The Loudoun County Aeromodelers Association (LCAA) General Membership meets each month on the 2nd Tuesday at 7:30 pm with occasional exceptions due to scheduling problems. The day of the meeting is published in advance on this website. The meeting location is usually at the Reston Police Station, 12000 Bowman Towne Drive, Reston, Virginia.
General Membership meetings are open to members and guests and include a business agenda, members show ‘n tell of models and projects, and other hobby entertainment. One of the fun benefits of this hobby is sharing and learning from others at Club meetings and at the field. Members are encouraged to bring models (completed or under construction), tools and building techniques, videos, and experiences to share. “How-to” demonstrations are well received. Newcomers are especially encouraged to ask questions – none are “stupid” since everyone has some learning experience to share. We like to share flying experiences and humorous adventures since that's the fun of exploring this hobby.
The LCAA’s all-grass flying site is at the Loudoun County Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve off Route 621 (Evergreen Mills Road), 6.2 miles south of Leesburg and 6 miles north of Arcola. The field is open all year to LCAA members except for Christmas, New Year’s Day, and special occasions determined by the Preserve Manager. Lock up the equipment shed and Club gate, if you’re the last to leave --the lock combination is on your Club card. Also, if the preserve gate is closed when you enter or leave, close it after you have entered or left. If it is open, don’t close it.
We are a sanctioned Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) Club. All LCAA members must be AMA members. We are bound by their regulations, especially safety, and have liability insurance that protects our landlord, Loudoun County Parks and Recreation Department. As an R/C pilot, your liability insurance is provided directly by AMA. This insurance is secondary to any other insurance you have (e.g. homeowners).
We enjoy the privilege of flying our models at the Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve because we are intent on being good neighbors. Flying fields are hard to get and require continuing efforts by each member to assure we keep this privilege. We lease the field on a year to year basis and have agreed to abide by the Preserve rules, especially noise abatement to protect the environment as a natural wildlife setting enjoyed by citizens seeking enjoyment in the beautiful Preserve. Complaints from naturalists, who also enjoy the area, are a sure way to lose the field. This also includes:
You are required to follow the Club Field Rules. They include among other things:
As an AMA member, you also must follow the AMA safety code. If you see others not following the rules, please gently remind them.
A first aid kit is located in the shed. A sheet providing directions to the closest aid station is posted on the bulletin board at the field. In addition, the geographical coordinates of the field are there. Ticks are found through out the preserve. You should always use a bug repelent, one containing DEET is best, while at the field. You should always bring a pair of long pants in case you have to enter the tall grass to retrieve a downed aircraft.
The field is with the Washington DC Special Flight Rules Area (SFRA) and is subject to additional restrictions that may not be in force in other areas of the United States. These include altitude restrictions and limitations on First Person View (FPV) flying. Please see the club field rules for more information. Occasionally, the FAA will issue a NOTAM closing the SFRA airspace to all non-emergency and non-regularly scheduled comercial flights. During these times, the field will be closed for all RC flying.
Members must have the LCAA membership card on display for verification when engaged in flying activities at the Club field. The Club card is also evidence of AMA membership because proof of AMA membership is required before an LCAA membership card is issued. Persons who are not LCAA members cannot fly at the LCAA field unless they are guests of Club members. The Club member must be present at the field with the guest and the guest must present a current AMA membership card and their FAA registration card.
The LCAA Membership application is available here. AMA membership application forms are available from the Academy of Model Aeronautics, 5161 East Memorial Drive, Muncie, IN 47302. Telephone: 800.435.9262. The AMA web site is www.modelaircraft.org.
LCAA membership terminates at the end of December every year and flying rights are terminated until membership is renewed. The entrance gate lock combination is changed in January and the new lock combination is printed on the new membership card.
A renewal application, Club dues, and proof of AMA membership must be provided to obtain renewal. A renewal form is sent to existing members -- usually in December.
The Club is incorporated in the Commonwealth of Virginia and is registered with IRS as a not-for-profit organization and is described in its Constitution and By-Laws. Changes in these documents are approved by the membership.
Day to day operation of the Club is provided by a Board of Directors. Replacements are elected annually by the membership for three-year (staggered) terms. They collect and disburse money, plan and conduct membership meetings and events including community interaction, manage the flying site and landlord relations, establish Club Field Rules, conduct the membership process, and provide member communications including a newsletter, web site, and handbook. Financial management is provided by the treasurer with an annual board-approved budget. We have checking and/or savings accounts. Most of our expenditures are for field maintenance and events. New members are encouraged to volunteer for Board membership-- they help to bring a fresh perspective and direction.
