Aeromodelers Club holds fun fly at Maalwyck Park

The point of the rules " really, the point of even having a designated field " is safety, Hackert said.

"We've never had a problem and we don't intend to," he said.

That's why pilots who come to the fun fly will be interviewed and their planes inspected. Once they get the all clear, they're free to join other planes in the sky, with spectators watching from a roped-off area.

There's plenty to do besides just watch the planes flying. The club will have "buddy boxes" set up, where an instructor will launch a plane and a student can fly it when it's in the air. There will be a helicopter demonstration. Kids and adults alike can take a turn on a flight simulator. Food and beverages will be for sale.

The emphasis is on fun, but there are usually some informal competitions, Hackert said. There will be a sail plane contest, in which planes climb as high as they can in a set amount of time and then turn off their engines. They have to land as close to a spot on the runway as possible.

Not long ago, some club members went to a Shenendehowa school and taught students how to fly planes in the cafeteria. Some of those students will be at the fun fly, and "we can see how they've progressed," Hackert said.

Hackert was just a kid when he was first turned on to the hobby himself. Living in Santa Barbara, Calif., where model planes were very popular, he saw planes take off from cliffs and then fly out over the ocean. Nowadays, he's one of the people introducing other people to the planes, noting that one of the reasons people join the club is that they need help with their planes. To that end, the club sponsors classes and building sessions during the winter.

Hackert encouraged people to stop by the flying field any time to see planes in action, and particularly this weekend. Admission is free and there will be plenty of raffles. For pilots, a $10 registration fee covers both days. All slow flyers are welcome.

Maalwayck Park is off Route 5 just opposite the industrial park. For more information on the Electric Powered Aeromodelers Club, visit epaclub.com.""

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