KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings
A whir of engine and flick of controller pushes remote controlled planes high in the sky in Grand Island, NE – “We have probably 100 airplanes and a couple hundred pilots out here,” says Jim Stulken.
Stulken is president of the Grand Island Modeler’s Club, and says their annual June weekend Fun Fly is drawing pilots from all over.
“I mean it’s fun, but there’s just so much knowledge you can pick up on from guys that have been doing it a lot longer,” says pilot Chad Newman of Norfolk.
Stulken says it’s a hobby full of veterans, but not many rookies, which is why the Fun Fly, in its 11th year, has grown in spectators and guests from other clubs, but flyers won’t say the field is growing.
“Usually it’s the older people, you know the younger crowd are still in Gameboys and stuff,” says Stulken.
“There’s kind of, in a way, the traditional group that have always flown at RC fields and we’ve done it for years and years with really good safety records really,” says Newman.
But times are changing, pilots say, with “buy-and-fly” products becoming more popular. So with designated fields like Grand Island’s being safe fly areas, pilots like Newman are encouraging those entering the world of UAVs and drones to join them.
“We’d kind of like those guys to come out to the clubs and maybe learn the way it’s been done with the safety record we have,” he says.
RC enthusiasts say they might be able to keep someone new to their passion from flying into trouble.
“They are just starting to come in here, we encourage the drone flyers to come join the club so we can kind of all be together and keep track of each other,” Stulken says.
Source: Nebraska TV