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22nd Annual Military Fly-In Success

On September 18th and 19th the skies over Rend Lake College in Ina Illinois, became filled with replicas of planes from WW 1 through the present as the Rend Lake Radio Control Club of Southern Illinois held its 22nd annual Warbird Fly In.

The event is a two day affair with Saturday being a warm-up day for the main event on Sunday. Saturday turned out to be a sunny day, but very windy with gusts up to 25 MPH. Not too many pilots braved the winds on Saturday morning, but they started flying later on and the pace picked up as the day wore on. Sunday morning brought light winds and some clouds, but the clouds did not keep the planes out of the air. After the pilots meeting at 0900 AM, there was always several planes in the air at all times.

The Rend Lake Club's grass field was well prepared with the flight line being well defined and the field closely cropped so that the smallest plane could easily take off. There was plenty of room for the numerous shelters to be set up. Many hours of work by the club members was very apparent. Two large tents were set up for spectators and food was prepared by club member Bill Fleri. No one went away hungry.

A Lot of old friendships were renewed and new ones formed, as this was the largest Fly In to date. Pilots came from all the neighboring states as well as Arkansas, Tennessee, Kansas, and Colorado. 60 pilots signed up and most of them brought more than one plane, as there were over 135 planes at the last count. At least 2 to 5 planes were in always the air, except during the noon break, when most of them were lined up down the center of the field for the spectators to see up close while the participants took a lunch break.

As usual, P51s were the most numerous, very closely followed by Corsairs. The varieties of airplanes were almost too many to mention them all and the size varied as well. There were the very small F117 and ME163 to the Giant scale Warbirds of WW 1, WW2, and the large Jet planes such as a F16, F9F, and F18. One unusual airplane not seen too often was a model of a German WW 2 Blohm und Voss Bv 141 flown by Steve Mizerany (Photo 1). It only has one vertical stab on one side of the power nacelle with the pilot and gunner in a Pod offset from the engine.

The awards that were given out were too many to mention every one. The judges for the awards were not from the local club to make sure that no partiality was shown. Two awards were given out to honor local men that served in WW2. One was the Lyle Endicott award. Lyle flew FM2s off The escort carrier Steamer Bay and at a spry 90 years plus, Lyle was on hand to pick out and award the plaque to Dennis Sparks (See Photo 2) and Lyle was awarded a scale model of an FM2 to display in his home. The other award was given by club member Mert Thayer to honor his uncle Wayne Bennett to Lynn Elston who flew a Ziroli P51. This award is given every year by Mert and he picks the winner (Photo 3). The coveted pilots choice award went to Steve Forrest flying a Giant Corsair (see Photo 4). The team scale award went to Lyle Vasser and Steve Forrest (see Photo 5) flying giant scale P51s. Their formation flying had to be seen to be believed. Their section takeoff, close formation flying, the break, head on pass, and formation landing had everyone watching in awe. They had to have practiced many hours to be able to put on a show that good. Their award was well deserved. The Red Baron Award went to Bill White flying a ¼ scale Balsa USA Fokker DR1 (see Photo 6).

The contest director Phil Bean and assistant CD Tom Duncan ran a very good event. John Griffin spent many hours arranging preregistration and getting sponsors for the merchandise that was given out. John and Angela Henson spent the day taking care of registration. No one went away empty handed. Everyone received a (Pilots glue kit and coupons) from Robart MFG when registering and they were able to pick out something from the all the merchandise donated by our sponsors that was lain out at the end of the awards ceremony when their ticket numbers, were drawn.

At the end of the day, the modelers packed up and headed home, tired but looking forward, making plans on what model they would like to bring next year.

For more pictures and information be sure and visit the club's Facebook page at:

Thanks to the many sponsors that helped make this Fly In a great Success.


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