Jay Smith: How did you get involved with model aviation?
Dave Millner: I owned a hobby shop. I thought about flying, but
I mostly did 1/12-scale on-road racing and 1/8-scale gas car racing.
A fellow came into my shop with an old Hirobo Shuttle. He
said, “I am tired of trying to fly this thing. Can you sell it or do
you have anything to trade?” I traded some old motorcycle parts
and I was in the RC helicopter hobby really cheap. I thought to
myself, I’ll never do this any cheaper.
I made friends with fliers from Dayton, Ohio—Mark Wilson
(who recently passed away) Chris Patton, Wendell Atkins, and
Don Chapman. Before long, the Shuttle was airworthy and I was
off mastering the hover, the loop, and roll with the help of my
JS: How has model aviation impacted your life and/or career?
DM: When one reflects on a question like that, he usually realizes
much of it has been the people in the hobby. Many of my friends
are from across the country and around the world. Then let’s not
fail to mention that the IRCHA [International Radio Controlled
Helicopter Association] Jamboree for the last 10 years has
become an important part of my life.
Through my involvement with the Jamboree, the skillsets
I developed spilled over into the full-scale aviation event
organizing as well. I had done a couple small, full-scale fly-ins,
Chris Patton and
for the 2010
and led to
surpassed all records for the number of B- 25 bombers in one
location since World War II.
I am heavily involved with full-scale aviation, sit on the board
for Champaign Aviation Museum [in Urbana, Ohio], and I
nearly took a position to run an airport, which would not have
happened had I not been involved in RC.
JS: What disciplines of modeling do you currently participate in?
DM: I pretty much fly only helis. I have flown some multirotor
craft. I recall local club members, after watching me fly my
helicopter, saying “bet you can’t fly an airplane.” Needless to say,
the pits were quiet after taking off, flying, and landing an airplane
on my first try.
I fly a couple of foam wings and I own a dust-covered airplane
that has yet to be airborne. I have been flying helis for nearly 30
years now and it still is a passion, not an obsession.
JS: What are your other hobbies?
DM: My strongest passion is photography. I have been shooting
pictures for 40-plus years. I share those images on Facebook and
other outlets, and sell a few, but it is more about the images than
making money with it. Photography is simply for me.
JS: Who or what has influenced you most?
DM: I think it is safe to say that we’re all influenced by all of the
people in our lives. What one person does not give you, another
offers that strength or skillset by which we use to make ourselves
better people. One such person is Ed Noble.
Ed has been in RC for years, and built TOC [Tournament
of Champions] aircraft for champion pilots. He flies full-scale
airplanes. He constantly amazes me with his ability to analyze
anything from a manufacturing process to find a better way to
build machinery. My hat is off to that, yet his commitment to
family and friends never seems to have limits. That alone inspires
me to be a better person.
JS: When thinking of the IRCHA Jamboree, what are you most
DM: Mostly it is carrying on the principles that founder Don
Chapman envisioned when IRCHA was founded. When the
organization was at an all-time low, Ron Kummer and Ron Lund
breathed life back into IRCHA. Continuing what they initiated
and expanding on it makes me proud.
Finally it is the world-class event we have built. Notice I say we.
As I walk or drive around the Jamboree site, it is gratifying that
people greet me and say, “Nice job, Dave! Great event, Dave!”
I cannot take the credit. It is team of IRCHA board members
that makes your event what it is. When I am no longer involved,
I am sure that they will be able to take the event to its next level.
So that is the long answer to your question. The short
answer is IRCHA has become a benchmark that other events
aspire to and measure against. That is a legacy with which
anyone can be proud to be involved.
Photo by Mark Ryder of RunRyder Productions
164 Model Aviation DECEMBER2015
Dave Millner IRCHA president
by Jay Smith