On Saturday Sept. 19, a Dawson County model aircraft club will host a public event showcasing aerobatic model aircraft flying by Extreme Flight Model Airplane Co.
The club, North Georgia Model Aviators, meets out of Dawson County and promotes all ages to learn about and have fun flying model aircraft. According to club member Bob Marks, the club is open to all ages and skill levels.
“We have a variety of ages and skills, and a variety of different types of model aircraft,” Marks said. “We fly aerobatic airplanes, airplanes that mimic the scale of real airplanes, gliders, balsa wood airplanes, fiberglass airplanes, foam airplanes — a whole variety.”
The event on Sept. 19 will feature a performance by Extreme Flight Model Airplane Co., an award winning Forsyth County competitive model airplane flying group.
“They have a manufacturing plant and they sell airplanes all over the world; they are very high among the competitive model airplane builders and distributors,” Marks said. “The owner is inviting a lot of people in his group from different states to perform at this event — they’re world competitors and very talented.”
The event will feature several demonstrations and flights by members of the Extreme Flight Model Airplane Co., and members of the North Georgia Model Aviators club will be flying their model aircraft throughout the day as well.
Food and drinks will be available to purchase on site, and public restroom facilities will be available. There will also be raffle tickets for purchase for a chance to win various pieces of Extreme Flight merchandise.
The group will be taking precautions to keep everyone in attendance safe, both from a flying safety standpoint and a COVID-19 standpoint.
“We have installed flying stations for the pilots and security fencing for our guests so they’re a safe distance away from the actual flying field,” Marks said. “We do practice social distancing, and the club doesn’t require masks but the public should take every safety precaution they’re comfortable with. We’ve taken every precaution to make sure that we’re a safe and open venue for the public.”
In holding the event, Marks said that the group hopes to encourage more interest in the club from a younger demographic.
“About 50 percent of our members at the moment are in the 50 and older group and most of us have been flying model airplanes for many, many years,” Marks said. “So we’ve been trying to promote new membership, primarily younger membership because we believe that’s the future of our hobby.”
For those new to the hobby who are interested in learning, veteran members of the club help provide instruction and guidance.
"As far as the younger members, we will teach them how to fly,” Marks said. “We have airplanes and drones available so we’ll show them how to get started and how to proceed through the hobby.”
In addition to being entertaining, the hobby helps build valuable STEM skills too.
“What we do in this model airplane hobby encompasses a lot of different skills,” Marks said. “Building, flying, hand/eye coordination, sport flying, competitive flying — and it all fits very well into the STEM activities that the high schools are now promoting.”
Anyone is welcome to come to the event in September, Marks said, the event is sure to be entertaining for anyone who wants to come.
“I think it’s important for people to be exposed to this hobby, and I think especially during everything this year with COVID-19 it’s just another opportunity for people to get out and see something a little different,” Marks said. “If someone has not seen this type of model airplane flying before I think they’re in for a real treat.”
The event will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 19 at 553 Geirrein Road, Dawsonville, GA 30534. For more information on the event, visit the club’s website at https://www.ngmarc.org/.