Archive for June, 2013

Remote Airplane Show

Saturday I visited Horseshoe Lake near Collinsville, IL on my way home from a trip.  It has been a place that has produced some nice bird images in the past, so I thought I would take a look.  The area has a road to drive around the lake with a levy you can drive on that bisects the lake.  There were plenty of people with fishing poles sitting along the bank.  I saw a kid catch a small bass and run from dad to grandpa to show off his catch.

Driving farther around the lake the smell of BBQ filled the air.  Families and groups were filling the air with a smell that summer brings.  I was hungry before I drove into the park,and this was making me hungrier.

I was about ready to give up on photography, since no birds were in sight, when I happened upon a group of gentlemen who had their own bird taking flight.  No these weren’t pet birds, these were remote-controlled airplanes.

Remote Control Airplane at Horseshoe Lake

Remote Control Airplane at Horseshoe Lake


Sitting on the ground I spent an hour tracking the planes in flight with camera.  I had never watched remote planes before and this was fun.  These guys were doing all sorts of things with these planes.

When things slowed down I went over and talked with one of the men.   He had been flying planes for a while.

R.C.'s plane at Horseshoe Lake near Collinsville, IL

Plane at Horseshoe Lake near Collinsville, IL

He had some stories to tell.  He told of some of the planes he crashed while learning to control these birds.  He mentioned that one of the motors is sitting out there in the lake.  It was a nice motor, but not worth much now.  I mentioned that it was cool that he had a pilot in his plane.  Not all the planes had pilots.  He mentioned he thought about switching pilots.  He had a crash dummy he thought about putting in there.  I told him he probably would had a tough time getting the dummy in the cockpit if he saw the way he flew the plane.  He got a smile on his face and a few of the others around gave a little chuckle.

He then told me about another place that people were flying planes.  A mile or two up the road was a field that some club members were playing around.  I decided to give it a visit.

Pulling into the parking area, I saw this was an official club site.  I was entering the grounds of the “Midwest Air wing R/C Club”.  More planes and some of them bigger.

Remote Control Plane Landing on Grass Runway at "Midwest Air Wing R/C Club"

Remote Control Plane Landing on Grass Runway at “Midwest Air Wing R/C Club”

After taking pictures for a while, I struck up a conversation with one of the members.  He had been around the club for some time.  He talked about his being involved years ago, and also that he used to own a hobby store that sold remote controlled planes.  After closing the store he took a rest from the hobby.  A year ago he got back into flying planes again.

This Plane Spent More Time Upside Down...

This Plane Spent More Time Upside Down…

He mentioned that last year there was a plane on the field with a 24 foot wingspan.  He talked about the different sized motors in the planes.

These guys were good at flying these things.  One fellow kept his plane upside down much of the time, while another liked going into near stalls.

Everyone was having a good time including me.  It was fun to take some pictures and ask a lot of questions about a hobby that was new to me.

Maybe another trip will be in future plans for a different kind of bird photography.