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Written by Chuck Bower
Clubs celebrate New Year's Day
Event coverage
Republished from the District XI AMA News column in the March 2017 issue of
Model Aviation.

Bonus video:

I have several reports of New Year’s Day club events to share this month! Before that, I want to congratulate all of the club officers who were newly elected or continued on with the office they hold for their clubs. These volunteer members are the foundation of the AMA. Although not all members are associated with a club, we owe a debt of gratitude to these people for all of the work they do. Even if you just fly in the park, chances are the club in the area, and the AMA, set the standards that allow flying there.

Other important volunteers in clubs are contest and event directors. Licenses for these roles are granted by AMA through a testing program to ensure the applicants’ abilities to run a safe event. These individuals have led the way in our exceptional safety record! Thank you to all of the club volunteers for keeping our clubs alive and well.

The Yakima Valley Aero Modelers’ New Year Fly-In at Ben’s Strip in Zillah, Washington, started out looking okay, reported Ryan Siebol.

Ben’s Strip, in Zillah WA, on New Year’s Day 2017.

Ryan arrived at 8 a.m. to get the chili started in two big slow cookers. The weather started out fair, but by 11 a.m., there was 3 to 4 inches of snow and Ryan thought no one would show up after making all of that chili.

People came anyway and as the wind died down, so did the snow. Ryan flew his son Colton’s Fun Cub for the first flight of the year and then others joined in. It was a good turnout and a good event.

Whidbey Island Radio Control Society in Washington celebrated the New Year with the club’s longest-running event. The Polar Bear Event theme was the Doolittle Raid off the Carrier USS Hornet CV-8. Sixteen Army Air Force B-25s lumbered off the deck on April 18, 1942. This year will mark the 75th anniversary of the brave raid.

With ice on the runway, and a wind speed of 12 mph with gusts to 17, these small B-25s were a handful for cold thumbs, but the last four to leave the carrier flew successful missions over their targets with direct hits recorded. True to the mission 75 years earlier, one had a successful landing and three others ditched with all crew members safely returned to Whidbey.

Gallantry medals were presented and the field was open to general flying! Cookies and hot cider warmed club members as they encouraged the fliers. There is always a big turnout for this event—a gathering with an excuse to fly our airplanes.

One of my favorite things to do is read club newsletters. I find a lot of these online. I start on the AMA website with the “Members & Clubs” tab. In the drop-down menu, is “Club Services.” From there you can do to “Find a Club.” I choose a state and begin searching.

The clubs that show websites often share their newsletters on the website. One of my personal favorites is the Rogue Eagles in Oregon. Bruce Tharpe is the club president and the newsletter editor. It’s worth a look!

Hope to see you at a club meeting.

-Chuck Bower

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