Model plane fly-in takes off
Forty-three scale model airplanes buzzed overhead as the first ever Ernie Cates Sr. Memorial Big Bird Fly-In was held in the Fair Park infield.
“They sound a lot like chainsaw motors,” organizer Fred Cates said. “They run on a two-stroke engine and use an oil-based fuel.”
The event drew 43 planes and raised over $2,000 for M. D. Anderson Cancer Research Center, dedicated to Cates’ father, the late Ernie Cates Sr.
“The f ly-in was very well received,” Cates said. “We’d like to make it an annual event.”
A come-and-go crowd estimated at more than 300 attended.
About the only thing which wasn’t perfect was the changing Texas weather which delivered a cold front, with stiff north breezes, overnight Friday.
“On top of that, it was a crosswind,” Cates said. “There would probably have been a whole lot more f lying if the wind hadn’t picked up like it did.”
Cates said only two planes were allowed in the air at the same time.
First-time powered model plane fans marveled at the replicas and the skill of their pilots.
“Most of what we had here Saturday were 30 to 40-percent scale models,” Cates said. “Of course the size also depends on the size of the plane that’s being duplicated.”
“But the planes we were flying Saturday were more advanced models, not for beginners,” he said. “You can purchase ready to fly planes with radios for around $150 or less, and those are better to learn and train on.”