FAIRBORN — A local group of R/C airplane enthusiasts is welcoming new-comers to enjoy some high-flying fun and friendship, not far from where the Wright brothers themselves learned to fly.
The Wright State Renegades started flying as an unofficial group in the Wright State University K parking lot, which is how they got their name. Now they can typically be found flying on Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons at their current site at 3688 Byron Road.
“Cemex has been so generous to let us use this donated property,” said current club president Brent Richard. “They have already mined here and can’t build on the property for 30 years, so they’re happy to have us here. We have a great relationship with them.”
The club has used this location for nearly eight years after their previous Cemex site on Byron was reclaimed for mining. They were then without a site for about five years before this one became available. The Renegades have made many improvements to the rough location including a temporary runway, wooden airplane stands and a shade shelter.
Since leaving the Wright State parking lot, the group of roughly 25 has become an Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) chartered club. This allows them to carry up to $1 million in insurance for the site, where all AMA safety codes are observed.
The goal of the Renegades is to promote the hobby of R/C aircraft for anyone interested, and to have as much fun as possible. Membership is and always will be open.
“Right now people don’t really know about our club,” said vice president Ken Bailey. “We would really like to see more people, especially young people, get into it.”
“A lot of the same technology that goes into these remote controls goes into the UAV controls,” Richard said. “If you learn to build and fly these things you’re learning a skill in engineering, which could lead to a career in the military.”
Visitors are always welcome to come see what the Renegades do and to even learn a thing or two about the aircraft construction and operation. Ron Lamsdale, a co-founder and first president of the group, encourages anyone to come get some hands-on experience before investing in the hobby.
“If you’ve never flown before, come out and we’ll show what to do,” he said. “I am always willing to help them because someone helped me. I feel I’m obligated to help the next person. As a club we do that, invite new people in, because we want people to be successful.”
Many of the Renegades are qualified to train new R/C pilots and help them find the right plane and equipment to get started. Most of them have at least a decade of experience. Some members even have training setups with a master control that connects to another controller to give and take control of the plane with the flip of a switch.
“I think everyone has an innate desire to fly, but it’s important to have a group to help you learn,” said Richard, who has flown for 11 years. “Our members bring a wealthy of knowledge. And if you ever forget a piece or part, there is always someone willing to help.”
“I used to just go out and fly alone but now I have all these friends to talk to. It just makes a difference to have people out here,” Lamsdale said. “I’ve been with these guys for about 15 years, and even though my eyesight is not good enough to fly any more, as long as I can get up and get out, I’ll come out here with them.”
For more information about the group or to learn how to become a member, visit their website at www.wsrenegades.org. Membership dues are currently $50 for flying members, and AMA membership is required to join the club as a flying member.
For more information on becoming an AMA member visit www.modelaircraft.org.