AMA Requests Help to Protect Section 336

The AMA has sent out the following email:

Dear AMA club leaders,

Most of you have probably read our recent letter to AMA members, requesting help to protect the Special Rule for Model Aircraft (Section 336). We are requesting our clubs’ assistance to reach as many model aircraft enthusiasts as possible and amplify our message.

Congress has begun drafting language to address Section 336.  During this process, some are asking for the repeal of Section 336 – which has allowed AMA to manage our members and fly safely and responsibly, as we have for over 80 years. Losing the Special Rule would be an enormous burden for our hobby.

There are currently two paths to fly legally in the U.S. – either under Section 336 or under the FAA’s Small UAS Rule (Part 107).  If Section 336 is repealed, everyone will have to take an in person test, pay for a remote pilot’s certificate, and fly under Part 107 rules.  Under Part 107, an individual must be at least 16 years of age to obtain the remote pilot’s certificate, so this path leaves AMA’s 50,000 youth members unable to fly.

This is a critical moment to let your elected representatives know the importance of Section 336 to education, innovation, and hobbyists. You can help by doing the following:

  1. Share AMA’s Facebook and Twitter posts to contact their legislators.
  2. Forward this email (or the original email request) to your club member list, in case our membership records do not contain a person’s most current email address or as a reminder to those that have not yet contacted their representatives. 
  3. Mention this campaign at the flying site and during your next meeting to your members that may not utilize email or social media.

Please ask everyone to click here to send a letter to your elected representatives in support of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft. In addition to sending a letter, you will also have an opportunity to call your representatives. We encourage everyone to take the time for this as well.

We need your help to demonstrate the value of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft for our community and future generations of hobbyists. We appreciate your assistance in protecting Section 336 and promoting the safe integration of model aircraft into the national airspace system.


AMA Government Affairs

2018 – CU Design-Build-Fly Update

Greetings Members,

I wanted to provide just a brief update about the 2018 project and the going’s on.  First, what is Design-Build Fly (DBF)?  DBF is an annual competition for university students whereby they will design, fabricate, and demonstrate the flight capabilities of an unmanned, electric powered, radio controlled aircraft that can best meet a specified mission profile.  The mission profile changes each year, the goal of which is… “balanced design possessing good demonstrated flight handling qualities and practical and affordable manufacturing requirements while providing a high vehicle performance”.  The competition also requires a detailed proposal (i.e. report) which is a significant part of the competition score.

The competition is put on by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and sponsored by (among others) Textron Aviation, Raytheon Missile Systems, and the AIAA Foundation.  The competition is held, biannually, in Wichita, KS and Tucson, AZ.  This year, as in 2016, we’ll be going to Wichita April 19-22.  Learn more about DBF here:

CU has perennially participated in this event and is both well staffed and funded.  I am told that every student in AES (at CU) will, at some point in their academic career, participate in DBF.  The faculty advisor for CU DBF is Dr. Donna Gerren.  We have assisted other teams in the past from CO School of Mines, North Dakota State University, and Cornell University.  I flew for Cornell in 2016 who finished in 8th place that year.

This year’s CU team has been very exciting and fun to work with.  As usual, these very talented and bright students have many great ideas for their vehicle design and are willing to try anything.  They also show a very significant commitment to this project despite their rather heavy academic work-load.  Dan Underkofler and myself have spent numerous hours going over designs, construction techniques (for models) and flight testing.  This is the first time that we have had 3 prototypes with which to improve the design, construction and flight characteristics of the vehicle.  I’m amazed at how their building skill and proficiency has improved with each new prototype.

They now have prototypes #2 and #3 which have demonstrated flight and could be used in competition.  The latest version #3 was flown last weekend (4/7), with great success, and with multiple power and payload configurations.

