Flying Site Assistance

Written by Mark Radcliff AMA News District III Column As seen in the April 2018 issue of Model Aviation.

I was reading my local newspaper, and the religion section was asking for pastors to submit an article of 400 words for a sermon of the week. I thought to myself that is about the size AMA allows for my monthly column. That being stated, I am preaching this month and here is my “sermon.” Throughout the past year, I have received several calls and emails from District III clubs that were losing their flying fields. Although that alone is cause for alarm, what is most disturbing is that most are losing their fields because of a lack of activity.
Does your club have sponsors? A sign thanks your sponsors and the public for their generous support of the club flying facility.

One Pennsylvania club field is owned by a major corporation and the facility changed ownership. The new landowners had not seen much activity and decided for insurance reasons that they did not want anyone using the field. A similar situation occurred in Ohio with an airport that owns and maintains a club flying field. New management came in, saw little to no activity, and stopped maintaining the field. In fact, a modeler flew there one day and a member of the management came on the grounds and asked what he was doing! I am happy to report in both of the examples mentioned, that the clubs took action, met with the owners of the fields, and have kept their fields open for future activities.
A bulletin board at your field is a good communication tool for the club and members of the public visiting your facility.

Here is my point. The most valuable asset we have as modelers is the members of our clubs and our flying facilities. I would encourage every club in District III to do a self-evaluation in 2018. If your club is losing members and is barely active, then the officers need to put a plan together to fix this. How? Communication! Are you communicating with your own club members and the owner(s) of the field? Invite the owner(s) of your field out to your club for a picnic, fly-in, etc. Let them know that your club is active and it depends on and appreciates the field it is flying from. With all of the bad drone publicity in the news, it is easy for a landowner to become discouraged, not want the liability issues, and shut down your club field. If your club is consistently using the field and is a good steward of the property, the landowner will want you to be on the property.
The Ona RC Club in West Virginia, has a beautiful flying field at a full-scale airport and has an excellent relationship with the airport’s owner. Communication is paramount in keeping a good club and field.

If your club needs help with your flying field, such as looking for a replacement or simply information to educate a new manager or property owner, please contact AMA Flying Site Assistance Coordinator Tony Stillman at AMA Headquarters at [email protected], or call (800) 435-9262, extension 230. Tony has many years of experience working with parks, commissioners, landowners, and similar, and can help you talk with your landowner and explain why AMA members are good stewards of the property and are valuable assets to the community. End of sermon … Fly safely—fly AMA.

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