Pegasus Radio Control Airplane Club hosts show to benefit John R. Marsh Cancer Center

June 15, 2013|By ALICIA NOTARIANNI |
  • Pegasus Radio Control Airplane Club member Mike Frey of Hagerstown, right, keeps an eye to the sky watching other members fly Saturday morning while fueling up his RC plane. The club raised funds Saturday for the John R. Marsh Cancer Center.
Joe Crocetta / Staff Photographer

Joe Hartt spent 13 years of his life flying missionaries and supplies in and out of the jungles of Zaire as a bush pilot.

On Saturday, Hartt, 58, of State Line, Pa., stayed in touch with his interest in aircraft on the decidedly tamer landscape of a field off Old Forge Road in Hagerstown. The Pegasus Radio Control Airplane Club hosted a show there to benefit the John R. Marsh Cancer Center.

Hartt said that, ironically, he first became familiar with radio control — or RC — aircraft while in Zaire, which is now the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“One of the mechanics there brought RC planes,” Hartt said. “Right away, I was interested in what it was all about and I would watch him fly.”

Hartt said another missionary also had RC planes, and when he left the mission field in the 1990s, Hartt bought them. It was impractical to bring them back to the United States, so when he returned, he likewise sold them.

Today, Hartt said he continues to fly “cheap little” RC planes for fun.

Mark Gaylor, a Pegasus RC club member and owner of NeXgen Hobby in Funkstown, said RC aircraft continues to evolve and draw new enthusiasts known as “flyers” or “pilots.”

Saturday’s show featured everything from park flyers, which are small enough to be flown in public parks, to a full-scale Cub and a Hughes 500 helicopter. About 35 pilots flew their craft and 150 people attended.

“This is mostly just a public show to show what RC models are about, to get people involved and to raise some money for the cancer center,” Gaylor said.

While the Pegasus club has been around since the 1960s, he said, recent advances have generated excitement among flyers. First-person view technology comes with goggles that provide a sense and view of being in the pilot’s seat, and quadcopters come with global positioning systems and can in effect “fly themselves” and facilitate aerial photography, he said.

“There are all kinds of things you can get into with model aviation, from turbine jets to helicopters. We really push the envelope with a lot of newer airplanes that are out there,” Gaylor said.

“Danger Zone” from the soundtrack of the film “Top Gun” played as Dan Bradshaw, 42, of Hagerstown, flew his 2012 Extra 300 aircraft, a 3-D aerobatic plane.

“Helicopters, planes, jets, anything that flies, we want to fly it,” he said.

Bradshaw said he has been flying for 30 years and is passing the hobby on to his children. It’s a good way to spend time together on evenings and weekends, he said.

DeWayne Keener, 68, of Falling Waters, W.Va., said he doesn’t fly. He is pit crew, at the service of his 12-year-old grandson, Collin Clohan. Keener said Collin has been “all things airplanes” since he was a toddler.

“Three years ago, I decided to get him to an airfield,” Keener said. “Flying RC planes has been an opportunity to let him explore his passions. He can name them, build them, repair them. Who knows where it will take him.”

Pegasus member Rick Marquiss, 39, of Hagerstown said he initiated the fundraiser show three years ago when his brother was receiving cancer treatment. His brother survived.

Marquiss said the show raised about $9,000 over two years, and he looked forward to adding as much as possible to that this year through donations and raffles.

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