At FlyRC Event CAP Cadets Get Some ‘Air Time’ Co-Piloting Model Planes
SOUTHBURY — The hum of model planes whizzing through the open air was the first indication the Fairfield League of Yankee Radio Controllers’ (FlyRC) event with Civil Air Patrol (CAP) had begun.
FlyRC’s station and airstrip — located a short distance from Newtown at Mitchell Farm on Purchase Brook Road — was the perfect location for the July 23 event, which was open to the public so visitors could learn more about the group and watch the model aircraft in flight.
FlyRC has multiple members from Newtown including Patrick Napolitano, who co-organized the event, and FlyRC Sound & Safety Officer Rich Margules.
Margules explained that flights during Saturday’s activity paired a FlyRC member with a local Civil Air Patrol cadet. The two then took turns using a flight box that controls each model aircraft.
Pomperaug High School teacher and FlyRC member Cliff Becker explained that doing this mentor/mentee style of teaching gives the cadets both “hands-on experience” and the ability to “enjoy the hobby.”
Civil Air Patrol cadets from Danbury arrived as early as 9 am and were flying well into the afternoon with FlyRC members.
Captain Devin Pedone, of the Civil Air Patrol, said his group is the official auxiliary of the United States Air Force, and “of this nationwide program we are part of the Connecticut wing.”
The Civil Air Patrol uses their expertise to perform search and rescue, promote aerospace programming, and more.
At the event with FlyRC, half a dozen cadets represented the group’s total roster of nearly 30 members.
Cadet Charlie Villani had the opportunity to be paired with FlyRC member Chris Vargo for his second flight of the day. During that time, Charlie navigated the yellow plane through the sky with ease and handed controls back to Vargo when needed.
Sandy Hook resident Michael Samsen, who joined FlyRC in May 2021, worked with two cadets during the event.
“Both did very well — much better than I did the first time I flew! They both seemed to really enjoy themselves and had lots of great questions about the planes and radio equipment,” he said. “I think that the hand-eye coordination that young people develop playing video games translates well for flying radio control planes. And, in my opinion, it’s a lot more fun to be outside, with other people, flying planes than sitting inside, alone, at a computer.”
FlyRC President Bill Josiger, whose personal plane is called The Pizza Box, mentored a number of cadets throughout the day.
Josiger said, “FlyRC is hosting the Civil Air Patrol cadets from Danbury. We do it yearly, but this is the first time in person since the pandemic … It’s a great way for them to learn and get firsthand experience”
FlyRC even had a flight simulator on-site for the cadets to learn more in addition to their Buddy Box system.
Josiger noted that the organization has been running in Southbury for more than 20 years, but that the group has been an established model radio control flying club for more than half a century.
The group welcomes new members.
To learn more about the Fairfield League of Yankee Radio Controllers, visit flyrc.org.
Reporter Alissa Silber can be reached at email@example.com.