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Flying Site Improvement Grant Overview

The Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) and the AMA Foundation are committed to supporting its members through philanthropy. The Flying Site Improvement Grant (FSIG) program provides funding for AMA chartered clubs that have made improvements or are making improvements to their flying sites. We understand that well-maintained flying sites promote satisfaction among hobbyists, club visibility to the public, community engagement, aviation education, and safety.

Through the FSIG program, the AMA will contribute 25% of total project costs - with a minimum contribution of $100 and a maximum contribution of $3,000 - to clubs that are improving their flying sites and demonstrating their club's commitment to AMA's mission statement: To promote, advance, and safeguard model aviation as a hobby, sport, and educational tool.

We encourage all applicants to review this document extensively before submitting the application. If you have questions about the grant program or application process, please don't hesitate to contact the AMA Foundation, at foundation@modelaircraft.org or at (765)287-1256, ext. 137. 

Download the Flying Site Improvement Grant guidelines or review them below.

Preview the application before you begin.

Begin your application.

View the Judging Rubric.

Quick Reference:

Application Available:
TBA

Optional Application Draft Deadline: TBA

Final Application Deadline:
TBA

Award Announced:
TBA

Minimum Award Amount:
$100.00

Maximum Award Amount:
$3,000.00

Questions:
AMA Foundation 

foundation@modelaircraft.org 

(765)287-1256, ext. 137


Eligibility

All current chartered AMA clubs are eligible to apply. Grant applications can be submitted by any club member who is also an AMA member. Please note that only one application can be submitted per club. Clubs are eligible to apply for funding for a project completed within the last 12 months of the application deadline or projects that will be completed within 12 months of the application deadline. 

Clubs that applied for and were awarded FSIG funding in previous years are eligible to apply each year, but priority will be given to clubs that have never received FSIG grant funding. Additionally, clubs who have been awarded FSIG funding in previous years must have submitted their final reports prior to or by the final application deadline to be eligible for grant funding in the current cycle.


Examples of What We Fund

  • Installation or repair of GeoTextile runway(s)
  • Installation or repair of asphalt/concrete/gravel runway 
  • Purchase of grass seed for runway installation or repair
  • Purchase of gravel, cement, or asphalt for driveway installation or repair 
  • Equipment rental for runway, driveway, or fence installation or repair (including fuel expenses, typically added into equipment rental costs)
  • Installation of drainage tiles
  • Trenching equipment and drainage tile or hoses to move water away from the runway and parking area
  • Purchase of an automated external defibrillator
  • Purchase of building materials
  • Purchase of a used shipping container, including site delivery and purchase of materials to paint, vent, and seal the roof 
  • Purchase of mower
  • Purchase of land 
  • Purchase of materials for safety fence or boundaries 
  • Hiring a professional to roll the field with a heavy roller
  • Purchase of a flagpole for a windsock

Examples of What We Don't Fund

  • Fuel for mowing the field
  • Oil changes or battery replacement for rental equipment
  • Relocation of a portable toilet (porta-potty, etc.)
  • Operational or overhead expenses (e.g., lawn mowing services, additional required insurance beyond AMA insurance that the landowner or local government requires)
  • Repair of mower 
  • Property rental
  • Membership fee subsidization
  • Food or beverages provided to workers improving the flying site 
  • Administrative costs (compensating or reimbursing club officers or members for labor or expenses)
  • Bank loans

Grant Application Requirements

Successful applications will indicate a clear need for site improvements, describe a reasonable plan and timeline to address the need, and provide an accurate budget that shows all expenses. Furthermore, we are interested in applications that tell a club’s story, such as a brief history of the club, the club’s flying site condition, typical flying activities and events, community and/or charitable involvement, membership recruitment, and long-term goals and plans for the club. We want to get to know your club and its needs through your application. Successful applications will effectively tell a club's story and present a compelling flying site improvement need.

To be considered complete, an application must include all requirements below. Each item should be typed into the appropriate box on the online application.

