Safety Issues and Concerns
AMA’s National Safety Code
What’s New for 2014?
Bill Duncan, Macon Aero Modelers
In most areas of the country we are experiencing winter. Many of you are renewing your membership with AMA and have received your new membership card. You may have noticed that AMA has a new Aircraft Safety Code, effective January 1st, 2014. So what’s changed? Shall I read the new code and compare it line by line to see if the new rules will impact me? I always encourage members to go through the Safety Code as a refresher before you start to fly in the Spring. !
I’ve got the short answer for you in this article. First, item B7, has changed. This section prohibits a pilot or other person from touching an outdoor model aircraft while in flight and under power, except to divert it from striking an individual. The previous 2011 code stated: “This does not apply to model aircraft flown indoors.” Under the 2014 code, this sentenced was removed. Apparently, AMA doesn’t think stopping an indoor aircraft with your hand is a good idea. Maybe this is because indoor aircraft are getting bigger and more powerful than the first models we used to fly.
Probably the biggest change is item B9(c) which states: “Fly using the assistance of autopilot or stabilization system only in accordance with the procedures outlined in AMA Document #560.” As you’ve noticed, over the past years, in order to keep the Safety Code down to one page, AMA refers us to other documents that cover a subject in more depth. AMA Document #560 covers Radio Controlled Model Aircraft Operation Utilizing Failsafe, Stabilization and Autopilot Systems. So for you members who got quad-copters, hex-copters, and flight stabilization systems for Christmas….this 3-page document is a must read! AMA reinforces the need for pilots to maintain VLOS (visual line of sight) with the aircraft. Pilots must be able to deactivate autopilot systems and resume manual control. It outlines what stabilization and autopilot systems may be used for…and what they can’t be used for. It also includes restrictions on the use or cameras and video surveillance.
So while you’ve got some time, take some time and review the new 2014 Safety Code. Be safe out there and have a good Winter.
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