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Academy of Models Aeronautics (AMA) Relocation to Muncie, Indiana

News Items Prior to May 1992 Grand Opening

June 25, 1989, history of AMA's relocation to Muncie - Airplanes and Rockets

"Tourism group seeks to lure model airplane center here"

May 11, 1991, history of AMA's relocation to Muncie - Airplanes and Rockets

"Model citizen: Childhood hobby a way of life for the curator of Academy of Model Aeronautics museum"

February 15, 1990, history of AMA's relocation to Muncie - Airplanes and Rockets

"Will Muncie be world's model capital?"

As a member of the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) since around 1971 (AMA # 92498), I have witnessed a lot of change in the organization as well as in the model industry. When I first joined as a teenager, AMA headquarters consisted of rented office space in a Washington, D.C., building, Richard Nixon was president, and the war in Viet Nam was on nightly news. AMA headquarters moved into a brand new building, which included museum space, on purchased property in Reston, Virginia, in 1983. A growing AMA membership and the desire to consolidate national competitions to a central location resulted in establishing residence in Muncie, Indiana, where the 25,000 square-foot Frank V. Ehling Complex celebrated its grand opening in 1992. Since then, an additional 25,000 square feet of space has been added. Since 1996, the AMA Nationals ("Nats") have been held at the Muncie location for all aspects of the aeromodelling hobby except Indoor events, because there is no enclosed venue there large enough for flying. Someday, there might be.

I have had a subscription to the Newspapers.com website for a couple years for use in research pertaining to my RFCafe.com engineering website and occasionally for AirplanesAndRockets.com. On a whim, I decided to look for printed news on the process of the Academy of Model Aeronautics' move to Muncie. The Muncie Evening Press was the local newspaper at the time*, so I searched for references to the AMA within the timespan of a couple years prior to the 1992 grand opening. It was interesting to learn how the community reacted to the prospect of having a bunch of model aircraft enthusiasts for a neighbor. The earliest instance I found was a story in the May 25, 1989 edition titled, "Tourism group seeks to lure model airplane center here." Some of the locals opposed AMA's plans to operate from the farm field, but then they also didn't want "motocross racing, oil drilling, a landfill, or a drag strip" going on there. Given the options, I have to believe that in retrospect most regard the AMA as a much kinder neighbor than the alternatives would have been.

Given the enthusiastic, overwhelmingly positive coverage of the Grand Opening weekend published in the June 12, 1992 edition of The Muncie Evening Press, it is apparent the town loves the Academy of Model Aeronautics. That the AMA's presence has been a boon to the economy and culture of Muncie is, as the saying goes, a matter of record.

News Items Related to the May 1992 Grand Opening

June 12, 1992 (page 1), history of AMA's relocation to Muncie - Airplanes and Rockets

Front page header of the June 12, 1992 edition of The Muncie Evening Press. A special section provided extensive coverage for the grand opening.

June 12, 1992 (page 29), history of AMA's relocation to Muncie - Airplanes and Rockets

"Model airplanes competitions offer something for everyone" (p 29) 

June 12, 1992 (page 33 & 33), history of AMA's relocation to Muncie - Airplanes and Rockets

"Welcome AMA and Congratulations" (p32 & p33)

June 12, 1992 (page 34), history of AMA's relocation to Muncie - Airplanes and Rockets

"AMA to celebrate opening with weekend of high-flying fun" | "A statement from AMA" (p34)

June 12, 1992 (page 37), history of AMA's relocation to Muncie - Airplanes and Rockets

"Reading can help modelers get off to a flying start" (p37)

June 12, 1992 (page 27), history of AMA's relocation to Muncie - Airplanes and Rockets

"Flying High" opening page to the feature section. (p27)

June 12, 1992 (page 30), history of AMA's relocation to Muncie - Airplanes and Rockets 

"Miniature aircraft model of perfection" (p30) 

June 12, 1992 (page 35), history of AMA's relocation to Muncie - Airplanes and Rockets

"A few plane facts about model aeronautics" | "Modelers list world records" (p35)

June 12, 1992 (page 38), history of AMA's relocation to Muncie - Airplanes and Rockets

"Model aviation enthusiasts include several 'celebrities'" (p38)

June 12, 1992 (page 28), history of AMA's relocation to Muncie - Airplanes and Rockets 

"Muncie, AMA set sights on high-flying future" (p28) 

June 12, 1992 (page 31), history of AMA's relocation to Muncie - Airplanes and Rockets

"Local AMA aeromodelers enthusiastic about site" | "AMA offers aviation scholarships" ((p31)

June 12, 1992 (page 36), history of AMA's relocation to Muncie - Airplanes and Rockets

"Fascination with flight keeps modelers coming back" (p36)

* USA Today Network bought out The Muncie Evening Press in 1996, after which it became The Star Press.

Melanie and the kids and I first visited on the day before Thanksgiving 1993 during a move to Minnesota. Understandably, the facilities were closed for the holidays, so all we could do was look through the glass door. It wasn't until 1999 that we got back for another visit; this time we made sure they would be open before leaving. We haven't been back since then, unfortunately.

 

 

Posted December 9, 2017

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Kirt Blattenberger
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