Hobby flyers and the AMA (Academy of Model Aeronautics) have been around for decades and have enjoyed immunity from all but the most lenient government regulations. But in recent years, this group of “old school” hobbyists have experienced a big surge in membership with the popularity of ARF (almost ready to fly) aircraft and UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) or drones. This has been a double edged sword for the traditional hobbyists. One one hand, the sport is growing and experiencing some great innovation attracting many new members to the AMA. On the other hand, it has become very easy for anyone to buy a ARF airplane or drone and take to the skies. This means that a skill which took years to master in the past is now available to anyone with a few hundred dollars and many worry that this means people won’t learn or follow safety standards the way that they used to. This is not to say that traditional hobbyists are against the new technology and new members to their fold, far from it. They are simply concerned about the pace of the technology and the time for new members to learn the rules and time for the government to write sensible regulatory legislation.
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