We Raised over $25,000.00!!!!
I am privileged to know you and honored you are my friend. What you started very humbly 18 years ago has become something truly beautiful and heart warming to everyone who participates each year. I am in awe at what "Fly For Tots" has become. The tireless work that you put into this event is without value and the end result is priceless. There are so many people that come together and form one huge collective unit to make this thing happen that go without thanks. These are all people who work very, very hard and don't always get to enjoy the event because of their efforts to keep things running smoothly:
Jacqui Lewis, Rachel Lewis, Josh Bunn, Anthony Wiencek, Robert Vess, Dave Hedrick, Tom Albright, John Knoy, Clyde Long, Bryan Long, Ken Wade, Dustin Hedrick, Jason Jarvis, Matt Houghton, Nelson Phillips, Blair Price, Mark Lofgren, Pat Taggart and so many more. I couldn't possibly name everyone, but to everyone who helps in any way you are, without doubt, extremely appreciated. It could not happen without you!
We were very fortunate this year. We were accompanied by the AMA, including our District VP Bliss Teague, Executive VP Doug Holland and our AMA President Dave Mathewson. I am always happy to see Doug and I felt very fortunate to have the opportunity to talk with Dave Mathewson at the 2008 Fly For Tots. The AMA's presence was great and for me it was just awesome!
The AMA Show Team "Radio Active Airshows" were at the FFT again this year with their huge Horizon Hobby sponsored flight simulator and it was never empty. The public loved it and their Airshow was wonderful.
15 Year veteran Sgt. Roger Flannegan from Bravo Company 3rd VSTV in Fort Bragg, NC reenlisted for his 4 time at show center on Saturday. All veterans present stood at the flight line, while Extreme Flight JR team member Lee Morey hovered his 110" Extreme Flight Yak 54 in the background. This was incredible and were honored that Sgt. Flannegan chose the FFT for the place of his reenlistment. He will serve his 4th tour of duty in Iraq later this year.
JR Team Member & Composite ARF's Andy Kane came down from Maryland and gave everyone an outstanding show with his Bill Hempel 50% Clipped Wing Cub. He put in many flights with his Cub and wowed the crowd with every one. Andy took home 1st Place in Public Choice this year.
RJ Gritter put on several amazing showstopping performances with his his 35% QQ Yak 54. What he does with that Yak is incredible to watch!
Mr. Top Gun 2008 David Hayes gave us a beautiful scale rendition of a crop duster in action with his multiple award winning Rockwell Thrush. He made sure that all of that green Carolina Tobacco would flourish for the local farmers this year. It's hard to tell that this thing is a model in photos. David also brought Willy the flying pig back for FFT 08 and proved yet again that pigs can fly.
Robert Vess (BVM King Cat), Michael Hollowell (BVM Electra), Anthony Wiencek (Baby Boomerang) and Preacher Greg (F/A-18) put on afterburning performances with their Jet demos. Michael Hollowell proved yet again that a high performance EDF model can keep up with those turbine powered jets!
Manny Huysentraut (1/4 Scale P-47), Jay Ingle (Balsa USA Sopwith) and several others put on a warbird spectacle that was incredible. Every era of military aircraft was represented during the warbird demos and it was amazing.
Mike Saleeby, Mike Then, Michael Hollowell & Ken Kiesler demonstrated some very fast EDF's and what they can do. A little wind did not stop these guys from doing their thing. Mike Saleeby showed everyone how to elevator land an EDF in harsh conditions! It was a great performance from all of the pilots.
Jay Benson, Matt Richards, Lee Morey, Nick Baxter and several others pulled out the big birds and gave the crowd a 3D demonstration. This was a crowd favorite, as it gets pretty wild with several giant scale aerobats down on the deck.
Kenny Thompson and Brandon from Anderson R/C gave killer Helicopter demos. Kenny is an amazing pilot and he keeps everyone on the edge of their seat during all of his flights. Both pilots were a lot of fun to watch.
Fred Midget and the Higher Plane Productions "Fly Low Girls" were running around in a frenzy doing their thing. He got over 12 hours of awesome HD footage. Most of that is already on FlightPass now, as of this writing.
Vendor Row was hopping both days. East R/C, K/C Hobby, Toy Town, 2Dog RC, CND Imaging, HPP, Outlaw Wingbags, JTEC/RadioWave, Anderson R/C, Hobby Masters and several others were present with lots of goodies for everyone.
