The fun we all have at the field is just amazing, and we want to keep it that way. The board sees two risks that have the potential to get the field closed or even shut down permanently, and we feel responsible for protecting your interests.
The board is considering new rules, and we want your feedback before proceeding. My email address is at the end of this letter.
The risks as we see them are:
1. The potential for injury near the flight line. While the probability of a serious occurrence is relatively low, the potential consequences are very high. Injury to anyone, but especially a minor, leaves the club open to public criticism or lawsuits against the club (or even individuals) that could result in the county or park authorities closing the field. Remember, there is very high demand for more athletic fields.
2. Because of the renewed attention to Covid and high hospitalization rates, the park authorities might perceive that we have groups too large without masks and distancing. I also want to point out that some of our members are not coming to the field out of caution because they don’t see people wearing masks.
Rules we are considering:
As you know, we have an informal limit of two people per flight station. This is not a written rule now, and as such can lead to inconsistent or unfair enforcement. The reason for this rule is not Covid. It is to reduce the likelihood of a person being struck by an aircraft, especially those that are fast, massive, or have propellers or rotors.
So, we intend to establish “2 per flight station” as a written rule. Only the flying pilot, instructor, or spotter would be allowed. Not a non-participant in the flight, even a member.
But all of us at times want to celebrate flying as a group of friends close enough to the action to really enjoy it. So, to help with fun and spectating we need a new boundary - safe but not too far away. AMA provides some guidance, but the details are up to us. We propose that spectators who are members must be behind the “shut down engines here” signs. We might mow a strip of grass between the signs to show where this new boundary is. Non-member spectators, (guests invited in by members), must stay behind the tables.
Second, we want all members to wear masks while at the field. Although a new sign has been placed at the field starting today we still seek your input. We would not enforce this for people actively flying who cannot see well because of fogging glasses. The board members will mask up to set an example. It is an inconvenience no doubt, but we think under the current conditions that we have to do it.
These new measures will be difficult for some. Please bear in mind that the reason is to ensure that we keep the fun and privilege of our amazing flying field. Please be courteous, especially when you feel the need to ask another member to support the rules. Even if they aren’t someone you know, they might become a new flying buddy.
Do let me know what you think! We will consider all your inputs at the next board meeting. Remember, any member may attend board meetings – juniors or seniors. They are on the second Wednesday of every month, and virtual these days. Just ask any board member and we will get the meeting call-in information to you.
Brian D. Kelly (aka BK1)