President's Message 2019

Well, it's been a while, so I hope you will forgive the length of this overdue message. I'm happy to report that our relationship with the park and our existing neighbors are strong, and I hope the club can maintain those relationships going forward.

The biggest challenge I see in that regard is the new apartment building nearing completion at the east edge of our field, on our side of East Lake Sammamish Parkway. We've already had an incident with an overflight of the building by a large gasser, and it will only take one or two similar incidents once the 224 units are fully occupied to create a significant problem for the club.

Of longer-term concern is the planned redevelopment of the entire neighborhood to our north, into what is being styled Marymoor Village by the Redmond City planners. The current plans call for replacing the light industrial park district from Postdoc Brewing all the way to East Lake Sammamish Parkway with mixed use (retail on the ground floor, apartments above) development over the next 20 years. Mitigating some of this is the Park's plans for placing a goodly number of trees along the Park's north and east borders, as a result of the need for Sound Transit to replace the trees they will be removing as the light rail station goes in adjacent to the Velodrome, at a 3:1 ratio—they have to donate 3 trees for every one they remove.

But I think we need to face the fact that increasing encroachment on our field is a given, and noise and overflight mishaps are going to areas of increasing concern going forward. The board has agreed that reducing our noise limit in advance of any complaints would be a losing strategy, as we will undoubtedly need to reduce it further as complaints inevitably come in. I can't predict how low the limit might drop to, but I'd suggest that a strategy of investing in big planes with gas motors over 50cc would be a bad use of your future funds, insofar as their planned use at Marymoor is concerned.

Another area of concern is the ongoing revision of the national airspace rules by the FAA. The AMA has been working to keep our hobby out of the attempt by the FAA to lump all small unmanned aerial systems into one basket. I am hopeful that enough common sense will prevail to distinguish us from commercial drone operators who plan to regularly overfly populated areas, but as they say, common sense isn't. I did have a chance to meet over the winter with Chad Boudreau, the new Executive Director of the AMA. We had lunch at the Museum of Flight on his way to meet with FAA officials in Seattle, and I'm impressed with his passion for the hobby and his strength as an advocate for us. One idea I've been suggesting, for which he is also a strong proponent, is having chartered club fields marked on sectional maps, so that full size pilots will be as aware of our operations as they would be of other significant objects like radio towers or tall businesses. We will obviously always need to yield right of way to their operations, but we may be able to get the 400 foot altitude limit currently proposed lifted. He was also encouraging about the prospect of eventually using the AMA numbers in lieu of the FAA registration numbers, which will simplify how many markings we need to affix to our planes.

On a personal note, in the remote event you haven't heard, I'm going to be stepping down as President, as a consequence of my planned move to the Austin, Texas area. While the board is still discussing my replacement, I am happy to be leaving the club in good hands, and want to thank all of you for the support and encouragement I have received from the membership over my tenure. I assure you I will be thinking of you, as one of the more likely AMA club flying sites I'll be using in Austin is in a public park named the 'Mary Moore Seabright Park'.

Last, but by no means least, while the club can adapt to changes in our surroundings, the whims of the FAA, and changes in leadership, the one irreplaceable element it will need to maintain going forward is member participation in all the volunteer tasks that make Marymoor such a treasure. Neither the field nor the club run by themselves. It's proven difficult to replace such stalwart contributors like Walle for all the things he did for the field, but I am glad to see folks stepping up to start to fill his shoes. And we're going to have a number of board positions to fill this year, aside from mine, and it's proven very tough to find qualified candidates who don't already have too many commitments in their lives to be able to make both the board meetings and the general ones.

The bottom line is that the club won't work if you don't help it as best you can. I realize not everyone can take on a major role like field manager, webmaster, training manager, or membership coordinator, but to the extent that work doesn't get done, the club and the field suffer.

 

Be well. Take care. And continue helping each other!

 

Steve