Project Description—a rationale for the completed or proposed project. Address the following in 250 words or less:

  • Describe the current condition of the flying site (or its past condition) and what factors have contributed to its condition
  • Indicate the need, problem, or challenge your improvement project addresses or addressed 
  • Describe the project’s impact on the club and its community (i.e., what club or community events [fun-flys, fundraisers, young pilots' program, etc.] will be made possible by this improvement)
  • Demonstrate how the improvement project aligns with and supports AMA's mission
  • Describe the club’s efforts to fundraise and/or save money for the project


Project Work Plan & Timeline—A description of the work completed or work to be completed, who completed it or will complete it, and the time required for the project. Address the following in 250 words or less:

  • Explain specific activities, labor, and/or tasks that were completed or will need to be completed from the project start date to the project completion date
  • Indicate who will implement and manage the improvement project
  • Indicate who was or will be involved in the project and the extent of their involvement (indicate whether club members and/or the community will be involved)
  • Explain when and in what sequence the improvement occurred or will occur 
     

Project Budget—An itemized list of expenses for the project. Please use the Budget Worksheet provided on the application homepage. Each line item should be referenced in the project justification and the project work plan. The budget form requires each applicant to indicate the amount requested from the AMA. This amount should be 25% of the total project costs, not to exceed $3,000. Project costs can only include amounts spent since the previous year’s application cutoff date (February 1), or projected work.

Note: Beginning with the 2023 grant cycle all receipts must not contain personal items, but only those items that are being submitted with the club's Flying Site Improvement Grant application.

Attachments—Supplemental evidence of improvements needed, price quotes obtained for labor or materials, and/or expenses already incurred and paid for by the club. Please include the following:

Required

  • Photos of flying site conditions (photos of what will be improved/what has been improved)
  • Price quotes for labor or materials from licensed businesses 
  • Receipts for expenses already incurred (if applicable)
     

Optional

  • Letter of support from external consultant or professional attesting to the conditions of the flying site and/or the need of the project

Note: Only receipts or quotes that have been paid or will be paid for by the club are eligible for the grant program, and all receipts and/or estimates must equal the amount requested by the applicant. Other funding that the club might receive, such as additional grants and/or individual monetary contributions, do not qualify for reimbursement for the FSIG program. Any grant funds unused by the club must be returned to the AMA.


Submitting Your Application

Final applications must be submitted through the online application form by February 1, 2022. No late or incomplete applications will be accepted.  

To promote successful applications, the AMA encourages applicants to submit an optional draft of their application no later than January 7, 2022, for preliminary feedback and review. This opportunity gives applicants a chance to submit a complete rough draft of their application, so they can receive preliminary feedback. In this stage of the process, applications will be reviewed by the Donor and Programs Specialist and the club’s District Vice President.  

Applicants can notify—and are encouraged to notify— the Donor and Programs Specialist earlier than January 7 that they would like feedback. In order to receive feedback on your application draft, you must begin and save the application as a draft when prompted to do so at the bottom of each page (click “Save Draft”). Please do not click Submit, which will submit your final application. After it has been saved as a draft, the applicant must email the Donor and Programs Specialist at foundation@modelaircraft.org to receive the feedback. If an email is not sent, the application will not be reviewed. Feedback will be returned to applicants within two weeks of notifying the Donor and Programs Specialist.  

Note: Optional draft feedbakc does not guarantee your club's grant request will be filled by the judging committee.

Note: Applicants who opt for feedback must revise and submit their final application by February 1 to be considered for funding. Applicants who submit an optional draft but who fail to submit a final draft will not be considered for funding. 

Applications must be submitted by one club member who has been appointed by the club president. Each section of the grant application must be complete for the application to be eligible for committee review. 

 

Grant Review Process 

The grant review begins in February and ends in mid-April. After applications are received in February, they will be reviewed by the Donor and Programs Specialist to ensure applicants are eligible to apply and that the application is complete. 

