Say Good-bye to Eagle Butte - RC Groups
View Poll Results: How much are willing to pay to continue to fly at Eagle Butte?
Less than $20 per year 13 14.44%
$20 to $50 per year 25 27.78%
$50 to $75 per year 18 20.00%
$75 to $100 per year 10 11.11%
Greater than $100 per year 24 26.67%
Voters: 90. You may not vote on this poll

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Jan 19, 2006, 08:16 PM
Knowledge increases life's FOV
Sled Driver's Avatar

Say Good-bye to Eagle Butte

Well, it is a sad situation to be at risk of losing one of the premier slope soaring sites in the nation, but that is what will happen on March 31 unless a last minute insurance solution can be found.

Here's a little background on Eagle to get everyone up to speed. In June of 1997 an agreement was entered into between the property management company, Mid-Columbia Soarers (MCS) and the Desert Soaring Club (the local hang glider club). Part of this agreement was that each club would provide $4 million in insurance coverage to the corporations that own and manage the land. This amount of insurance was arrived at by the corporation's legal council and they will not consider lowering this amount. The Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) had provided supplemental insurance to insure MCS for up to the $5 million on a per occurrence basis.

All went well with the AMA provided supplemental insurance until MCS request the AMA supplemental insurance for 2005. At that time the AMA informed us no supplemental insurance would be offered. Their stated reason was that they had changed insurance carriers and only a few clubs would be affected by the loss of supplemental insurance. Well, we did a little research and realized that the change of insurance carriers had happened the year before. We got a lot of double talk from the AMA, so we called the insurance carrier ourselves. The insurance carrier was surprised to find out that we had supplemental insurance as they had not issued such a policy and the AMA had never asked them about such insurance. Less than a week later, with no explanation, we received a check for the amount that the AMA had charged us for the bogus insurance. The first time that we've ever seen the AMA do anything fast. Since that time communication with the AMA has not been fruitful - kind of like talking to a cross between an attorney and a politician.

We are in a bind. If we could buy affordable insurance, we would. The trouble is that you can't walk into an insurance broker's office and just buy insurance without giving the insurance broker an idea of what he is insuring. These guys live on numbers and the AMA owns the numbers and appears to have no intention of helping. Without good data the insurance broker just gives out a dollar amount that will make you go away. We have been given estimates of $5,000 to $10,000.

MCS is behind the game and needs to catch up; we spent too much time talking with AMA's insurance broker before they told MCS that they did not want to insure Eagle Butte as an MCS flying site. MCS has until March 31st until the insurance has to be in place or MCS loses Eagle Butte -- probably forever as the property management firm communicated that they would not want to enter a new agreement or reinstate the current agreement in the future... so, it is now or never.

At this time of year MCS starts collecting money for Eagle Cards. MCS needs to know how much to charge, particularly if the cost is going to be $50 or more.

__________________________________________________ _______________

MCS would welcome any positive assistance with the AMA. Added Sunday, January 29, 2006

Please send any letters to Dave Brown, the AMA President, since AMA does not have an Executive Director. I would also think that it might worth putting together an email campaign that would send email to the following people:

Dave Brown, AMA President,
Doug Holland, AMA Executive Vice President,
Carl Maroney, AMA Special Services Director,
Wesley De Cou, AMA Flying Site Assistance,
Bruce Nelson, AMA VP District XI,

I would recommend that we all use the following subject line in emails: "Please change AMA's insurance policy to save the Eagle Butte Flying Site"

While the email campaign is quick and might help, the letters will have the most impact. In today's electronic world, something as tangible as a letter sent by a real human being is harder to ignore...

Some links to example letters and suggested letter content:

AMA's mailing address:

Academy of Model Aeronautics
5161 E. Memorial Drive
Muncie, Indiana 47302
Last edited by Sled Driver; Jan 29, 2006 at 02:56 PM.
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Jan 19, 2006, 08:43 PM
Retired Slope Racer
nwoods's Avatar
If I lived in that area, I would be glad to pay about $200 or more a year for full use. It's a stellar site in an area that only has a few sites to fly at.

Nathan Woods
Jan 19, 2006, 08:46 PM
Registered User
Bill L's Avatar
I pay about 200 a year to fly at torrey, annual pass and gulls membership, and torrey is not that great

Jan 19, 2006, 10:00 PM
Sloper Dave's Avatar
Makes me have second thoughts about re-newing my AMA membership. Sounds like the AMA tried to pull a fast one (maybe an honest mistake...NOT) and with all the appearant double talk, AMA is losing my trust...

Good luck with this one...

Jan 19, 2006, 10:02 PM
around Colombia
ShredAir's Avatar
So, you're trying to find out if enough people will pledge and pay enough money to keep Eagle open, correct? This would be an annual struggle, won't it?

Dieter Mahlein, ShredAir
Jan 19, 2006, 10:08 PM
Registered User
TFLG's Avatar
Where's all the rich sugar mama's when you need em. Gotta find a rich sloper to buy that hill!

Jan 19, 2006, 10:18 PM
around Colombia
ShredAir's Avatar
Originally Posted by TFLG
Gotta find a rich sloper to buy that hill!
The problem seems to be that "rich sloper" is an oxymoron...

