Visitors/observers at the flying field

Have you ever visited another flying field as an observer? If so, I’m willing to bet that you’ve had an experience similar to what I’ve had.

Here’s the scenario: I’m a sole body standing behind the fence, in the spectator area, observing a dozen plus pilots doing exactly what we do at our field; fly, fix and gab. However, the fence might as well be a one-way mirror. I can see them but they can’t see me. Not much different than being at the zoo where the animals go about their daily lives, oblivious to spectators. After a lengthy visit and getting as much attention as the fence I’m leaning against, I leave without as much as making eye contact with a single member.

Sure, I could have initiated conversation and likely would have had a very pleasant visit with a fellow modeler or two. However there becomes point of going unnoticed, that speaking to someone just seems odd, kind of like throwing rocks at the zoo animals to get their attention. I’ve visited a few clubs over the years and this scenario has happened more than once. I’m sure that I don’t have to tell you that such an experience creates negative impression about that club and unfortunately the hobby too.

Those that have taken the responsibility to lead this club over the years have worked hard promote R/C and invite people out to the flying field to see and experience hobby. It would be a complete shame to actually get them out there then ignore them. By doing this we might as well take out an advertisement in the local papers that say: “Come out and see what a bunch of sorry, obnoxious people we are”.

I encourage every member to introduce himself to an unfamiliar face at the flying field every chance you get, this flying season. Do this even if you know or think they have already spoken to another club member. The more members they speak to the more positive the experience.

We also have many occasions where people only pull halfway down the driveway to observe. Be sure to give a friendly wave to those people, or better yet motion for them to come down.

Jeff and Don

Witnessing many HCH members interact with visitors over the years, I doubt there are many that got close to the action and got away without chatting with at least one member. I know it’s in the nature of a few members to be sociable, but we’re all responsible to doing whatever we can to be perceived as a “friendly” club. Doing so will reap multiple benefits because you never know when a visitor could be a big shot from the state (our landlord),  or a local “destructive” teen.

Please don’t ignore our visitors.

What was your impression when you first visited the HCH flying field? What did you like? what didn’t you like? Leave a comment below.

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6 Responses to Visitors/observers at the flying field

  1. Dale Matteson says:

    Scott, you make some very good points. We need to take every opportunity to present a positive image of our sport to the general public. Keep up the good work.

    • Scott Rhoades says:

      Thanks Dale. I originally published this article one decade ago in the newsletter. Figured it was time to bring it out again, with a slight rewrite.

      I don’t believe our club is bad about this but I sure would like to change attitudes in other clubs because it hurt the hobby as a whole. Since posting this I’ve decided I’ll post a rendition of this article on my blog. Hopefully I change the attitude of a couple guys and save a couple visitors elsewhere from getting a bad impression of aeromodelers.

  2. Lauren Wenger says:

    I have had that experience out here in the great state of Kansas, you have one very special club in Holly. I hope to stop by while in town this summer. Tell everyone I said hi.
    Lauren wenger

    • Scott Rhoades says:

      Sorry to hear you’ve run into that at your new location. Be sure to give us a heads up on on Facebook when you plan on being in town. We’ll try to coordinate something.

  3. Hello Scott, I just come across this very true article. Last year when I come to your club to fly my Jet, I was made to feel very welcome indeed. I really appreciated it. A few years ago when I moved from Colorado to Michigan I was looking for a local club to join. One of the clubs that I will not name here was probably the worst experience I have ever had visiting a new field. I drove up and parked with the other vehicles. There were people everywhere (I think they were having a field cleanup day or something like that). I walked up to their pavilion and you’d have thought I had the plague or something. No looks in my direction and no ‘Hello’ at all. (Can you guess I never joined that club). I left and a few miles closer to my home come across another club. I drove in, parked and got out of my car. Well, you’d think I was their best friend. “Hi, How are you” and “Do you fly?” “What do you fly?” etc etc. Yes, this is the club I joined and have been a member ever since.
    I have no desire to ever go back to that first club at all. They left a bad taste in my mouth that is going to take a long time to go away!

    Keep up the great club atmosphere! Your club is very much like ours.

    George Harris

    • George, Glad to hear that you received a warm welcome. We sure enjoyed watching your Jet fly at our Open House last summer. Hope you can make it back this year, which is scheduled for the first Saturday in August.


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