Friday, 29 June 2012 00:00
The Radio Controlled (R/C) Air Show at the North Hempstead Aerodrome on June 10 exceeded all expectations. Between 200 and 250 spectators and flyers from all over converged on the site for this first annual day of flying, expert demonstration and hands-on teaching.
The weather was perfect – not too hot, winds were calm – a great day for being outdoors. The morning began with open flying by club members showing off their latest creations. Airplanes and helicopters of all types and sizes were flown. Around noon, choreographed flying routines were performed starting with Justin Jee, a 9-year-old flyer from New Jersey who has been astounding spectators since he was 4. Justin flew a 35 percent Pilot-RC Extra 300 with a 107” wingspan and later a 700 sized electric helicopter. He made rolling circles look like child’s play. Mike Krug, a local flyer, wowed the audience with his electric-ducted fan jet which tops out at 180 mph, and his Eurocopter AS350 scale helicopter.
One of the few casualties of the day was an extremely agile plane Tim Semeraro was flying when he learned how the airfield isn’t a completely flat surface. The ground can be very unforgiving if not approached from the correct angle. They also enjoyed a demonstration of what is called “combat” where several planes attach streamers to their tails. They fly very close to each other attempting to clip their opponent’s streamer with their propeller. The last uncut streamer wins. Then they enjoyed a spectacle where Patrick Boll and friends from the Merokes flew in formation, hanging their planes on their props, completely motionless. It was hoped the audience realized the level of concentration these maneuvers require. Finally, all were treated to the “Beast” flown by Paul Ezagui. This biplane is huge and Paul flings it around the sky as if it were light as a feather.
After the dust settled, 20 or 30 local kids were treated to a hands-on flying lesson using the three club trainers and what are called “buddy boxes.” A buddy box is a dummy transmitter that is wired to a master transmitter. This allows an instructor to fly and give control over to the student. When (not if) the student gets in trouble, the instructor releases a switch and resumes full control sparing the aircraft from damage and the student from embarrassment. Many thanks go to Mike Cheung and Mike Krug for their time and patience during this segment. One woman whose son was taking his turn remarked on how great an experience it was for him, and said she would like to come back and try it herself. This is a terrific hobby for families to do together. There is one father who brought his son to the field many weeks so he could learn to fly. Now, the son is instructing his father on the buddy box. What a wonderful role-reversal and great bonding experience for both.
Throughout the day, Charlie Gonder, of Gold Coast Hobby, was giving away small balsa gliders to all the kids. They would then assemble them and fly in any open space they could find. Computer Flight Simulators were available to all who were interested. There was a static display showcasing a variety of hand-built model aircraft. Great music filled the air as the various events were announced. Hamburgers and hot dogs, corn, cookies and soda were available at modest charge.
The Hempstead Harbor Aero Modelers Society is a nonprofit flying club who sponsored, produced and did all the work for this event on a volunteer basis. They thank all who participated and all who came and enjoyed this very special day. This hobby brings out the best in all those who experience it. At the end of the day, after everyone had left, the field was as neat and clean as when the day began.