OTTUMWA — Those who want to feel the thrill of flying an airplane without actually getting in the cockpit of an aircraft can still get their fix in the Ottumwa area.
The Ottumwa Radio Control Flyers are a group of 35-40 members who meet whenever the weather permits to fly their radio-controlled airplanes. The group has a location fit with two runways just south of the Ottumwa Industrial Airport. One of the runways goes north/south and measures 450 feet by 150 feet, while the other runs east/west and measures 1,000 feet by 150 feet.
In order to keep their grounds looking nice, members of the group volunteer their time to make sure the upkeep of the area is done properly. But, they have to pay to use the land, and what better way than to have dedicated fun flies with great food and desserts?
Once a month from February until October, as long as the weather cooperates, the group features the fun flies that are open to the public to come and spectate. At each event, members provide food at a low price, and all of the revenue goes toward the payments for the land and the upkeep.
Saturday will be their last fun fly of the year, as long as the weather permits. It is their annual Chili Fly, named for the delicious chili that will be served by member and co-organizer Charles Paulk.
“We do a little flying and a little eating and just try to have a good time,” he said.
For those who want to learn a little more about the club or learn how to fly a radio-controlled plane can attend weekly training nights every Monday from the end of March until the beginning of October, weather permitting.
The training days are a chance for those who have little or no experience with flying radio planes to get behind the wheel and test their skills. The more experienced club members hook up what is called a buddy box and help explain how to manage the controls.
Those who want more information about the club or how to get registered as a member of the Academy of Aeronautics can go to the Ottumwa Radio Control Flyers website, www.rchawk.com.
— To see reporter Josh Vardaman's Twitter feed, go to @CourierJosh