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President's Perspective 5-05

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Old 04-13-2005, 06:04 PM
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J_R
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Default President's Perspective 5-05

The following is Dave Brown's May column in MA

****

IN RECENT COLUMNS I have pointed out the need to reach out to members of the park flyer community and bring them into the AMA fold. There seems to be an undercurrent where AMA is thought of as a separate entity from its members, and those involved with park flyers are separate from either of the aforementioned. This is difficult for me to understand because AMA is its members and it is those members who determine what direction AMA takes.

Those of us who are "in charge" of AMA are in the position purely as a result of being elected by the membership. It is a simple matter to elect others to be responsible if the direction the organization is taking isn't the direction the membership thinks it should go.

The needs and desires of a membership as diverse as those of us involved in aeromodeling run a pretty wide range. It's easy to look at the needs of aeromodeling from a narrow viewpoint, focusing on what an individual perceives as his or her own needs and ignore the bigger picture. This is more evident with inexperienced modelers who have a tendency to view their new avocation through rose-colored glasses.

The freedoms and rights we have in this country were won through the efforts of past generations, just as are many of the advantages we enjoy as aeromodelers. Our American society has those people who would prefer that the country return to a time before the civil rights movement as well as those who tend to take those rights as a given.

Aeromodelers deal with a similar polarization. There are those who would prefer that we had been frozen in some point in the past when the hobby focused on their interest and didn't face difficulties from the advancements in technology or the changes of the American society.

On the other extreme are those who would prefer to remain oblivious to struggles of the past and dive into the activity with an attitude of invincibility. Aeromodeling is not an invincible activity, and anyone who believes that needs to look at the past. Those who ignore history are destined to repeat it, and we are no exception.

How does this affect the aeromodeling community? The advent of the park flyer has allowed modelers to fly in places which are similar to those we enjoyed in the 1950s when CL was the rage of the day and "cured" the need for massive flying sites. We flew everywhere: parks, schools, even a few churchyards. (Father Shea didn't like that last one, but he was understanding.)

We joined clubs and AMA in order to enjoy the social aspects of the activity and to keep abreast of the advances in our activity. We needed a group such as AMA to learn how to do this safely without finding out the hard way. AMA gave us credibility in dealing with those occasional challenges to our right to fly our models. The fact that there was a national organization made a difference in establishing our activity as a legitimate pastime. Insurance was not a consideration since the population of lawyers and environmentalists had yet to grow.

In short, that period was bliss. It lasted until society became increasingly sensitive to the noise and site owners became gradually more aware of liability issues. Then the exodus began.

The sport was forced out of the urban areas and out into suburban areas and farther. Unfortunately society grows and what is far enough out on one day may not be in the near future as the urban and suburban areas expand to handle the growth. As a result, aeromodeling is forced into moving yet farther out for survival.

Park flyers have significantly reduced the noise levels, giving us an opportunity to "come back inside" in terms of flying sites, but this does little for the problem of liability protection for the site owners. That can be an advantage or curse, depending on how we conduct ourselves.

When we were kids—at least when I was one—we would spot an open field, roll out the lines, and fly. If the police didn't show up, we flew until they did. If they did come, usually they would ask us to quit because someone had complained. We were kids and the cops understood that kids will be kids.

Occasionally the owner of the open field would appear and was often supportive of our flying, but sometimes he or she would ask us to leave and we would. There were plenty of places we could find to fly. All we needed was half of a football field.

Fast-forward to 2005 and look at the same activity. Substitute adults, park flyers, and culture as it is now. Many seem to think that you can fly a park flyer anywhere, but today's society being what it is, that is less true than it was for us as kids and our CL models.

Yes, the noise problem has been overcome, but other difficulties—particularly liability sensitivity—will remain. If we are inconsiderate in our approach to this new opportunity, it will be lost and we could endanger more than the park flyers.

I understand those who seem to think that they do not need AMA for park flyers, but they are looking at the world through those rose-colored glasses. Whether or not they need AMA insurance individually is a matter of opinion—particularly if they have homeowner's insurance. However, the liability concerns of the site owner will almost certainly become a factor in the continued use of that site.

