Yes, we have a new AMA Safety Code, but not really. So why the change? If you read through it, you will find the Safety Code still institutes the same safety principles that have kept our hobby safe for decades. However, it is now much shorter and more succinct than the old Safety Code, and it’s accompanied by a Safety Handbook that contains detailed information about the safety guidelines for each specific aeromodeling discipline.
Throughout the years, as technology advanced and the hobby evolved, the old code grew longer and longer as the creativity among our members flourished. Our goal has always been to keep the code small enough to be printed on a single page; however, the font became so small the code became nearly impossible to read.
As we tried to find a way to preserve its message while keeping it user-friendly, we realized that not every element of the code applies to every member. If that’s true why not publish a code with references to a Safety Handbook that contains information about all aspects of modeling, but is organized so a modeler can go to his or her particular area of interest or specialty for the information needed without wading through everything else?
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That was easier to decide than it was to execute! But, the final product, which is effective as of January 1, 2018, has a foreshortened code containing the core safety principles important to all members with references to the Safety Handbook where more detailed information about safety is organized by activity or type of aircraft.
AMA’s safety guidelines are continually reviewed and updated as new technologies emerge and the hobby evolves. In the past, this has created problems in assuring that the latest version of the Safety Code is displayed at flying fields across the country.
With the new structure, the code shouldn’t change as often because the items that tend to change the most are now found in the Safety Handbook, which does not need to be displayed. However, every member should be familiar with the portions of the handbook that pertain to their individual modeling interests, and every club Safety Officer, CD, and EM should be familiar with the contents of that handbook and have it readily available as events are planned and run.
If you find areas that need clarification or update please notify AMA’s Director of Safety and Member Benefits, Ilona Maine, so that she can pass them on to the committee for review and action.