Due to an argument between a flyer and walkers on the RC field at Flaming Geyser State Park, the field has been closed temporarily while an investigation is conducted.
There are no implications for Marymoor RC Club or our relationship with the County park system, other than the fact that stories like this get passed around and become urban legends, affecting us all. We fly at Marymoor because of our good reputation with the park system. I have shared this information with Norah Robinson, Marymoor Park Manager, to ensure she has facts and hears them from us first.
There is a simple lesson for any of us when interacting with the public or each other. Be COURTEOUS, RESPECT people, and EDUCATE them about our field and the hobby. Anything you do, good or bad, will reflect on our hobby everywhere. I know it's hard sometimes, but it's extremely important and much more likely to achieve the results that any of us want.
Friday I spoke with Chad Carlton, president of Geyser Flyers. Here is the text of a letter from Chad to his club members explaining the event and its hopeful resolution:
Good Afternoon Geyser Flyer Members,
As I'm sure you are all aware, the field is temporarily closed pending investigation. This is a huge blow especially as we currently have great weather. It is extremely important that nobody tries to fly during this closure as this will only make it worse for everybody and could lead to permanent closure of the field. I'm sure that most members have heard some ramblings of what may or may not have transpired.
Last weekend there was an incident between a person walking/training a dog and a member. The member was mid-flight when the dog walker crossed through the long grass at the end of the runway. The member did the right thing and landed the aircraft, they then yelled at her the dangers of what she was doing. The dog walker continued to train her dog inside the boundaries of the flying field and the member unfortunately decided to take off again for another flight. The dog walker finished what she was doing and walked over to the pits.
When the dog walker asked the member what his name was and why he yelled that his aircraft could cause serious bodily harm (in not so diplomatic words) the member called her a name and then told her to pound sand.
To make this incredibly clear there were NO INJURIES in this incident.
We have a few takeaways from this encounter and the most important one is safety. If a park visitor refuses to leave the boundaries of the field, all flights should be suspended. If we have any accidents the state will look at us as a risk and this will be problematic. I know that it isn’t fun when somebody runs out on the field and we must stop but unfortunately in this case, the dog walker felt as though the member was divebombing her.
The way around this problem is simple, communication and education. I believe that if the member had walked over to the dog walker, asked them if they could train the dog on the adjacent field, explain that the field is designated as a flying zone that we do not own and then explain the dangers of being under/close to an aircraft the outcome would have been different.
It is a privilege that was granted to us as RC pilots, not a right which can easily be revoked. Every human has a right to use the state parks and we have no authority to stop somebody laying down on the runway.
Right now, we are working with the rangers to assist in any way possible with their investigation. It is possible that the closure could be permanent however we are doing everything in our power to get the field opened as soon as possible.
I ask every member to please take a second and remind themselves of the rules and to remember that if they are at the field, they are representing the club and need to act accordingly. We never know who we encounter at the park. Anybody flying is marked as a flyer and if a report against a flyer is made, the rangers know exactly who to call.
Flaming Geyer Flyers