Flying Site Closures
In a perfect world we’d like to have our flying site open 365 days a year so our members can enjoy their hobby/sport every day. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. From time to time we must close the field for an event, bad weather or other reasons. We’ll try to cover each below.
We try not to close the field for events but sometimes it’s necessary. Since all events are voted on by the membership these closures are expected and have been preapproved. We make every effort not to schedule two events back-to-back so that the field is not closed two weekends in a row. The events that we close the field for are listed below:
· National Events such as F3B and F3J contest or team trials. These events require more unrestricted space than our normal glider contest.
· Big Bird only requires the closure of our main runway and Heli/Park Flyer areas. The Glider and Control line area remain open.
· Space Coast Aero Tow requires all areas be closed except for the control line area.
Other events in the future may require full or partial closure the field but every effort will be made to maximize the enjoyment and minimize the inconvenience for our members.
Our least favorite reason for closing the field is due to weather and the flooding that may occur afterwards. Of course we all know that if it’s raining or the wind is blowing 30 mph’s none of us would be foolish enough to go out to fly. Unfortunately, here in central Florida when it rains a lots, we have flooding problems. This of course has affected the use of our current, our past and probably our future flying sites. We will try to explain why we have this problem at our current field even though it has a drainage system built in.
The drainage system installed at our field is called a French Drain System. The drainage pipes are buried approximately 3’ deep, are spaced approximately 200’ apart and run east to west. Each end drains into the ditch which surrounds our field. The ditch is tied into the St. Johns River Water Management System.
Since the water level in the ditch is tied to the St. Johns River, when it rains in Brevard county it raises the water table in the St. Johns River, thus raising the water level in the ditch. When the water level in the ditch reaches a level which is higher than the drain outlets in the ditch, then our field stops draining. So until the water recedes, the least amount of rain at the field will cause standing water on the field.
Even though the water level on the field after flooding may be low, the ground is still very soft and easily damaged by driving on it. We want to get the members back to flying as soon as possible but we must also protect the field, pits and parking, from damage which could be costly and time consuming.
Of course the main months we have to put up with this is from June through mid-October, our rainy season. The average numbers of days the field is closed annually, over the last 8 years, due to flooding is 21. Lucky for us that’s much better than the 3 to 4 months the folks up north are down due to snow!
Under our agreement with the county, they have the right close our field down should they have to use our area for some reason. This could be for hurricane debris storage, etc.
Alternate Flying Sites
As the saying goes, “When one door closes another one opens.”. So when the 524 field is closed due to flooding, we still have alternatives. Listed below are other sites you can go to fly, until our main site reopens.
1. IRKS flying site #2, Valkaria Airport. To use this site, you must first contact Tom Bogut, 321-729-6682 or email@example.com, so he can give you a field site briefing and checkout. The locked site entrance is located on Valkaria Road, GPS Coordinates 27.964082, -80.551386.
2. The Compound in Palm Bay. This is located on Sapodilla Road Southwest, Palm Bay, GPS Coordinates 27.931050, -80.705628.
3. County Parks – There are numerous county parks where modelers currently fly. Although most are only suitable for park flyers, at least you can still fly. Your AMA insurance will cover you, so make sure you follow AMA safety rules and contact any local airports within 5 miles of where you are flying. The B4UFLY Smartphone App from the FAA can help you with this.