AMA Expo 2014 was a great success. AMA reached a significant agreement with the FAA, one of our staff members was admitted into the AMA Model Aviation Hall of Fame, a number of youths had a chance to try aeromodeling, and many great new items were on display to tempt those who attended.
Our relationship with the FAA took a great step forward at the Expo. AMA President Bob Brown and the FAA’s Executive Manager of the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Office Jim Williams signed a memorandum of understanding that defines the AMA’s relationship with the FAA. This was a significant step forward in recognizing AMA as a community-based organization that will protect us from future federal restrictions on aeromodeling.
My friend and former District X Vice President Rich Hanson was inducted into the AMA Model Aviation Hall of Fame at the Expo. Rich has been modeling since he got his first plastic Cox CL model at age 6. He quickly learned that balsa-and-tissue CL models that he built himself flew even better than store-bought models. In junior high school he joined the Civil Air Patrol and got a taste of full-scale aviation.
Rich joined the Army and saw service in Vietnam flying Cobra gunships. After he returned, he continued CL modeling and was exposed to RC modeling in the early 1970s. When he could afford an RC radio, he chose the World Engines Blue Max radio kit. He assembled it and installed it in a Midwest Models .25 foamie Skylane.
Rich became heavily involved in competitive fun-fly events with a group of fellow Arizona modelers. This group transformed into two racing series with Quickie 500 and .60-.90 Scale warbirds as the models of choice. He helped form the Scale Warbird Racing Association and served as its president.
Rich became a District X associate vice president for Regg Keyawa, and when Regg stepped down in 1993 Rich was elected vice president. In 2008 Rich became the AMA’s Director of Government and Regulatory Affairs. Rich a deserving addition to the Hall of Fame and he has my heartfelt congratulations.
One of my favorite aspects of the Expo is the speakers whom the staff lines up to give presentations throughout the weekend. One standout was the Roswell Flight Test Crew. Techinstein and Lucidity have a great take on the burgeoning field of multirotor modeling. They have plenty of great writing and videos at www.roswellflighttestcrew.com that I think you will enjoy.
The second speaker who stood out was Jeff Skiles. Jeff was the copilot on U.S. Airways flight 1549, better known as “The Miracle on the Hudson.” Jeff gave a riveting account of this flight—a moment-by-moment timeline of the flight. These speakers are something you won’t be able to see anywhere else so if you missed this year’s Expo make plans for next year.
When you come to the Expo, the temptation is to spend the entire time trying to check out the great stuff on display. If you’ve never been to the build-and-fly area, check it out. It is run by Southern California’s Black Sheep Squadron and the chief cook and bottle washer of the group is AMA’s “Safety Comes First” columnist, Dave Gee.
Next door to the build-and-fly area is a ballroom where indoor flying demonstrations take place. Several times each day, the Knights of the Round Circle CL club would allow children attending the Expo to try their hand at CL flying. Their chief instructor was AMA Model Aviation Hall of Fame Member Larry Renger.
The Expo is a great event held here in District X. Take advantage of it and check it out in 2015.
Until next month, may you have nothing but happy landings.