Where to start – so much has happened this year!
First our flying site:
RC Soaring Clubs have co-existed in Public Parks all over the USA…the reason RC Sailplanes work in parks is because they don’t fly around making noise, but mostly they don’t fly ‘around’. When a RC sailplane guy or club is using a park field, he and his activities are mostly invisible. Even when a club is having an active day of soaring, other park users take little notice since for the most part the sailplanes are gone…either up high or away from the field. Othe park users may see someone standing in the field looking up, but pretty much take no notice….so when sailplane activity is there, its not really “there”. Birds can be heard, other activities can be going on the field. Sailplanes fly ‘from’ a field, not over a field. No flight lines are needed, safety fences, or locked access gates. When we are flying we are mostly invisible….in fact testimony of local neighbors find our sailplanes are a value, beauty and emphasis nature, in general beneficial as an attraction to the park.
Over the years we all flew some electric powered aircraft before or after and sometimes during our club soaring days (mostly Thursday evenings and Sundays)…but then it was carbon brushed motors and Nicads which equaled a few 4 or 5 minute flights. This past year The Chinese entered the Park Flyer scene with good flying exceptionally cheap foam powered aircraft, ready to fly. Visitors saw us flying our old electric stuff and figured it must be “okay” to fly electric powered aircraft in parks…specifically on our club park soaring site…and that lead to a HUGE increase in guys showing up to fly electric powered foamies (Parkflyers). It really wasn’t a problem until it was explained that the site was not a “flying field” but rather a club rc glider site. That lead to the guests getting very agressive during a club soaring contest… to the point where the Park Security Officer was contacted and he dispatched the Police. This scenario has been repeated over and over around the country as guys who purchased their “toy” model airplanes felt that parks were public and so they could do what they wanted in them….our club by the way has no authority to restrict or block any kind of activity at the park, but since we have had a permit/contract to fly rc gliders on the site since the early 90′s and Charlie Vettiner has been the official soaring site for the Louisville Area Soaring Society since about 1952 we are the legal users of the field for rc.
The police arrived and found that the sign on the site stated “Model Airplane Flying Field” as did the Park Website…and our permit was not in proper order, so they didn’t feel that they could stop anyone from flying any kind of model at the field.
The incident worked against the LASS members and for the LASS members….in that it was clear that we could no longer fly the occassional electric powered model at the site and for us because the incident mentioned inspired a new Permit to be issued to the LASS specifying RC Glider Flying Site, and improved from a couple days a week permit to 365 days per year.
The park is under a plan to improve and modify its design for the future and a number of ‘town hall’ type meetings were held to offer up several different plans for the neighbors and users to choose from. ALL of the plans included our flying site field on them…and the final version was turned into a 3D archectual model…with scaled down versions of our sailplanes actually flying above the field and the park!!!
At each meeting a park neighbor stood up to say how much the enjoyed the model giders flying over head, so quietly, naturally adding to the beauty of the park.
A huge thanks to Club Co-founder, Club President, LSFV, LSFVP Ed Wilson for being there at the Flying Field and club’s start and for carefully protecting the soaring site for generations ahead.
Next installment will be “Exciting Member Achivements 2011″ – And we have a BUNCH!