North Alabama Radio Control Association (NARCA) will host a pylon race for radio-control planes on May 18. (CONTRIBUTED)
North Alabama Radio Control Association (NARCA) will host a pylon race for radio-control planes on May 18. (CONTRIBUTED)

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NARCA plans pylon race on May 18

Published 3:33pm Wednesday, May 8, 2013

HARVEST – The North Alabama Radio Control Association (NARCA) will sponsor a pylon race for radio-control planes on May 18.

Pylon racing requires skilled flight handling with a radio-control airplane travelling faster than 60 mph. The aircraft is required to fly around two towers spaced about 50 yards apart.

“The pilot has to keep the aircraft within the pattern and at the same time compete with four to five other aircraft flying the same pattern,” publicist Cliff Lanham said. The daylong event is free to spectators. “Bring the kids and stay a few hours to watch skilled RC-plane flights.”

Pylons are about seven feet tall. “The pilots stand between pylons and fly patterns around them,” Lanham said. Points will be awarded for leveling, speed, time and turns.

NARCA has about seven former pilots. Most members’ fathers served in World War II.

Lanham owns five radio control planes. “Human error can cause these to destruct quickly so you usually rebuild about once each year,” Lanham said.

Today’s radio control planes have either a nitro (gasoline) engine or an electric (battery-powered) engine. “You can fly these on a football field,” he said.

The ready-to-fly kit for a nitro model costs about $100 but with all accessories totals $500. “The electric model is close in price because of the expensive lithium batteries,” Lanham said.

NARCA member Tim Batt started flying more than 30 years ago when he watched planes at Huntsville’s old airport while he raced sports cars. “It looked like fun. I have good memories of flying control-line airplanes as a boy,” Batt said.

RC pilots will travel from major RC plane clubs in Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia to compete.

The main events start at 10 a.m. at the club’s airfield on Carroll Road in Harvest, one-half mile north of Harvest Road. For more information, call Batts at 256-721-0404 or visit flynarca.com.

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