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Rowan Aeromodelers show off flying skills at Dan Nicholas Park

By Lee Ann Sides Garrett
For The Salisbury Post
Dan Nicholas Park’s baseball field looked like an airport, with about 20 planes stood waiting to take their turn in the sky.
It was an air show, but the planes awaiting flight were only about 3 or 4 feet long. About 20 spectators watched as members of Rowan Aero Modelers Society put their flying skills on display for the public on a recent September Saturday. Planes of all shapes and sizes performed tricks such as loops, hovering maneuvers and flying almost out of sight.
Club President Will Douglas says the group’s 14 members meet every weekend during the summer. The Dan Nicholas air show is held every spring and fall.
Douglas has been flying for only three years and at 14 is the club’s youngest president. “Everybody else in the club had been president,” Douglas says. “So I’m taking my turn.”
Grady Howard, one of the original members, says the club started in 1968 and was a charter member of the Academy of Aeronautics. Most members of the club are much older than Douglas, but younger members are always welcome, Howard says.
Douglas gets his interest in aeromodeling from his father, Howard Douglas, vice president of the group.
“I’d always wanted to do this from the time I was young,” Howard Douglas says. “I started going to meetings, won a plane in a raffle and started a hobby.”
At the Douglas home, it’s a big hobby. Father and son say they have 15 planes. Howard Douglas says planes usually range in size from 12 inches to 16 inches for a trick plane that does trick flips, twisting and hovering. Larger plans such as trainers may be 3 to 4 feet. A typical trainer can cost about $500-$600.
“It can be inexpensive, it can be expensive, depending on how you do things,” Howard Douglas says. “Some planes we reuse parts and don’t spend much.”
Howard Douglas says a typical event like this can cost about $10-$15 in fuel as long as there are soft landings. The planes run off a special fuel mix bought at hobby shops. There are also electric planes, he says.
Beginners in the club are trained to fly using a “buddy box.” Two remotes allow the student to use one remote to fly the plane with the instructor having the ability to take over from another remote at any time.
“We love teaching new people,” Howard Douglas says.
Will’s mother Wendy says the society has been a good experience for her children.
“The older guys take good care of the younger guys,” she says. “They’re such good role models.”
For more information on Rowan Aero Modeling Society see the Web site at www.rams-fly.com or contact Will Douglas at flyinfutbol@earthlink.net.

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