Finally … some decent weather has arrived! And along with it the “official” beginning of the outdoor flying season for many of us. Early indications are that it’s going to be a busy year. AMA sanctioned events are trending up for 2014 and anecdotal evidence suggests that the number of flying events across the country are on the rise.
For many of us, this is good news. Obviously, we enjoy flying model aircraft. However, participating in an event and flying with your friends and buddies can take that enjoyment to a new level.
Events do not necessarily have to be competition oriented. In fact, most AMA sanctioned events aren’t. If you take a look at the AMA online event calendar, you’ll see events ranging from simple fun-flys all the way to the other end of the spectrum where you’ll find events for serious competitors.
Many of our clubs host annual events. In fact, some clubs have hosted events consecutively for more than 50 years. It takes much work to host a flying event, but clubs make the effort for a number of reasons. Hosting an aeromodeling event can be a moneymaker for the club to help keep membership dues low and offset the expense of maintaining a flying site.
Many of our clubs host events to support local charities. The real value in doing this doesn’t necessarily benefit the club monetarily, but it does benefit the club in other ways. Clubs that give back to their communities become an asset to the community. Your friends and neighbors recognize and appreciate this.
When the time comes that the club needs the support of the community, maybe to help with saving a flying site or finding a new one—and chances are for many of us this will someday happen—the community will be there to return the favor and offer its support.
Clubs also host events because, in spite of the effort needed, it’s simply fun. For many of us, getting together with our friends from other clubs adds a level of enjoyment that comes from being with others who share similar interests. The camaraderie experienced and the friendships built can last a lifetime.
If you haven’t yet, why not look to see what events are taking place near you. Find one that sounds interesting, grab a buddy, and attend. I’ll bet you’ll not only have a good time, but when you return home you’ll be looking for the next event to attend.
The AMA Foundation is beginning to take shape. As many of you know, the foundation was launched at the AMA Expo in Ontario, California, in January. Since then, much progress has been made and things are beginning to move forward.
The foundation’s initial board members met in Muncie in early May and, after sitting in on those meetings, I’m confident in saying that there are some talented people who have agreed to offer their time, knowledge, and expertise to help make the AMA Foundation successful.
The AMA Foundation will play an important role in our organization’s future. One function of the foundation will be to manage an endowment that will support AMA programming going forward. Programs that are now supported by member dues will be supported by proceeds from the foundation endowment, allowing AMA to keep dues stable.
AMA is very fortunate to have thousands of members who annually donate to help support AMA programs such as the AMA/Charles H. Grant Scholarship Program, education outreach programs, the National Model Aviation Museum, Flying Site Assistance Grants, the AMA Disaster Relief Fund, and others.
As the endowment grows, AMA will be able to fund many of these programs with the gains earned from investing of the monies in the endowment, leaving the principal intact. Although there will be some immediate impact, the true value of the foundation and the foundation endowment probably won’t be realized for many years. However, it’s important that AMA position itself so that years from now, we will be able to sustain these great programs, and others that benefit our membership without having to rely as heavily on membership dues.
Please remember that National Model Aviation Day is August 16, 2014.