Ready for takeoff – again

·2 min read

THUNDER BAY, ONT. — After a two-year absence, Air Fest is ready to take flight again.

The Lakehead Aeromodellers Flying Club had to shut down their annual model airplane remote control event due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021, but they’ll be back at it Saturday, July 23, from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. just off of Highway 61 across from Little Norway Road for Air Fest 2022.

Club president Archie Gribben said there’s something for all aviation fans to see on Saturday.

“You might see some drone activity, electric heliocopters, large-scale planes, a lot of electrics — basically to give (spectators) an overview of the hobby,” said Gribben, who has been president of the club for 32 years. “There’s free demonstration flights that you can sign up for. We’ll take them up and they can try their hand at flying themselves.

“Create some interest in case they want to get into the hobby. We also offer training sessions on Tuesday and Thursday nights.”

Like our ever-changing world, the club is moving away from gas-powered planes for the environment-friendly electric models, which are easier on the ears as well.

“Electrics are the big thing these days,” Gribben said. “We still fly the gas planes, but electric you’ve always got power until the battery runs out and it’s a little more prevalent now.

“With these electrics becoming (the norm), they’re really quiet. There’s not the noise you get with the nitro-methane or gas planes. No louder than an aircraft flying over the field.

“There’s lots of developments in electric flight like better batteries. It’s the way of the future.”

Startup for remote control model airplanes is as little as $450, which includes an easily-assembled plane and transmitter.

It can get costly, though, if you don’t land your planes like butterflies with sore feet.

“(Sometimes crashes are) what happens,” Gribben said. “It’s like going to a car race — if people don’t watch them go round and round, they’re looking for someone to crash to make it interesting. It’s pretty pricey for crashes.”

The club also has plans for a float plane flying event on Boulevard Lake during the second week of September as well is attempting to get back into schools this fall for indoor flying sessions.

For more information on Saturday’s event, go online at

John Nagy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chronicle-Journal

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