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Hope still floats for model aircraft club on land or water

Beacon Journal staff report

Landing a small plane by remote control can be a tricky proposition.

Landing a small plane by remote control on water is another matter altogether.

The art of factoring in variables from wind to waves is just one of the endeavors for members of the Corsair Model Aircraft Club.

Members of the club worked to hone their skills late last month at Portage Lakes State Park at a Float Fly event.

Alliance resident Gene Darrah, who is retired from manufacturing, is past president of the club and a member for 20 years. He owns 20 to 30 model aircraft of all kinds, from electric to gas to low-fuel.

“Flying off the water as opposed to doing it on the ground is a different sensation,” Darrah said.

He confesses it adds more anxiety “but it’s very enjoyable.”

Another Float Fly will be at the Nimisila Reservoir on July 27.

The club bills itself as family-oriented for builders and fliers of remote control model aircraft. It is one of the oldest in the nation and began in 1962 as the Goodyear Model Aircraft Club.

When British financier Sir James Goldsmith was trying to take over Goodyear, the club was forced to change its name in the early 1990s. .

“That’s when Goodyear began divesting itself of all of its trimmings like employee-sponsored clubs,” said Akron’s John Ashley, a professional photographer and a trustee. “Goodyear was involved in World War II in producing Corsair fighter planes. Almost 3,000 were used, which was one-third of the total produced Corsair aircraft … So, the club continues to honor Goodyear’s long tradition in aviation.”

The club — which lost its home at the Summit County Fairgrounds — is now on an 8-acre former driving range in Portage County’s Franklin Township. It offers training for anyone who wants to fly model airplanes.

Members range in age from 10 to 80 with one lone female, Madeline Bruemmer, who not only is active in the sport but also is club treasurer.

“Our members come from a broad variety of backgrounds. Not all are pilots,” Ashley said. “Some are plumbers, electricians, engineers, truckers. Anyone interested in flying but can’t afford full-size planes. Although we do have three private pilots. One was a helicopter pilot during the Vietnam War.”

For more information on the Corsair Model Aircraft Club, visit


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