[headline: Aeromodeling is alive and well!]
Wow! I know it sounds like a cliché, but where did the summer go?
It’s been a good outdoor season for model aviation enthusiasts. I’ve had an opportunity to attend a number of events across the country this year and have made some interesting observations.
Aeromodeling is alive and well, in the US. Virtually all of the events I attended reported increased numbers of participants. Some had absolutely huge increases in registered pilots compared with previous years.
Things such as this are good indicators that model aviation is growing and interest in organized events, whether competition-oriented or not, is growing as well. In fact, the numbers clearly show that the less-competitive, fun-fly events are where interests lie. There’s something about being at an event with others who share a common attraction that adds a new element and level of enjoyment to what we all do as model aviation enthusiasts. I encourage everyone who has the opportunity to attend an event organized by one of AMA’s more than 2,400 chartered clubs. You’ll meet other modelers, make new friends, share ideas, and almost certainly will enjoy the experience. Give it a try.
By anyone’s standards, a significant event took place at EAA’s AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, last July. For the first time, radio controlled model aircraft were included in the daily airshows.
Five of this country’s best model builders and pilots flew their aircraft in front of hundreds of thousands of spectators and performed flawlessly. What may sound like a simple activity took significant effort and planning to organize and the results were more than anyone could have hoped. Reaction from the crowd was positive and the awareness that was brought to model aviation and AMA was, as the commercial goes, priceless.
AMA offers thanks to members Frank Noll, Mike Barbee, Wil Berninger, Matt Chapman, Paul LeTourneau, Brian O’Meara, the AirVenture organizers, and the EAA for making this happen.
As if just flying in the show wasn’t enough, how many modelers can say they flew in the same airshow with the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds?
I hope by now most of you are aware of the FAA’s Interpretive Rule released on June 23, 2014. It is the FAA’s interpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft that was included in the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. A key point is that this document is the FAA’s interpretation of the special rule. It is not law.
As part of issuing its rule, the FAA also opened a 30-day period in which interested individuals could make comments either opposing or in favor of the rule’s provisions. In mid-July AMA petitioned the FAA for an extension of that comment period and was granted a 60-day extension.
If you haven’t yet added your comments concerning the rule, there may still be time to do so. The comment deadline is September 23. It’s important that you add your voice to the process because it’s probable at least one of the provisions in the rule will negatively affect you. For a detailed explanation of what’s contained in the rule, visit the AMA website at www.modelaircraft.org. Please encourage your modeling friends and peers to do the same.
AMA renewal notices have been mailed. We have worked hard throughout the past year to support model aviation and our members and believe we have been successful in adding to the value of your AMA membership.
Our recent advocacy efforts have been and will continue to be expensive. I want to thank those of you who have made additional contributions to help support these efforts. I also want to thank each of you for being a member and let you know how much AMA appreciates your support.
I need to end this month’s column a somber note. On August 2, 2014, AMA District IV Vice President Bliss Teague passed away. Bliss was a member of AMA’s Executive Council for more than a decade and was great role model for all of us.
Bliss will be missed—by both his family and by his many friends like me, whom he not only helped but inspired to be a better person.
See you next time.