Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Radio controlled aircraft airshow in Elkhart draws rave reviews

A four-day event featuring radio controlled aircraft at the Elkhart airprort is drawing rave reviews.
Posted on Oct. 2, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on Oct. 2, 2013 at 5:19 p.m.

ELKHART — Officials at Elkhart Municipal Airport believe they’ve found two air show events that fans can expect to see return annually.

A four-day event featuring large scale radio controlled aircraft held at the airport on Sept. 12-15 has been hailed as a big success, said airport manager Andy Jones.

The event featured more than 200 radio-controlled aircraft operated by about 80 participants, according to Jones.

Interest and support for the event went so well, Jones said, they’re already planning on another show next year.

The gathering was organized in part by R.J. Monroe, a longtime employee at the airport who currently works part time in the air traffic control tower, and Chuck Hamilton, an avid fan of large-scale radio control aircraft who is from Bremen.

Monroe said he and others planned for the event for nearly a year and called the results “spectacular.”

While attendance was low on Thursday and Friday, that changed Saturday when three quarters of a six-acre field was filled with cars, Jones said.

Organizers believe the event attracted more than 1,500 people.

“We expect that to double next year because people now understand what we are doing,” Monroe said. “The perception of RC modeling is little toys zipping around the skies and this was quite a departure from that.”

The event was funded with gate receipts and contributions from participants. Spectators were charged $5 a carload, Monroe said.

Jones said participants liked the airport’s amenities and the fact that they could store radio controlled aircraft in some of the corporate hangars overnight.

“Clearly, it exceeded my expectations,” Jones said.

The success of the RC event comes on the heels of another, The War Birds fly in, scheduled for Saturday.

Saturday’s fly in will mark the third year the event has been open to the public, Jones said.

The fly-in starts Saturday morning with a breakfast and will feature dozens of antique aircraft.

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