Horizon Hobby was overwhelmingly involved with the 2008 Fly For Tots this year and we can't thank them enough. Team Pilots were everywhere and Horizon Staff members were on site, including JR Team Manager Jodi Knopic, her husband and baby who came all the way from Illinois, answering questions and assisting modelers with converting to 2.4, not to mention their contributions to our raffle prizes, which is where a huge portion of our money is raised. We could never thank them enough.
This years sponsors went above and beyond the call of duty. Each and every sponsor contributed something that is priceless. Faith. I have received very positive feedback from several sponsors and many have already committed to next year. We are blessed to have you all on board and are appreciative beyond words.
Ice cold Ice Cream was being served all weekend, and their booth was never missing candy eyed visitors. The Concessions were jammin' all weekend. I'm afraid to guess at how many hotdogs, hamburgers and sodas were sold during the event. The Saturday evening barbecue was delicious and very well done. Some of the best BBQ I have ever had, as a matter of fact.
The OUTLAW INVASION was AWESOME! We had 18 Extreme Flight Outlaws up at once and it was insane. I didn't get to see it like the guys behind the pits did, as I was starting and spotting for folks on both days, so watching the Higher Plane Productions video afterward really allowed me to get a feel for what it was really like....and it was nuts. It's one of those things where you either have to be there for or go to http://www.higherplaneproductions.com and watch it for yourself.
Jeff Foley made several passes with his beautiful full scale Stearman on both days and gave away rides in the raffle. This Stearman is a FFT tradition and it would simply not be the same without it there.
NC Rotor & Wing were on site giving rides in the Robins 44 chopper both days and they were never parked for more than 5 minutes at a time. I went up on Sunday and the view was amazing. They also raffled off a few rides to some lucky winners. I hope these guys will return next year, as it was definitely a crowd favorite.
A full scale GILES 202 came through and gave an AMAZING PERFORMANCE down on the deck on Sunday afternoon. The coolest thing I have seen in a very long time! Inverted passes, knife edge, slipping it in, wicked fast rolls, full throttle passes with smoke on, he hovered it for a moment and dropped into a stall turn. It was breath taking, to say the least. I have to say that coolest part of this was thinking my Brother, Brandon, was standing beside me and I looked over to see his reaction to what we were seeing and it was our AMA President, Dave Mathewson, smiling as big as I was.
We were greeted with a presentation by 2 children from a nearby church who had visited the Fly For Tots a few years ago and the event sparked an interest in model aviation. They have since built a Kadet LT-40 and now have it ready for it's maiden. During this time they had a mission to raise money for a charity and were excited about what we were doing, so they chose our event as their cause. A group of young children, ages 7-11, put together a church yard sale and raised over $2,000 alone. They presented us with a check for the total they raised and it was a jaw dropping experience. These kids were working from their hearts and it was a very moving presentation they gave us at the Fly For Tots. We are very proud of these fine children and hope that we will be able to help them earn their wings really soon.
Dave C. from our Brother Club The Tarheel R/C Flyers in Rocky Mount, NC won the 50-50 cash raffle, walked up, claimed his prize of over $300.00, looked at it, turned around and handed it back to put in with what we were raising for the Victory Junction Gang. Yet another moment that humbled me and made me feel proud to be a small part of this event.
Dave Bond, who usually flies his full scale P-51 Mustang over head during the FFT, was not able to attend due to personal reasons and sent in a check for $500.00. WOW!
The folks from the Ice Cream stand turned around and wrote us a check for over $200. WOW!
The organization that cooked and served the BBQ for the Saturday evening event wrote us a check for over $200. WOW!
Manny H. wrote the event a check for over $200.00. WOW!
217 Pilots, over 10,000 Spectators over the weekend and many smiling faces.
Thanks to all of you, my friends around the globe that supported the 2008 Fly For Tots.
We raised over $25,000 for the Victory Junction Gang Camp. The difference that this amount of money will make in childrens lives is a phenomenal feeling. I can't begin to describe it. It's going to take some time for it all to sink in. All that I can really say for sure right now is that I can't wait until next year!
Below are a few of my favorites....
ImagesView all Images in thread
I’d like to add my name to those offering their congratulations to RDRC for the success of this year’s Fly For Tots event. RDRC should be proud. To be able to raise over $25,000 for the Victory Junction Gang speaks volumes about the club’s commitment to giving something back to its local community.
My wife and I would also like to thank all of the members of RDRC for the hospitality extended to us during our visit to this year’s fly in and look forward to watching the success of Fly For Tots continue to grow.