Radio controlled planes take to the skies

This article submitted by Molly H. Connors on 9/24/96.

Paynesville's radio control, or RC, plane club held their annual show at the Lake Koronis Community Park last Sunday.

The RC club has to wait fore swimmers to depart, so they don't use the aa until after Labot Day.

During the summer, the 25-member club usually meets once a month, member Loren Pearson said. They have a grass field north of Paynesville that they fly from.

Club members also fly in the winter. They come to Lake Koronis.

Spectators and flyers alike came and went throughout the afternoon as model airplanes whizzed back and forth above the lake. Flyers came from Willmar, Litchfield, St. Cloud and Richmond.

The sunny afternoon gave the flyers near-perfect conditions. There was a bit of a wind that made the water rougher and steering more difficult
The planes varied in size and style. Some were modeled after real airplanes. Others are sport planes that are only models for recreational flying.

The planes are made of balsa wood and coated with a light plastic covering. Jay Thompson, Paynesville, said planes sometimes weighed around 20 pounds.

The planes have two-cycle and four- cycle engines. The main difference in the engines is their sound. The sound of four-cycle engines resembles a real airplane more than that of a two cycle engine, Tom Kollmann, Richmond, said. The four-cycle engines also have valve systems. With these engines, planes can go beyond 100 miles per hour.

Kollmann has been flying RC planes for more than 15 years. He started flying model planes when he was a kid.

Some planes at Sunday's show were designed for water landings and take-offs. Most, however, had floats in place of their wheels.

Some flyers buy blueprints and build their planes from scratch. Others buy kits.

"The really busy guys" have someone else build their planes for them, Kollmann said. He estimated that a plane built from a blueprint would take 40 hours to build.

"We don't crash very often," Pearson said. But on Sunday, one plane, flown by a Willmar man, did crash.

The pilot had trouble from the start. He got the plane out on water and it killed. The retrieval boat brought it ashore, and he dried it off. Later, he brought it out again. The plane took off, and flew out of sight, beyond trees to the west. Then, spectators heard a crash.

The pilot was one of those "busy guys" Kollmann had described. Another man had spent nearly two years building the plane for him.

"I don't even want to see it, after all the time I spent on it," the builder said, as he walked along the shore, searching for the plane's remains.

The crash illustrates the benefits of model airplanes.

"You can walk away" after a model airplane crash, Thompson said.

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