Soaring planes, swapping stories
By ELOISE OGDEN
Planes soar through the sky over a flying field northeast of Minot. Other planes, as well as a a helicopter, are taking off or landing.
It’s Club Fly Night, the first Tuesday in August, at the Minot Aircraft Modelers’ flying field. After the group’s meeting that evening, members got out in the field to fly their aircraft.
“They can fly as long as they want to,” said Steve Bueschel, Minot Aircraft Modelers secretary from Minot, observing those flying their aircraft that night.
The Minot Aircraft Modelers, an organization of radio-controlled model aviation enthusiasts, has been in existence for more than 40 years since it organized in 1973.
About 23 years ago the group purchased the land where their flying field is located about 12 miles northeast of Minot or eight miles from Surrey. Club members use 15 acres of the 55 acres of land for flying. The rest of the land is leased and provides an income for the club.
Bryon Kraft, of Surrey, a Minot Aircraft Modelers’ member for about five years, was flying a Yak 54 Tuesday night. He said the flying field is a good place to bring a plane and fly it. “This is one of the nicest fields,” he said.
Kraft said his neighbor, Joe Eberle, another Minot Aircraft Modelers member, got him started flying. “I saw him flying and it looked interesting to me,” Kraft said.
Bueschel said the models come in various forms: ready to fly, almost ready to fly, as well as kits and those that are built from scratch.
The aircraft will fly anywhere from about 15 mph to about 60 mph. Some members noted it’s very exciting when Russ Gohl, a member of the club, brings out his jet model to fly. They estimated the jet goes about 200 mph.
Phil Kling, of Lignite, has been with the Minot Aircraft Modelers for about 15 years. But he said he’s been flying and making planes for a much longer time. Kling’s plane, a PA-11, colored in bright yellow with black, sat nearby. PA-11 stands for Piper Aircraft No. 11, Kling said.
Wayne Marshall, of rural Minot, joined the club just two months ago. “I’ve got three planes already,” he said. That Tuesday night he was flying his Fun Club plane.
Another relatively new club member, Andrew Olsen, is originally from New Jersey and has lived in Minot since 2001. He was flying his Fokker tri-plane Tuesday night. Olsen joined the group three to four months ago.
“I built this one from a kit all last winter,” he said, indicating the tri-plane sitting on the ground nearby. Olsen said he’s been building models since he was 13.
Besides the club giving its members access to instructors to help with learning to fly the models and also access to a flying field, plus participation in club events, there’s also the camaraderie of others who have the hobby and time for swapping flying stories.
“Telling stories are part of this,” said Bueschel, as he was swapping a story or two Tuesday night with Kling.
Club Fly Night is the first Tuesday of each month from May through October at the Minot Aircraft Modelers flying field after 6 p.m. Visitors are welcome. The club has a website at (www.minotaircraftmodelers.org).
The next event for the club is the Dakota Territory R/C Fly-in Aug. 22-24 at the flying field northeast of Minot. The event is open to everyone.