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AMONG THE MOST enjoyable aspects of my job are the not-too-infrequent trips that allow me to meet and get to know modelers from around the country. Whenever I can, I combine AMA business with some flying at a local club or at a contest.
This past month (October for me-remember lead times ... ), I was fortunate
enough to be in Northern California on AMA business and had the opportunity
to visit with one of my oldest and dearest friends, Phil Granderson. Phil invited
me to stay with him and his very charming wife, Kathleen, in their beautiful
home in the Oakland Hills that overlooks the bay. (You really have it rough,
Phil picked me up at the Oakland airport and gave me a quick tour of the area, and he capped that off with a visit to his local Control Line (CL) flying field in the adjacent town of Alameda. That field has quite a story behind it. It seems that the Alameda Aeromodelers began to fly on a nearby field in the id- to late 1940s. One of the members of that club was Bill Osborne. The club moved to the present field soon after that, and Bill took personal pride in maintaining the field and in teaching new modelers to fly.
The fact that this field has survived all these years is impressive, but more impressive is the fact that Bill has continued to nurture new modelers and maintain that field through all the years since it was established, contributing large amounts of his personal funds for upgrades at the facilities, including barbecue pits, tables, landscaping, and a recent repaving of the circles! Bill has also continued to work closely with the Alameda Town Council and Parks Department to keep this field alive and active. This is a special brand of involvement to be sure, but there's more.
Bill sees to it that every youngster who comes to the field to learn to fly-and there are many-gets a model and an engine. For those who come with parents, Bill makes a package of an airplane, engine, lines, and handle available for a very reasonable amount. For those kids who have no parental help, he supplies the materials to them at no cost. Here's a man who loves this sport to be sure.
Bill's only rule for the many Alameda, and surrounding town's, modelers who
use the facility is to be friendly to anyone and everyone who stops by to watch.
Very little to ask and a great way to entice potential modelers to join the
Interestingly, this is one of the only model fields in the country that appears on official road maps!
As I write this, Bill is in the hospital battling a serious illness. I salute him for his efforts in Alameda and send my best wishes for a quick and complete recovery. We need this man and many more like him!