Air traffic buzzes Mistlin Sports Park in Ripon as often as three days a week for organized gatherings of radio controlled model airplane enthusiasts.
Rob Umberger noted that it is much less costly to get into the sport today than it was years ago when gas engines were used to power the planes. Today battery-powered motors are used to send the smallest to the largest planes into the air with hand-held control boxes that put the small aircraft into turns, dives and stalls over the fields.
The group flying on Friday represented both Del Webb at Woodbridge Remote Control Fliers and Modesto Radio Control clubs that will be flying an exhibition demonstration at the opening of the Del Webb at Woodbridge baseball season on Saturday, April 6, at 10 a.m. at the community clubhouse park at the age-restricted community in north Manteca.
There are more enthusiasts with their radio-controlled aircraft in the park on River Road east of Jack Tone Road on Tuesdays and Thursdays on a regular basis flying near the baseball diamonds.
In past years the planes were powered by wooden props and special fuel. Exhaust would cover the fuselage and wings with oil that had to be wiped down with soft cloths. A crash would put those planes out of action while the aircraft today are fashioned mostly out of plastic that can be effectively glued back together.
It is not uncommon to see Ripon residents sitting in their cars in the parking lots watching the activity.
The fliers noted a newcomer to the sport can get his plane airborne for under $200. They are also actively recruiting new members to their groups. They have a pilot-trainer in their groups that use a back-up control box that can override a newbie’s actions and reactions during flight to allow planes to be flown safely.
For more information on flying radio-controlled airplanes as a hobby call Rob Umberger at 239-2983.
To contact Glenn Kahl, email firstname.lastname@example.org.