One city recently banned flying model airplanes because a group of people flew gliders in a spot where the city deemed it inappropriate. The ban doesn't just preclude flying at the "inappropriate" location, but anywhere within the city. There was no regular club site in that city, but if there had been one, it would have been lost as a result of this ordinance.

Those who think that they can fly park flyers virtually anywhere could be jeopardizing the right to fly for others. We need to figure out a way to address this situation. The park flyer community needs to refrain from flying "just anywhere," and at the same time we need to be able to provide site-owner coverage for those sites where park flyers could be flown reasonably.

The difficulty will be to create an economic plan to pay for providing that coverage at a cost which would be acceptable to the park flyer community while maintaining our current membership base. That's a tall order, but I think we can do it.

I only hope we don't "poison the well" by acting irresponsibly while we figure it out. MA

Til next month ...


Dave Brown, AMA president
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Old 04-13-2005, 11:11 PM
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Default RE: President's Perspective 5-05

One city recently banned flying model airplanes because a group of people flew gliders in a spot where the city deemed it inappropriate. The ban doesn't just preclude flying at the "inappropriate" location, but anywhere within the city. There was no regular club site in that city, but if there had been one, it would have been lost as a result of this ordinance.

Those who think that they can fly park flyers virtually anywhere could be jeopardizing the right to fly for others. We need to figure out a way to address this situation. The park flyer community needs to refrain from flying "just anywhere," and at the same time we need to be able to provide site-owner coverage for those sites where park flyers could be flown reasonably.

The difficulty will be to create an economic plan to pay for providing that coverage at a cost which would be acceptable to the park flyer community while maintaining our current membership base. That's a tall order, but I think we can do it.
OH, Mr. Dave, Oh Mr. Dave!!

Your continued pitch for the Two-Tier (or more) plan is extremely evident here. You may well remember when I was totally in contention for such plan, but then, few of you people were. Never ceases to amaze me just how the roles can reverse. [8D] Time has again placed us on opposite sides of the fence. Maybe it's just in search for the greener grass, we each climbed the fence to the other side.

Dave shame on you. You missed a beautiful spot to drive a point home. >>>"There was no regular club site in that city, but if there had been one, it would have been lost as a result of this ordinance." <<<

You could have made a better point if you had stated, "....but if there had been one, then very possibly the organized modelers may well have prevented such an ordinance."

There is no argument that modelers need local organization and leadership. When your beloved Model Aviation becomes a profit making, self supporting magazine, then just MAYBE the other media will again MARKET and support the AMA as they once did until you people decided to use your captive audience and forced-conscription subscribers in order to undercut the commercial modeling media. This of course cost all AMA contact to the average Joe Modeler that buys magazines in the Super Markets. Sad day for aeromodeling. Don't forget that a great number of these "park-fliers" never visit a hobby shop as between the internet and the magazines they don't even need the hobby shops, much less AMA. You want changes, then look in the mirror as a place to start.


If there is a real problem with organized modeling and I think there is, then YOU people have been that problem's greatest ally. Unsolicited DVDs and a publishing bureaucracy will not destroy that enemy. I could easily MARKET pencils with a cupful on the street corner, yet I have little confidence that such would pay my bills in the style to which I wish to remain accustomed to.


edited: additional text.
Directly mailed to Brown, Koranda, S. Frank, et.al.
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Old 04-14-2005, 01:46 AM
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Default RE: President's Perspective 5-05

Will Dave Brown ever write an article that the topic isn't "liability" or "insurance" etc.... I've been in the AMA now for a few years and I think at least 6-8 columns a year have been.

How can one LEAD when all they do is continue to discuss/harp on one aspect of the sport - not really part of the sport at all.
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Old 04-23-2005, 01:44 PM
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Default RE: President's Perspective 5-05

Aloha Bob,,,


Maybe it's time to have our AMA Card,,, "Examined"...

I think Mr. Brown is right on step,,, INSURANCE.... It's the main stay of AMA, with out insurance,,, there is nothing,,, and I mean nothing.


I know Mr Brown has been around this sport for ever, easy to poke a stick at, but the AMA is still working,,, somebody is doing,,,
somethink right...

Big
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