Following is a message I wrote the morning after the Holdfast Model Aero Club Annual General Meeting where I was nominated as President.
5:40 AM 5 Sept 2020
Good morning. Usually when I wake up before sunrise my first thought is “Can I fly this morning?” but today it was “Wow, I have a big job.” It is still sinking in that I was voted in as the next President of the Holdfast Model Aero Club last night at the Annual General Meeting.
A little over eight years ago I arrived in Adelaide for my first visit as a volunteer mentor at one of the first technology accelerators in Australia. I spent a week here and went home to Boulder, Colorado in the US thinking about what a great place South Australia seemed to be and I wondered what it would be like to live here. At the time, moving seemed impossible. Yet when we were offered a chance to move here in 2016 my wife and I decided overnight to make this our new home, and every day we wake up grateful to be here.
This morning I am grateful for the opportunity to serve this club as President. According to my logbook, I only took my first flight at HMAC on the 20th of January 2019. My first RC flight ever was the previous year with my best friend Keith who has been flying since we were kids. Why it took me that long to get my first flight, I don’t know, but I have been interested in anything that flies since I can remember.
I was about 14 years old when my dad gave me a Cox control line PT-19 with an .049 engine. I have fond memories of learning to fly it and then building a balsa kit of a larger control line plane. That model had a profile fuselage but the wings were covered with tissue and it had a working arresting hook controlled by a third line. I believe my first flight with it was a series of wild loops until it ran out of fuel! I did learn to fly it, though I don’t remember ever trying out the arresting hook. It seems like I would have though as I am fascinated by learning new things and trying out new ideas. As I think about it now, I do have vague memories of stretching strings tied to weights across the flying circle, so maybe I did!
I don’t have the flying and building experience that most of the members of this club have and I will be looking to all of you for guidance and support. I am still in that dangerous phase of “not knowing what I don’t know” but I bring that 14-year-old’s enthusiasm and love of anything that flies to the task, as well as a healthy respect for safety around fast-moving flying objects. My career was in business and technology and some of that should be relevant here I think.
This club was founded in 1956 by a group of kids who loved flying and wanted to share it with others. Remote control was still a few years away for them but I’ve been told that they were excited by new ideas and new ways to fly. I feel a connection to them despite how improbable it was that I would end up as the new President of their club. I will do my best to serve this club, and their memory, and I welcome your stories about the past and your ideas for the future.
Now let’s go fly!