Lawrence Tougas for AMA president, just say no

Lawrence Tougas for AMA president, just say no

Lawrence Tougas, that would be a no from sUAS News.

There is another election going in the USA, this one for President of The Academy of Model Aeronautics, the AMA.

The AMA is an excellent organisation, with thousands of dedicated members across the country. They promote safe fun flying.

It is the opinion of sUAS News that if they want to survive for another 80 years  the membership must not elect Lawrence Tougas.

He has perhaps not read enough memos, all model aircraft are now RPA. The manner in which they are flown determines what rules they operate under.

Traditional aeromodellers can easily find themselves outside of model flying rules.

A president that turns his back on the technology and users does so at his own peril. FPV racing leagues in the USA even ask that pilots are AMA members.

Many private RPA operators have joined the AMA as they thought it was fighting their corner.

No doubt discussions need to be had about safety but better to have those folks on the inside rather than out.

My middle son, 12,  adores all things RC, especially now FPV racing. He devours the excellent FliteTest, a YouTube channel and community that seems to be saying all the things the AMA should be saying. To me the AMA must get with it or get out of the way.

They must represent the next generation of model fliers. I guarantee these youngsters will start with a bang and eventually discover free flight, control line, diesel motors and all the other technology of aeromodellings past.

The notion that its a waste of time not engaging multirotor fliers baffles me. After all, by the numbers registered they are a much bigger group than the AMA by many times. The very act of registering proves they care.

Should the question not be, why is this large group of fliers turning their backs on the AMA?

Why does this matter to a commercial drone news website? IMHO young AMA members will be the better pilots for your company to hire.

If you are an AMA member vote wisely.


We must return the AMA’s focus back to traditional modelers.

If you agree with those sentiments please read on to see why I, Lawrence Tougas am the best choice to be the AMA’s next President.

The AMA is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year. We’ve had a wonderful history. A history filled with the safe operation of model aircraft. We’ve done this largely invisible to the general public. We were invisible that is, until recently.

Starting in 2014 a tidal wave of bad news stories crashed down on AMA members. There seemed to be a report daily of some model flying close to a manned aircraft or over a place it shouldn’t have been flying. These stories were in the most prominent news publications and television networks. The common denominators in these events were that the offender was flying a multi-rotor model (MRM) and they were not an AMA member.

MRM’s are not inherently bad. The problem is that they require little skill to fly. Novices with no modeling experience can and do fly them. Since an MRM pilot doesn’t need flight instruction and they can be flown from a small area there is no incentive to join a local club or the AMA. This is reflected in our membership numbers. Less than 10% of our members list MRM or First Person View (FPV) as their interest. Most of the current MRM and FPV pilots that are AMA members are traditional modelers who have expanded into these areas not new recruits to our fold.

So if we are not seeing a large increase in membership in these areas then why is the AMA chasing people who have clearly spoken that the AMA is not for them? Like most important questions it’s a complex issue. The original decision to market to MRM and FPV modelers was made with the best intentions. The thought was the AMA would have a new stream of members to fund all of our membership programs such as flying site assistance grants, education scholarships, political outreach, etc. Now we have a much better understanding of the market and it shows that it is time to reassess our plan.  Elect me and I will conduct a review of our plan and work with the Executive Council to make the needed changes.

Now let me give you some information about my background. I started modeling when I was young. I was introduced to our sport by my father and enjoyed the better part of 50 years flying with him.  I’ve tried a little bit of everything, free flight, control line and radio control. An early introduction to aviation shaped my life. I choose to study Aeronautical Engineering and have a degree from the University of California. I also became a full scale pilot earning my pilot’s license at 18 and going on to have a commercial multi-engine license with instrument privileges. I have worked in the defense and space industry and have spent the last 25 years working in the airline industry.

I have served as the AMA’s District X Vice President for almost 6 years. I have made it a point to travel the district attending events and meetings with as many clubs as possible. I fly competitively. I currently fly Precision Aerobatics in the Advanced class and have attended the last 4 NATS and in 2015 finished second or as I like to call it Vice Champion :-)  In fact, I am the only candidate for President that flies models on a weekly basis. I have spent 25 years working as an Engineer with a major U.S. airline and have dealt with the FAA extensively. I am the only candidate with this much experience with the FAA.  I will fight on your behalf to ensure that our membership is free to pursue modeling without the FAA’s interference.

Please read about my campaign at,

Gary Mortimer

Founder and Editor of sUAS News | Gary Mortimer has been a commercial balloon pilot for 25 years and also flies full-size helicopters. Prior to that, he made tea and coffee in air traffic control towers across the UK as a member of the Royal Air Force.