trailer, dining shade, and equipment were set up and ready
for Friday. As we were leaving, we stopped to help the Hobby
Lobby crew set up their tent. Kevin Butts, and his wife Amber,
had driven from Tennessee with the trailer that was packed
full of products from Hobby Lobby to sell at the fair.
Friday, we woke up to the sound of rain. Little did we know
what was in store for us or we would have packed up and left.
We got to the NEAT Fair around 9:30am and flew a few times
in the rain. I tested out the new Robart Struts on my Hangar
9 Corsair and they worked perfectly! My AXI-powered Skylark
had another spectacular flight but the SKS Video guys (they
came with 2 cameras this year) couldn't shoot in the rain.
After that, the rain got harder and harder. We spent most
of the day under tents and umbrellas and met with many good
people attending and running the show. I had lunch with Fred
Marks of FMA Direct. We talked about Lithium safety and some
of the new cell and charger technologies about to hit the
market. The ground was slowly flooding and frustration level
was evident in the SEFLI group but they kept smiling anyway.
I remember Tom Hunt trying to get some demo flights started.
We were ready to go but the rain continued relentlessly. We
decided to leave the field an hour early before the fair closed
and drove back to the motel for some dry clothes.
Saturday morning, we woke again to the pouring rain, and,
for first time realized that things were bad. Before we could
finish breakfast, we were blocked out of Rt. 17. since we
were in Roscoe, NY. I had a 4-wheel drive Explorer so we tried
the reverse path up Rt. 206 to Rt. 30 and could not believe
the flooding! We saw farms under water and the clear Delaware
river known for world-famous fly fishing was a raging muddy
rapids. The police blocked our way just before we got to Downsville
on the other side. They said that the road was under water
in several places. We were dissapointed but decided to make
it back to the hotel instead of escaping up Rt. 30 to Binghamton.
I just couldn't leave my trailer with all the planes and equipment
inside at the field.
phone coverage is poor at best in this rural part of NY. I
managed to contact Jim T. Graham from Hobby Lobby and he said
they were hosting an informal indoor R/C party at the Days
Inn in Liberty, NY...about 30 miles away off Exit 101. We
decided to go since Rt. 17 East was not blocked, only West.
We ended up having a blast! I met people like Tom Atwood and
Tyler Renkert of Fly RC, Eddie Noble of Nikitis Aircraft,
Don Shulman, and the gang from Hobby Lobby. David Payne of
Hobby Lobby easily hovered my Shock Flyer indoors along with
the new Raptor biplane. What a great pilot David is! Kevin
Butts from Hobby Lobby was letting people test fly some electric
helis so we gave it a try and had a blast! I also got to see
some of the new models arriving at Hobby Lobby that were meant
to be shown at NEAT. I took photos of everything. I want to
thank Hobby Lobby (especially Mike Hines and Jim T. Graham)
for their courtesy of hosting some stranded NEAT Fair attendees.
It lifted our spirits and left us with a good memory.
good feeling rapidly changed to bad as we heard news reports
from the local police. The whole area was flooded and the
NEAT Fair cancelled. I worried about my trailer and all the
other RVs, campers, and trailers that were at the field. My
mind was filled with images of a flooded valley. When we heard
news of Rt. 17 being open again, we headed for the Peaceful
Valley campsite once more. On Rt. 30, we saw many RVs and
campers on the side of the road. The drive was slow and it
seemed to take forever. As we approached the campgrounds,
we saw an unexpected site. Many trailers were already up the
hill in a safe area! The SEFLI club had moved the entire campgrounds
to a safe spot on the hillside. They must have been working
through the night and we were impressed beyond belief!
made it down to the campground with my Explorer and gathered
the dining shade, chairs, and table. This area was now for
4-wheel drive vehicles only. The SEFLI club was still working
away and we thanked the folks that brought my trailer up to
dry ground. My hats off to the SEFLI Club for a real heroic
effort in such terrible conditions. They deserve great credit
for keeping the attendees and their belongings safe!
were lucky to be able to leave the flooded area and return
upstate to Rochester, NY. I felt bad for the local people
that must now deal with the flooded mess. While my point of
view was from being stuck inside the blocked flooded area,
there were many others stuck outside trying to get into the
NEAT Fair. Many people had driven for hours, just to be turned
away. The hills of the Catskill mountains took all the rain
from the remnants of Hurricane Ivan and then dumped it into
the Delaware River after a time delay of many hours. The natural
dissaster caught most people off guard, which is a time when
we reveal our true character and when real heroes emerge.
The 2004 NEAT Fair event reminded me that the true spirit
of R/C lies in helping others.