Tiny RC model planes are popular at Piedra Vista High School Farminton
FARMINGTON — Once a month, the gym at Piedra Vista High School’s Jerry A. Conner Fieldhouse is filled with the buzzing of tiny RC model planes.
That’s because a group of model airplane pilots armed with tape for repairs meets to share their enthusiasm for flight.
Antony Burgett, the vice president of the San Juan Radio Control Club, said between five and 25 pilots bring planes to the gym each month.
Many of those pilots also fly larger models, but enjoy the different challenge of indoor flying.
“It’s a whole different story flying indoors,” Burgett said.
He explained that inside there is no wind except for the occasional “thermal” caused by the large heaters inside the gym.
“You don’t have to compensate for any of the wind,” Burgett said. “It makes life a whole lot easier.”
However, indoors is a smaller space, which presents its own challenges.
“Outside you’ve got the wind, but inside you’ve got the walls,” he said.
Steve Guattery, one of the pilots who brought his planes to fly last Sunday, said the smaller models also are more affordable.
The small planes can be flown outdoors under the right conditions.
“If there’s more than a slight breeze, then you’re in trouble,” Guattery cautioned.
Paul Jarvis, a club member who is also a sponsored radio control pilot, had been hesitant to try the smaller models, but a year ago he joined the other pilots at the high school.
One of the things that impressed him was how little the models weighed.
“These things don’t even weight 7/10ths of an ounce,” he said.
He has continued attending the indoor flying event and bought his own small models.
There are many types of radio-controlled aircraft. For beginning hobbyists, there are park flyers and trainers.
For more experienced pilots there are glow plug engine, electric powered and sailplane aircraft.
For expert flyers, jets, pylon racers, helicopters, autogyros, 3D aircraft, and other high-end competition aircraft provide adequate challenge.
Some models are made to look and operate like a bird instead. Replicating historic and little known types and makes of full-size aircraft as “flying scale” models, which are also possible with control line and free flight types of model aircraft, actually reach their maximum realism and behavior when built for radio control flying.