“Safety is our number one rule,” said club member Mike Jones. “If you are bringing in a new plane, it must have flown three times before you can fly with us. We have a lot of safety rules and regulations. Planes may not fly behind the fly zone, only in front of the pilot. And when we have more than one plane in the air, each pilot has to have a spotter. You really have to concentrate on your controls when you are flying, you need someone else there to tell you if someone is in your airspace.”
Jones said he began flying about six years ago when he bought a small Styrofoam aircraft and found out he needed some guidance.
“I am way out in the country and thought it would be fun to try flying a radio control plane,” Jones said. “I got a hold of a small Styrofoam plane and a radio transmitter. I took the plane up and then I realized I knew nothing about flying. So I went looking for an organization to teach me.”
Jones said the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) charges nothing to teach individuals to fly model planes. However, students must use a buddy box with an instructor until they become members of the organization.
“The buddy box is two transmitter,” Jones said. “The instructor takes the controls while the plane takes off. Then he can give the controls to the student. But if there is a problem, the instructor will take back control.”
Once a student becomes a member of AMA, they are covered by the organization’s insurance policy.
Ken Hall of Cooperstown has been flying radio control model airplanes for 34 years. It took Hall a year to build the Fokker D-VII he flew at the show.
“I love it,” Hall said. “I love planes and I love aviation.”
The Oneonta Radio Control Flyers is active in the community, participating with several children’s organizations such as Oneonta World of Learning and the Boys Club of Oneonta. The members hope to pass the love of radio control model airplanes to the next generation.