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Written by Jay Smith
AMA interim executive director
As seen in the June 2018 issue of
Model Aviation.

This video originally appeared in the May 15, 2018, edition of AMA's webcast: AMA Air. Find more episodes at

Jay Smith: How did you get involved with model aviation?

Chad Budreau: As I was growing up, my dad had a couple of model aircraft, including RC and Control Line (CL). We occasionally flew CL in the backyard, but because we were not near an AMA club or flying field, our flying time was limited. As a result, most of my childhood was spent with RC cars and boats, and HO-scale model trains. Looking back, my inability to access a flying site as a kid instilled in me the importance of adding new flying sites and keeping our existing flying sites open, welcoming, and active.

When I started working at AMA, I quickly jumped at the opportunity to pick up model aircraft flying again. Model Aviation Editor-in-Chief Jay Smith, as well as other AMA Headquarters staff, trained me to fly. I now have 13 1/2 model airplanes. The half of a model has been sitting in my workshop for a couple of years after a hard landing, but I will get it back up in the air … someday.

JS: How has model aviation impacted your life and/or career?

CB: My bachelor’s degree is in political science and corporate communications. I later earned a master’s in marketing and management. I have been fortunate to use my degrees in careers that I enjoy.

Working at the AMA is a true honor. Not only do I get to continue to use my skillsets, but I get to apply them to a hobby that I love. For example, when I champion to protect AMA and our hobby on Capitol Hill, my passion is genuine because I have a vested interest. I want to make sure that not only can my dad and I still enjoy the hobby, but I want my kids to enjoy it as well.

JS: What disciplines of modeling do you currently participate in?

CB: Most of my flights are with traditional fixed-wing model aircraft. I also have a small helicopter and drone. I am a tinkerer by nature and have a small workshop in the garage. I tried to pick up CL flying, but admittedly I get very dizzy. I have been dabbling with plans building, but my schedule hasn’t afforded me the time to commit to that particular discipline. I seem to do okay building the frame, but I have not mastered covering or finishing my model.

JS: What other hobbies do you have?

CB: I enjoy woodworking, camping, and restoring my Model T Ford. Occasionally I get an opportunity to combine all three hobbies into one. Right now I am finishing a 1920s-era Model T pull-behind camper that I built from the frame up. It combines woodworking, camping, and my Model T interest into one hobby project. Despite the fact that I have multiple competing hobbies and interests, I try to dedicate plenty of time with my family.

JS: Who or what has influenced you the most?

CB: No question—my wife. She and I complement each other very well.

JS: Could you share one goal you have for the AMA?

CB: While the AMA Executive Council (EC) conducts its search for an executive director, I have been asked to step up as the interim executive director. As the interim director, I believe my duty is more than simply making sure the lights stay on. I want to keep the association moving forward.

We are on the cusp of some significant projects at AMA, including a redesign of this magazine, protecting Section 336 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act, organizing a new AMA Expo West, and a massive remake of the AMA website and membership online portal. My goal is to not only make sure these projects make it across the finish line, but also work with members and the EC to ensure that we keep AMA moving in the right direction.


It seems that most of us modelers have a similar diversity in our hobbies. I have been a shooter and reloader since I was 13 years old, and I've found
flown control line since I was about 10 although I wasn't successful until about 17. I took up radio control airplanes at the behest of my wife who was trying to keep me out of flying full-scale. I have a full-scale pilot's license now and still find radio control one of the most satisfying Hobbies.

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