While model aircraft are an immense amount of fun; too frequently fledgling pilots  soon quit trailing balsa and foam carnage because they attempted to learn to fly without adequate instruction.  When asked why they don't join a club to get assistance, most cite that they have already blown the bank with the purchase of their new toys.  It's true that annual club dues required to fly at most clubs including ours.  The second required membership in the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA).  Annual club dues are required to maintain local facilities. AMA membership is required for liability protection for the pilot, club and property owner.  
We now have a program in place to assist new pilots try out the hobby without having to shell out cash for memberships .. at lease not right away.

The program is called the AMA Introductory Pilot Program, and it applies to all categories of model flying.
A summary of the program is like this.
The trainee registers as such with one of the 

For clarification: This AMA program does not supersede our club bylaws.  Our club bylaws allow a guest to fly at the field 3 times before membership in the club is required.  A beginner pilot in this program would have 3 guest visits to Higgins Field and then is required to join the club to continue receiving their 60 days in the AMA program.  After the 60 days they would then be required to join AMA in order to continue flying at Higgins Field.  

AMA Introductory Pilot Program

(Applies to all categories of model flying — RC, CL, and FF)

 This program is intended to introduce the non-AMA member to aeromodeling while providing liability insurance coverage to the non-AMA member and the chartered club

A non-AMA member may fly at a chartered club site and receive member liability insurance protection as long as he/she is flying under the direct supervision of a club-designated Introductory Pilot Instructor. The Introductory Pilot Instructor must hold a current AMA Open membership with the “Intro Pilot” classification. Supervised instruction must take place at an AMA chartered club’s site, and must be closely supervised. The non-AMA member will have the same liability insurance coverage that other AMA members receive, solely while under the direct, one-on-one supervision of the Intro Pilot Instructor, for a period of 60 consecutive days starting from the first session. No other AMA benefits are provided to the non-AMA member.

Participation in this program is on a one-time basis only. This program covers assisting new modelers through education and training activities only, and does not constitute permission to fly in any organized event of AMA members or clubs, sanctioned or otherwise. No AMA card will be issued to the non-AMA member during the 60 day introduction period.

If the non-AMA member’s model is used, it should be carefully checked and the Intro Pilot Instructor should fly it until familiar with it. High performance aircraft should not be used for training. For radio control clubs, if the non-members radio is “buddy-box” ready, its use is recommended.

All record keeping is the responsibility of the chartered club and its designated Intro Pilot Instructors. Using forms provided by AMA, clubs shall establish and maintain up-to-date records showing date of enrollment and date of termination for each non-AMA member enrolled in the program. Neither the club nor the Intro Pilot Instructor is permitted to charge any training feesThe granting, duration, and revocation of Intro Pilot Instructor status is at the sole discretion of the chartered club.

The Intro Pilot Instructor must instruct the non-AMA member in club-related site safety rules. Each non-AMA member must be given a copy of the AMA National Model Aircraft Safety Code, and a copy of this document. In addition, the non-AMA member should be provided with the “Welcome to Aeromodeling” package, provided to clubs by AMA, along with any other introductory material the club feels is appropriate.

Policy limits for model aircraft are $2,500,000 per occurrence involving bodily injury and/or property damage. This coverage is provided as “excess” to other applicable coverage the non-AMA member, club or Intro Pilot Instructor may have including homeowners insurance. The $250 property damage claim deductible is waived by AMA and is not the responsibility of either the Introductory Pilot Instructor or the non-AMA member student during this training period. No liability protection is provided to the non-AMA member when flying away from the chartered club site, with or without the Intro Pilot Instructor. Neither AMA, the chartered club, nor the Intro Pilot Instructor shall be liable for any damage to a non-AMA member’s aircraft.

A report to AMA HQ of any incident is the responsibility of the Intro Pilot Instructor and the chartered club. A telephone report by the close of business the following business day, followed by a written report, is required.

Clubs are encouraged to develop and implement their own formal training program. Contact AMA for information, suggestions, and samples of programs being used by other clubs.

Summary of Introductory Pilot Program
Instructions for Clubs and Pilots


1. The Intro Pilot Instructor designees must be current full members of AMA and should be experienced instructors.

2. Fill out Form #1, the Intro Pilot Instructor Designation form. It must be signed by a club officer.

3. Submit the form to AMA with the appropriate fees: $5.00 for each Intro Pilot Instructor designated by your club.

4. When the Designation Form is processed, the Intro Pilot Instructor will receive a supply of Student Registration Forms. Xerox copies are acceptable, you can request more copies from AMA HQ, or they are available for download from the AMA Website at www.modelaircraft.org.

5. As your Intro Pilot Instructors sign up students, keep copies of their Student Registration Forms in the club’s files.

6. Official Introductory Pilot Program rules and regulations should be kept on hand by each Club, and every Intro Pilot Instructor should be familiar with the rules.

Intro Pilot Instructors:

1. Once you’ve been designated as one of your club’s Intro Pilot Instructors, you need to have a supply of the Student Pilot Registration Form. You should also have a supply of the “Welcome to Aeromodeling” package provided by AMA. These can be requested from AMA HQ.

2. Have your student fill out the Student Pilot Registration Form #2.

3. Send the Registration Form to AMA HQ. The forms can be mailed, faxed to (765) 741-0057 or submitted online. It’s important for the Student Registration Form to be submitted to AMA HQ within 48 hours of the student’s first flight.

4. Give each student copies of the AMA “Welcome to Aeromodeling” package and official Introductory Pilot Program rules and requirements.

5. Proceed as usual with your program of flight instruction. The student is covered under the AMA’s liability insurance policy, as long as he/she is flying at the club site under your direct, one-on-one supervision, for a period of 60 days from the first session.

6. If there is an incident that may involve a claim on the AMA’s insurance policy, it is the responsibility of the Intro Pilot Instructor and/or club officers to make a telephone report to AMA HQ by the close of business the following business day. A follow up, written report is also required.


Call AMA HQ between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern Standard time, Monday through Friday. Ask for the Club Secretary, (765) 287-1256 ext. 291; Fax (765) 741-0057; E-mail AMA Club Secretaryclubs@modelaircraft.org