Vic Nippert, NFFS East District Vice President


[Society President Rex Hinson has moved that once each quarter and effective
with this issue of Digest, one of the NFFS district vice presidents will
write a column to replace his usual President¹s Column. VPs will rotate
this duty on an east-west basis.
Leading off is East District Vice President Vic Nippert. He will be followed
by Dave Lacey (South District), Bob Hanford (Central District) and Walt Ghio
(West District).‹Editor.]

Some Benefits of Mentoring
As I write this, leaves are blowing horizontally past my window. My flying
season has ended for several months and it¹s time to get the snow blower
tuned up to face the onslaught of winter.
Those of us who live in the Northeastern U.S. are accustomed to the pattern:
changing colors, weakening sunlight, and bundling up against the morning
cold. Although we do get some very flyable days during the fall months, they
are short lived. Rainy days soak the field and swell streams, making a trip
to the flying field a test of will power and physical discomfort. As cold
fronts weave their way over us, strong winds make most days unflyable, and
what else can we do, but fly indoors!
Over the last seven years or so, my local club has been quite active in not
only flying indoors, but in mentoring middle- and high-school programs in
model aerodynamics and building programs. They usually culminate in indoor
flying sessions and Science Olympiad programs.
This volunteer work has served us well: Our club members get to fly year
round; we work with some really enthusiastic youngsters; and we are able to
teach our hobby and sport to future modelers.
And it¹s not just the youngsters that catch the bug either! We¹ve added
quite a few adults and parents to our club roster as a result of working
with the schools and the kids. In exchange for our time and efforts with the
youngsters, the schools have given us their gym facilities for flying, so
everyone wins!
Science Olympiad is a nationwide competition that includes some very
technical, but fun events. Most schools that are interested in being part of
the competitions go begging for adults that could mentor kids in special
skills. That¹s where our club¹s volunteers come in.
This year, the program consists of two events that are flown by the two
different age groups: a balloon-launched glider event for middle-school
youngsters; for the high schools, the Wright Stuff event. It calls for a
typical indoor model with a heavier wing loading that puts the designs in
the range of easily built, first-time indoor models.
Scoring is the best of two flights within an eight-minute time limit. It¹s
really great to see the two-person teams work together during the
competition. Our group of mentors has been proud to be part of it and look
forward to it every winter.
We¹ve even run the New York state championships for both age groups: the
middle schoolers flew at a local college; and the New York high-school
championships were held at West Point. Man, the kids sure walk taller when
they compete there!
What I¹m suggesting here is that you NFFS members get in touch with your
local middle schools and senior high schools. It¹s quite possible that you
can be of use to the schools¹ science teachers in mentoring an indoor flying
program for Science Olympiads, or in organizing an after-school activity in
The benefits? You could very well be the key person in some kids¹ future
career or hobby. You and your club members might even obtain a great flying
site as a result of your efforts!