Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Saturday

May 18, 2013

Model airplanes take off today in Thompsonville

THOMPSONVILLE — If you’re in Thompsonville today, look up. Model airplane enthusiasts say you’ll be in for a treat.

Scale-model airplanes and helicopters will whiz overhead during the Benzie Area Radio Control Club’s sixth annual Spring Thing model airplane show. The free event runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Thompsonville Airport and has attracted 800 spectators in the past, said Ed McIntosh, BARC events chairman.

Aircraft will take off from the airport’s 2,900-foot runway. About 50 pilots from around the state will fly fighter planes, helicopters and World War II warbirds, including the P51 Mustang, the Navy’s Corsair and the twin engine B-52.

Planes powered by jet engines also will take to the sky.

“They make passes down the runway somewhere about 250 miles an hour. There’s only a very restricted number of pilots in Michigan that are licensed to fly jet engine planes,” McIntosh said. “We just warn people to bring chairs. They won’t want to leave.”

New to the event this year is the mid-day T-28 scramble. All pilots who own models of the Navy and Air Force trainer plane used primarily after World War II will fly their aircraft at once. The event usually limits to four planes at a time, McIntosh said.

Spectators will be treated to a “breathtaking” display.

“Most people aren’t prepared for what we show,” McIntosh said. “People think of model airplanes as little toys.”

On-site parking will be available. Refreshment proceeds support the Thompsonville Airport.

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