Thanks for the kind words BD. We are certainly glad to have you roaming our halls!
Indeed, we have a really awesome and diverse user group here from across the globe. I love that I can log in at 4AM (Eastern US) and see that friends in Europe have already been posting things and having conversations. It really does feel like a United Nations lobby. And the wide ranging interests and expertise is really cool - we have pilots (civil and military), engineers, technicians, land and armor experts/hobbyists, artists, and just a really great community.
Most of all..we (largely) have a harmonious and respectful group. That is the "family" feel to which you refer. I'd rather read 5 threads among friends than 100 among people that put on a suit of armor to wade into arguments with each other.
On the technical side - there is no better than @fearlessfrog - he is truly a wizard with all this stuff and I'm in constant awe at how he puts ideas into action. And he has saved me a ton of money by making the site as streamlined as possible. The Discourse forum software was his idea and I have really taken to it after an initial learning curve. The features and layout are really nice.
Thanks again to everyone that makes this place what it is.