After applications are reviewed for eligibility and completion, they will be made anonymous and sent to FSIG review committee members by February 15, 2021. Members of the grant review are appointed from each district by the District Vice President. Each district is represented on the review committee. Furthermore, review committee members evaluate and score each application on the following criteria:  

  • Project need 

  • Project workplan & timeline 

  • Impact on club & community  

  • Alignment with AMA's mission 

  • Project budget 

The committee members score each criterion between 0 and 4. View the rubric in the AMA Documents Center under “Grants.” The minimum number of total points that an application can receive is 0 and the maximum number of points is 20 (or 23 with bonus points). Bonus points are intended to (a) prioritize clubs that have never received funding or have not received funding in the last 3 years and (b) incentivize Leader Clubs. Bonus points can be added to application scores based on the following items: 

          +5 points: clubs who have never received FSIG funding    

          +1 point: clubs who have not received FSIG funding within the last three years 

          +1 point: clubs who hold Bronze or Silver Leader Club status 

          +2 points: clubs who hold Gold Leader Club status 

For example, if a club who has never received FSIG funding obtains a final score of 19 points, five additional points would be added to its score, making the new score 24 points.  

Applications receiving 5 points or fewer will not be considered for funding. Applications receiving 6 points or more will be considered for funding. Reviewers’ scores for each application will be averaged and then the average score for each application will be ranked from highest to lowest. In the case of major discrepancies among reviewers’ scores for an application, the AMA will have the panel of reviewers meet to discuss the score differences. The application will then be rescored, and the average of the rescores will be the official final score. Funding will be granted first to the higher-scoring applications until all grant funds have been distributed. After the review committee has scored applications, the list of recipients will be sent to the AMA Executive Council (EC) for approval and will be announced at the second quarterly (spring) meeting, typically held in April each year. 

 

Award Information 

Immediately following the EC’s spring meeting, all applicants will be notified of award results by email, regardless of whether they were awarded funds. Furthermore, the AMA will officially announce the grant recipients through its various communication and media channels. Club presidents and the district vice president will be notified as well when constituents in their district are awarded funding. Checks will be generated after the EC’s spring meeting and will be mailed to grant recipients shortly thereafter. Clubs typically receive their checks in May. Note: In the application, clubs should provide their club name as it appears on their bank account. Failure to do so may result in your banking institution refusing to deposit the check due to discrepancies in the name. 

 

Reporting 

Clubs that received FSIG grant funds for a future project must complete their improvement project and submit a final report no later than 12 months after receiving FSIG funds. The final report assures the AMA that the project was completed and that all grant funds were used for the purposes described in the original application. Furthermore, the final report is stored for auditing purposes, thus the AMA must receive a report from every grant recipient. During the 12-month grant period, the AMA reserves the right to request updates from clubs via email or phone about the club’s progress, the status of the project, and the projected completion date.  

Furthermore, within 30 days of completing the improvement project, the club must submit its final report to the AMA, which should include a short project reflection; a finalized budget of expenses and receipts; and before and after photos of the project. All grant awardees will receive additional information at the time of their award notification about writing the final report. Please note: clubs that complete their improvement project well within the 12-month timeline must still submit their reports within 30 days of completing the project. For example, if a club receives grant money April 15, 2021, it has until April 15, 2022, to complete its project. The final report would be due 30 days following, or no later than May 15, 2022. If a club completes its project, for example, September 2, 2021, the club would have until October 2, 2021 to submit its final report.  

Clubs that receive retroactive FSIG grant funds for projects already completed do not need to submit a progress or completion report. The grant application submitted by the club serves as its completion report, assuming it submitted all of the grant application materials (receipts, photos, etc.).  

If a club determines that its project cannot be completed within a 12-month timeframe, a written explanation must be submitted to the Donor and Programs Specialist, indicating the project’s status and anticipated completion date. If the completion date exceeds 18 months of the receipt of the grant, the AMA reserves the right to request that the entire amount of the grant be returned. Also, please note: the project and final report must be completed and submitted before the next year’s application deadline in order for the club to be eligible to apply again for FSIG funds. 


Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Who can apply for a Flying Site Improvement Grant?  
    All currently chartered AMA clubs are eligible to apply. Grant applications can be submitted by any club member who is also an AMA member. Please note that only one application can be submitted per club. 

     
  2. What is the difference between the optional draft deadline and the final deadline?  
    To promote successful applications, the AMA encourages applicants to submit a complete draft of their application for feedback and review by the optional draft deadline, which typically falls three to four weeks before the final deadline. This opportunity allows applicants a chance to submit a complete rough draft of their application so they can receive preliminary feedback on their grant application from the Grants and Programs Coordinator and their District Vice President. The optional draft does not count as the final application. All applicants who submit an optional draft must also resubmit their final draft by the final deadline. 

    The final deadline, February 1 of each year, is the date by which all applicants who want to be considered for the grant must submit their application. Although the optional draft deadline is voluntary, the final deadline must be met for consideration. 

     
  3. What do I need to prepare if I want to submit an optional draft?  
    Clubs that submit an optional draft must submit a complete online application that includes a completed budget form and attached photos and receipt/estimates.

     
  4. How much funding can my club receive? 
    The AMA will contribute 25% of a club’s total project costs—with a minimum contribution of $100 and a maximum contribution of $3,000.  

     
  5. My club has received a Flying Site Improvement Grant before. How soon are we eligible to apply again? 
    Effective October 2019, all clubs are eligible to apply for a Flying Site Improvement Grant every year, including clubs that received grant money within the last three years. 

     
  6. Our flying site was affected by a natural disaster. Can we apply for FSIG grant money? 
    Yes. Clubs may apply for FSIG grant money to repair natural disaster damage to flying sites. Clubs whose flying sites have been affected by natural disasters may also apply for grant funds from the Club Disaster Relief Fund, which distributes up to $500 per incident for repairs. Clubs must indicate in their FSIG applications whether they received Club Disaster Relief Funds for the proposed improvement project. 

     
  7. When will my club be notified if we’ve received the FSIG grant? 
    Immediately following the Executive Council’s spring meeting (typically mid-April), all applicants will be notified of award results by email—regardless of whether they were awarded funds or not. 

     
  8. Who should I contact with questions about the FSIG or other AMA grants? 
    Please direct all questions to the AMA Foundation, 5161 E. Memorial Drive, Muncie, IN 47302. Email: foundation@modelaircraft.org and by phone: (765)287-1256, ext. 137. 

     
  9. What kinds of improvements does the FSIG fund? 
    The FSIG funds improvements such as installation or repair of a runway (GeoTextile, asphalt, cement, gravel, grass seed), installation of drain tiles, purchase of a mower, and the purchase of materials related to safety (automated external defibrillator, safety fence). Please see the FSIG guidelines for examples of other allowable improvements. 

     
  10. What kinds of improvements does the AMA not fund? 
    The FSIG does not fund improvements such as fuel for mowing the field, food or beverages provided to workers who are improving the site, property rental, or administrative/overhead expenses. Please see the FSIG guidelines for examples of other disallowed improvements. 

     
  11. My club received grant funding and we started our project but won’t be able to complete it within 12 months. What should we do? 
    If a club determines that its project cannot be completed within a 12-month timeframe, a written explanation must be submitted to the Donor and Programs Specialist, indicating the project’s status and anticipated completion date.  

     
  12. What do I include in my final completion report? 
    Within 30 days of completing the improvement project, a club must submit its final report to the AMA, which should include a short project description/reflection; a finalized budget of expenses and receipts; and post-improvement (“after”) photos of the project. 

     
  13. My club sought funding for a project we already completed. Does my club need to submit a completion report? 
    Clubs that receive retroactive FSIG grant funds for projects already completed do not need to submit a progress or completion report. The grant application submitted by the club serves as the club's completion report, assuming all of the grant application materials were submitted (receipts, photos, etc.). 

Download the Flying Site Improvement Grant guidelines or review them above.

Preview the application before you begin.

Begin your application.