AMA Members Enjoy Their First Flights of 2024

We asked members to share their first flights of the year. Here is a sample of what we received.

Our club; Fresno Radio Modelers, Charter #692, has had a “Flight into the New Year” every year starting in 1999 as parody to the Y2K “bug”.  Members, wives and family, gather at Guy Field around the fire starting at 9pm on Dec 31st to share Fellowship, potluck snacks and “war stories”.  About 5 minutes before midnight the brave night fliers take off and light the night sky with their colorful and brightly lit planes.  When “Midnight” is called, by someone with a watch, They start to descend for landing, some come down right away and some finish out their batteries.  It is always a fun evening.  When all have made it back to earth we hold a celebratory toast and do a quick clean up and everyone heads to bed, some in the RVs they brought and the rest drive home.

This will be our 23rd year and we have been here with rain, freezing temperature, fog and cold winds.  But there has Always been at least one plane up to bring in the new year!  This also gives our members the opportunity to have the last crash of the current year or the first crash of the new year!


A few of last year’s crop of night fliers!

Craig Roberts, AMA 6631 – President, Fresno Radio Modelers.

Suburban Aeroclub of Chicago (AMA Charter #274) has held a New Year’s Day fly-in every year for over 30 years.  Attendance varies with the Chicago weather but we’ve never missed.  Some members are so anxious to fly they even arrive before dawn to see who can be first.

Here is a photo of the 2022 participants.


And here is a photo of the 2024 participants.


The Richardson Radio Control Club has many night fly events during the year, but the New Years Eve Midnight night fly is one that has a tradition of many years.  We all meet and begin flying at dusk (usually around 600PM) with the ultimate goal to be the first ones in the air at 1 min past midnight on New Years Day, thus being the first to fly in the New Year.  

A few years ago, the temps were in the low 20’s and we were all huddled around the fire pit inside the registration hut waiting for midnight when someone yelled around 1100PM that they were going to be the last person to fly that year before the New Year.  With the colder temps, batteries were of course much diminished and a couple of people had there night flyers glide off into the trees without power to get them back.  Luckily all were recovered the next day.

Another thing that is exciting about our New Years Eve night fly, is that the neighbors across the street shoot off fireworks until after midnight.  Believe you me that it is quite a show.

I am looking forward to this event in just four short days. 

Here is wishing everyone a Happy New Year from the Richardson Radio Control Club

Our Club (High Sierra Radio Control Club) has been flying over ten years on New Year’s Day.  I have a number of pictures over the years to record this fact.  We will again be flying this Monday.  Happy New Year. 



When I lived in Alaska, some used to welcome in the New Year with a bonfire beach picnic.   From this I initiated Club RC flying every New Years day.   After we moved to Nevada, I carried on this tradition and flew here on January 2001.  The following New Years, fellow High Sierra Radio Control Club members joined me and the event became know as the Frozen Finger Fun Fly.

We started out with a half dozen flying, often off skis.  This year the High Sierra Radio Control Club hosted over 25 pilots with a total of around forty people at our field.   Ducted fans, biplanes, multiple engines, powered gliders, flying wings, big ones, little one, “Franken” planes, a helicopter, and sport  aircraft made an appearance.  No one had skis this year as there was no snow as compared to the previous one when we had twenty inches at the field.   We have flown in clouds, rain, snow, sun, and wind.  

To be an “official” Frozen Finger Fun Fly participants, you have to take off from the field and do one circuit around the pattern and return to earth.  Everyone is welcome to join us next time around.

Gary R Fuller 

The Penn Ohio Radio Kontrol Society (aka PORKS, club 564) has conducted New Year’s Eve flies for decades.   We had one this year as well.   We dealt with intermittent rain and snow at our field.   We usually have hot dogs, snacks and drinks to help celebrate our club.   This year we were able to use our clubhouse (thanks to a Flying Site Grant from the AMA) in between flying to get warm and socialize.   As usual, despite the weather, planes hit the airways.   We are looking forward to 2024, as our club turns 60 years old this year, and we are going to celebrate with a huge public open house and air show.

