LUMBERTON — A swarm of model planes will take flight next Saturday as part of an event designed to raise money for people who once piloted the toys’ significantly larger counterparts through considerably rougher skies.
Proceeds from the Mt. Elim Remote Control Club’s second annual War Bird and Antique Aircraft Fly-In will go toward the Wounded Warrior Project — a veterans service organization headquartered in Florida.
“We have a great time flying our war birds and we also want to give something back to all who have served in the military,” said Joey Britt, the club’s president. “There is a great sense of community around our sport and we typically see folks coming from all over the Southeast to participate in events.”
Ginger King, a member of the club, expects the fly-in to draw about 30 participants and a crowd of about 100 spectators to the Johnny Mac Britt Airfield in Lumberton. A private donor has agreed to contribute $10 for each pilot who registers.
“The military is very near and dear to my heart so this event is pretty important to me,” King said. “We have a goal set for $300 and a separate online goal of $100, but it would be lovely if we exceeded that.”
King said that she and her husband first became interested in the hobby after a friend invited the couple to attend a fly-in.
“We were hooked from the first day,” she said. “It’s very relaxing, though it can be pretty nerve-wrecking if you’ve got an expensive model in the air.”
King said that the club typically attracts a couple of new members during events and she described flying remote control planes as a relatively easy hobby to pick up.
“It’s just a matter of understanding the nuances,” she said. “I’ve seen people learn to take off and land within a month.”
According to King, some members of the club have gone to great lengths to make their model aircraft as realistic and historically accurate as possible. Some of the planes have been modified to deploy tiny replica bombs and skydivers.
“It’s neat to see the artistry involved and it’s very enjoyable for people to showcase things they’ve spent time building,” King said.
Britt said the fly-in will provide an opportunity to pay tribute to past and present members of the U.S. military.
“We would like for as many veterans and active duty service men and women to attend the event as possible so we can honor their service to our country,” Britt said.
The War Bird and Antique Aircraft Fly-In will begin at 9:30 a.m. Donations can be made at support.woundedwarriorproject.org/individual-fundraising/flightforawarrior. For information, call 910-608-2658.
Jaymie Baxley can be reached at 910-272-6146, or on Twitter @Jaymie_Baxley