As Camp AMA 2023 wrapped up, campers buzzed about their favorite memories, instructors shared as many aviation anecdotes as possible, and the AMA Education team has already begun talking about new ways to improve next year’s camp experience before the campers were even traveling home.
But you aren’t concerned about next year’s Camp AMA right now; you want to hear about all the exciting things the campers got to experience in June of 2023!
This year, campers stayed on the Ball State University campus to give them a taste of the college dorm experience. They stayed in dorm rooms and got to experience communal living (and they really enjoyed it, if the noisy and late nights were any indication!). Fifteen campers arrived on Sunday June 11, 2023, in Muncie, Indiana from all over the US. They dropped off their personal aircraft at AMA Headquarters and traveled to Ball State campus to reunite with old friends and meet new ones. After a pizza dinner and a quick presentation about camp expectations and the week ahead, campers were able to hang out and get to know one another for the rest of the evening.
Students and staff were up early the next morning for breakfast on campus and then a bus ride over to the AMA International Aeromodelling Center (IAC) campus. Once they arrived at AMA HQ, they were able to get their own materials and look at the exciting aircraft other campers brought. Once they were able to pick out what they wanted to fly for the day, Camp AMA migrated to Flight Site 1 to take off. Campers flew for hours, taking a break for lunch and Dinner, then back to the flight line for another couple of hours of fun and learning. Once it started to get dark, they cleaned up and headed to the dorms to get some sleep in preparation for day 2.
Originally, campers were supposed to travel the National Museum of the United States Air Force on day 1 of camp, but because of inclement weather that trip was moved to day 2. Campers and two AMA Education Team members piled onto the bus early in the morning and journeyed out of Muncie to Dayton, Ohio for their excursion. Campers toured the museum’s galleries for hours, and were able to learn about and see aircraft, engines, and equipment that represent decades of military aviation history. Before heading back to Muncie, everyone took a quick – but entirely necessary – pit stop at RC Hobby Shop in Dayton. After buying new planes and any necessary supplies for repairs, they headed back to AMA HQ for a quick dinner before turning in for the night. Santiago Perez and Ethan Ater worked on updating the larger camp aircraft with new Spektrum radio systems for the students to use for the rest of the week.
While the campers enjoyed learning about aviation and aircraft in Dayton, they were very excited to spend day three flying. The campers enjoyed all morning flying on site one. After lunch local control line experts Alan Goff, Mike McHenry, Don Main, and Mike Eber visited Camp AMA to introduce the students to Control Line flight. While a few of the campers had flown control line before, it was a new experience for most of them. By the end of the lesson, everyone had flown at least once, and a few were able to fly again with little to no assistance from the instructors. After the control line instructors left AMA HQ, the campers continued flying their personal and Camp AMA aircraft, which they were happy to do!
On day 4, the campers were slightly tired from the limited sleep they’d gotten on most nights, but still woke up mostly on time to fly. After traveling to site, the campers got started on flying or building the planes they’d been focused on all week. Around lunchtime, a group of campers excitedly toured the National Model Aviation Museum at AMA HQ in Muncie. This group got a private tour of all the historic models the AMA has to offer from Musem Director Michael Smith. Following the tour, they returned to the rest of the campers at Site one to continue flying. The evening wrapped up with more lessons, flying, and fun!
Day 5 was the final full-day of camp, and even though the weather wasn’t great in the morning, Camp AMA continued. Campers and instructors donned their sweatshirts and coats and began the morning with the Egg Drop challenge. Campers combined into 5 teams of 3 members and were all given the same materials, which included straws, small boxes, tissue paper, string, popsicle sticks, small pieces of fabric, plastic bags, tape, glue, and one team even utilized water in their design! The teams attached their designs to a drone and watched as their eggs were dropped from high heights onto the pavement. One team came out victorious, and their design allowed their egg to survive a drop of 400 feet! And, since it was the final day, campers got to enjoy night flying. Following a camp cookout and campfire, campers and instructors attached lights to their aircraft and flew late into the night. Eventually it was time to clean up and head to the dorms for one last night at camp.
The next morning, everyone woke up and enjoyed breakfast at Ball State before traveling home. While it was sad to see everyone travel home, we here at AMA HQ know that all the campers are going home with more knowledge and flight experience that they arrived with, and hope that they will inspire others to fly.
Our sincere appreciation goes out to all who supported Camp AMA through donations of time, materials, and funds to ensure these students have the best week of their summers, with great life-long memories, and new friendships that will similarly last for years to come.
A special thanks to Horizon Hobby and the AMA Foundation for being our headlining sponsors for this years Camp AMA!