Hot on the heels of the Centennial of Flight air show, the amateur pilots of Prince Albert Aero Modellers (PAAM) are preparing for their own similar event — albeit on a much smaller scale.
© Submitted photo
Fun Fly 2012 co-ordinator Steve Till poses with his T-Rex 550E model helicopter. Admission is free to the remote-controlled aircraft show this Saturday.
Fun Fly 2012 will bring together an army of remote-controlled aircraft aficionados for a day of flying demonstrations that is open to the public. Admission is free at the model aircraft show, which takes place on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
“It’s an opportunity for the enthusiasts, the pilots, the guys that actually fly, to gather, show off their stuff, fly, all that sort of camaraderie that the aero modellers share,” event co-ordinator Steve Till said. “But it’s also a great opportunity to invite the public because it’s just a fun thing to see. It’s exciting stuff.”
This year marks the first Fun Fly event since 2009 organized by PAAM, which represents local remote-controlled (R/C) aviation buffs. Should the show prove successful, it may become an annual occurrence once more.
Till, who sits on the PAAM executive, added that there will be other attractions at Fun Fly in addition to the flying demonstrations.
“There’s going to be a 50/50 draw,” he said. “There’s going to be door prizes given out throughout the day. You’ll be able to buy burgers and hot dogs and drinks, ice cream. If everything falls into place, it should be a fun, exciting day with lots of different aircraft in the air and some really, really wicked flying.”
In order for R/C pilots to fly at the event, they must be members of the Model Aeronautics Association of Canada (MAAC), the hobby’s federal governing body. Pilots must also have received certification in either of two MAAC programs: The Wings program for model airplanes, or the Blades program for model helicopters. MAAC membership provides liability insurance for pilots flying in sanctioned fields.
According to Till, model aeronautics attracts pilots from all different ages and backgrounds.
“It’s just a passion that you kind of get into … once you start doing it,” he said. “There’s always a learning stage that can be frustrating when you first get into it, because you’re learning to fly an aircraft when you’re not inside the aircraft. It’s a lot more difficult on the brain too. But once you’re past crashing and the frustrating stage, it becomes a very exciting hobby.”
If everything falls into place, it should be a fun, exciting day with lots of different aircraft in the air and some really, really wicked flying. Steve Till
As the event stretches far into the evening, guests will be able to see pilots engage in night flying. Flying after dusk is mostly the same as during the day, since bright lights on the models allow pilots to easily see the aircraft.
“The only real difference when you’re night flying is you can’t see the ground,” Till said. “So you have to make sure that you’re flying with a little bit of elevation, a little bit higher up than maybe you would normally do it, just so you know that you’re clear of the ground. You can see it once you’re focusing on it, but the problem is when you’re in the air, you have to maintain eye contact with your model at all times, so when you’re looking at the model up in the air you can’t judge where the runway is.
“It’s a little bit trickier, but it’s still a lot of fun.”
Limited basic campsites are available as an option to visitors who may wish to stay the whole weekend or fly their R/C aircraft outside the official schedule. Guests are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs and blankets.
Fun Fly 2012 takes place three kilometres south off Highway 3 on Buckland Road and the event is sponsored by J&P Hobby, ReadyHeli.com and RotorQuest.com. Registration for pilots is $10. Additional information can be found at the PAAM Facebook group or by calling Till at 314-9899.