It is my great pleasure and privilege to endorse Rich Hanson to become the next president of the Academy of Model Aeronautics, and I strongly urge all of the fans and friends of the Roswell Flight Test Crew to give him your support in the election now underway, along with other proponents of safe and responsible drone operations and model aviation enthusiasts everywhere.
After shepherding model aviation through 80 years of safe and responsible flying through myriad innovations: radio-controlled flight, helicopters, turbine-powered models and now FPV flying and drones, it is time for the AMA to return to its roots. The AMA is not just the world's largest model airplane club: it was established to educate the young people coming of age at precisely the moment manned aviation was becoming mainstream.
Now, we face a second great revolution in the air – this one ushered in by Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems.
Once again, we need to inspire a generation of young people to prepare for careers in this new industry, which will create many thousands of new, high-paying jobs and contribute billions of dollars to the economy in the decades ahead. The AMA is uniquely positioned to take up this challenge, and there is simply no one better qualified than Rich Hanson to lead the AMA through this pivotal moment in its history.
As the AMA's Government and Regulatory Affairs Director, Rich as worked hand-in-hand with the FAA and Congress for more than a decade, doing more than anyone else to ensure that model aviation is protected from burdensome regulation by establishing the Special Rule for Model Aircraft.
He has also held numerous other leadership posts within the AMA, and has had a long and successful career in public service outside the organization, giving him the depth and breadth of experience necessary to manage a large organization through a period of challenging changes. In addition, he is a lifelong aviator with more than 7,000 hours in manned fixed-wing and rotorcraft platforms, including flying combat missions in Cobra gunship while deployed in Vietnam.
It has been my privilege to work closely with Rich over the past several years, and I can say beyond any conceivable doubt that he simply “gets it.” He understands that drones have irrevocably altered the trajectory of model aviation and is prepared to guide the organization so that it reflects and supports this new reality. I am genuinely excited to see the innovations that will come from the organization under his leadership.
So, this fall, please join me in voting for Rich Hanson for president of the AMA!