The Minot Aircraft Modelers, a chartered club of the Academy of Model Aeronautics, held an open house for the public Saturday afternoon. People who were interested in learning to fly model planes could give it a try in a safe, structured environment.
"We got swamped today with many people that wanted to try to fly. We had three instructors and three spotters, and they kept busy," said Roger Harper, a board member of the Minot Aircraft Modelers.
The Minot Aircraft Modelers has held an open house each year since the club started up, and many have had to be postponed due to inclement weather. Saturday proved to be an ideal day for newcomers interested in the sport.
Katina Tengesdal/MDN --
Zac Heskin, a Minot Aircraft Modelers club member, hovers his helicopter in one of the flying areas.
"We offered people who wanted to fly a ground school, which taught them basic flight characteristics, then we brought them into our hangar for a computer simulation, which is really close to the actual airplane models," Harper said.
"The instructors do the plane's take off, and they will get the airplane to a safe altitude, and then relinquish control to the student. If the student gets into a situation, the instructor can immediately take control," he said.
The Minot Aircraft Modelers scheduled additional flying events for club members, and viewers were treated to some fun, competitive flying. The club now has just over 80 members. Many were eager to start flying in the fair weather.
"It's a very relaxing sport, and it's fun. In North Dakota, we have such a long winter, but that's when we build our airplanes,"Harper said.
The hobby has changed over the years, Harper explained, and even those who don't have the building skills can still enjoy it by ordering Almost Ready to Fly (ARF) model planes.
"There's a really broad difference in what you can do. You can be really slow and gentle, or you can have a 3D aircraft that can hover and do extreme acrobatics," Harper said.