Spc. Memo Gibbons, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 589th Brigade Support Battalion, 41st Fires Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, takes off with his Kasama Shrimok 90 radio-controlled model helicopter during an annual fly-in, hosted by the Cen-Tex Modelers Inc., Saturday at Hall Field in Stillhouse Hollow Lake’s Union Grove Park.;
Larry Masullo, left, operates his radio-controlled model aircraft as Andy Martin watches Terrance Williams do the same during an annual fly-in hosted by the Cen-Tex Modelers Inc. Saturday at Hall Field in Stillhouse Hollow Lake’s Union Grove Park.;

High winds, potential rain doesn’t keep Cen-Tex Modelers from flying

By Sean Wardwell

Killeen Daily Herald

Even bad weather can’t keep a serious model aviator down, as members of the Cen-Tex Modelers demonstrated Saturday.

The group was scheduled to host its annual RC Airshow Fly-In at Union Grove Park’s Hall Field. However, high winds and a sky that threatened rain kept limited the number of model aviators attending Saturday morning.

So, they did what they do every day at Hall Field — they flew as much as they could.

“I’ve been doing this for three and a half years,” said Terrance Williams, a club member. “It’s great stress relief. I’ve always loved planes since I was a kid.”

Founded in 1972, Cen-Tex Modelers are chartered with the Academy of Model Aeronautics. Hall Field is leased from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and is maintained by the approximately 60 club members. Its goal is to spread the enjoyment of flying model aircraft and introduce the hobby to newcomers.

“Flying is something you have control over. It’s unbelievable,” said Hubert Dirr, vice president of the Cen-Tex Modelers, who has been with the club since its beginning. “It’s the next best thing to flying.”

Dirr flies a model Fokker Eindecker, a single-seat, single wing, German World War I fighter aircraft.

“A good friend was my mentor and he gave it to me for Christmas,” said Dirr. “Three months later, he died.”

While flying model aircraft is a popular hobby, it’s anything but cheap. Club member John Pratt said an enthusiast can spend anywhere from $300 to $2,000 depending on what they want to fly.

That’s a small price to pay for club members who just want to get up in the air.

“It’s a way to be a pilot without being a pilot,” said Williams.

The Cen-Tex Modelers meet at the Killeen Community Center on the first Wednesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. For more information, go to www.centexmodelers.com.