Way out north of Minot in a field nestled between farms is the Minot Aircraft Modelers field where the group is holding an open house that began Friday and continues today.
The 2012 International Fun Fly was scaled back this year. But there's no charge to fly model aircraft. If you have a plane to fly, you can bring it out to the field and fly.
A small crowd gathered Saturday afternoon to watch members of the Minot Aircraft Modelers fly their model airplanes under sunny skies and some heavy winds, making it a challenge for flying model airplanes, but the fliers managed to keep their model aircraft in the air.
Jill Hambek/MDN • Several model airplanes are shown on display during the 2012 International Fun Fly and open house event put on by the Minot Aircraft Modelers. The public was invited to attend the model airplane show and fly model aircraft with the group.
Jill Hambek/MDN • The group of spectators and pilots at the 2012 International Fun Fly held near Minot gather for a group photo on Saturday afternoon. The model aircraft was flown mostly by pilots belonging to the Minot Aircraft Modelers, but the public was also welcome to try their skills at flying.
Jill Hambek/MDN • From the left, Mark Vajda, board member of the Minot Aircraft Modelers, Roger Harper, editor of the Minot Aircraft Modelers, and Ray Lilliquist, secretary of the Minot Aircraft Modelers, pose with the model airplane flown by Harper at the 2012 International Fun Fly.
Jill Hambek/MDN • The storage shed on the grounds of the Minot Aircraft Modelers, shown here, is where a supply of model airplanes are stored. Members can use these airplanes to practice flying if they don’t have their own.
With two 600-foot grass runways, free camping with RV parking with limited power and sewer services, modern bathrooms with showers, wireless Internet access, and a concession stand available, the time for flying model aircraft was seemingly limitless. A potluck dinner was served Friday and Saturday nights, with hot dogs and hamburgers provided and members bringing side dishes to share.
Roger Harper, editor for the Minot Aircraft Modelers, said he's been flying model airplanes for six years, but has been building them for as long as he can remember. His dad got him started, he added.
Harper typically flies a model airplane that's at a 35 percent scale, which is 35 percent the size of a real airplane, and has a 110-inch wingspan, he explained. Harper's model airplane costs between $3,000 and $5,000. It's also very light, made mostly of balsa wood, he noted, and has custom graphics. His model airplane is an ARF model, he added, meaning that it's an "almost ready to fly" model, and took a week for him to assemble. The model airplane runs on high octane gasoline, Harper said.
"It's so relaxing," Harper remarked about flying model airplanes. "No matter what you do, it's an enjoyable hobby. A bad day at work is still a good day at the field," he said.
There are no flying competitions with the model airplanes, Harper said, just flying for fun. "If the membership goes up, then we might have competitions," he said.
By joining the Minot Aircraft Modelers club, people also have to join the Academy of Model Aeronautics, which is for insurance purposes with the model airplanes, and by joining the Minot Aircraft Modelers, members will also learn how to fly, Harper said.
In June, the Minot Aircraft Modelers had an open house, Harper said, but it was really windy and they didn't get the attendance they hoped for. There will be another fun fly event coming up in September.
Currently, the Minot Aircraft Modelers organization has about 45 members, Harper said. Since the addition of the modern bathrooms, he noted, those have made all the difference for the wives since they didn't like to come to the model aircraft field before that.
Those planning to attend the International Fun Fly today can go to 100th Avenue and 100th Street Northeast.
Proceeds made from the 2012 International Fun Fly go to the Dakota Territory Air Museum in Minot. People interested in joining the Minot Aircraft Modelers can call Eva Lucke at the Aeroport Hobby Shoppe at 838-1658. The Aeroport Hobby Shoppe is located at 2112 N. Broadway.