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The Academy of Model Aeronautics, A Gilded Trough of Advocacy?

The AMA has spent a literal boatload of money lobbying on behalf of their membership with relatively little (being charitable) to show for wins.

The particulars on who gets paid what and how the payment funnel works are a little mysterious. As you can see in the graphic, Dave Mathewson was compensated in 2017 by the Academy of Model Aeronautics Inc., EIN # 52-0799408, for $156,164.00 for forty hours a week.

The Academy of Model Aeronautics Foundation Inc., EIN #46-1336590, paid $156,164.00 in compensation for one hour a week, $1626 an hour is not a bad gig if you can get it.

Before anyone starts with the ” why ” pick on someone who is no longer with us stuff, these aren’t my numbers, and I don’t give a rat’s nest what people are getting paid if they are producing results. In the almost 20-years that I’ve been a part of the airspace integration effort, I’ve have seen the AMA lose ground and eventually bungle away the Sec. 336 backroom deal.

The majority of the AMA’s money was supposedly going towards the insurance, but only see a line item to the Harry A. Koch Company for $1,111,761.00.

The lobbying total was $930,682, and the lobbyists came up with a goose egg in many people’s estimation.

Salaries totaled $2,590,898.00 and another $360,884.00 in compensation to current officers, directors, trustees, and key employees.

Then there is another $646,000 plus in other employee benefits and pension plans. Sorry, I do not have a breakdown of who gets compensated for what.

In 2005 when AOPA testified to congress demanding an equivalent level of safety and that the FAA do something about the RC hobby and commercial operations. The AMA leadership said they weren’t interested in dealing with the problem. In 2008, during the sUAS ARC, the FAA’s ATO Ardy Williams came right out and said, “we’re writing the rules for the hobby” and “if you’re not on a hobby field you’re not a hobbyist.” I turned to Rich Hanson and said mobilize the membership today! A week later, Rich told me that they had worked out an agreement with the FAA. I remember saying get it in writing as the FAA cannot be trusted at all.

Anyway, they will say that they mobilized the membership in 2011 and got the Sec. 336 deal. I guess they got sidetracked with the anticipated FAA blessed CBO (Community Based Organization) designation and planning for a million mandated dues-paying members?

We’ve seen what happened to the exemption deal as it all went up in smoke with the last reauthorization. Too much pressure from all of the drone Judas’ RC hobbyists, lobbyists, and advocacy groups jumping on the regulate the hobby bandwagon. The AMA leadership was tipped off well in advance of the ramp-up for the repeal of Sec.336 but assured others and me that they had things under control. The rest friends is history, and an unregulated hobby just a rumor.

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