If you check the NFFS by-laws, Digest or our correspondence, each has the same preamble: "Dedicated to the Interest of Free Flight Aeromodeling." Have we done very much to encourage anything other than competition? I don¹t think so.
For the first 30 years after I began building model airplanes, I never heard of competition. I built model planes because I liked airplanes and the fun of building models. But today, when beginners of any age approaches one of us asking for advice, we point them toward competition.
Perhaps this approach discourages more than you might think. It may be time to remind ourselves that model airplanes cover a much wider spectrum than just competition. Are we forgetting our preamble?
Someone asked me recently ³What does the NFFS do for me?² Foremost, the society is charged with promoting free flight. To this end, the NFFS is involved in the following. We . . .
. . . are responsible for planning and providing management for both the Outdoor and Indoor Free Flight National Championships. USOC and USIC.
. . . are responsible for arranging for contest directors and assistants for both of these events. We establish the schedules for our own events and assist AMA with its schedule.
. . . propelled the groundswell of interest in the Nostalgia movement; over the past few years we have bolstered this through the Nostalgia Rubber and Glider events.
. . . support events like Bill Vanderbeek¹s Model of the Year. It has spawned ongoing, growing interest in events like Starduster-X and ROW.
. . . set-up and run the big swap meet at USOC.
. . . hold the annual cookout, founded by Hank Nystrom to raise money for our scholarship program. This program awards scholarships to a number of fine youngsters each year. This year we awarded four $2,000 scholarships (Digest. June, p. 5).
. . . provide the National Cup program for both Indoor and Outdoor competition categories.
. . . have a Competitions Department that tracks contest results of all National Cup contests and determines winners of the National Cups.
. . . recognize those who spend countless hours of their own time to help run and support the NFFS by presenting Distinguished Service Awards.
. . . honor those who have spent a lifetime supporting free flight with our highest award, induction into the Free Flight Hall of Fame.
. . . hold an awards banquet each year at the Muncie Nats to present the above awards and recognize those that have achieved these goals.
. . . produce our Free Flight Digest, which is second to none, and provides up-to-date information to all.
. . . publish an outstanding technical journal, the Annual Report of the NFFS Symposium.
. . . provide a Publication Services Dept. that stocks a variety of reading matter and merchandise for our members.
. . . have a comprehensive Plans Service for our members, and have recently converted all plans to digital form.
. . . provide a first-class Web site, where our members can check schedules and enjoy our on-line forum, along with a variety of other useful departments.
. . . have an Education Dept. that works to provide instructors and assistance to those helping beginners. young and old, learn about building and flying free-flight model airplanes. This department works to procure grants and donations to finance some of our educational activities.
. . . keep track of membership dues and renewals through our membership office and its chairman.
. . . interface with AMA management on a regular, ongoing basis to ensure that our Special Interest Group is adequately represented.
All of the above activities are accomplished through the efforts of volunteers who are working to promote your interests. But we never have enough help: The same few members are carrying the workload most of the time.
Consider if you are one who owes some "payback time" to NFFS and our