Submitted, Ed Gantz, Club Secretary

Kent County Aero Modelers, AMA charter #198 located in Sandtown, Delaware held
there annual first flyer event on 1/1/2024. There are two classes, one for gas/glow and
one for electric planes. All planes have to be on the starter stands in the pit area by
0700. Fuel planes can be fueled but the engines cannot be turned, electric planes must
have the batteries out of the plane with the hatch closed. At the official daylight time of
0721 one of the officials gives the start command. After getting your engine started you
have to set the plane on the ground and taxi out to the runway, take off and make a complete
circle of the 800′ runway then land and cross the finish line rolling on the runway. If your
wheels are not on the ground when passing the finish line, you have to go around again. This year we had 14 members out with 7 participating, 5 gas/glow and 2 electrics. We had
great weather this year with just a light drizzle and temperatures in the low 30’s.

Steve Dodson


The Radio Control Club of Rochester (RCCR) holds an annual Chilly Chili Fun Fly on New Years Day. Members are encouraged to being their best chili creations, snacks, deserts, and of course airplanes to fly. 2024 did not disappoint with a light dusting of snow and minimal wind making conditions ideal for planes with large wheels or floats.

RCCR was established in 1957 and today maintains two flying sites on the west side of Rochester, NY. 2023 ended with 84 members.


The Sugar Creek Radio Control Flying Club, at Crawfordsville Indiana, had a new years day fly braving the cold temps (minus any snow LOL). We also gained three more members today so this little club is slowly growing. You can find us on Facebook with the same name Sugar Creek Radio Control Flying Club for additional pics of all year and for future posts. The new year is off and flying and here’s to more successful flights for all of us.


Westerville Model Aeronautics Association

At 9 am on a 31 degree New Years Day, about 20 or so of our members showed up to log an official first flight of 2024.

Club-supplied donuts coffee and hot chocolate fueled our attempts. No crashes were noted in an hour or so of flying,

The Westerville club has done this for at least 35 years.


Champaign County Radio Control Club (CCRCC) 2024 New Year’s Day Chili Breakfast was a success!

CCRCC is located in Champaign, IL. After putting out the word that we needed chili for the breakfast fly-in, club members stepped up! We had six different kinds of chili and lots of other fixings to go with it! Temperature was 32 degrees with the wind between 15 – 20 mph. A handful of members flew. I did not see any crashes or lost airplanes this year! Many commented that this was the biggest turnout of members that we have seen in a long time. It was good to see so many people at the breakfast having fun and conversing with each other.


Grassfield RC Club (Charter #1405), Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, held its first “First Day Flights”  fly-in January 01, 2024. The weather was forecast to sunny and 32 degrees but we were misinformed, with clouds and somewhat lower temps.  Flights tended to be shorter due to cold, stiff thumbs but no one “thumbed’ a plane in. We warmed up with a fire, coffee, cocoa, hot dogs and chili.


Blacksheep RC Modelers #3032

January 1, 2024 brought us another successful event at Corsair Field for our annual First Fly In of the New Year.  We officially started this event in 1996 and have continued every January 1st since, some more days better than others.   Temps started out at 31 degrees an climbed to a balmy 35 degrees by the time everyone was loading up.  The wind stayed steady between 12-15 mph (at least the wind direction was right down the runway) which made for cold hands and time in the heated clubhouse.

We had 30+ members attend and enjoy a first flight of 2024 and lunch.  We had chili, ham & bean soup, chili and a hamburger/potato/cheesy soup.  Also, plenty of fudge, chips, and cookies.  I did not get an accurate count of all the flights, although there were many.  First of 2024 flights included electric planes, gas planes and nitro powered planes of many different verities.  All in all, a really nice event for January first in central Indiana!

Here are a few photos on our website of the event.

The Henderson (Kentucky) Radio Control Model Airplane Club (AMA #2880); hosted its second “Snowbird Fly-in Event” at its Sandy L. Watkins Park Field, location.  This has become a 24 year old tradition for the Club, and this was the second time it was held at the Club’s Sandy L. Watkins Park Field, location.  This year’s “Snowbird Fly-in’ was colder than most, (35 degrees) windy and very cloudy; but, 19 members and guests were out today. 

This had always been a “Pot-Luck Lunch” event and members bring what they like to eat and want to share.  We had a roasted ham; a big pot of rice and beans; two type of pies, homemade desserts of cookies and brownies; and if you needed to cool off, even some ice cream. 

