This issue marks the first time that I will be listed in the District IV portion of Model Aviation as your district vice president (VP). It is an honor and a pleasure to have the opportunity to serve in this capacity. I was appointed by the AMA Executive Council in July on Bliss Teague’s recommendation to complete his term after he resigned because of illness.
It is with a heavy heart that I report the passing of our longtime friend and district VP. Bliss Teague passed away August 2 after a long battle with cancer. Our hopes and prayers for his widow Shirley and his family are that they make it through this difficult period.
Bliss’ funeral was well attended by the AMA staff including AMA President Bob Brown, Executive Director Dave Mathewson, who gave the eulogy for Bliss, and Staff Director Joyce Hager. I represented District IV along with associate vice presidents (AVPs) Jay Marsh and Randy Elliott. A graveside ceremony took place afterward including a military honor guard, rifle salute, and Taps.
For those of you who have been in this hobby for a number of years, you could not go far without hearing about Bliss or of his accomplishments. He was regularly seen at events throughout the district and at the national level. He was an instrumental part of the AMA and contributed greatly to its success.
For his efforts he received the Fellow Award, which is the highest honor the Academy can bestow on any of its members. I was fortunate enough to be at the 2011 Joe Nall fly-in when he received this award and made sure it was in my article that covered the event in High Flight. A picture of Bliss receiving the award from Dave Mathewson is included in this column.
If you have been to AMA Headquarters in Muncie, Indiana, for an event or to visit, you may have seen the museum. Bliss chaired the committee that oversaw the museum and helped to make it a world-class aviation museum. The Claude McCullough Education Facility was one of his largest projects and is his legacy to the AMA. This is a must-see facility when you visit the AMA Headquarters. I cannot thank him enough for what he has done for the hobby and AMA.
I was proud to call Bliss my friend and I, along with many others, will miss his exuberance and energy. His presence meant a lot to those of us who grew up loving the hobby and pursued it to a higher level.
I started in this hobby at a young age, obtaining my original AMA license in 1959. CL was my interest and occasionally a little FF.
In high school, I became interested in ham radio and radio control for models. RC became my primary hobby that eventually shaped my career. I pursued a degree in aeronautical engineering then it was off to the military and on to flight school to become an Army aviator in 1964. I never knew if aeromodeling helped my full-scale flying or the other way around. All I know is that they mutually benefited each other.
As I gained more experience, I started to compete in AMA Pattern working my way up to Master Class. I obtained my Leader Member status and became a CD in 1972. I have CDed many contests since then.
During my entire military career, I managed to continue in the hobby, even when I was overseas. I actually built and flew an RC model during my second of three tours in Vietnam and flew my models when I was posted to the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan.
For a short time I owned Peach Hobbies, a company that sold retail, but primarily focused on producing the Palomino Q-500 racer and fun-fly model that I designed. Still today you can see variations of the V-tail design still flying and racing.
Upon retiring from the Army, I was hired by United Airlines. Being able to fly around the world, I was exposed to aeromodelers in other countries and had the chance to fly with some of them. This was an opportunity to meet people in other countries who were involved in the same hobby. I made many friends and learned that we are the same when it comes to aeromodeling.
Changes in my career and family forced a change in Pattern competition, so I decided to try RC Scale. I competed in this area, winning the RC Scale Nats in 1991 and attended the World Scale Shootout in 1992. Competition was difficult with added responsibilities at United Airlines, so attending fly-ins became the norm.
My interest in aeromodeling put me on a rewarding career path from engineer to military pilot to airline captain. This is why I encourage young people to take an interest in this hobby. The disciplines that you learn while pursuing this hobby can lead to better things.
I was appointed AVP for northern Virginia a year and a half ago. As your VP, I continue to look forward to meeting all of you around the district and at some of the national meets and fly-ins.
I have big shoes to fill, but I promise to do my best for District IV, its members, and AMA as a whole. Bliss would not have it any other way.[dingbat]