For the last 15 years, Rick Grewel of Stockton has been a passionate pilot.
“It’s freedom. There’s no one else up there. You can leave the world behind but still be a part of it,” he said.
On Saturday, Grewel and a few dozen friends were out flying at the Kingdon Airport on DeVries Road for the fifth annual Wheels and Wings event, organized by the Delta Flying Club. It’s a car show, an air show, and a family friendly party.
Children munched on chips and hot dogs while their parents eyed the show cars on display and browsed through a pile of model airplane for sale.
In the sky, a white and orange plane performed flips, twists and spectacular dives. The pilot’s hands were steady on the controls, as if the dips and swoops didn’t affect his stomach at all.
That’s easy to do when you’re standing on the ground like Royce Niceler of Stockton. He was out flying his remote control plane at the airport.
“It’s just a hobby,” he said. “This plane was a plug and play.”
Dave Devone, of Lodi, has spent quite a bit more time on his planes over the years, and thousands of dollars. On Saturday, he was flying an RC plane modeled after a military jet. He built it from a foam kit and hand painted it in a camouflage pattern.
“We do this because we can be strewn through the sky without hurting ourselves, or getting sick, or dealing with the expense of a real plane,” he said.
Some club members made a sacrifice of their model planes. A paintball shooting station was set up for kids to try to shoot down planes as they flew by.
Jade Bell, 12, got in a few solid hits during her round.
“Look! I got it right on the wing, on the silver one,” she said. “These are pretty cool.”
But some pilots were not content to play with the handheld toys.
Grewel took his 1976 Centurion up for a quick flight over the vineyards surrounding the airport. He shocked the crowd with a low fly-by that shook the tent poles and had kids covering their ears.
Contact reporter Sara Jane Pohlman at email@example.com.