‚ÄúFinding a new R/C flying site by Richard Green ‚Äď President of the Babylon R/C Flyers.‚ÄĚ
Looking to establish a new R/C flying site? It‚Äôs not as difficult as many people think it is.¬† It takes a little time and nosing around your local city, village or town hall. Remember, to ask a lot of questions and get to the right officials.
I went to my local town hall and started asking questions about any town ordinances pertaining to R/C model flying. Which department would oversee the control or enforcement, if there where such rules on the books? All my questions were answered with blank stares and ‚ÄúWe don‚Äôt know.‚ÄĚ
I did have a slight edge, I work part time for the Town of Babylon on Long Island New York. I went to my immediate superior who was the commissioner of family services and made a verbal proposal to her. I explained to her how a group of talented retired hobbyists could teach underprivileged children how to build and fly model airplanes for ‚ÄúFREE.‚ÄĚ The key word was ‚ÄúFREE‚ÄĚ it would not cost the
town a dime.¬†All politicians love to hear that, so they can tell their constituents that THEY introduced a program without costing the taxpayers any money.
She informed me to make a written proposal and she would give it to the Supervisor of the Town of Babylon.
After creating an introductory opening page centered on mans desire to fly like the birds, I then proceeded to the AMA website where I printed every page that I could find that reinforced the word ‚ÄúFREE.‚ÄĚ
One purpose of belonging to the AMA is to reach out to the local communities to help introduce model aviation to young groups through charted clubs.
Some of these are the intro-pilots program, take off and grow, and the park pilot program. Also, the availability of endowments and scholarships awarded each year is an other plus.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†
There are numerous pages of information on the AMA website to use in any proposal when you‚Äôre seeking out a new flying site.
Local municipalities own lots of properties and parks so go out and check them out and make a list of the choice sites. ¬†Put the most favorable one in the middle of the list, they definitely will knock out the first and second choice.
After several months went by I was called into a meeting with the Deputy Supervisor, the Commissioner of Parks and Recreation and a lawyer from the Town Attorney‚Äôs Office. Three people who new absolutely nothing about R/C flying.
The town attorney‚Äôs office was only concerned with the amount of liability that the Town of Babylon would be exposed to. When I explained that each AMA member was covered by personal insurance through his or her membership. And that once we became a charted AMA club with a place to fly there would be a two and half million dollar liability insurance policy with the Town of Babylon as the additional insured. This satisfied the town attorney‚Äôs office.
The commissioner of Parks and Recreation was concerned with where to put us and how would it be beneficial to the local residents. This is where the time you spent checking out parks and playground s comes into play. Action sports such as baseball, soccer, football, swimming, lacrosse, and skate boarding are the most popular activities that the general public is aware of. That makes it very easy for the parks and recreation department to build baseball diamonds, soccer, lacrosse and football fields. I had to educate them to the fact that there are many local residents who are involved in other activities other than action sports. One of them is, R/C model flying.
This went on for about an hour and then I was told that they would be in touch with me. The blank look on their faces told me that this was all over, and I had got as far as I was going to get.
¬†About a month later I received a call from the deputy-supervisor asking me if we could do a flying demonstration of R/C model planes behind town hall tomorrow. I said yes we can, but not tomorrow. I needed time to round up some flyers that flew electric powered planes. Also I wanted to check out the field behind town hall and tell the prospective flyers how big it was and what size planes to bring.
On the day of the demonstration twenty flyers showed up from local clubs around Long Island to pitch in and help. They went out there and flew their hearts out and help change the expression on the blank faces from town hall. They never saw anything like this and were totally shocked when they saw these flyers flying in such a small place. I even brought two fuel type planes for them to look at close up and demonstrated how we go out of our way to protect the environment, with a fuel recovery system and mufflers on the engines.
That was one of the questions that the commissioner of parks and recreation had, will we spill or leak fuel on the grass or pavements. And, how much noise will these planes make.
When they saw how clean and noiseless the electric powered models were all their doubts were erased.
Everyone had a good time and we went home and waited again.
About three months later, I received an E-mail from the deputy supervisor telling me to call the commissioner of parks and recreation. He wanted to sit down with me and go over a few details. Also he was going to issue a permit to fly electric r/c planes at a location of my choosing. There were some restrictions, but to get our toe in the door I would have flown upside down to get a flying site like this. The location I asked for was Van Bourgondien Park, in West Babylon Long Island 11704.
It is a sprawling grass covered park owned by Suffolk County and maintained by the Town of Babylon. The grass is cut once a week, whether it needs it or not. A brand new sprinkler system has just been installed, also Bathrooms and a concession stand. It is surrounded by Hugh trees on the perimeter and is smack dab in the middle of a community. The houses are across the street from the park and most of the tall trees block their view. We do have to be extra careful while we are flying. ¬†
The other restriction was a time factor. The West Babylon Soccer Club is the grandfathered permitee of the park. They run training clinics for all age youngsters and tournaments from March 15th till October. So we were only given a use permit from 1 January till June 30th. From 8:00AM till 3:00PM, Monday thru Friday. I smiled and took it. I had no choice. We had to get started somewhere. I knew that this was going to be a hard sell to get R/C flyers to join, but I explained everything up front before they signed on the dotted line. We also were given a free meeting room to hold our monthly meeting, compliments of the commissioner of Parks and Recreation.
At the first membership meeting we signed up twenty members.
Van Bourgondien Park, West Babylon New York 11704
After several months into our permit I made contact with the president of the soccer club and explained our situation with the time restrictions of our permit. We came to an understanding of how both groups could co-exist at the park at the same time. We would start flying at one end of the park and they would start their clinics at the other end and gradually rotate around to another section as their clinics started to need more space. Also there would be communication between both clubs as to scheduled tournaments.
This gave us more flying time and included Saturdays and Sundays and later into the day period. This was approved by the commissioner of Parks and Recreation and our permit was extended to December 31st, 2010.
In the mean time, through word of mouth from one commissioner to another, we were able to obtain a gym at a community youth center owned by the Town of Babylon for indoor electric flying this winter. The chairman and the board of directors of the youth center were so enthralled with our demonstration at the gym that we were given instant approval to fly there. This would also give them the opportunity to offer another program to their list of activities, besides action sports.
The gym at West Babylon Community Youth Center
So it‚Äôs not that impossible to find space to fly, but you can‚Äôt wait for someone to hand it over to you. You must put a little time and energy into it and snoop around.
For more information or any help I can give you don‚Äôt hesitate to call me.
Richard M. Green
Babylon RC Flyers # 4953