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Fly for fun and feed the hungry

David Korpiewski, president of the Franklin County Radio Controlled Club, launches one of his model airplanes at the club’s Turners Falls Airport location as other members look on. Established in the 1970s, the group boasts a small membership that means no “big club politics.” The public is welcome to stop by on Tuesday evenings and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., whether to watch experienced fliers or to try for themselves.  Korpiewski keeps a trainer plane on hand for beginner fliers, as well as a “buddy box” that allows him to “play the hero” and take control in case of plane-risking mistakes. 
Recorder/Micky Bedell

David Korpiewski, president of the Franklin County Radio Controlled Club, launches one of his model airplanes at the club’s Turners Falls Airport location as other members look on. Established in the 1970s, the group boasts a small membership that means no “big club politics.” The public is welcome to stop by on Tuesday evenings and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., whether to watch experienced fliers or to try for themselves. Korpiewski keeps a trainer plane on hand for beginner fliers, as well as a “buddy box” that allows him to “play the hero” and take control in case of plane-risking mistakes. Recorder/Micky Bedell Purchase photo reprints »

Aviation has long had a place in food aid, with airplanes and helicopters dropping supplies into remote or cut-off areas following disasters and in the midst of war. Smaller aircraft — much smaller aircraft — will get in on the act next weekend as the local remote-control flying club revs up for charity Saturday .

The air show is free, but the group will be raising money and canned goods for the Food Bank of Western Mass through flying lessons and raffle tickets for prizes donated by area businesses.

“It gets the word out there for us while doing a good thing for the community. That’s really what it is,” said Franklin County Radio Control Club president Ted Toothaker of Greenfield.

Canned goods or cash, all of which Toothaker said will go directly to the Food Bank, will buy raffle tickets, supervised turns at the controls of a model airplane or time on a flight simulator.

Summer is often a difficult time of year for food banks, as many families struggle to feed a third meal to children who qualify for free and reduced lunches at school.

Chris Wojcik, Food Bank marketing and communication manager, said this is referred to as the “summer hunger gap.” Of the almost 294,000 students across the state receiving free or reduced school lunch, only 16 percent are fed through summer meal programs — sometimes because they have no transportation and sometimes because there are no programs.

The event is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday , with a rain date of Sunday .

The club has instituted a number of annual events at its airstrip behind the Turners Falls Municipal Airport in recent years, all free, and Toothaker said they were wary of charging for an event but it is for a good cause.

“Canned goods will get you a raffle ticket, so a raffle ticket could be as cheap as 50 cents depending on where you get your cans, or you can buy one for 3 bucks,” he said. Two cans of food or $10 buy a 5-to-7-minute flight lesson, $3 or a can of food buy a turn at the flight simulator.

For every dollar, the Food Bank can provide $9 worth of food, according to its website.

The remote control airstrip is located off Industrial Boulevard in Turners Falls, through Gate 4, just before the Franklin County Technical School. GPS address: 110 Industrial Boulevard, Turners Falls.

You can reach Chris Curtis at: ccurtis@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 257

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