't help but notice that the EC is now interested in trying to fund "Taj-Muncie" w/o using member funds. Could it be they're feeling the heat, namely that they need to spend more money where members actually fly (local clubs) vs. the place where HQ personnel fly.
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Old 11-22-2017, 08:21 PM
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Putting money into Muncie is a very "GI generation" way of thinking.It's nice having a place for NATS and such, but I can't imagine the upkeep on all of it plus the museum.
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Old 11-23-2017, 05:33 AM
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Originally Posted by jester_s1 View Post
Putting money into Muncie is a very "GI generation" way of thinking.It's nice having a place for NATS and such, but I can't imagine the upkeep on all of it plus the museum.
I've always wondered why the NATS did not "on the road" I'm sure there are facilities around the country who would love too and be able to host it. Give modelers around the country a chance to attend without a long road trip.

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Old 11-23-2017, 05:45 AM
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Keep in mind that the "Good Ole Boys" on the EC wanted a permanent flying field, for free, that they could build houses around like a country club. Now they want an indoor facility. The Nats used to travel, but that's when it was our AMA.

When the AMA implodes, for whatever reason, I'll fly Park Flyers and Control-line because these don't present the apparent risk my big warbirds and similar airplanes pose. Low profile, but still flying models as I have done since I was seven (now 62).
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