However, as can be imagined, this is NOT license to fly wherever you want, whenever you want, without some common sense and respect for the property, obstructions, people and animals that may be in the general location of your chosen flying area. Let's take a closer look at the types of decisions and safety guidelines that must be met at all times in order to still be protected as an AMA member in the unfortunate incident an accident occurs involving your RC aircraft.
Public Schools - My flying buddy and I have been flying at a local junior high school for years now. There are many reasons we choose to fly there. For one, the school offers a rubber-surfaced track and giant paved parking lot that allows us to fly our EDF jets and small to large RC airplanes with retracts that we might not otherwise be able to on grass. Our local AMA flying field is a shorter, grass field that simply does not work for some of these aircraft.
Most often we choose times when there is no school activities or sports going on such as weekends or week nights when school is out. We almost always fly when there is nobody else around at all but us. However, there are times when it cannot be avoided such as folks who show up once we are already there flying, perhaps to jog around the track or play in the soccer field or other areas. This is where it comes in handy to have a friend with you who can be a lookout, reporting where people are located so you can keep your eyes on your aircraft at all times.
When flying in the vicinity of other people cannot be avoided ALWAYS be sure that your flight path is AWAY FROM PEOPLE. NEVER FLY DIRECTLY NEAR OR OVER PEOPLE. Even a small-midsize foam airplane can inflict great damage to people or property under certain circumstances. We always shift our flight path to steer clear of people at all times. Safety is paramount in this hobby!
In the years we have flown at this school we have always used good safety practices and common sense, respecting the fact that our RC aircraft can be dangerous if mishandled or flown without caution or care. Always remember the school has the right to ask you to leave, especially if they feel you are flying too close to school activities or events. Never fail to use good judgement 100% of the time. Because we have, we have always been welcome to fly at the school due to our respect for school property and school-related activities. If there is a large event going on, we do not fly at all. We can always come back another day. By following common sense guidelines, you will continue to be covered under AMA's insurance as an AMA member in good standing. After all, even under the best of circumstances and intentions, accidents can and do happen.
Public Parks - The same guidelines listed for schools would apply for public parks as well. Some parks can have nice, wide open spaces for smaller RC aircraft commonly referred to as "Park Flyers". These smaller aircraft are meant for wide open places like parks, however the same general rule applies for Park Flyers as with any other RC aircraft. If the park is full of people, it would be best not to fly. However, if there is an open area void of people, it would be acceptable to fly there as long as your flight path is limited to this vacant area of open space.
Undeveloped Public Land - Think of those future retail or home developments that begin with paved roads but construction has yet to begin. This is usually wide open, unobstructed land available for months or even longer. These are IDEAL places to fly for obvious reasons. They are almost always deserted, void of other people or obstructions. In other words, a perfect place to fly!
However, as with everything else, common sense and safety practices always apply. You always want to treat flying your RC aircraft with respect as you never know who or what could enter your flying area at any moment.
By following best safety practices and common sense, not only will you enjoy the thrills and excitement the RC flying hobby can bring, as an AMA member, you can be guaranteed of up to $2,500,000 Comprehensive General Liability Protection in the unlikely event a serious accident occurs.
Here's to safe and happy landings!