The Club relies heavily on volunteer help to provide Board leadership, enjoyable meetings, flying events, and field maintenance. Work days are scheduled, usually two to four each year. Spring preparation of the field is a regular event, usually requiring two to four hours. We also support the State’s "Adopt a Road Program" and have selected The Woods Road leading to our flying field. Quarterly road clean-ups are scheduled, usually lasting an hour. We also support the Preserve Manager in project work as scheduled by the Manager to improve the Preserve. Participation is actively encouraged, since simply paying the dues does not provide enough resources to support an active Club.
Organized flying events are planned by any member who has an interest in organizing an activity. Some events are “fun flys” for members only, and some are AMA sanctioned events (follow official AMA rules) that require AMA Contest Directors (we have several in the Club) and are advertised in the Model Aviation magazine and usually open to all AMA members. Organized events reserve time at our field and are held to encourage both flying and audience participation. Food is usually provided at Club expense. It usually takes several members to conduct an event, so please volunteer to help out.
The Club supports an active pilot qualification program. This Club is fortunate to have several pilots who spend extra time to be instructors. This quality of the Club has resulted in an attitude that welcomes those new to the hobby. Also, our special $1 dues for members under age 16 compliments the AMA program to encourage young members into the sport. Click here for information on the Pilot Qualification Program
All new members receive a Student Pilot Club card. This means you must fly with a Qualified Pilot Buddy until you become qualified. Several members are qualified instructors and are listed on the Club's website in the Members section. Introduce yourself at the field or Club meeting to make arrangements. Saturday morning is usually the best time to meet.
Experienced pilots will have little difficulty in achieving Qualified Pilot status. Besides flying ability, instructor pilots will check you out on safety and field rules, including operating the sound measuring equipment. The Application for LCAA Qualified Pilot Status is available here. Two qualified signatures are required and upon receipt of the completed application, the Membership Chairman will issue an upgraded Club card.
Instructor pilots have volunteered their flying time at the field to assist you to learn how to fly safely. While they are generous people, please remember that they like to fly their own planes too! They also are human and may make mistakes when flying your airplane. Damage to your plane is your responsibility, not the instructor’s. They will do everything they can to show you how to fly and protect your airplane. Pay particular attention to preflight safety instruction (radio test, airworthy check, motor and prop operation, pit activity). Unsafe airplanes will not be allowed to fly.
The Loudoun County Aeromodelers Association maintains this web site and also has a Facebook page at www.facebook.com/lcaaclub for member participation.
Time-sensitive notifications affecting members may be posted on both sites and via email. This may include field closings, flight restrictions, upcoming events, and newsworthy information. Members are encouraged to update their email address to the membership chairman.
The Loudoun County Aeromodelers started life as Reston R/C, Inc., AMA charter #799, about 1989. An enthusiastic group of modelers became the nucleus and monthly meetings were a combination of sharing modeling information and refining the Club’s By-Laws to serve all members through spirited debate. And as might be expected, the Club’s progress depended on its success in supporting a flying field.
Early fliers found vacant lots for flying sites, including a strip at Baron Cameron Park in Reston. Their first “big” field was north of Leesburg on Edwards Ferry Road. Located in a secluded farmer's field not far from the Potomac River, this field was expansive and had a large over-flight area. Events included the Duraplane classic, AMA pattern and scale contests, and fun-flys. Quarter scale aircraft with gas engines, gliders, and scale aircraft were the passions of those members.
The Club grew to about 140 members (plans were afoot to increase membership to160!) when we were notified that the land was to be developed for a golf course. A field search yielded a pasture near Lucketts and a new runway was prepared. Within a month neighbors complained and, through a zoning issue, we were forced to leave to fly at the Leesburg Ida Lee Park. This was not the best of locations but we survived for a couple of years until neighbor noise complaints caused our eviction again.
Pressure to find a permanent location resulted in a decision to raise our dues from $35 to $50 to increase our treasury. This change resulted in a membership drop to about 90. In the meantime, the Club met a various locations in Reston, including a church, until the present location, which is the conference room of the Reston North District Supervisor in the Governmental building (Reston Police Station).
While at Ida Lee Park, another field was located south of Leesburg at a farm owned by Mr. Mahoney. This field lasted for a short year until we were relocated to another field on Mahoney’s land. Fearing another temporary situation, continued work with Loudoun County resulted in securing a location at a new County acquisition, Banshee Reeks Park. The Park was undeveloped: we and a dog owners group became the only tenants.
Loudoun County Parks and Recreation Department continued their planning activity, and a special interest group called Friends of Banshee Reeks emerged representing the interest of naturalists, a persuasive lobby. As a result the park has been designated as a nature preserve.
Subsequently the County employed a full time manager for the Preserve, Ron Circe’, who has been most cooperative with us. Our position is to be a good neighbor, support the Preserve’s activities, and work with the naturalist interest by self-imposing engine noise limits. In this regard, we also clean up The Woods Road and receive credit in Virginia’s “Adopt A Highway” program. We finance all field developments and pay an annual field lease to the County.