"Tourism group seeks to lure model airplane center here"
"Model citizen: Childhood hobby a way of life for the curator of
Academy of Model Aeronautics museum"
"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
Front page header of the June 12, 1992 edition of The Muncie Evening
Press. A special section provided extensive coverage for the grand opening.
"Model airplanes competitions offer something for everyone"
"Welcome AMA and Congratulations" (p32 &
"AMA to celebrate opening with weekend of high-flying fun" | "A
statement from AMA" (p34)
"Reading can help modelers get off to a flying start"
"Flying High" opening page to the feature section. (p27)
"Miniature aircraft model of perfection"
"A few plane facts about model aeronautics" | "Modelers list world
"Model aviation enthusiasts include several 'celebrities'"
"Muncie, AMA set sights on high-flying future"
"Local AMA aeromodelers enthusiastic about site" | "AMA offers aviation
"Fascination with flight keeps modelers coming back"
* 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