As the result of a flying accident involving an individual being hit by a
plane on the Ball Field yesterday our Flying Field is CLOSED to "ALL"
Flying until such time as appropriate Safety Briefings, Warning Signs and
other preventive measures can be implemented to minimize the possibility of
a recurrence of this type of incident.
Police Barriers are being put up to block access to our field until such
time as the Preventive Measures Outlined Below can be put in place. I am
working now with the Park to expedite this effort and will keep you all
informed of our progress.
We were very fortunate that there were no serious injuries involved. The
accident occurred while a non SMRCC flyer was conducting training with one
of his friends and the student flew into the NO FLY area over the Ball
Field and the experienced pilot did not take back control of the plane in
time to prevent it from:
1. Entering the No Fly Zone
2. Once the plane was in the unsafe zone the student lost control of the
plane and the experienced pilot was unable to recover from the loss of
In light of this accident the Johnson County Park Board has demanded that
the field be closed until such time as appropriate Preventive Safety
Measures can be put in place to MINIMIZE a recurrence of this type of
I have been in contact with the Superintendent of Parks and Golf Courses
this morning both prior to and following the Park Board making their demand
that the Field be CLOSED. He and I have discussed several Preventive
Measures that can be put in place to insure we have done everything
possible to MINIMIZE any future occurrence of this kind. I fully support
these efforts and in fact made these recommendations myself to the
Superintendent during our initial conversation this morning:
1. ALL flyers (current members and non-members) will have a safety
briefing and check flight (with a buddy box) by an SMRCC Certified
Instructor Pilot prior to being allowed to fly off of the SMRCC Field.
Once a flyer has demonstrated their ability to Safely Take Off, Land and
Fly within the SAFE Perimeters of our field they will be issued a FLYING
PERMIT (renewed annually to verify current AMA insurance and refresh their
safety briefing) which must be displayed along with their AMA card on the
Frequency Board whenever they are Flying. They will also sign a statement
indicating that they have received their SAFETY BRIEFING and understand the
restrictions on our field.
Anyone found in violation (I am asking the Park Rangers to make periodic
visits to the field to insure flyers are in possession of their Flying
Permit) by a member of the SMRCC or a Park Official will have their flying
privileges revoked at our field until such time as they submit a request to
the SMRCC Board of Officers for reinstatement, attend a refresher Safety
Briefing and Check Flight. (PENDING PARK RANGER APPROVAL and
CLARIFICATION) Individuals found in violation by a Park Ranger or Other
Park Official may be cited, fined and their privileges revoked
2. Only Certified SMRCC Instructor Pilots will be allowed to TRAIN New
Pilots or perform Check Flights with New Flyers To the Field. Certified
SMRCC Instructors must be 21 years of age and have proven themselves to be
a SAFE and Competent solo flyer and possesses the skills needed to work with
NEW Flyers while connected to a buddy box, and make the final determination
as to when a student is prepared to fly solo. The principal time for
Training and Check Flights will be as currently scheduled on Tuesday
Evenings from until dusk (April through October (Daylight Savings
Time) or at the Instructors discretion when they are at the field and
willing to assist others for this purpose. Instructor Pilots will carry a
certification card with them and must be willing to show it to other flyers
at the field (and possibly the Park Ranger) on request.
3. Signs will be prominently posted at the entrance to our field stating
the above restrictions, additional signs will be posted and properly
highlighted with SAFETY
or Yellow identifying the Northeast and Orange
Northwest NO FLY BOUNDARIES. Any SMRCC officer or member seeing anyone
flying in a NO FLY ZONE is authorized to take the individuals name and AMA
number and require the UNSAFE FLYER to land and leave the field if they do
not respond to a verbal warning of their unsafe act.
4. I have asked the Superintendent of Parks to consider approving the
installation of a gate at the entrance to our parking area restricting
access to the parking area to Flyers with Permits Only (the combination or
a key to the gate would only be issued to individuals that have current AMA
Insurance and a Park Flying Permit).
5. The Superintendent of Parks and Golf Courses is checking to see if
membership with the SMRCC can be an enforceable restriction for individuals
flying at our field. Having this restriction would allow us to police from
within more effectively and as members join, renew and attend meetings our
constant vigilance to safe flying and the periodic renewal of AMA insurance
and Permits could be done on an annual basis.
I am suspending all field improvements other than general maintenance and
up keep (concrete walkways, privacy fence around the maintenance shed etc.)
until such time as we have satisfied the Superintendent of Parks and Golf
Courses that all the above safety actions have been implemented and the
field is re-opened.
If you have any questions with regard to the field closure PLEASE direct
them to ME! Do not barrage the Park Board and or Park Superintendent with
your concerns and or complaints. I assure you that everything that can be
done to re open the field is being done. I WILL be asking for assistance
in getting signs and other things in place as they come available. Please
be patient and let us work this through.
This is a minor inconvenience when compared to the possibility of loosing
our flying privileges because of a few unsafe flyers. Or a more serious
injury because we failed to take proper preventive measures.
Again I will keep you all informed and look for my requests for help as we
will need to put signs and other notices in place prior to reopening the
Richard G. Waeltermann