Although you’re probably reading this a few months into 2014, 2013 was a memorable year worthy of a look back. Last year marked one of the larger District II fly-ins in recent memory, and the event’s return to a New Jersey location.
District II’s new website went live in 2013, and our goal of tying together the district’s electronic media including Facebook, Twitter, and amadisriii.org was realized. We made many new friends on Facebook, and the common denominator was always model aviation or aviation in general.
Shortly before the end of 2013, the AMA Foundation received its final regulatory approval. The AMA Foundation’s website is scheduled to be up and running at roughly the time you read this.
AMA has great expectations for the Foundation’s future, including reducing reliance on member dues for important programs and working to enlighten the world about the contributions of aeromodeling. Through the Foundation, AMA can best publicize the message that “model aviation is the seed-ground of America’s aviators and aerospace professionals.”
Like many District II clubs, the Finger Lakes Air Pirates (FLAPS) celebrated 2014 with its traditional New Year’s Day First Flight. Roughly 20 souls braved the cold weather to start the year right. To see more about the FLAPS, visit the club’s website at www.flapsrc.com.
We saw numerous friends and members pass away in 2013. Some were well known and others were not. Unfortunately, there’s not enough room to acknowledge everyone. I’ll use the story of George Buso, former District II associate vice president who passed away on November 6, 2013, to represent the spirit of all modelers and friends we’ve lost.
Any devotee of Scale modeling, the Rhinebeck Jamboree, or aeromodeling in general owes a debt of gratitude to George Buso. A 1998 inductee in the AMA Model Aviation Hall of Fame, George started his modeling career in rubber power in 1934.
George’s biography in the AMA history program recalls he saved pennies and bought his first gas engine, a Syncro Bee, in 1939. George described his high school sweetheart, Olive, whom he married, “chasing” after his Brooklyn Dodger. She seemed to enjoy FF airplanes, and George figured that they’d get along well (as husband and wife).
A contemporary of such modeling luminaries as Ed Lorenz and Hal deBolt, George was well traveled inside and outside of modeling circles, and represented the US to the FAI as a voting delegate. He served as Chief Judge at the Scale Nationals in 1993 and 1995.
Although George was an AMA Fellow and received the AMA Superior Service Award twice, like other modelers he had his struggles. As written in his biography, in the late 1940s George, a former Navy pilot, decided to try CL, flying an F6F model. “I could fly anything, especially a model airplane,” he wrote. “After the engine started, the F6F took off, flew uncontrolled for about one-half circle, and demolished itself on the college football field.” George went on to recall how he “purchased three almost-new engines with G.I. Bill money, which my wife earmarked for food. Shortly thereafter, I became a paperhanger to earn enough money to finish college with wife and one child.”
Regardless of one’s position, national, regional, or local, model aviation gives every person the opportunity to achieve among, and with, our friends. In the spirit of George Buso and those near and dear to you, please enjoy 2014 and carry forward great work and great things our hobby uniquely brings to people. Remember, it’s not about what we fly, it’s about the people and the friends we make.