Out on Tyler Island, some 25 people who just love their miniature airplanes had the time of their lives during the weekend as they used radio power to fly their planes in a remote part of the Delta.
On Saturday and Sunday, the Tokay Radio Control Modelers flew gasoline-powered their miniature aircraft so that they go upside down in all sorts of directions. The idea is to gain points for a nationwide circuit. However, the owners don’t get in the planes — their aircraft are no greater than 40 percent of their actual size, said Hal Singer, who organized the West Coast Aerobatic Challenge of the International Miniature Aerobatic Club.
“These are all real airplanes,” Singer said.
They have an actual runway measuring 600 feet long and 60 feet wide.
The 25 participants came for the weekend from all over California, the Pacific Northwest, Arizona and Montana. Though the club is based in Lodi, members come from Rio Vista, Antioch, Galt and other locations. Many of them also take road trips and fly their planes in other states, said Singer, a Lodi resident.
The big challenge on Sunday was to perform a routine they were assigned on Saturday night. It’s called “The Unknowns.”
The national IMAC emailed Singer the required routine, which Singer forwarded to the participants.
“This is a really beautiful field,” said Galt resident Robert Kleinberg. “They’re nice people in the club, a very friendly club. Everybody helps everybody.”
Kleinberg and Tokay Modelers President Greg Hennefer said they love the local chapter. At other locales, participants are more likely to be part of a clique and aren’t too friendly with out-of-towners.
“When you don’t compete, It’s a social club,” Hennefer said of the Tokay Modelers. “We tell ‘lies’ to each other. Here, everyone helps each other out when needed.”
Thanks to the generosity of Tom Stokes, who owns most of Tyler Island, the Tokay Radio Control Modelers can use the course, which is 3 to 4 acres off Racetrack Road, for events and practice. Singer estimates that the “airport” is used five days a week, mostly to have fun and to practice flying their planes.
The model airplane club was founded in 1971, but it almost folded because there wasn’t anywhere in the area to fly the miniature plans, Singer said. But Stokes came through last year, boosting membership to 65 members. They got 15 new members after having a display at last year’s Lodi Grape Festival, Singer added.
In addition to competing for points on the national level, the Tokay club held a raffle drawing during the weekend for T-shirts and hats with the club logo on it, and the 7 Deadly Zins, the wine made famous by Lodi’s Michael David Winery.
Tokay Radio Control Modelers cooked lunch with a big oven donated for the weekend by the Woodbridge Firefighters Association. That’s because Woodbridge firefighter Garrett Morrison of Lodi, is a Tokay member who flies planes on the course. Morrison has flown his planes all over the world, include Germany, India and Central America.
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.