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Written by Tony Stillman
AMA club rolls up their sleeves and rolls out a new runway
Monthly AMA News Column
Photos by Jack Pitcher
As seen in the May 2016 issue of
Model Aviation.

Hi, again! By the time you read this, flying season will be ramping up with lots of events and activities across the country. I hope you have your new aircraft completed and are ready for some long, fun days at the flying field!

Several RC clubs across the country have been improving their flying sites by adding a geotextile (fabric) runway. This could be a new runway for foamies, or a full runway for all types of models.

AMA recently added a geotextile runway to the International Aeromodeling Center in Muncie, Indiana, at Site 8 (a park-flyer-type site at the south end of the property), and behind the National Model Aviation Museum.

The material was provided by US Fabrics, and is called Aeromodeling Geotextile 230. Find more information about this material on the company’s website at You can learn more and see how we use this material at AMA in a video below.

Bonus Video

Here is a story about the Arvada Associated Modelers RC club in Colorado and its addition of a Control Line (CL) circle using geotextile. This is something that many RC clubs could add to allow the CL fliers a place to fly. Something worth thinking about …

Flying circle improvements were accomplished in the fall of 2015 at the CL site of the Arvada Associated Modelers RC club complex on the west side of Denver. This circle has been in use for a number of years and its surface consists of compacted “crusher fines,” a very fine rock chip material that is the leftover byproduct of rock-crushing operations. The Arvada club site is on the grounds of a sand and gravel company, so the material was readily available.

Through the efforts of Chris and Linda Brainard, who currently serve on the club’s board of directors, and Jerry Higgins, a proposal was developed to cover the existing flying surface with a doughnut of geotextile material. The geotextile material is used in other areas of the RC site, and enough was available to complete this project. Chris, Linda, and Jerry have been active in support of RC events and work parties, so it was hoped that reciprocal support would be available to help with this labor-intensive project.

A couple of work parties were scheduled. The first job was to add an additional layer of fresh crusher fines to smooth the surface. This was spread by a dump truck around the circle edges. This had to be shoveled and raked into place. It was a labor-intensive day for only four of us CL fliers. Some trips around the circle with pickup trucks, followed by several days of rain, compacted and smoothed the area.

At the next work party, we were relieved and gratified to have 20 club members show up to help get this work done. It was a nice day and things went smoothly. We were able to get the entire job done in slightly more than two hours. The spirit of cooperation among club members worked for us that day.

The inaugural Ringmaster Fly-A-Thon followed on October 9 and 10, 2016, as the Arvada Associated Modelers held the event on the newly upgraded CL circle. Chris and Linda hosted the event with the help of Jerry, Keith McMahan, and Jack Pitcher.

Jerry Higgins finishes raking out the new crusher fines in preparation for the geotextile fabric work party. This was a tiring day of shovel and rake work for the CL flyers.

A pit area and a worktable were added to finish the project.

Here’s a view of the Ringmaster pit area with the administration and food tents behind. We had a good crowd. Quite a few were RC fliers from within the club. Some had flown CL before and some had not. It was fun to watch. A few holes were punched in the ground.

The following is an excerpt from the report that Linda filed with our AMA District IX associate vice president and the Brotherhood of the Ring.

“It was a great time had by all! There were eight people who had not flown Control Line since the 1950s. The last time George Baxter flew was in 1956 on a parade field in South Korea.

“There was only one flier who got dizzy and had to get down on the ground before he fell down. All of the others walked off the field looking just a little tipsy!

“There were two guys who brought their electric Ringmasters and flew at the same time. Our oldest pilots started from age 84, through 79, 76, and 73, to our youngest pilots at ages 11, 9, 7, and 5! With 12 Ringmaster airplanes, we had 25 pilots, seven who soloed, and 20 flights put up by females for a grand total of 95 flights over the two-day event.”

—Tony Stillman


Charleston (S.C.) Radio Control Society put down our first strip of Geotex last year. Now going to add another 15 foot strip. Will be 30 ft by 280 ft then. Little prep required and has worked out well.

Cost per 15X300 roll?

Hi Fred! The best way to find up-to-date pricing information for this product would be to contact the manufacturer directly. You can find more information about the product, and contact information for the manufacturer at

It would be helpful to clubs considering the addition of one of these geotextile runways, if someone would discuss the cost of as well as what's involved with preparation prior to laying them down.

Thanks Dave! We'll keep this in mind!

I am relley good with my hands and i am good at airplane parts.

Have you seen it used with turbines? Any idea how it would, or does hold up?

We've laid down our runway on hard pan, no prep required. Over time (6 weeks) all of the wrinkles have smoothed out except the last 130' of the roll on one side (7 1/2'). Has anyone else had this issue? Next, there is a recommended tape (Tite Seal Roof and Deck Seam Tape) and it is available at a reasonable price but I'm wondering if anyone has used another tape. I'd lake a white tape line down the middle of our runway and white Xs at each end. Any suggestions?

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