|From the Editor's Desk
Editor in Chief
Assistant Production Manager
any store owners, especially those who deal in radio control products and sponsor aviation events, are AMA licensed Contest Directors. This isn't earth shattering. Let's face it, those store owners who have a vested interest in an event like to be in charge. Their reputation, along with that of their store, can be at stake. And although the vast majority of events are run in a diligent manner I have had the unfortunate opportunity to attend a couple where I've actually asked the question, "Who's in charge?"
There are at least as many of us who, although we don't own a business, have a strong interest in a particular store. Myself and Dennis Andreas are prime examples. My connection with Al's Hobby Shop is well known and Dennis A. has not only been an employee of Nassau Hobbies in New York for many years, but in his district, he’s also an AMA Associate Vice President. Using us as examples, when it comes to model aviation events there is no question we like to see things done properly.
As for me, I've been a licensed CD for about 30 years. As time has passed I've had the opportunity to direct quite a few events, everything from indoor electric gatherings to giant scale and even turbine exclusive events.
The AMA has a policy where "Once a CD, always a CD." This is really a good policy. It keeps people active in the hobby without the constant burden of retesting every few years. However, I will admit to having been caught off-guard. One of our local club members recently applied for his CD license. Mark has been out of school a number of years and after completing the test asked if I would review his answers. Mark was very specific in that I wasn't to change anything, but to point out the mistake and show him where to locate the correct answer.
After my first review of the test I wondered where he'd come up with some of his answers. In response I downloaded and printed copies of the AMA Membership Manual and AMA Safety Code. Locating the information only took minutes. The AMA doesn't expect anyone to memorize the entire manual or safety code. What they want is individuals who know where to find the answers to any questions that might arise.
Every two years the manual is updated. Oftentimes the changes are so minor, frequently nothing more the modifications of wording, that I would simply make a mental note and move on. The problem is over the span of 30 years these minor changes added up to major changes and I am forced to say I had not stayed completely current. Nothing has ever impacted an event, and I would never rely on memory alone if a question had arisen. And as mentioned it only took moments to locate the correct answers, but it was a bit of an eye opener.
The solution was simplicity in itself. The AMA's Contest Director's exam was downloaded — it's open book for those of you who would like to become CDs but are afraid to take the test — and I went through the exam a couple of times until I was more familiar with the current manual. There was no need to send the completed exam to headquarters, but as CDs we have a responsibility and this was the way I became more acquainted with the current rules.
The same course of action is recommended for any store owners, or their associates, who CD store sponsored events. With the radio control flying season now in full swing it might be a good idea if you use an outside CD, especially if, like me, he's been around a few years, to make certain he's completely familiar with the current manual and safety code. It certainly won't do any harm. HM
Until next month,