Teacher to sponsor remote airplane flying club

Civil Air Patrol instructor will share his expertise


Photo submitted

Col. Tom Elam’s personal RC airplane will be flown along with those of students who join a new model airplane flying club.

Given Lee, Reporter

Remote control airplanes have been a popular pastime for over a century. Nikola Tesla invented RC planes in the 1930s and then secured the patent Number 613,809 on Nov. 8, 1898, according to Model Airplane News. 

However, it wasn’t until 1938 that the first truly successful RC plane was created. The Good brothers, Walt and Bill, built the Big Guff and changed RC flying forever. 

Now, almost a 100 years later, the activity has expanded all over the world and soon to be here in the form of a Remote Control Airplane Flying Club. 

The club’s moderator will be Mr. Thomas Elam. He is a colonel in the Civil Air Patrol program, a teacher for the CAP class and an experienced pilot. His love for this activity is so vast that he wanted to share it with the rest of the school. He said, “I’ve had an interest in all things aviation for decades, so through the CAP grant, we have created this club for (unmanned aircraft systems).” 

Several students and staff have already displayed their interest in the club, so Elam said he decided to create an organization for those who have similar RC interests.

To start this club, Elam had to first get a club sanctioning certificate from the Academy of Model Aeronautics in Muncie. The certificate gives the club permission to fly without restrictions within a 400-foot soft ceiling. The certificate is only given to places that are more than miles from any airports. The club will fly at Brunette Park, which is right over the limit at 5.1 miles. 

Additionally, Elam has applied for a $1,000 grant from the Academy of Model Aeronautics so the club can have even more access to RC amenities. This funding will aid in the RC Club’s efforts to build a clubhouse at Brunette Park. 

The club will fly only small grade unmanned aircraft systems for safety reasons. However, this also means that anyone can join regardless of their level of experience. Elam said, “Anyone who is interested in RC flying should join. Just look out for the callout email.”