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Fergus Model Flyers seek new members

Takeoff - Fergus Model Flyers members take to the skies with their model airplanes at a farm just south of Fergus on Jones Baseline. The club is looking for new members. Andy Smith, the club’s chief instructor and past president, was one of the original members when the club was founded in 1986.    Photo by Olivia Rutt

Fergus Model Flyers seek new members

by Olivia Rutt

FERGUS - On a farm just south of Fergus on Jones Baseline, model airplanes zip through the sky, performing twirls and loop-the-loops.

On the ground, a group of people chat and watch flyers guide the planes through their stunts.

The Fergus Model Flyers club has been around since 1986 as a group that builds and flies model airplanes.

“It’s sort of a little community,” said Andy Smith, chief instructor and past president. “We come out here on a nice day, we fly.”

Don Guthrie, who owned the model airplane hobby shop in Fergus, started the club. He passed away in 2012.

The group has about 20 members from all over Wellington County and Guelph, but membership has been a struggle, said Smith.

“Membership has fluctuated up and down; we seem to be hanging on,” he said.

Smith said because the group rents the field it flies out of, membership is key to keeping costs low. Everything else, like grass mowing and food, is completed by volunteers.

“We meet here for social time and flying and relaxing,” said club president James Kidston. “We share ideas and experiences and watch each other fly.”

The club holds contests and fun flies throughout the season, which runs daily from spring to fall. During the winter, the club moves to the Guelph soccer dome.

“The more people we have, the more people enjoy it, because you get to see a lot of different planes flying,” said Kidston. “There’s lots of varied interests; you can do everything from big models of real airplanes, down to high performance real aerobatic planes, drones - we have the whole range here,” added Smith.

He flies a model Fokker triplane, a First World War fighter plane, notable for being flown by  Manfred von Richthofen (aka the “Red Baron”). It took Smith two years to build.

Drone flyers are also accepted in the club. The club has an exemption through Transport Canada due to its membership with the Model Aeronautics Association of Canada, which provides liability insurance.

The club accepts anyone interested in the hobby, even if they don’t have a plane.

“There’s something for everybody’s interest,” said Smith.  

The club also offers a free training program for new flyers. Instructors like Smith guide the pilot through different phases of learning to fly, after which the pilot receives his or her “wings.”

For more information email fergusmodelflyers@gmail.com or visit facebook.com/groups/fergusmodelflyers.

October 13, 2017

 
 

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