R-C aircraft club flying high
April 26, 2018
Sierra Sagebrush Flyers, Inc., is the Academy of Model Aeronautics Club No. 2649 Region. It is a nonprofit group of radio-controlled model airplane flying enthusiasts who meet at 7 p.m. on the first Thursday of the month at club president Jim Kelso's home in Minden. Anyone interested in finding out more about the hobby is invited to join them.
The group usually flies at the Douglas County Model Airplane Field on Pine Nut Road in southeast Gardnerville (next to the Douglas Disposal transfer station). A couple of times a year they also have what they've dubbed "Hickey Day." Such was the case on a perfect day last October when I had the opportunity to join them and other local radio control model plane groups for their bi-annual "Fly Fun Days" out in the fields below Genoa. Everyone is invited to bring their friends and family and some visitors come from as far away as Reno. The group especially encourages young people interested in learning to fly radio-controlled model airplanes to attend.
The Gardnerville region was started in the 1980s by locals, many of whom (such as the Hickey brothers) have been flying R-C models since childhood. Private, commercial and former military pilots also make up the membership and love to share their experience and adventures with both model and full-size crafts.
Before each bi-annual "Hickey Day," club members come out during the week with riding mowers to prepare the field. It is mowed several times to build a large flight strip for the special event. I found it to be an enjoyable, relaxing day and entertaining to watch even for those not into the hobby. Club members are friendly and eager to share their stories. The club members host a barbecue with hot dogs, hamburgers, and all the fixings served on site that makes it a fun day for the whole family. The next Hickey Day Fun Fly & Barbecue is May 19, at Hickey Field.
Representatives from several R-C model flying clubs participate with all types of model aircraft, flying everything from trainers, gas-powered, electric-powered and gliders to an occasional jet-fueled plane. Big wheels on a model plane's landing gear are a plus. One of the club's most valued activities is when they invite various Boy Scout Troops out to try their hands at R-C. flying. Last spring, nine boys from Troop 345 along with several of their fathers came out to learn what it was all about. Club members give the boys and their dads instructions and then let all of them take turns at the controls. If you are interested in arranging such an event for a group or have any other questions, please call Jim at 315-4460, or Dennis at 790-0406.
"Some of the boys are naturals," said Dennis Lampson. "And we try to encourage them and their parents to take up the sport." Club members proudly share the story of local Douglas High School student who was mentored by the club. He became so proficient that after graduating high school he attended a pilot academy and is now a commercial pilot. Visit the club website http://www.sierrasagebrushflyers.org/about-us
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