Some of the guys hitting the buffet and enjoying a great lunch in the Club building.  (Mike Morton photo)


The group brought out a good selection of aircraft, including one glow powered sport plane but mostly electric powered aircraft from sport to scale and even a couple of warbirds.  The members had planes up and down through most of the middle of the day.  One member was working on his landings with an Apprentice and did some really great landings in the gusty wind. 

Pictured below are some of the guys doing a “rally flight” There were Fun-Cubs, a Telemaster, other sport planes and one warbird in the group.  (Mike Morton photos)

Chris with a nice F-4-U Corsair

Keith Benton, (Club President), had a new Twin Otter from Flex Innovations that he put on a real crowd pleasing performance with, on its maiden flight.  Apparently, this model can do non-scale; loops, rolls, hanging on the props, torque rolls, and backslides and great full stall landings. One member couldn’t believe how he wrung it out on its maiden flight.  (Mike Morton photos below)

Keith with his Twin Otter from Flex Innovations
Twin Otter coming in for its first landing.

“Big Mike” Hillenbrand, Club Vice-President; had recently made three new additions for his radio controlled “Hillbilly Aviation Skydiver Team”.  He presented Keith Benton, Mr. Tom Boulnois, and Tom Sheffer with their parachutist for their future use on the team.  The figures are named: “Keith”, (on the left); “Marion” 2nd from the left; “Elvis”,  second from the right and “Henry” the original team member, on the right.  We hope to see them jumping often this beginning this spring.  (Mona Hillenbrand photo)


It was another great “Snowbird Event” and we look forward to more of these in the future and more great events at the Sandy L. Watkins Park Field.

Everyone adjourned about 3:30-ish.

Tehachapi Crosswinds RC Club

We had a great New Years Day fly in at our field Tehachapi Crosswinds in Tehachapi California. 

Our President is Bill Fisher


Northwest Houston RC Club, Hockley, TX. AMA club # 1081.

NWRCC’s 3rd Annual “Bringing In The New Year” night fly. AMA sanction 15760.

Most of the country would not consider the weather we have here in Houston to be “winter weather”. That said, there is a group of us at Northwest Houston RC Club that “brave the winter conditions” to participate in a recently started tradition. New Year’s Eve, 2023 18 of us (14 adults and 4 children) gathered at NWRCC’s Read Field around 11:00 p.m. for our 3rd annual “Bringing In The New Year” night fly. Most of the folks in attendance were there to watch and visit. There were 2 pilots who flew their night flyers for the event. We launched our night flyer aircraft a few minutes prior to midnight and flew them until a few minutes into New Year’s Day, 2024. What a way to end one year and start the next!

For the record, it was perfect night for flying. Temperature in the mid 50’s (ºF) (most of us actually had to wear jackets), no wind and only scattered clouds. A beautiful end to 2023 and start of 2024!

We followed up with snacks, refreshments and fellowship for an hour or so before heading home.

H A P P Y   N E W   Y E A R ! ! !

Dick Pursley

Club Training Coordinator
Event Contest Director



The Arvada Associated Modelers (AMA #0399, Arvada, CO) hosted its annual Frozen Finger Fun Fly (“FFFF”) on New Year’s Day 2024.  The weather was far from “frozen” with no snow (for a change) and mild temperatures (i.e. 40’s in the morning and 50’s by afternoon).

There were 11 hearty and enthusiastic participants vying for the coveted FFFF trophy.  The contestants competed in 3 events: 1) a “ski-jump” off a ramp with max glide; 2) a timed climb-n-glide with precision landing; and 3) a traditional touch-n-go event (i.e. most TnG’s in 2 minutes).

The FFFF and trophy has been an annual tradition since 2004.  The event is held regardless of weather or conditions.  Only 1 time was it postponed because we had so much snow that no one could get into the field.  Thus, this was the 21st event and awarding of the trophy.  The lucky recipient will be the CD for next year’s event.

Submitted by,

Joe Pirozzoli, President

A New Year’s Day Fly & Luncheon has been a 3 decade long tradition of FLYRC (AMA Club # 803). Located in southern New England, we never know what the weather will be on New Year’s Day which can range from seemingly Arctic-like conditions to a balmy 60 degree day.  No matter what (except rain), we gather at our grass field to get in a few traditional flights followed by a nice lunch at a member’s home. The tradition even continued during the pandemic when we were blessed with mild weather allowing us to have the luncheon outside at our flying field. This year, we again had mild weather, a solid turnout and nice lunch at Ron & Sharon Faanes’s beautiful home. A great way to start the New Year and enjoy our wonderful hobby. 

