“You can start out pretty cheap,” said Mike Baldwin of Anderson, as he pointed toward an electric model made from foam that a pilot can get into for about $100.
Don’t expect, however, to stop at one airplane.
“It gets expensive,” said Pat Garrett of Middletown. He pulls a 38 percent 330S Extra out of the trailer he’s dedicated to his hobby. He sets the giant bright yellow and red plane up on the grass, where its 110.5-inch wingspan transfixes even the other seasoned flyers in the club. Inside Garrett’s 6-foot-by-18-foot trailer, he still has a dozen other airplanes neatly housed.
On a workbench in the trailer, he sets the radio up in a model labeled Escapade for another club member. At home, he has a shop dedicated to his RC hobby, and another six airplanes. Garrett’s been flying since 2006.
“I dived right in," Garrett said. "I always wanted to do it. I finally got someone to show me how to fly, and joined this club. It was all downhill from there. I just love the hobby.”
Flying takes place over the 700-foot by 125-foot runway that the club leases from Madison Park Church of God. Club members mow and maintain the area. The field has five stations, four of them with safety benches, along the flight line. Spectators remain behind the fence, and everyone generally stays behind the flight line. The club employs rules to keep everyone safe.
For those who want to learn how to fly RC, the club’s the way to go. They have what’s called a “buddy box,” a trainer control unit that can be connected to a radio transmitter.
The group gets together for a club meeting once a month, but most of the time, club members just head out to the field in the evening and on weekends when the weather’s amenable. Occasionally, the group has a cookout when family and friends set up lawn chairs and enjoy their potluck dishes. Whenever they get together, there’s likely to be planes in the air, but also plenty of “hangar flying.”