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.
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.