Park Director Promotes Model Flying at NRPA

As the Parks and Recreation Director for Pasco County, FL, I was able to talk to my counterparts with city, county, and state departments to encourage them to include model aircraft flying sites on their lands.

We in the Tampa Bay Area were privileged to host the National Recreation and Park Association annual conference with approximately 10,000 delegates in attendance. I designed and conducted an off-site seminar at the Sarasota R/C Squadron flying site, with approximately 45 Parks and Recreation professionals in attendance.

After seeing the fun of model aviation and explaining the life-long aspects of the activity, youth involvement and how the AMA supports the activity and provides safety procedures, the attendees were enthused enough to create new flying sites of their own, and even saved some existing flying sites from being turned into horse trails or something else.

Jim Slaughter
Pasco County, FL Parks and Recreation Director (Ret.)
AMA Member 635178




           

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"Model aviation is a perfect example of how recreation is socially beneficial. With no physical barriers to its enjoyment, aeromodeling is open to people of all ages."

-Derrick A. Crandall, President of the American Recreation Coalition

Read All About It

Model aviation flying featured in Parks & Rec Business magazine, May 2014

       

Parks & Rec FAQs

Why create a site?

RC (Radio Control) model flying is a fast-growing hobby/sport that is being enjoyed all across the globe. Creating a safe place to operate the models and learn to fly is essential to enjoying the sport. It is a natural process that the Parks and Recreations Dept. offer a space for this activity.

What space is needed for the flying site?

A space the size of a soccer field (approx. 100 yards long x 50 yards wide) is all that is required for small foam electric models. These are commonly referred to as Park Pilot Models.

What types of models are appropriate for the site?

The AMA Park Pilot program lists models 2 pounds and under and speeds not to exceed 60mph as suitable for Park Flying.

Is noise an issue?

The models that would be appropriate for a Park Pilot site are electric powered; therefore noise will not be a problem. The clean, quiet models are almost unnoticeable when flying.

 

What considerations should be given to the flying site layout?

The AMA has some general guidelines in the safety code that can be used to aid in the design of the site. Three areas need to be created. A flying zone must be established where the models can be safely flown without concern about flying over people, cars, buildings or roads. This zone needs to be clearly defined to keep anyone from wandering into the area, for safety reasons. Next, you will need to create an area for the pilots to stand, right next to the flying zone. Finally, a spectator area will need to be established to give a good view of the action, but keep them safe.

What costs are involved in creating the site?

A basic Park Flyer site can be created for practically no cost. If you have an open field that is fairly level with grass that is cut, you have a site! All you need is some signage and markers to outline the field and define the Flying, Pilot and Spectator areas. Simple orange parking or sports cones will work just fine.

Who can help operate the site and train new pilots?

Partnering with an AMA Club can provide all the expertise you will need. The club can provide instructors to teach newcomers how to fly and how to repair their models. Safe operational procedures must be established, and the club members can help ensure they are followed.

What kinds of programs can be established as a result of creating a flying site?

AMA club members can help you to put together many varied programs. Educational programs teaching STEM essentials are readily available to you through the AMA Education program. Charity events can be held to raise money for special causes you are interested in. Demonstrations can be organized to bring attention to the Park and advertise to grow the attendance at the model field. These events can bring modelers in from other areas, bringing dollars into the community for a positive economic impact.

MWR FAQs

How do I entice base personnnel?

MWR's have always had concerns about spending excessive time playing video games. consider the ULTIMATE video game that teaches how to fly using a Flight Simulator and then actually go outside and fly the real model! Your can learn how to teach these couch potatoes into model pilots enjoying an educational and fun hobby that gets them outside.

Where can I get the equipment?

Most of the gear can be found at your local hobby store or online. The AMA can also support you by providing a custom package of equipment to get you started with everything you need including: A window's based model aircraft flight simulator w/ controller and your choice of a multi-rotor, airplane, helicopter, and/or support equipment.

How much will it cost?

It's never cost less than it does today! Complete ready-to-fly options can be found for less than $100.

Who can help operate the site and train new pilots?

Partnering with an AMA Club can provide all the expertise you will need. The club can provide instructors to teach newcomers how to fly and how to repair their models. Safe operational procedures must be established, and the club members can help ensure they are followed.

What space is needed for the flying site?

For indoors, a gymnasium or larger with high ceilings is ideal. To fly outdoors look for a space the size of a soccer field (approx. 100 yards long x 50 yards wide). These sizes will accommodate small foam electric models commonly referred to as Park Pilot Models.

What considerations should be given to the flying site layout?

The AMA has some general guidelines in the safety code that can be used to aid in the design of the site. Three areas need to be created. A flying zone must be established where the models can be safely flown without concern about flying over people, cars, buildings or roads. This zone needs to be clearly defined to keep anyone from wandering into the area, for safety reasons. Next, you will need to create an area for the pilots to stand, right next to the flying zone. Finally, a spectator area will need to be established to give a good view of the action, but keep them safe.

What models are needed for flying indoors?

Micro, slow flying models weighing 7 oz. or less are best in a gym or indoor environment. We recommend models like E-Flite Night Vapor airplane, an E-Flite Blade MCX2 helicopter, or an E-Flite 200QX Quadcopter.

What models are needed for flying outside?

Electric-powered models weighing 2 ½ pounds or less are suitable for flying in a soccer-field sized outdoor flying site. We recommend models like the E-Flite Blade MCX2 helicopter, an E-Flite Q350 Quadcopter, and/or an E-Flight Apprentice airplane.

Let's Talk




I'm Tony Stillman, the Flying Site Coordinator for the Academy of Model Aeronautics. We're excited that you are interested in model aviation. If you would like to learn more about creating fun, low cost flying site, call me at 765-287-1256 x230. You can also use the form below. I'll be glad to help!

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