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Headwaters Radio Control (R/C) Flying Club hosting aviation event Aug. 26-27

All eyes will be on the sky Friday, Aug. 26 and Saturday, Aug. 27. The Headwaters Radio Control Flying Club hosts its annual Fun Fly both days, starting at 9 a.m. Tom Stennes' sporty and versatile Timber flyer comes equipped with landing wheels or floats, like an Alaskan bush plane. (Photos by Shannon Geisen/Enterprise)1 / 2
Headwaters R/C Club members regularly fly at the club airfield, located west of Park Rapids.2 / 2

Spectators are welcome to enjoy aerial acrobatics — even combat.

The Headwaters Radio Control (R/C) Flying Club, a local group of model aviation enthusiasts, is hosting its annual Fun Fly Saturday, Aug. 26 through Sunday, Aug. 27.

Admission is free.

Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) membership is required for those who wish to fly their model aircraft. The landing fee is $20 per pilot. The Fun Fly is an AMA-sanctioned competition, offering RC-related items as prizes.

The Fun Fly is a long-standing tradition of the Headwaters R/C Flying Club, drawing pilots from throughout Minnesota and North Dakota.

"We usually average around 30," said Club President Dick Reich. "We've seen over 40 at times."

This year, Dylan Hudock, a UND aerospace student and factory flier for Compass Helicopters, will be doing demo flights. Hudock has been flying R/C planes for 14 years and helicopters for a decade.

A slalom course will be set up mid-afternoon for delta-wing foamies and similar aircraft. Only fixed-wing models are allowed; no rotary or hybrid. Planes must have a 25-inch wing span to score maximum points. Combat and night flying will also be available.

There are currently about a dozen members in the Headwaters R/C Flying Club; more always welcome.

"We're looking for new members all the time, any age," said Larry Sowden.

"Not only airplanes," added Reich. "We've got people who fly quads, helicopters, drones."

They gather Tuesday mornings around 10 a.m. and Wednesday evenings at 5:30 p.m. to fly on the club's five-acre field, weather permitting.

Dave Martin is the club's newest member.

"I'm rediscovering my childhood," he said. "I built planes when I was really young."

"One of the things that has happened over the last few years is a lot of people are going from 2-cylinder Glow engines to electric," said Cal Kehr, "because it's easier in that you drive up to the field, flip the switch and away you go. Where, with an engine, there's always tinkering, which some people still like to do. They like the noise. It's a little more realistic. We have a mixture of both in this club."

Some members build their own model airplanes.

"The day of the event, there'll be gasoline-powered planes also, which are engines like those on a weed whacker. They're a decent-sized motor," said John Fisher, club treasurer.

Hudock will fly "electric, ducted fan, jet-type planes that are very fast," he continued.

Kids and computer gamers have an aptitude for flying model airplanes, thanks to their quick reaction time, Fischer said.

"It's kind of like any other hobby," Kehr says. "You can probably start for $100 or you can spend $10,000."

There's a large spectator area behind the "flight line," but seating is limited. Bring your own lawn chair. There will be a food booth as well.

The Headwaters R/C Club airfield is located about 4 miles west on State Hwy. 34 west, then left (south) on 109th Ave./Todd Township Road 30 and continue straight about 1.5 miles. Signs will be posted.

To learn more about the club, visit www.headwaterrcclub.org.

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