Our Internet service will be problematic during April, and I apologize if I am slow to respond to comments.
Seventy pilots flew more than 100 planes and helicopters off a 600-foot runway — radio controlled model planes and helicopters, that is. As it is 2018, a drone filmed from above.
The Cape Coral R/Sea Hawks Flying Club has 300-plus members, one of the largest clubs nationwide. Among the members are retired military, commercial and private pilots who often also own a real plane
They use a 600 by 60 foot asphalt runway which was repaved and re-striped by the city last summer. There also is a parallel grass runway, a lake for float planes and an area for helicopters.
The 24th “Gathering of the Giants” is a radio- controlled air show with many different types of planes from jets to vintage warplanes using gas, turbine and jet engines.
A pilot I met said this was just a “fun show” not a competition. The challenge is to have a successful flight: the pilot must control for wind, clouds, and technical/mechanical issues.
A national competition will be held in Lakeland in May. He said a panel of three judges will judge planes first from 20 feet away, then close up, and then while flying. The goal is to create the model as close to the real thing as possible including flying characteristics. They do not want a model plane that flies better than the real one.
Another pilot told me they sometimes have “dog fights” during which ribbons are attached to the tails of the competing planes. Competitors then try to cut the ribbons on the other planes while avoiding having their own cut. Crashes happen.
While I watched, there were up to four craft airborne at any time, usually for six to seven minutes. None crashed, but one failed to make it off the runway.
During the noon hour each day, a “Candy Bomber” flies over the grass field and drops candy. Children, escorted onto the paved runway by an adult, are then allowed to run out and collect it. It was a big success.
There was a five dollar suggested parking “donation” and a Valient 30-cc ARF plane with a 9-foot wing span was raffled. A portion of the proceeds are donated to the $1500 Mayor’s Scholarship Fund.
Click on photos to enlarge.
P.S., the real local “sea hawks” are ospreys, and a local high school’s nickname is “The Seahawks.”