On Saturday, June 14 2014, the Fluvanna County Radio Control Flying Club (FCRCFC) hosted Radio Control Piloting for Animal Welfare Shindig (RC-PAWS) at the club’s field immediately adjacent to the Fluvanna County landfill. RC-PAWS combined an AMA-sanctioned fun-fly with a fundraiser for the Fluvanna SPCA, Peaceful Passings, and Caring for Creatures, three wonderful Fluvanna County animal welfare organizations.
The club hosted the event as a way to attract the public to its field and to generate good will by raising money for local nonprofit organizations. RC-PAWS ran from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on a picture-perfect day for flying.
Pilots from the FCRCFC and other RC clubs had airplanes in the air—large and small, slow-flying trainers and hot aerobatic machines, one-of-a-kind designs and scale military and civilian aircraft, helicopters—nearly anything that flew took to the air at some time during the event!
More than 100 people enjoyed the aerobatic demonstrations, but that was just part of the fun. Caring for Creatures, Fluvanna SPCA, and Peaceful Passings were all on-site with information, and two of the organizations brought dogs and/or cats for adoption! Throughout the day guests could visit them, learn about all the great work they do on behalf of homeless cats and dogs, and consider adding a new member to their family.
Admission was a $10 donation that included lunch and a door prize ticket. The club arranged with two local barbecue vendors to provide a delicious lunch for guests and pilots.
In addition to door prizes, the club conducted a huge raffle with proceeds going to the beneficiaries. Local businesses donated raffle prizes including overnight stays at local bed and breakfasts, recreation tickets for a nearby all-season resort, high-end restaurant dinners, and much more. The club also obtained corporate sponsorship to help defer the cost of hosting the event.
Thanks to the generosity of the sponsors and businesses that provided raffle prizes, the club raised $1,500 that was split equally among the three beneficiaries.
A reporter and photographer from the Charlottesville Daily Progress newspaper approached president Bill Sykes about doing a Father’s Day story on the event. Bill introduced them to Mark Stotsky and his daughter, Courtney, who had flown RC for the first time the previous month on the club’s E-flite Apprentice S trainer. The story appeared in the Sunday paper with a photo of Mark and Courtney at the controls. This generated the kind of positive recognition for the aeromodeling hobby that money just can’t buy—a fitting end to the inaugural RC-PAWS.
On Sunday, September 28, I attended the last day of the second annual Invasion of the Helis put on by the Fredericksburg Area RC in Thornburg, Virginia. After the formal flying was over, an unusual event took place that fulfilled a family’s wish after waiting 21 years.
Tom Carson, a budding aeromodelers, built an RC model in his spare time with the hopes of flying it someday. Before he had a chance to fly the model, he was killed in a boating accident in 1993.
While attending the fly-in, I noticed the event CD was working on an older model. He was trying to get it ready to fly and having trouble with the receiver battery. I helped him and we eventually got it working, never realizing that this was the model that belonged to Tom.
The model was successfully flown for the first time with Tom’s parents, Marty and Kit Carson, in attendance. It was an absolutely perfect venue to set this model airborne after sitting around for so long for the first flight.
Tom worked for the FAA as a controller for DFW TRACON in the Dallas/Ft. Worth Tower. As a gift to one of its own, the FAA named an intersection on the approach structure in his honor. Today if you fly into DFW you might fly over the intersection named CARSN on your approach to the airport.
During my conversation with his parents, I found out that Tom’s father was retired from the Air Force and had flown C-47s as did I. We had quite a time talking about one of the greatest airplanes ever built. I also learned that they had donated a model of a VC-47, tail number 43-48331, to the AMA’s National Model Aviation Museum in Muncie, Indiana. They hope to travel to see it someday.
It is events such as this that make the job so rewarding. I am fortunate to be a part of this historic moment for the Carson family.