Family Fun at Flite Fest 2015

Written by Matt Ruddick Event coverage of FliteFest 2015

During a four-day stretch in the middle of July, the small town of Malvern, Ohio, nearly quadrupled in size when the second annual Flite Fest was held at the 1/2-mile-long private Furey Airport. The event, organized and hosted by the crew at Flite Test, drew an estimated 900 pilots and nearly 4,000 attendees during the four days of open flight.
Although the weather only gave its full cooperation on Saturday, it didn’t deter any of the kids who filled the two 100-foot build tents during the rain stints. While the rain fell, the crowds of volunteers tirelessly kept the event moving, and the kids were hard at work gluing, taping, and designing the aircraft that they would race out to fly after once the skies cleared. Austin Furey, marketing manager at Flite Test, said that of the 900 pilots who attended, roughly 100 of those were under the age of 12. The event also saw a large increase in entire family participation, as well.

The Flite Test host, Josh Bixler, told us one of the most aggressive messages they communicate through their programming is for “families to do things together.” This message was well received among those who attended Flite Fest this year, where you were hard-pressed to find many father-and-son duos on the flightline. Instead, this event featured fathers, sons, mothers, and daughters—all working together and having a great time. That great time is one Josh plans to bring to Ontario, California, in January at the AMA Expo. During their live podcast recording at Flite Fest, it was announced that the cast and crew will be guests at the 2016 AMA Expo and will be helping with the AMA Flight School Build Area, as well as taking to the Speaker Stage for a Q&A session.

Look for more coverage from Flite Fest 2015 in an upcoming issue of Model Aviation magazine.

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Josh Bixler and his crew have put together a quality organization. His videos are very informative and entertaining. They had a great presence at Joe Nall 2015 and are working hard to introduce so many new pilots to our great hobby. I am so glad that they had such a huge success at their FliteFest 2015. God speed the the Flite Test family.

Flite Fest 2015 was a blast! We drove nearly 2500 miles from California, (with a few diversions on the way) and rented a NEFF Brothers RV to enjoy the event. Neither rain, or the resulting mud could dampen the spirits of those that attended, with volunteers and attendees alike helping spread straw on the worst areas of the mud and squishy parts, the venue was back in shape in no time. We arrived Thursday afternoon right after the heavy rain that hit, and yet folks were working diligently to assure that Pilots and Attendees were attended to and that they got to registration and check-in with a minimum of fuss. When the rain killed any chance of using overflow parking in the field south of the event, they gathered a group and ran golf carts from the High School Football field parking area to the event, they ran all day and well into the evening making sure everybody made it to the field and back to their car or RV. Many local folks from Malvern came by to watch, and every single one I talked to thought it was marvelous, and said they really looked forward to next year. They loved the family atmosphere and how everybody was having such a great time. A big shout out to the Volunteers, who without their help this event could never have happened. From parking to Build Tent to flight line to the golf cart crews, the volunteers never wavered. Thank You each and every one of you. I can hardly wait till next year! My wife is already making plans, reserving an RV and starting a check list of things we need to pack. This worked so well as a family event. So many memories in so little time. Even trying to find the remains of my Fly Beam in the dark in a corn field is one that I wont soon forget. A great time and as always, thanks to the Flite Test Crew, and the Furey Family for hosting us again. John and Diane, thank you again from the bottom of our hearts. Your generosity and good nature are what all of us really want to emulate. See you all next year, and Josh and gang, see you in January in Ontario. Matt and Kat Elyash Sacramento CA

Dear FliteFest, Congratulations on an awesome concept! Your emphesis on "relationships first, airplanes second", and "airplanes as a vehicle to build relationships" is awesome, and the reason for your success. There is always something more to be learned in this hobby, and the fascination it provides can really draw people together. I know God is pleased with what you are doing! Sincerely, Mike

Really good to see the AMA taking notice of the FliteTest efforts. What they have achieved with this event in such a short time is remarkable. Their web site ( ) is by far the best RC related resource on the web. They produce two shows a week and provide build and repair videos as well as beginner information that is an invaluable resource for beginner and expert alike. And they do all this in a way that helps motivate beginners to overcome the challenges that are sure to arise when getting started in this wonderful hobby. Furthermore, they do all of this in a way that is always family friendly, humble and classy. I truly believe that they are responsible for a huge part of the recent growth in our hobby. My hats off to the folks at FliteTest and to the AMA for coverage and partnership of their accomplishments. Sincerely, Tom - Lake[port, CA

It's great to see AMA and Flite Test cooperating to spread the good word of the R/C hobby to new users. Keep up the the good work, both of you!

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