Happy New Year, Bill Josiger  President FLYRC


Beresford Area Radio Flyers in Beresford, SD help its 27th annual Frozen Finger Fun Fly on January 2, 2024.  Thirteen pilots brought their models to the field on a day with temps in the 20’s.  Many flights were made during the morning and a lunch of chili and pulled pork sandwiches was served at noon.  A fun way to start the new year.


Here is the Winter Flying with the Twin Timber video.

Location: Park City, Utah

Jon Provisor

Chicagoland Radio Control Modelers, Inc. was founded in 1948 to promote radio controlled model airplane flying for the enjoyment and recreation of its members. We are a non-profit organization and all dues and monies received are used to maintain our flying site or to promote club activities. Our founder was Frank Madl, who conceived the original spring nose landing gear. He submitted the idea to Flying Models magazine and received a $5.00 award for it in 1957.

Meetings are generally held on the first Friday of the month at the Schaumburg Airport.  The meetings start at 7:30 PM and at the conclusion of the meeting we meet for some food and drinks at the restaurant on the main floor of the airport.


Gallatin Eagles

The Gallatin Eagles of Bozeman, Montana had their annual New Year’s Day Fun Fly with exceptional weather. Thirty-four degrees is about 20 degrees warmer than usual and not the usual 2 feet of snow. Thirty plus fliers and families joined us for flying and great Westberg chili. The runway was plowed and grass-snow areas were left for planes with skis. Destry Jacobs, our club president, provided pilot training new pilots using our buddy box.  Ron Banta had his Giant Telemaster out to darken the sky.


Keep on Flying,

Larry Nelson

Lake Ozark R/C Society

Check out this post from the Lake Ozark R/C Society.

I decided to do something a little bit different this year for New Years.  I planned to fly my E-Flite Night Timber X with a take off at 11:58PM, (2358 military time) and then land 4 or 5 minutes later.  This would give me the last flight of 2023 as well as the first flight of 2024 for my club, The Midwest Air Wing, Pontoon Beach, Illinois.  I made the planned take off on time and the flight duration was in accordance with the filed flight plan.  A problem ensued when the plane decided to land about 200 yards out in an adjacent corn field stubble.  The unscheduled, off field landing broke the prop and bent the landing gear.  Locating the plane was easy as the internal lights were still glowing brightly.  A BIG problem arose when I attempted to return to the pilot’s box/pavilion and it was invisible in the pitch black darkness.  I followed the rows of corn stubble to ensure that I was walking in a straight line.  This brought me out to a dirt crop access road, but still about a hundred yards from my destination.  I followed the dirt road to the edge of the model field and then to the pavilion.  I claim the last flight of 2023 and first flight of 2024 for our club and probably for anywhere in the Central Time Zone.  Unless someone put in a similar flight in the Eastern Time Zone, I have those 2 records for the whole US. 



Northern Connecticut Radio Control Club (NCRCC)

NCRCC Frozen Finger Fun Fly in Ellington CT on New Years Day 2024 worked out Great.

A near perfect weather day with mostly low winds.

Access Road was in its best shape; field was firm and not muddy.

28 signed up pilots for this AMA sanctioned event that brought in pilots from NCRCC and neighboring clubs.


Kansas City RC Association (KCRC)

KCRC’s Annual Icicle Fun Fly

On New Years Day 2024 KCRC had their Annual Icicle Fun Fly at their flying field in Fleming Park, Missouri. The Club has had this flying site since around 1958. The New Years Day Event this year was a memorial to a long-time member and promoter of these January 1st events—Max Klotz. The Club was honored by a visit from Max Klotz’s kids, who came to these winter fun flys as children.

            This event has always been to come and fly regardless of he weather. There have been some very cold first of the year events through the years. 2024 was exceptionally nice with the temps in the low 30° and light winds. There was a very large turnout this year with 32 participants, most of who flew their airplanes. There were 3 and 4 aircraft in the air most of the time.

            Max Klotz and his wife always brought chili and all the trimmings to these events in the past. This year Club Members provided 3 pots of chili, hot water for hot chocolate, and other goodies for the fliers and attendees. All pilots who flew earned a certificate with their photo holding their model.

Here is a photo of most of the group.

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