RC Jet Rally returns to Pine Hill Airport

Posted 24 August 2014 at 12:00 am

Photos by Sue Cook – Jeff Liddell’s RC Edge 540T propeller plane performed all sorts of aerial acrobatics during the air show.

By Sue Cook, staff reporter

BARRE – Remote-controlled aircraft flew over the Pine Hill Airport on Saturday to impress the crowd. The jet rally featured many RC fliers including helicopters and planes, some of which were powered by jet turbines allowing them to reach speeds up to 250 miles per hour.

Mike Burg brought an unfinished plane made from fiberglass and balsa wood.

This is the second year in a row that the event, run by the Pine Hill Raiders R/C Flying Club, has taken over the airport for the weekend. The regular full-size planes are put in the hangar for the duration of the event and the miniature aircraft are given the runway.

The hangar is open to allow the public to view full-size aircraft. There are also ultralights and vintage aircraft on display.

Christopher Gitzelmann, club president of the Raiders and contest director, explained, “We really want to show the public what RC flying is really about. This is also a lot for the younger generation to get them into the sport. Most people think it’s more like toy planes.”

“Once you get into turbine jets, which are real jets, there’s a real turbine like you find on any jet liner, but it’s a small size,” Gitzelmann continued. “It uses jet fuel and it’s real fast, like 250 miles per hour. ”

Mike Burg is assisted by Gitzelmann during the start up of his jet turbine. The plane is capable of speeds over 200 miles per hour.

The club has 25 members who bring one or two aircraft each. Some members come from as far as White Plains, N.Y. for the jet rally. The airport is the club’s regular base of operation. They also share the building with the Vintage Aircraft Group that holds fly-in breakfasts. The clubs work together to promote each others events.

Liddell has his gas-powered plane float in the air held up by the propeller. The tricks that his plane performed seemed to defy physics. Many of the stunts can’t be performed in a real full-size plane because the G-forces would kill a live pilot.

Mike Burg, a jet pilot, explained how advanced his RC controller for his jets are compared to an average controller for a basic RC car.

“This has telemetry, the voltage for the transmitter, the voltage of the receiver, the battery of the plane and I can add on controls for air speed, how much fuel I’ve got and altitude,” Burg said.

Burg added that in his 55 years piloting model planes and 50 years of RC flying “the stuff I see today wasn’t even in my wildest dreams as a kid.”

The Vintage Aircraft Group has some of planes on display in the hangar including this work-in-progress from World War II.

The RC jet rally continues on Sunday at the airport. The event is free to the public and runs from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m., weather permitting. The airport is located at 4906 Pine Hill Road in Albion.