The 5th annual family-oriented radio-controlled airplane event "Warbirds Over Paradise" will be held Memorial Day weekend to honor veterans at the Sea Hawks Air Park in north Cape Coral.
Ed Gamils, president of the Cape Coral R/Sea Hawks, said the club first began in 1982 because there were people around who wanted to fly model airplanes. He explained that it first began as a glider airplane club until growth for the hobby expanded and a variety of other model airplanes grasped individuals attention.
"We still have some of the original members flying their gliders," he said.
A model plane soars over Sea Hawks Park during last year’s Warbirds Over Paradise show.
The community-oriented club currently has 320 members. Gamils said they provide free instruction at the field for those who are interested in learning how to fly a radio-controlled airplane. Those wishing to learn have to be at least 6 years old, he said.
"We try to bring in the younger generation of kids and get them interested," he said.
The club helps its members by providing an opportunity to expand the practice and skill of model builders and radio control fliers.
Who: Cape Coral R/Sea Hawks
What: Warbirds Over Paradise
When: Saturday and Sunday,
May 29-30, 9 a.m. to sunset
Where: SeaHawks Air Park,
1030 28th St., N.W.,
in Cape Coral
Cost: Free (donations per car
"It's a hobby," he said, adding that people "can be very avid" about their airplanes. Many of the guys who are involved in the club used to fly real airplanes.
The annual event "Warbirds over Paradise" will kick off the club's fifth year Memorial Day weekend event May 29-30 to acknowledge veterans. He said the event, which will begin at 9 a.m., will begin with the raising of the flag to acknowledge many of the "guys who are veterans of a particular war of some sort."
"Memorial Day seems like an appropriate day," Gamils said because it provides an opportunity to "salute the people in uniform."
"We like to give honor to the people that fought in the wars - a nice little memorial to the veterans," he said.
The event will have model airplanes like the ones that flew in one of the wars the United States has been involved in, Gamils said, which will feature between 20-30 pilots from all across Florida and beyond. He said the pilots travel from all over Florida, Georgia and North Carolina to participate in the event.
The event will have miniature aircrafts ranging from 40 inches to 10 feet in wing span. In order for the model airplane enthusiast to participate in the event, they "must have some type of identifiable war plane to fly," Gamils said.
"It probably takes an average of three to four months before you learn how to fly one of these planes," he said, adding that it is all about eye-hand coordination.
After the pilots fly their aircraft's on cue, the spectators will have the opportunity to talk to them and ask questions. Gamils said it is a great opportunity for individuals to get close to the aircrafts and talk to the pilots about their planes.
Gamils said he enjoys the event because it allows him to meet other ladies and fellows that share the same passion for the hobby as he does. He said having the opportunity to meet with others also helps in expanding his knowledge for the hobby.
"It's an adult and kid friendly event," he said, adding that you can even bring your dog - as long as it is on a leash.
There will be sandwiches available at the event, which will last until approximately 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Although the event is free, spectator donations per car are welcome.
SeaHawks Air Park is located at 1030 28th St., N.W., in Cape Coral. For information visit www.rseahawks.org.