40 years of high flying models
High-flying adventures with exciting competitive challenges and enticing prizes are all in the package of thrills for members of a group of model aeroplane aviation enthusiasts called the Flying High Radio Control Club.
A model aircraft is a small-scale replica of an existing plane. It may be flying or non-flying and is sometimes proportionally exact to the full-sized aircraft.
The club was started more than 40 years ago. Equipped with model aeroplanes, the club's
members get together on weekends and public holidays to entertain themselves and their guests. Competitions to pop balloons utilising the mini aircraft, and land in the centre of a marked area, among others, require that the operators hone their skills.
Members of the public are invited to the Flying High gatherings, held at the Caymanas Polo Club.
"The club has actually gone through a number of transformations and different name changes. At one point in time it was Hummingbird Radio Control Club, and in recent times it settled on Flying High. I think this is about 10-15 years since it has been Flying High," said Dale Davis, the club's secretary.
He explained that "it is a relatively small group of dedicated hobbyists, whose sole purpose is to build a vibe of camaraderie while practising and exercising their interests in model aviation".
Davis said the Flying High membership ranges from park fliers with very small aeroplanes to competition pilots, who fly aeroplanes up to 120 inches in wingspan and powered by two-cylinder gas engines.
"The largest size I think we have in the island is a 170cc engine. We also have pilots interested in jet propulsion aircraft, that use the same fuel as the commercial one, and also electrical aircraft. There are those who are interested in gliders. Those are dependent on thermal energy in the air to keep them airborne," Davis said, adding that the fuel used in those aircraft is from a local supplier.
Persons wishing to participate in the Flyhing High activities or become a member of the club can be trained by a certified member. "We do have a separate training programme with certified instructors in the club and that is 30 flights," Davis explained.
Newcomers to the hobby also need to invest in a plane, batteries, fuel and other items needed for the aircraft's safe flight.
The last gathering for 2014 was held at the Caymanas Polo Club on Boxing Day, members of a radio control car club joining in. In addition to the flying of gas and electric powered aeroplanes, the club held a precision aerobatic contest which was won by Donovan Osborne. Second place went to Dale Davis, and Stephen Laidlaw was third.