“If a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn”
—Michael J. Fox
This month I would like to open up my email box to you. It strikes me that many don’t appreciate the diverse approach taken by many to enjoy model aviation.
I’m a firm believer that if the message is correct, timely, and beneficial, there’s nothing wrong with repeating it. Michael J. Fox says something I’ve paraphrased dozens of times on this page. The industry of education must address the diversity of its audience and deliver a product that is accessible by all.
Bright students are adept at figuring out different approaches, but not all of them are. Dyslexia is a malady that strikes many families with extremely bright learners who are simply branded at a young age as “unable to read.” That’s just not true. In fact, the brand should be on the system as being unable to teach!
The first thing a good builder will do is assess the materials available and/or necessary before putting a strategy together to achieve success. Shouldn’t the same be taking place with students?
My rant is over, but keep in mind that my reference to a student is not to a child. It’s about anyone trying to learn anything. In the case of model aviation, I know that we learn all the time—sometimes accidentally, sometimes unwillingly, but almost always out of necessity.
It’s my contention that the best resources we have for model aviation education are the many pilots and builders we spend our time with. It occurs to me that if anyone can make or do something better than I, I need to pay attention and learn!
We receive too many emails similar to the one that follows, emails that express frustration with other modelers unwilling to accept another person’s interpretation of enjoyment. Please, the one thing we have in all conversations, whether we’re discussing sUAS, the FAA, drones, or how mad the club makes us, it’s each other! Give this one a read and enjoy my open response.
“I’ve been flying RC for over 40 years now, and I am now 58. Your article couldn’t have had better timing. The last two years of my Navy career I was an instructor teaching various subjects including leadership. The biggest part of the whole process was that people are resistant to change. Change is inevitable and must embrace it. I’ll fly anything and enjoy it just as much as I do fixed wing aircraft.
“Now, on to the subject of change ... I purchased an all-foam giant scale 80-inch wing B-25 with electric power, navigation/landing lights, scale retracts with sequencing doors, electric brakes, bomb bay that’s functional that I drop really nice paratroopers from, and just an all-out nice plane. I have flown this plane at many venues and received awards.
“However there is one organization that won’t allow me to fly this nice plane because it is made of foam. To them, foam is not a conventional building material and the engines are electric—no sound. Foam material has been used even before Byron’s Originals came along. I hear rumblings all the time behind my back with folks saying, what is that doing here, ‘it’s electric and made of foam.’
“This particular organization’s website Mission Statement says they support modeling activity of all kinds and affiliated with the AMA. I am also an AMA CD and would welcome these types of scale aircraft. This plane I have is definitely not a ‘foamie.’ It’s what I can afford and should not be excluded from an event because it is made of foam. The general public would not know the difference.
“I don’t see the difference between an ARF P-47 made of wood and my ARF made of foam. Both require model-building skills. Folks resistant to change will be lost in the ‘Paradigm Shift.’ Your thoughts? Photos of my B-25 attached. There are those who watch things happen, make things happen, and the last are those who say, ‘What the heck happened?’”
Tim, thanks for your continued interest in aviation, model aviation, and membership! We’re almost identical in age, so am sure we share lots of life and modeling experiences.
One of those that we share is your B-25. A friend of mine whom I fly with has one. You’re right, it’s not a foamie! My initial response to this plane the first time I saw it and then saw its maiden flight is how amazing the detail to scale appearance is. The complexities of many onboard systems are already in place, and for the price, it’s a tremendous way to enjoy a warbird!
I’m unfamiliar with the organization to which you refer, but am aware of many of our Special Interest Groups (SIGs) that do have specific rules. There is a long history behind these and a process through the AMA Contest Board and our Competitions department to be a part of considering a change if that would be appropriate.
In the meantime, it is my hope that you fly a lot and have fun. I would also hope that all of our SIGs continue to consider the-ever changing landscape of model aviation and join in helping us all provide that “one voice” on behalf of all model aviation activities.
Thanks for the email and all the best.
So, there you go. Another shot at keeping us sort of in a line, a behind-the-scenes look at our communication, and a repeat of the importance of accepting change.
Here’s a photo of Tim’s airplane.
Fly and have fun![dingbat]