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Wings Across America – A Big Job For A Little R/C Plane

OSWEGO, NY – Representatives of the Oswego Valley Modelaires and the Hawks R/C Junior Aviators shared their love of flying during a recent open house.

The clubs are flying high at the Oswego YMCA Armory.

Children and adults are experiencing the thrill of flight – without ever leaving the ground.

The Squirt is on display at RedneckRC in Fulton. It is on its way around the country.
The Squirt is on display at RedneckRC in Fulton. It is on its way around the country.

Radio-Controlled aircrafts of all shapes and sizes buzz above the basketball hoops in the Armory’s gym on Tuesdays from 7 to 9:30 p.m.

The Oswego Valley Modelaires R/C flying club is stationed in Fulton, said club spokesperson Tim Pease, education coordinator for the Academy of Model Aeronautics (District II).

The Hawks R/C Junior Aviators is more dedicated to just the kids, he added.

“We’ve picked up a few new members on Tuesday nights,” he said. “It averages around 15 people a night.”

Duane St.Onge of Fulton has been flying with the OVM for about two years.

“It’s a Fokker D-7, a World War I plane flown by the Germans,” he said gesturing to the bright red plane on a nearby table. The pilot’s scarf flew in the breeze. “I like this style (of plane). When I first got into this, I always wanted to have a double-winger like this. I just finished the pilot and his scarf a little while ago.”

The clubs are also taking part in a Wings Across America event.

The pilot of a Fokker D-7 stares out from the cockpit looking between a pair of machine guns.
The pilot of a Fokker D-7 stares out from the cockpit looking between a pair of machine guns.

Hundreds of R/C model aircraft pilots from all over the continental US, both young and old, are lining up to take their turn at flying this little plane.

It’s a once in a lifetime event, unique in it’s mission to have hundreds of volunteer R/C pilots from all 48 continental United States fly a plane called a “Squirt” then pass it on.

What sets this adventure apart from the others is that the plane cannot be shipped. Each pilot must hand-deliver the plane to the next pilot in the chain. The good news is that the little Squirt is now in Fulton.

The Squirt is on display at RedneckRC in Fulton as of Sunday, Pease said.

The Squirt is a 38” wingspan electric powered R/C model aircraft donated by Bill Stevens of Stevensaero and designed for small fields and backyard flying and just the plane for an adventure like this.

The little Squirt started its 48-state journey on Memorial Day with a flight by Frank Geisler of Gloucester, Va. the man behind the WAA-08 adventure.

The plane’s journey started in Virginia, went north, up the East Coast, through New England, and is working its way across New York State headed for Rochester before heading for the Southern states for the winter, according to Pease.

Children and adults are experiencing the thrill of flight – without ever leaving the ground.
Children and adults are experiencing the thrill of flight – without ever leaving the ground.

“I’m guessing it’s going to be here in a few days, which will be great weather-wise, right?” Pease joked recently.

Actually, it will be the second plane in the project that arrives.

When one of the pilots was flying the original, it just kept on going and hasn’t been seen since, Pease noted.

The plane will finish its journey of more than 14,000 miles having been flown by several hundred pilots in 48 states, when once again it’s back in Geisler’s hands.

You can follow the Squirt on its adventure by going to www.waa-08.org

Steve Griffin of Victor, ID, designed and built a one of a kind beautiful wooden travel chest for the plane and support equipment to ensure the plane survives its multi-year journey in the back of cars, bouncing around in the pickup truck, strapped to a roof rack, dragged out to the back yard, and generally used and abused, Pease said.

The chest is already developing its own character by getting covered with pilots’ names and locations along with club stickers and who knows what else.

“The chest itself will have a story to tell after this adventure is over. This box is really the history of this event,” Pease said. “It is what is really going to tell this story.”

The box is autographed by each new pilot and carries several notes and club emblems, which highlights its journeys.

Also, one of the pilots died. He is being remembered by a flag etched on the plane’s box; the flag is at half-staff.

When the Squirt takes to the air in Fulton, pilots from the Oswego Valley Modelaires and the Hawks R/C Junior Aviators will be on hand to do their part in this adventure.

Tim Pease, right, attempts to teach Steve Yablonski how to fly a R/C plane in this photo submitted by Duane St.Onge.
Tim Pease, right, attempts to teach Steve Yablonski how to fly a R/C plane in this photo submitted by Duane St.Onge.

John Hansen pilot #61, Dennis Redhead #62, Shane Pease  #63, along with several other pilots and Hawks program junior pilots will be flying the Squirt and then Tim Pease, p;ilot #64 will be handing the Squirt off to Pat Moschiano pilot #65, a member of the Finger Lakes Air Pirates R/C club down Geneva way, to continue the journey.

“Many people supplied their time, money and craftsmanship along with vendors who supplied radio gear and other electronic equipment for this mission. Included in this group is our own local hobby shop right here in Fulton,” Pease pointed out. “Marty and Cal of RedneckRC Hobbies are some really great guys to work with and their store is the only stop you’ll ever need for your R/C cars and aircraft needs. They are located off 481 in the Canal Landing Plaza along with Empire Vision, Dollar General, and the Blue Moon Grill.”

People can check in with Marty at RedneckRC Hobbies at 532-6826 to get additional info on the Squirt’s progress, Pease said. It will be on display at RedneckRC hobby shop for a day or two before being passed on, he added.

2 Comments

  1. Excellent write up, the inclusion of those photos are a nice touch,
    An interesting article about a great historic undertaking.
    The “Wings Across America” team appreciates your support.
    Thanks,
    Don Jiskra-WAA Treasurer

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