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Written by Model Aviation Staff
As featured on page 10 in the February 2012 issue.
Read an exclusive interview with AMA's newest president.

Bradford, Pennsylvania, resident Bob Brown, 66, has been elected to a two-year term as president of the AMA. He and his wife, JoAnne, have two daughters and four grandchildren. He visited AMA Headquarters shortly after the election ended, and sat down for an interview with MA staff.

How old were you when you got involved in aeromodeling? What was the first thing you flew? Also, what sparked your interest in aviation?
I’m 66 years old I’ve been involved in model aviation probably 60 years. The first plane I ever crashed was a FF model.

The original Piper Cub was made in Bradford, Pennsylvania. It was over the hill from my house; roughly 3 miles. The factory burned down in 1936 so it was well gone when I was born. But the residue from it, the fact that I could sit in my back yard and all of these Piper Cubs were constantly flying over my home … it really lit my fire.

What do you like to fly?
In all honesty I’d like to consider myself a modeler. What do I like to fly? Whatever whim I have. I’ve been around the circuit for quite a few years and I can usually do very well at whatever I want to do. I can try to fly [just about anything].

Do you have any other hobbies?
I have an extensive garden railroad in my back yard. Not only do I have electric power, I have steam power also. The garden railroad, it allows me to express my modeling interest in another facet.

I haven’t played with [RC] boats in years, although I have a very close friend that’s building one now. I won’t say that I won’t be building one.

You’ll also find automobile racing is a real big bag for me; primarily dirt. I don’t like to say that I’m refined. Even though I’m 66, I still love to play and I [am] into drag racing. I was into go-karts. I could easily be into Sprint Cars.

How many years did you serve in District III and in what capacities?
Let’s say I’ve served the Academy for over 30 years. I started out with the FAI program, was the subcommittee chairman with that, and became involved within the hierarchy the infrastructure of the Academy. I was a VP [district vice president] for 21 years. Some people say I was a VP for too long. But I must have been doing something right if I was reelected that many times.

Why did you run for AMA president?
To make the Academy bigger and better.

I’m not here as president, I’m here as the team leader. The team is composed of the Council, the employees, and the membership. I don’t want to be known as “Bob the President.” I want us to focus as a team, work as a team, and be as productive as we possibly can for the benefit of the Academy.

My campaign statement started out with the word “fun” in the first sentence. It concluded with the word “fun” in the last sentence. Modeling is fun. When the fun stops, the enjoyment is absent. We’re in this for fun.

How can we get the new generation interested in aeromodeling?
We have that new generation out there. All we have to do is recognize them in a fair manner.

I lead by example. As a [shop] teacher, I reached thousands of kids. I could say yes, some of my kids are now full-scale pilots. I take great pride in the philosophy that if you believe in someone, they’ll believe in you. That means a lot to me.

At the end of your two-year term, what would you like to look back and see as your accomplishments?
To make the Academy bigger and better.

The main thing right now is a satisfied membership in relation to the FAA. That’s number one. Number two would be an increased membership in the Academy. Number three would be a feeling by each Academy member that the Academy is of value to them.

You mentioned FAA being the number-one concern. How do you feel about the problem and what might need to be done?
To make the Academy bigger and better.

The problem with the FAA is probably the most challenging problem that we have ever encountered. It could ruin model aviation as we know it today by limiting our enjoyment of the hobby.

Other than the FAA issue, what is the biggest challenge you think the AMA might face?
Decreasing membership.

As president of the Academy of Model Aeronautics, what are you most looking forward to?
I want to see people having fun.