The story behind the "Fly For Tots" and a living archive comprised of the last few years of FFT action can be found at this section of the site. Use the links on the left hand side bar to navigate through the archive.
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Fly-for-Tots 2008: By Robert Vess Yes, there was magic in the air over the rural tobacco farm where the Raleigh-Durham Radio Control club (RDRC) operates and held its’ annual Fly-for-Tots Children’s Charity Fly-In. Amazing things just kept happening. Sure, 219 pilots came to fly with us. And they brought probably over 700 flying machines of all shapes and sizes with them that each found their way into the Carolina skies. Yes, the public came in droves and their jaws dropped as they became an integral part of this carnival-like happening. It became a sensory sensation with plenty to see, hear, and smell. The tantalizing aromas from the concession grilles stayed in the air and somehow mixed perfectly with the exhaust from the non-stop flying activity. Vendors peddled their wares and buyers eyes twinkled. Friends were made and stories were traded.
But this happens at many RC events around the country. So where’s the magic? Imagine all of this occurring for one purpose; to raise money in an effort to somehow enhance the lives of less fortunate children. In this case, we were all doing this to support the Victory Junction where chronically or even critically ill children are given an opportunity to forget about their health problems for a while as they get to act like any other kid at a really fun camp! The RDRC membership chose this charity based upon what we had read and heard about it. But once we visited the camp, we were all changed forever and were thereafter driven by a strong desire to help make a difference.
This same feeling must have affected the hundreds (or maybe thousands) who came together at RDRC on Sept. 20-21, 2008. There was a spirit of friendship and giving everywhere. You could feel it in the air and see it in the actions around you. And it also emanated in the many “gee-wiz” things that seemed to keep occurring all weekend. How about a brave Army Sergeant who chose this event for his forth and final re-enlistment ceremony in front of God, all present veterans, active duty soldiers, the grateful public, and a hovering Yak! He’s re-deploying to the Middle East very soon. Or what about the two young fellows who were so inspired by what they saw at FFT 2006 that they and several others from their church group held a yard sale and donated the $2300 proceeds to us on-site in an impromptu ceremony. It was so touching that we had to fight hard to hold back tears! Oh, and what about the young man who presented his raffle prize 2.4 ghz radio to the man who had helped him so much in his younger RC years. Kids were giving other kids their “pickings” from the “candy drop” and winners of the 50-50 raffle were donating back their sizable cash prize to the charity. It was happening everywhere!
Someone said that it must be the “magic dust” from David Hayes’ Top Gun winning Rockwell Thrush crop dusters’ spraying passes. But, in reality, it was a display of true compassion of men, women, and children at a very special model airplane event. We are so very proud to say that we will be presenting the Victory Junction with a check in excess of $25,000 due to the generosity of our sponsors and new/old friends. But for most of us, this event was much more than that….there WAS magic over RDRC!
If you want to know why the Fly For Tots is important, watch this video. As we've done every year, we will be donating 100% of our proceeds to the Victory Junction again in 2010. What they do to change childrens lives is unbelievable and amazing. You can help us help them!
We were able to raise $26,500 for the Victory Junction in 2008, and over $27,000 in 2009. Help us shatter that record in 2010 and make childrens dreams come true!
FLY FOR TOTS VIDEOS!! Check out these awesome videos of FFT Action from years past!
The "FLY FOR TOTS" Story, in brief: The RDRC Fly For Tots began in 1991 and was created and developed by Larry Lewis, who is the Event Director every year. For 17 years the Fly For Tots has been making a difference through model aviation. The members of RDRC wanted to take the hobby we love so much, and use that passion, combined with the flying talents of our members to bring some joy to a child’s life. The “Fly For Tots” fly-in was created to be a fundraising project. Its goal is to raise as much money as possible in a two day period, and donate 100% of all proceeds to a local charity.
We do this mostly with the sales of raffle tickets for donated prizes, and monetary contributions by model industry and non model industry companies. Each year, RDRC has managed to grow this event to something bigger and bigger. We continually set our annual goal higher, and provide an outstanding public air-show to all those who attend. As a plus this event is free to the public spectators, and we make every attempt possible to get the public up close, and personal with both the pilots, and their model planes.
In 2005 we raised over $5,000.00 for a local charity. In 2006 we raised over $10,000.00 for a local charity. In 2007, with your help, we were able to raise $17,000 for the Victory Junction, a wopping $26,500 in 2008, and a staggering $27,000 in 2009. The money raised from our cause will go to the Victory Junction this year, also. The Victory Junction was founded by Kyle and Pattie Petty and we are very excited about being able to help them bring more joy into more childrens lives this year!