by John Cralley
The Annual Worldwide Ringmaster Fly-A-Thon is the largest Control Line (CL) model airplane fun-fly in the world. Modelers from around the globe fly Ringmaster models on the first weekend of October each year.
The event started eight years ago when Las Vegas CL Speed pilot, Joey
Mathison, came up with an idea for a fun-fly using Ringmaster model airplanes.
His suggestion was to see how many Ringmaster model flights could be put up
in a single weekend. Participants could fly anywhere and simply keep a count
of how many flights were made. The flight count would then be submitted to a
designated email address and the total tally calculated.
He suggested the idea to Dee Rice and David Gresens who were the
originators of the Brotherhood of the Ring, an online forum devoted to
Ringmaster CL models. They agreed that it sounded like something fun to do.
The Brotherhood of the Ring agreed to sponsor the event, make the tally, and
compile a final report.
Richard Grogan, one of the administrators for the Brotherhood of the Ring,
created the rules for the Ringmaster Fly-A-Thon and volunteered to make the
final tally and report. His rules are still the basis of the Ringmaster Fly-A-Thon
Largest CL Fun-Fly
How has the event become the world’s largest CL fun-fly? In its inaugural year,
2008, 62 CL modelers put up 255 Ringmaster flights. These flights were mostly
made by US members of the Brotherhood of the Ring forum, joined by pilots
from Canada and Brazil. It was decided to make this an annual event because the
Ringmaster Fly-A-Thon was not only fun, but a good opportunity to promote
The event continued to grow, including participants from other countries,
and a Facebook group called the Annual Worldwide Ringmaster Fly-A-Thon
was initiated to help disseminate information about the event and to allow
postings concerning Ringmasters and the fly-a-thon. The group currently has
224 members. It is open to the public to view, but only members can post to
The goal of 2,500 flights was set for the 2014 Ringmaster Fly-A-Thon. That
was easily exceeded with 2,714 flights made by 456 pilots. Pilots from Australia
outdid themselves with 52 fliers putting up 604 flights. New participating
countries included Bermuda, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Sweden.
37 Model Aviation SEP TEMBER 2015 www.ModelAviation.com