By the time you read this, New Year celebrations will have come and gone. It will be time for some serious building and planning for our summer of flying. It is also time to reflect on what it takes to make all of our flying possible.

We free flighters go to contests, enjoy the competition, complain about the weather and having to move the flight line. We then drive away and leave the CD to collect the scores, clean up debris remaining on the site, and mail the paperwork to AMA, National Cup, America¹s Cup, etc. We sometimes forget that no contest is free: The bigger the contest, the more time and expense required to provide us modelers with a venue and support for our flying enjoyment.

Much has been said of late regarding the cost of the U.S. Indoor Champs (USIC), and the events that are scheduled at its site at East Tenn. State University in Johnson City. When the U.S. Outdoor Champs (USOC) are held at the AMA headquarters site in Muncie, several weeks are consumed to provide for free flight, various RC events, U-control, sailplane, etc. These are all under the umbrella of the USOC. When it comes to the USIC, we free flighters have always assumed that this event was held only for free flight because, until now, only free flight categories have been flown at the USIC. But in reality, the USIC¹s intent is to provide the same umbrella for all indoor events, as the USOC does for outdoor events. Addition of an indoor RC event must be recognized as it¹s being just another part of the USIC. (We may not like it but it might actually be to our benefit).

But let¹s go back to the original problem: what it costs to fund the USIC venue and its supporting personnel. Below area the major cost items for the 2003 USIC (Indoor Nats):
ETSU Memorial Center rent: $750/day x five days =$3,750
Sound system: $50/day x 5 days =$250
Facility rent total = $4,000
Administrative overtime. (university staff for extended hours) = $1,275
Total facility cost = $5,275

Approx. AMA awards cost = $1,200

AMA staff and volunteer travel (approx.)=$2,000 (Required to process and register flyers)
Estimated total cost = $8,475.00

Entry fees, collected from 58 contestants in 2003 (approx.) = $3,000
(Note: The $25 AMA basic entry fee plus the first $10 from added events goes
to AMA. Additional AMA event entry fees go to NFFS.
NFFS retains all fees for NFFS-sponsored events.
Apply a little arithmetic to the above numbers, and the problem should come into focus:
Expenses ($8,475) - Entry fees ($3,000) = $5,475 net loss from USIC 2003.

$5,475 + agreed entry fee overage AMA sent to NFFS ($1,030) = $6,475 total loss for USIC 2003.

Divide that $6,475 loss by 58 competitors and you¹ll see that last year¹s U.S. Indoor Champs cost AMA almost $112 per contestant.

That number alone should make it clear why AMA needs to find additional sources of income for the period it is renting the Johnson City facility for USIC (or where ever the USIC may be held in the future.). If this trend continues, some compromises nust be made to keep the USIC, as we know it. Some of the things that I am sure that will be considered are: fewer days, or shorter days, less expensive trophies, additional events other than the classic free-flight events, or a less expensive venue, closer to Muncie The point I am trying to emphasize everyone who flies anywhere increase our numbers; we need to be flexible; and we must work together. I am here to help.

We have a new Publications Services person to replace Jim Zolbe, who resigned. That new person is none other than Boib Stalick himself. Bob has volunteered to handle our publications ordering service. I am sure he will to his usual admirable job.
The new address for ordering publications is: PO Box 1775, Albany OR 97321-0494.

In closing, I remind you: If each of you signs up just one new member this year, the future of NFFS will be secure.

See you on the flight line.
Rex Hinson