Families land on Fathers Day Fun Fly
Radio Control Club event for entire family
David Korpiewski, 7, assembles a styrofoam glider during Sunday's Father's Day Fun Fly held at the Turners Falls Airport. His dad, also David Korpiewski, is president of the Franklin County Radio Control Club, which sponsored the event.
Mike Prosciak readies his radio-controlled aircraft for flight while spectators look on during Sunday's Father's Day Fun Fly held at Turners Falls Airport. When asked if his aircraft's pilot had a name, Prosciak quipped, "I try not to get too attached."
TURNERS FALLS — World War I being over almost a century ago, it’s not every day you see a biplane tumbling through the air, trailing smoke in a plunge for the ground.
Standing safely on the ground, the pilot fiddles with some knobs and levers and the death spiral resolves itself into a low swoop above the landing strip.
It’s the Franklin County Radio Control Club’s third annual Father’s Day Fun Fly, and the smoke-equipped half-scale biplane is piloted by club president David Korpiewski, who shows no inclination to crash his expensive machine.
Not everyone is trying to avoid a crash.
Garret Barry-Stoughton, 8, missed the 10-year-old age minimum to take a hand at the controls, but everyone seems to agree this might have been for the best.
“We were thinking he might not be able to override the temptation to see the bits fly apart,” said his mother, Lisa Barry.
Garret’s father, Dan Stoughton, said his son has been spending a lot of time on the flight simulator, crashing the planes.
The family drove from Guilford, Vt. after Stoughton saw signs for the event while passing through the area Saturday.
“It seemed like a good way to spend Father’s Day,” Stoughton said.
Garret’s sister, Jenna Barry-Stoughton, 10, is old enough to fly the models with the help of the club’s “buddy box” control system, allowing the instructor to take over in the event of an impending emergency.
Coming off the field, Jenna gave her parents a run-through of which wheels and spins were hers.
This was Jenna’s first time at the controls.
“Truly piloting, yes,” Jenna said. “I’ve been on the flight simulator but it’s pretty different actually. I had to be shown a couple of times how to do it but I got the hang (of it).”
Dan Stoughton wasn’t the only father to come up with last-minute Father’s Day plans.
Jeff Simon of Sudbury runs aviation events website SocialFlight.com, and when he woke up Sunday morning and found the event, the family left for a morning vacation.
“We flew ourselves out in the big plane to see the little planes,” Simon said.
Simon flies a single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza, and has already begun teaching sons Jake, 11, and Ben, 10, how to fly.
“It was fun, but I think big planes are more fun,” Ben reported after his first model plane flight. “But it was still really, really fun.”
Simon found the trip an appropriate use for Father’s Day.
“Any time you spend it doing something with kids and they’re having fun, that’s the whole point,” he said.
The Radio Control Club meets twice a week at its airfield off Industrial Boulevard, behind the full-scale airport, and plays host to the now-annual Father’s Day Fun Fly as a means of promoting the hobby. Korpiewski says the hobby is cheaper than people expect, at less than $100 for a starter plane, and not as difficult as it looks.
The field is open to members seven days a week, and to anyone interested in learning on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to mid-evening.
This year’s event stretched to two days, in cooperation with the Turners Falls Municipal Airport. Saturday’s event at the airport focused on vintage planes, and Korpiewski said the airport management is already planning next year’s event.
You can reach Chris Curtis at:
or 413-772-0261, ext. 257