There were 25 aviation enthusiasts/pilots, all registered members of Model Aeroplane Association of Canada (MAAC) behind Moose Hall over the weekend, sharing information and displaying mastery of flying remote controlled aircraft in what appears to be turning to an annual event organized by the Ponoka R/C Flyers Club.
Participants came from Camrose, Drayton Valley, Red Deer, Edmonton, Sherwood Park and Calgary in addition to the 14 participants from Ponoka. Some of the visitors set up camp just across Ponoka’s small airport and all pilots flew their model aircraft of all shapes and sizes, including a few gliders and helicopters.
Organizers say that concession figures show all in all some 300 visitors showed up at the event over three days, from Friday afternoon to Sunday night.
Mayor Rick Bonnett visited the aviation show and said it was a great idea to organize the event just across the airport. “Anything that brings visitors to town is a good idea,” he added.
Rory Rust, spokesperson for the club, said they were quite happy with the level of participation this year. “Last year we had only one participant turning up for the event,” he recalled.
Rust says the club has been quietly active throughout the year and that they flew almost every weekend since the beginning of the winter. “We missed only two weekends last winter,” he said.
Asked whether the weather is not an issue for flying remote controlled models in winter, “If anything, winter is a much better time to fly because the air is denser and the objects fly better,” Rust responded.
Among the aircraft displayed and flown was a Russian designed YAK-55, built at 40 percent the size of the original plane, owned by Dale Hunter of Camrose. While there were shows of skills in flying various types of aircraft, there were also mishaps, one of which led to the crash of a big model plane owned by Ponoka’s Luke Bowie. “I allowed a friend from Edmonton to fly it and this what happened,” he said showing the pieces of the aircraft.