Golden Age RC model aircrafts take flight in Bethel

Mike Damiani pilots a 1916 British Sopwith Pup replica biplane while Paul Daugherty, Jr. flies the museum's 1918 German Fokker Dr1 replica triplane during a demonstration of a World War I dogfight.

The Golden Age Air Museum saw a different type of plane over the weekend at Grimes Airfield in Bethel: radio-control aircrafts. The Radio-Control Aircraft Model Meet and Airshow featured model aircraft designs dating from the Pioneer Era through 1941 often referred to as the Golden Age of Flight.

For two days pilot, spectators and fans enjoyed the weather and watched radio-control aircrafts soar through the air along with an afternoon flight demonstration by a full scale aircraft and plane rides. The event was sponsored by the Tri-County Sky Barons.

“It’s a nice event,” said Tom Bubb, Vice President of the Tri-County Sky Barons. “It benefits the club and the museum.”

Bubb explained that a number of the guys in the club volunteer at the museum. Having the radio-control planes helps bring in more people to the airfield and many of them then take an interest in the museum or even go up for rides in the plane.

The large scale model aircrafts closely resemble the planes they are modeled after. Bubb pointed out how one of the planes even had the same lines and rivets that the original has.

“Modelers take great care of their airplanes,” said Bubb.

In order to make the models as close to the originals as possible, down to the minute details, the modelers use pictures and look at the documentation to match up the two different size aircrafts.

“Part of the hobby is to make it as close as possible,” said Bubb.

By having the model aircrafts at the event during the Golden Age of Flight, the event matches up with the theme of the museum making a great fit. During the daytime, the aircrafts flown go as late as 1941. After the crowd leaves for the day, the pilots are able to bring out the newer models and fly those as well. Bubb commented that with the LED lights on some of the planes at night it looked like a bunch of UFOs flying around the field.

The lifelong hobby, as Bubb referred to it, is one that is becoming easier for everyone to be able to take part in. Before planes had to be built, even the mechanical parts to make them fly, but now people are able to buy planes ready for flight.

As with pilots at other radio-control aircraft events, most have been taking part in the hobby for decades.

Many commented on the packed crowd on Saturday during the first day of the event. Even on Sunday a crowd of people came out to spend the day at the airfield and watch the model planes fly by with music from the same time period as the models playing in the background.

To check out upcoming events at the Golden Age Air Museum at Grimes Airfield in Bethel visit www.goldenageair.com.

Join the Conversation