National Free Flight Society

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  1. World Cup, FAI ID not FAI License and AMA membership
  2. Lindy’s Letter

World Cup, FAI ID not FAI License and AMA membership
Firstly Ian Kaynes in the latest FFn has a review of the  2019 World Cup season.  One notable item is that the number of entrants overall is not falling off, probably because even though there are maybe less people flying, those who are flying enter more events.
Executive summary

There have been 61 competitions in F1A F1B F1C F1P F1Q
and 24 in F1E with a total 4467 entries in these competitions
Russia had more than twice the number of particpants that any other country except in Q (Germany)  and E(Roumania) (no hills or batteries in Russia?)

There is no doubt that the World Cup is a key factor in maintaining interest in FAI Free Flight.  This gives many more people than just those that take part in the World Champ the opportunity to take part in a recognized top level competition and fly against the top sportsmen.  Thanks to Ian Kaynes for administering this Competition.

To take part in such an event the  participants must be officially identified.  This was by your FAI license issued by your National Aero Club (NAC).  There were flaws in this system, in particular a contest organizer had no real way of verifying that the credentials presented by a sportsman at an event were genuine.  So the system was revised and the FAI now maintains a data base of official FAI License holder that can be accessed by organizers.  This system has been is use for a few years now and a number of issues have arisen.  The first is that while the term FAI License still exists and has a number that is NOT used for recognizing a sportsman. The number to use is FAI ID.  This number is supposed to given to a person for their lifetime and added to this are all the aero sports that the person takes part in.  So when you renew it you are renewing it for your aero sport.  This renewing is done via your NAC.. Sometimes the NAC has made a mistake and when a person applies for renewal that are issued a second FAI ID.  The FAI has now recognized this and is working on cleaning it up.  By giving you name and email address the FAI data base can send you a copy of your FAI ID/License

To be officially included in the results of a World Cup competition you must have a current FAI ID.  Some contests let people take part that do not have Licenses while this is OK for the contestants personal and perhaps national satisfaction and budget it does not support Free  Flight as whole.  The  World Cup allocates points based on the number of valid contestants , i.e. those with FAI IDs.  Top people go to contests that are well run and have a large number of valid contestants.  So the more valid contestants the more good people are likely to come to the event and the better the event will be.  By just having an FAI ID and taking part you are supporting FAI Free Flight as whole , not hard to do.  It should be noted that there is a charge for the FAI ID but this money does NOT go to the FAI , it goes to your National Aero Club so you also contributing to Aero Sport in your own country.

With the USA sometimes a litigious place the AMA offers to foreign visitors what is called Associate Membership.  Sometimes visitors refer to this as “American Insurance”.  The AMA offers to USA flyers a number of services, one of the most notable being insurance.  By getting AMA Associate membership an international visitor gets insurance coverage while flying in the USA. To fly in a model competition in the USA you must have regular AMA membership, Associate membership orf belong the the Canadian Model Aircraft organization.  While I’m not sure if this is the very latest but certain for a long time the largest non-injury related insurance claim the AMA had was for a visiting modeler’s F1C model that hit power wires and set fire to a field of farmers crops (what?).  It is also notable that that modeler’s national associate had insurance which said that would pay a claim anywhere in the world but refused to pay in this case.

Before flying in a contest the organizer must check that all these memberships etc are correct.  In the USA visitors can sign up for AMA membership on the field.

Now come to the Fab Feb event.  There are 3 separate contests, they are the beginning of the calendar year so not all renewals are done yet, not every visitor has AMA membership, there are many people, sometimes close on 200.  So for example in the past we would have a visitor from outside the USA trying finish signing up 15 minutes before the start of the round, trying to fill out an AMA Associate membership form in a foreign language (English!) and pay in a foreign currency an  amount of money he did not understand.  Then a few days later he would go to the next contest, tell them he already had his “American Insurance” and have to pay what was due  for that event.

This is the link

To avoid this hassle (commonly expression not used here because this a family publication) we instituted the online sign up. This means that you sign up online, are emailed a summary of what you are entering and how much this will cost.  You pay it when you show up at Lost Hills, preferably the day before the contests start. And if you need AMA Associate membership the form is pre-filled out and you just pay and sign it.  Doing the sign up on line with no time pressure is much easier than on the field just before the round starts in a foreign language with a pen that  does not work, out of date licenses in one hand and  a fist full of all the same color cash in the other.

To ensure that everything runs smoothly the information you enter on the form is checked.  For example if you showed up at Lost Hills hoping to score World Cup points in your 2020 F1A objective of stopping Per Findahl of winning the F1A World Cup yet again  only to find you FAI ID was not valid so your points would not count …..     Or if you had been the  USA before and had AMA associate membership that might be valid so do you pay or not ? …  Almost half the entries we got this year required some correction.

FAI ID is not needed for the non-World Cup events = FAI Mini events , F1P for seniors and AMA Events
Some of you entering will have got emails from Lindy Murrell who does all this checking.  If things are not clear she will ask you for clarification.  She sometimes will go to Ian Kaynes or Colleen at the AMA for help in sorting things out – Thank you Ian and Colleen.

Now the whole objective of this proves is to get all this admin stuff sorted  before you get on the field so you can do what you came to do – fly with the best flyers in the world on a great flying field, even with green grass. … and beat Per, Vitek, Oleg, Yuval, Nikolay, Wenze, Franco , Alexander and Mihnea,  2019 World Cup winners. You know your target.

To make this process smoother and to avoid getting a nagging? email from Lindy here are some hints from her to make the process go smoother


Lindy’s letter
One of the most time-consuming parts of my preparation for Fab Feb is chasing FAI IDs and AMA numbers (for those who have them … which is most of our entrants).

For FAI IDs, many people enter the wrong number!  They enter their FAI License number (which apparently changes upon renewal) vs their FAI ID (which theoretically remains unchanged).  The task isn’t simplified by the fact that any discrepancy between the previous information entered and the information entered on renewal (e.g. spelling of name or birthdate) may end up with issuance of a new FAI ID.  I try to advise people when they have multiple FAI IDs so that they can work with their NAC to end up with the one they prefer.  NOTE:  THE FAI ID I HAVE FOUND AS CURRENT IS INCLUDED IN THE INVOICE FOR FAB FEB.

For AMA numbers, I have worked with the AMA to determine the AMA number for any person I know has ever been to one of our contests.  This is the first year I have had access to confirm whether the AMA license is current and adjust the invoice accordingly.  NOTE: THE AMA NUMBER I HAVE FOUND (if any) IS INCLUDED IN THE INVOICE FOR FAB FEB.

Bottom line – please take note of these numbers so I don’t whine about having to chase them up!

Lindy Murrell


Editor’s Note – and yes Lindy is her real name, her father was a pilot and she is named after Charles A (Lindbergh)