Text by Nick Capone

  On Saturday, April 5th, the Aero-Modelers of Perrine conducted their annual Big-Bird Fly-in, renamed AMPS AeroFest 03’. This year we decided to limit our event to one day. From the many positive comments received, we will consider this in the future. Once again our event turned out to be a huge success with 28 registered pilots representing four counties. This matched the amount of pilots from last year, although spectator turnout well exceeded that of previous years.

The weather gods were apparently shining down on us this year with clear skies and a steady 15-knot wind right down the runway. This weather continued throughout the day and really provided our pilots with ideal conditions for flying their giant-scale airplanes. Field conditions were absolutely perfect because of the efforts of our field engineer, Frank Drewniany. Out of town for two weeks and via cellular phone, Frank arranged having our entire field manicured and the access road graded. In addition to the great weather and perfect field was the fact that after two years, the sprinkler was moved to the North end of the farming field. A big thanks goes out to Mike Hunt who negotiated the relocation with the farmer.

Pilots began arriving at 8:00 am and were greeted by Loretta Westphal and Charlie Driggers in registration. Both Loretta and Charlie kept busy all morning with distributing the necessary forms, accepting fees, and providing the pilot packages. This year we provided additional pilot ”goodies” which included a complimentary lunch coupon, grand prize raffle ticket, building adhesives and a personalized photo of the pilot and their plane. Gracious donations from Frank Tiano of FTE and Hobby Nut allowed pilots and staff members to receive CA glue, CA Kicker sprays, and other building adhesives. After an exhausting run of 28 pilots, Vicar Hernandez and AMPS veteran Smitty began to feel the impact as they conducted business in transmitter impound. As in past years, Vicar’s organized style allowed this function to operate smoothly, as no delays were encountered throughout the day. Aircraft inspections this year were simplified by utilizing the IMAA self-inspection guideline, which basically allows the pilots to perform their own inspection; thus determining their plane’s flight readiness. Our staff simply asked questions pertaining to charged batteries, cracked propellers, loose hinges and for an external engine kill switch.

Continued below the Photo Show.