I have the pleasure of being the primary, designated pilot as Dan will be unavailable the weekend of the competition.  Thus, we are in the final planning stages.  I will meet the team in Wichita on Friday (4/20) morning for a mandatory pilot’s meeting.  3 missions will be completed Friday through Sunday, with the winner being announced Sunday evening.

Attached are pictures of prototype #3.  This model is only about 24” long with a wing-span about the same dimension.  It is powered by either a 7 or 8 cell Nicad battery.  It is made with numerous composite materials and many parts were fabricated with a 3D-printer.  If you look closely, you will also see “laser-cut” balsa and ply components and the gear is machined aluminum.  These guys have all the toys at their disposal!!!

Speed will be part of the competition, but we have struggled with stability at full throttle.  Nevertheless, it does have a fairly wide flight envelope, will fly very fast, and is manageable to take off and land.  We are able to complete a “lap” which consists of 500’ upwind pass, 1000’ downwind pass including 360 degree circle back at center, then 500’ back upwind in about 30 seconds.  One mission will be to complete as many laps as possible within 10 minutes, with a successful landing.

Wish us luck,

Joe Pirozzoli & Dan Underkofler

Basic Trimming and Plane Setup

During our March General Meeting, Scott Covey gave a presentation on how to setup your plane and trim it for straight and level flight.  These tips are invaluable as the better your aircraft flies, the more fun you can have.  You can view the slides here.

Download (PDF, 2.57MB)

Just Another Day In Paradise

This video was shot by Mark Howard using an FPV Quad on November 20, 2017 showcasing some of our members and facility.  Another beautiful day at the AAM Airpark.

Warbirds Over the Rockies 2017

We hosted yet another great year with Warbirds Over the Rockies. There was a great turnout with some new pilots this year with some special airplanes including a 117-lbs B-17.

Pictures taken by Lee Jay Fingersh can be found here.

FAA Registration Rule Now Void

The Federal Court of Appeals ruled on John A. Taylor’s argument that the FAA Registration Rule violates the FAA Modernization and Reform Act. Section 336(a) and the registration requirement is now void.  It’s a big win for model aviation hobbyists.

Read the official ruling here.

If you would like a refund and your information deleted from the FAA database, you may fill out this form and mail it to the FAA.

AAM Facebook Page

Dear Members,

Great news… AAM now has a Facebook page!  Actually, it’s a Facebook Group.  Thanks to Richard Helmich (AAM member and avid sport flyer/FPV’er), we now have a another place to share info and pictures, blog and exchange information.  The AAM Group is really a forum, and more!  It does not replace our website or any of the features on AAM’s webpage, but it does allow for a more interactive experience.

This is “Closed” group which means that only members of the Group can access it and post.  However, everyone in AAM can join, and you can invite others (from outside the Club) to join as well.  Really, anyone that is genuinely active in RC will be allowed to join and share with our Group.  Eventually, we may completely open this up, but since we’re just getting started, we decided to keep things small for the time being.

You must have a Facebook account to the join the Group and you must request admission from the moderator (Richard).  Here is how you do it:

  1. Create a Facebook account, or if you already have one;
  2. Go to the following link: and request to join the group (by clicking on the “Join Group” button (see below).
  3. The moderator will send you a confirming email which will allow you to become a member of the Group.

That’s it… that’s all there is to it.  We already have a few members in the Group and the posts are rolling in.  Don’t miss out on the fun, (dare I say it) join AAM on Facebook!

Best regards,

Joe Pirozzoli, Director Public Relations

Rudder Clinic

On Tuesday, February 7, 2017, Joe Pirozzoli gave a presentation and clinic on why and how to use the rudder more effectively.  You can find his presentation slides below.


Warbirds Over The Rockies 2016

The Warbirds Over the Rockies 2016 event was superb as always.  We had nice weather and great flying although there were still a few mishaps unfortunately.  Here are some of the highlights including the two 1/4 scale F-104 models that were new this year:

Images by Lee Jay Fingersh.  More images here.

Denver ChannelOne came out for the weekend as well!