[headline: We need our members to remain engaged]
This is my first opportunity to weigh in about the FAA’s interpretation of the “Special Rule for Model Aircraft,” established by Congress as part of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012.
The AMA successfully obtained a 60-day extension for the comment period, Making September 25 the final day of the comment period. Many of our members submitted opinions, so I won’t go into the arguments we are making concerning the FAA’s interpretation, but it’s this type of solidarity that allows us to be most effective when working with governmental agencies.
My take on the FAA is that it is a huge bureaucracy with many silos. It appears to have a lack of communication between departments. This disconnect makes it difficult for AMA to make progress in developing substantive relationships with the agency. The sheer size of the FAA, and many other government organizations, promotes a certain degree of arrogance when dealing with the American public.
It appears that bureaucrats go through the motions of communicating with us, but that decisions that affect us come through the FAA’s legal department and upper management, having little to do with our weekly communications with the sUAS office. I don’t believe the FAA is purposely trying to hurt our hobby/sport, but more a feeling that they feel they know what is best for the National Air Space. That may be true of full-scale aviation, but not aeromodeling.
We need to be involved with governmental agencies in order to protect model aviation, at the national and state level, and it is the same for our clubs at the local level. We need you, our members, to remain engaged while we will keep you informed. It is heartening to see the alliance we have developed with our commercial and association partners and their efforts help provide a united front.
I attended the 22nd annual Warbirds Over Delaware in July, held at Lums Pond State Park in Kirkwood, Deleware. The event was well organized and great-looking aircraft were constantly in the air. The quality of the warbirds was outstanding and the pilots were approachable and willing to answer questions.
I was impressed by several clubs that came, showed their club banners, pitched large tents, and had warbird squadrons on display and in the air. Popular with spectators, the host club, the Delaware R/C Club, bused visitors from an off-site parking lot.
Aircraft from vintage to modern jet fighters flew all four days. For Scale lovers, this is a bucket-list event!
A solemn flight occurred the weekend of the EC meeting in July. District VII Associate Vice President Lloyd Swanson and his wife came to Muncie, Indiana, to see the brick located in AMA’s Walk of Fame, in memory of Lloyd’s grandson, Johnathan Lloyd Ramsey, who tragically died at a young age.
Lloyd never had the opportunity to fly with his grandson, but brought his remains with him. Lloyd put his remains into his Extra 300, and gave his grandson a first and final flight. It was emotional and a fitting tribute of love for Johnathan.
I met Charlie Caulkins and his wife of Richmond, Texas, at the Bayou City Flyers fun-fly and learned what this 82 year old is doing for model aviation. He visits weekly with a group of home-schooled preschool youngsters and together they read The Glorious Flight: Across the Channel with Louis Blériot and discussing that famous flight, including the broken propeller that happened at landing.
The lessons didn’t stop there as Charlie brought his 1/4-scale Cub and flew for the youngsters, with each having an opportunity to try flying. The kids laughed when landing, the Cub went nose up, breaking the propeller, just like Louis Blériot. The kids helped push the aircraft back to the pit area.
Thanks, Charlie, for a positive introduction to model aviation for these kids. I know we have many like Charlie throughout the country and they make our organization great!
This is the time for all Open Members to exercise their right to vote in the national AMA officer elections. Please take the time to do so! Thanks for reading.
Until next time, please help our hobby grow and take a youngster flying, just like Charlie Caulkins!