Ring Masters Flying Club

Then Came Katrina


City Park contains 1300 acres of land and water and after Katrina all 1300 were under water and it stayed that way for two weeks.  Judging by the water marks on trees and our fence, there was between four and six feet of standing water over the entire park.  As soon as the ground was dry enough to drive on FEMA moved in workers and equipment and started to clear the park of debris and trees.  They used Bobcats and dump trailers to clear the park and parked their heavy equipment on our field and this virtually ruined it.

About 7 weeks after the storm, our President, Tony Atzenhoffer was able to get into the field and talked with the FEMA supervisor.  At this time the field was really not in that bad of a condition taking into account the amount of water that had covered it.  This FEMA supervisor assured Tony that before they left, the field would be cleared and put back into the original shape it was before the hurricane hit.  Tony returned about 6 weeks later to find that the FEMA represenative had lied and the field was completely destroyed.  They had used our 70' circle for the main loading area for the dump trucks and Bobcats.  They had even picked up and moved the center concrete pilots pad in the 60' circle and moved it across the field.  Below you will see pictures of how we found the field after FEMA had moved out.


We did contact the Park Commission and asked them to contact FEMA and make good on their promises but as you might imagine, that never happened.  However, we did ask AMA for some help and they gave us $500.00 which we used to buy loads of river sand to be dumped back on the 70' circle so we could at least get that one on the road to repair. We carried about 10 pickup truck loads of trash to the dump on our own.  Also thanks to a generous benfactor, we were able to purchase additional river sand.  We were also able to acquire the use of a Bobcat and driver to help spread the sand.  We figure that we purchased approximately $7000.00 for river sand.  We only paid for the diesel fuel for the Bobcat which saved us at least another $1000.00.  About the end of March we were able to cut the grass and scheduled a flying session/work party for April 23rd.  We spent the first hours clearing debris and then got down to some serious flying.