Whew! We finally got something close to a flying season in in just the past couple months with
quite a number of postponed contests due to the pandemic taking off again. I was fortunate to
get to Topeka, St. Louis and Tulsa for events in the last six weeks or so. At every stop it was
great to fly and visit with old friends as well as hit the local attractions. Heck, it was great just
to get away from the everyday grind for a bit. Now the season is over for me and I’m thinking
about what I plan to build for the next year and beyond. I’m actually pretty well equipped if I
build nothing but it is my habit and compulsion to have something on the work table
constantly. I’m completing a practice profile for those winter days here I am able to get out to
the field for a flight or two. My higher-caliber machines are a little too much hastle in cold
weather. I also have an idea to create a top notch modern version of my Ebejer Neptune from
the 1950s for a new RO Jett .67 stuck in a drawer here. In addition I’d like to put to use one or
two of my ignition engines in some Old Time free flights as a diversion. We’ll see how far I get.
I find I don’t build as fast as I used to-but the quality is better.
I can report that PAMPA is in pretty good shape overall except I wish we had a larger roster. At
last count I find 215 paid members. We are getting the website moving along with more
material being added. I just re-upped PAMPA with the AMA as their CLPA Special Interest
Group, filing the paperwork as required. I expect also to receive the documents soon to
continue our corporation registration with the state of New Jersey. This week I will sit down
with our tax accountant to complete the tax filing with the IRS. It was delayed in part due to his
work load but he keeps in touch with the IRS on our behalf. The upgrade of our systems to do
on-line credit card payment for renewals is a major success. It seems to be well received by the
members and since all transactions funnel through our bank, they have all the records which
are transmitted to the accountant when he seeks them. It has become nearly fully automated
for us and doesn’t require those long hours of work that it used to. The website keeps track of
the members info and renewals as well.
We pulled off another Nats for 2021 but DANG! The entry level was back to pre-covid norms
and is actually increasing a tad. This is GREAT news! I had to make some very difficult and
unusual choices this year to get the Nats concluded early because the AMA was very concerned
about an approaching storm system and STRONGLY urged we get it done and leave early. This
meant I cut Qualifying from two days to just one and compress the typical Friday AND Saturday
events into one Thursday. I’m grateful most of the pilots were understanding of the situation
and helped us get through it. It really complicated the situation with the computer
programming for us since it doesn’t react to changes (or mistakes) in positive ways. We found
it was going to be too cumbersome to try to make it cooperate so I opted to chuck it and go full
manual mode to complete the last rounds and the finals. It worked out in our favor. The
judges didn’t mind at all putting the contestants name on the score sheets. That’s common at
most other contests. It turns out that AMA didn’t miss the mark on the weather by much. By
Friday it was totally unflyable, I understand from someone still on site. I don’t know how we
would have handled the situation had we attempted to continue in the usual way. I suppose
we would have simply all gone home with an incomplete Nats and no new Champion.
Along these same lines I asked the Executive Counsel to approve doing some work on the Junior
and Senior Champion perpetual trophies. They both have simply run out of room for more
name plates to be added. The Senior trophy has the last two plates attached to the plywood
base the trophy is mounted to. I will be going to a trophy business/manufacturer local to me
here to have new bottom bases made to attach the existing trophies to. One thing I’m asking of
someone in the membership to help with is the shipping boxes for these trophies. With new
bases the old boxes are too small. I need someone with woodworking tools/ skills to build new
boxes. One catch- The old boxes are covered with the autographs of all previous winners-a
history of it’s own. I have a vision of these boxes being pulled apart and the autographed
panels being attached to the outsides of the new boxes. Please contact me if you are wishing
to take on this project…PLEASE!
Now speaking of help from the membership;
My term as President will expire next March. For now I am undecided about whether to
continue for another term. This might be determined by how much someone else wants the
job. This decision will be made in due time but one thing I’ve already decided is that I will not
be the Event Director for the next Nats. I’ve been directly involved for three of the last four
Nats and it’s simply someone else’s turn. I also want to compete for a few more years until age
surpasses my abilities. Not to say I won’t be the ED at some future point but that is down the
road. It is already about the time to begin pulling together the staff for next year and start
thinking about your gameplan as ED. I was asked not long ago what was required or involved in
running the Nats. I replied to say it is sort of like organizing your high school reunion. You
find/cultivate your staff of judges, tabulators and other staff. Your put together a fund raiser
for trophies and other expenses and then it’s just logistics, getting ‘stuff’ in the right place at
the right time.
_A CD license is required. However this is a simple on-line exam through the AMA website to
_It is my understanding the tabulation group for this past year will not be repeating next time
so the new director will need to start with a new crew here.
_ Your Chief judge and most of the rest of the judges are regulars and will return though you
will need to fill a few spots.
_ You will receive full support from me, AMA and any of the past crew to get you up to speed.
_Most of the equipment and supplies are still there for your use.
_ PAMPA will give whatever material support necessary to accomplish the task.
So WHO is a good candidate for this job? Well maybe YOU are. Maybe you’d like to get close
to the action and see the Nats from the inside. Maybe you have come to the Nats year after
year but have never put your hand up to help. Maybe you are one of our ‘retired’ Nats
veterans who wants to give back. Maybe you’ve run a few local contests and feel ready for the
“Big Time” J). (maybe you’ve been a judge and want to sit in the saddle once).
Maybe you’ll get in touch with us soon to explore the possibility.
Be well and keep the torch lit!