In the December 2005 Digest, I began a series with the goal of recognizing our society’s hard working volunteers. In this issue is a profile of our public relations director, Don DeLoach ( Colorado Springs CO).
If you look at the names of those fine modelers who influenced his development, you’ll understand why Don couldn’t help but be impressed with model aviation.
Don initiated last year’s NFFS program to gain new members and re-sign former members by offering a plans certificate with membership. NFFS gained 170 members during the campaign. Don and his committee are hard at work on more plans to grow the society and create exposure for free-flight modeling. If you have some ideas, send them to Don.
I am 32 years old and living with my wife Cindy in Colorado Springs CO. I am a self-employed marketing strategist/writer. I’ve been involved in free flight for as long as I can remember—since sometime back in the mid-’70s.
My dad started me out in free flight with Sleek Streaks and Comet and Guillows kits. We pretty much flew in a vacuum until we attended my first contest in 1985. Except for a few years of inactivity due to college and career, I’ve been at it ever since.
Until 2002 I flew nothing but scale, hand-launch glider, rubber and indoor. Then the towline and gas bugs bit, in a big way. I’ve won the Nats a few times—most recently P-30 in 2005 (See details of Don’s winning P-30 design beginning on p. 00—Ed.). I’ve published a few designs (the most recent is his Eros glider in Model Aviation) and some other magazine articles.
I became a CD in 1002, which was my first year of eligibility. That was also the year of perhaps my proudest free-flight accomplishment, when I became the youngest recipient of FAC’s Blue Max medal.
My early FF heroes and mentors included my dad, Leo Langevin, Jesse Shepherd, Jim Clem, Bud Tenny, John O’Dwyer, Stan Chilton, Ed Turner, Larry Kruse, Marvin Mace, Mike Fedor, Russ Snyder, Jerry Murphy and Mike Midkiff. I grew up in Dallas and flew with the Cloud Climbers and Planesmen until I bumped into Jerry Murphy at the Nats and he invited me to attend a MMM monthly contest in Denver. I made the trip and was so impressed with the huge field and friendly MMM folks that I moved to Colorado in 1998. I have served two terms as MMM vice president and two terms as president.
I am presently serving as NFFS’ Publicity Chairman. Other members of the Publicity Committee are: Steve Jones ( Lakewood CO); Joe Wagner (Chestertown MD); and Donn Linton (Charlotte NC). We are all marketing/advertising people and two are professional art directors.
The mission of the Publicity Committee is to support NFFS programs by providing short-term marketing, promotional and publicity project help. We also manage longer-term strategic projects. In 2005 alone we have . . .
. . . handled print promotions;
. . . written press releases;
. . . created advertisements;
. . . set up the Muncie Model & Hobby Shop raffle at the Nats;
. . . conceived and promoted the successful 2005 NFFS free-plan membership drive.
If your club has a newsworthy event coming up, or a unique personality, the Publicity Committee would love to help. We can help you get a press release to the decision makers at your local media outlets. News stories are free, and they are still the best way to spread the gospel of such a unique activity as ours.
As a marketing professional, I believe the potential to attract more participants to free flight is far from being an impossible task. Free flight has many benefits that need to be communicated to our target audience. The new NFFS Publicity Committee has the right people on the job. We know how to promote, publicize and advertise successfully. And we are doing all of this, and more, to lead free flight toward a new path of prosperity. We believe this hobby is way too cool to die!To volunteer on the Publicity Committee, send an e-mail to me at <email@example.com> or call 719-964-7117. I welcome any constructive input on effective ways to promote and publicize free flight