Dieter Mahlein, ShredAir
Jan 19, 2006, 10:21 PM
Registered User
wakumann's Avatar
Hi Jay,
Loosing Eagle Butte would be a shame, there are quite a few people to appriciate what this slope has to offer.
If donation are a solution and halfway reasonable it would donate.

Gotta find a rich sloper to buy that hill!
Actually a few tears ago a strip at a slope nearby Eagle was for sale and the amount wasn't so outragous. Guess there was no interest from MCS at this time.


Ps What is with the 50+ attendees from the 6p I'm sure (hope) most of them would go for $100
Jan 19, 2006, 10:24 PM
Knowledge increases life's FOV
Sled Driver's Avatar
Originally Posted by ShredAir
So, you're trying to find out if enough people will pledge and pay enough money to keep Eagle open, correct? This would be an annual struggle, won't it?
Yup... we're expecting the insurance to cost thousands of dollars each year.

There are relatively few local flyers in the area, so MCS will be dependent upon receiving funds from guys coming from out of town to purchase Eagle Butte cards in order to purchase the insurance to keep Eagle Butte open.
Jan 19, 2006, 10:39 PM
Laughs at his own jokes.
IwantaJet's Avatar
This is a disaster, but disasters can be overcome.

I have never flown there and will never be a regular visitor. I would be willing to pay for the privilege when I do get there, but I don't think you can't count on me or other occasional visitors like me as your main source of income.

Your challenge will be to find a way of raising the money on a regular basis. Events, raffles, contests, memberships, finding donations etc. I work with several nonprofits, it is their way of life. Does MCS have the legs for this? Or do you have 200 regular flyers ready to shell out $50 a year? If you do, great. After all, it's cheaper than 2 HS85MGs.

I have also found that shopping around for insurance can be an eye opening experience. Rates vary widely. Good luck to you.

Jan 19, 2006, 10:46 PM
The End
THend's Avatar
Well, I was thinking of the UMA, but I just read on another thread that they are no longer in business.

Here is the funny part to me about RC modelers. They are cheap, really cheap, no really really cheap, for the most part. Yet, they need land$$

If this land you are talking about was to be saved for golfers, it would be a slam dunk deal to throw down a few hundred bucks.
Jan 19, 2006, 11:06 PM
Resistered Pilot
stueyjames's Avatar
I wish land use was simpler. No RC pilot has ever been severely injured or killed there have they? I wish we could all just sign liability waivers and freak'n fly. Same goes when trying to get permission from Joe Blow who owns a hill- it's about liability, I just want to grab them and say, "Look, I'll sign a wiaver....I've never sued anybody! I would never sue anybody for something I did of my own free will!" You have a pool in your back yard and a 10' fence with "No Trespassing!" signs all over the place, and if somebody jumps the fence and messes themselves up on YOUR diving board- get out your check book! What's this all about? Cetainly not common since. Sorry......
Jan 19, 2006, 11:06 PM
Piscine Promulgator
surfimp's Avatar
Originally Posted by THend
If this land you are talking about was to be saved for golfers, it would be a slam dunk deal to throw down a few hundred bucks.
Not solely because you can charge them $100 or more for each time they play

Jan 19, 2006, 11:51 PM
Eagle Butte User
PDX Slope Pilot's Avatar
This is really a shame for all us near enough to fly Eagle. My hat is off to Jay for his efforts. I work in insurance and made my best efforts to secure coverage with the AMA broker who was at least somewhat familiar with the risk, but like Jay mentioned they came back with an unrealistic annual premium. The exposure at Eagle is not only injury to individuals/flyers but the chance for some sort of fire to start and burn down the nice homes that sit behind Eagle. The risk level is low IMHO and I don't think Eagle has had any serious incidents. On the other hand, I can understand the owners concern as they would likely be vicariously liable for any resultant damage caused by people allowed to use their land.

To simplify matters, we only need 1.5 mil in addtl coverage. AMA would be on the hook for the first 2.5 mil so we are basically talking about a reinsurance contract for 1.5 mil. Personal liability umbrellas cover that at about $100-$200/yr. I just think we need to find the right insurer or broker. Any rich slopers out there willing to self-insure us with a 1.5 mil bond? I'm thinking Lloyds of London or an offshore insurer.

Note to Jay--I will check with Marsh here in Portland to see if they can help secure coverage with Lloyds or an offshore insurer.

Jan 19, 2006, 11:56 PM
what makes that thing go
ploof's Avatar
I'm a western Washington local even living relativly close, travel time is rare. A place like that would be a special trip for which I'd be willing to pay for usage on the spot. You would figure with a fee of say 30 dollars a day, 50 dollars a week end the cash would come around. How many individuals slope the sight a year I wonder? Doesn't Deiter pretty much live there? He's totaly unmistakable, so if you gave Deiter free usage, were in he went around with a cofee can in which sloper's would put there fee, then in receipt of the fee Deiter would give the individual a color coded stocking cap. Or not. That is majorly sad news about the AMA, that's a head scratcher if ever there was. I realy new to soaring and, I've been totaly looking forward to soaring Eagle Butte.

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