I became a pilot.
OK, so Iâ€™m not an actual aviator â€“ yet â€“ but I did fly my very first model airplane at Steve Henry Airfield of E.P. â€œTomâ€ Sawyer Park. Attending the River City Radio Controllersâ€™ (RCRC) free Monday night flight training, I learned the proper technique and method for navigating the aircraft.
With the help of Scott Kimball, co-owner of Hobby World, 104 Vieux Carre Drive, andÂ Tom Hohman, Vice President of the RCRC, I drove a glow engine plane off the 500 x 50 paved runway and up into the sky, nearly out of sight.
My turn control may have been lacking (thankfully Hohman was co-piloting with a â€œbuddy boxâ€), but watching the intricately crafted machine defy the law of gravity was, nonetheless, impressive and left me with a sense of excitement.
Itâ€™s a hobby I didnâ€™t know much about before, but I found a new appreciation for as I stood amongst a group of young, eager kids and their families either learning to fly or simply standing by to spectate.
Whether you own your own model airplane or would like to test one of the RCRCâ€™s, you can stop by â€œTomâ€ Sawyer Park any Monday night for a free introductory lesson. Come to the field to speak with an instructor and learn more about the art of taking flight or test your piloting abilities with one of the club airplanes.
If youâ€™re on the hunt for your first model or looking to add to your stock, instructor Kimball can educate you on all youâ€™d ever need to know about the collectables, as well. With more than 20 years of experience in the hobby, Kimball and friend Rob Schryver opened the â€œbig kidâ€™s toy store,â€ Hobby World, in 2010. Offering everything from remote control planes to cars, helicopters, boats, jets, gliders, model rockets, kites and accessories, you could spend hours inside the store perusing the merchandise it carries. You can also work in some pre-practice for your flight at the airfield with Hobby Worldâ€™s simulator, open for use throughout the day.
Averaging about $500-$1,000 in price, with $130 being near the low end of the spectrum, a new model plane or helicopter could be the perfect birthday or holiday gift for your son or daughter. Unlike video games that keep your kids on the couch, these novelties compel them to head outside and be active.
Itâ€™s a pastime you can take with you, from the time youâ€™re a child until youâ€™re old and gray. With some luck and practice, maybe you’ll even turn the hobby into something much greater, and accomplish the real feat of one day saying, â€œI became a pilot.â€
For information on RCRC and Monday night flight training, visit www.rcrcky.com. For more information on Hobby World, visit â€œHobby Worldâ€ on Facebook or call 502.749.7879.
Photos by CHRIS HUMPHREYS | The Voice-Tribune