Most are aware of the incident with the quadcopter crashing on the White House lawn. What I would like you to be aware of is the responses from the AMA about the incident. Some good national coverage, with quotes from Bob Brown, Dave Mathewson, and Rich Hanson were published in Time Magazine, Forbes, and Reuters.
AMA contends that there is already enough regulation; what is needed is education. The existing regulation that bans flying RC aircraft from a 15-mile radius of the White House evidentially didn’t stop a government employee from flying there.
Shortly before Christmas, a new website was developed called knowbeforeyoufly.org. This is a joint effort between several organizations, including the FAA, that addresses commercial and recreational use of unmanned aircraft systems.
I’m proud of our district! We raised $11,363.34 on National Model Aviation Day for the Wounded Warrior Project. Thank you. AMA members and clubs donated $100,000 total to the Wounded Warrior Project. This year’s National Model Aviation Day will be on August 15. Now is the time to start making plans for your event. It is great publicity for our hobby.
The following report comes from Marc Marcum, vice president of the Louisville Area Soaring Society (LASS) in Kentucky.
LASS is growing! Over the years our club had gone from a high of 36 members to just a few active members, but that’s changing! This season we’ll have 16 active sailplane pilots with two club contest series planned and we’re hosting a major three-day Soaring contest (Derby Soar Champs, June 26-28, 2015). Pretty ambitious stuff for a relatively new group of pilots!
A significant element in turning our club around is the interest in our Two-Channel Contest Series. I know you’re thinking rudder and elevator only, but actually it’s the opposite. It means two channels you can’t use—spoilers or flaps. The contest format is designed to be inclusive; any wingspan or function is welcome. We set up five matched hi-starts, but also allow electric-launch sailplanes to participate. They launch last in the group and their timers tell them when they are at roughly the same height as the rest of the group.
On the first Sunday of the month, from April through September, we usually have eight to 10 pilots and it’s a hoot. Tasks are typical time-and-landing points, with times usually 5 minutes and 100-point-per-inch tapes. Models mostly consist of 60-inch to 100-inch wingspans, but there are a few Radians always in the pack. The goal isn’t competition, but participation.
Although we keep a running season score, no one wins a prize or is awarded a trophy. The scores are for personal comparison and growth, stressing piloting and landings.
At the end of the season, we have a box of goodies purchased with the $3 entry fees and whatever is donated. The booty is laid out and the lowest scoring pilot of the season chooses first (mostly because there are usually packs of X-Acto blades, sanding blocks and the like, sometimes a kit, and the low-scoring fliers need the supplies most).
We’ve been running the contests for roughly four years and it has been a real club builder. Pilot skills have zoomed and we’ve seen a lot of old models revived for battle.
This is our club’s official 25th AMA anniversary, but RC sailplanes have been flying at Charlie Vettiner Park for more than 50 years with three original members still flying. We are the only RC Soaring club in Kentucky with its own public park flying field. There aren’t any gates to keep any of the public away, so if there are 10 of us with sailplanes aloft. All anyone sees are some people looking up, and of course all they hear is the sound of kids playing, birds chirping, and the breeze in the trees.