Remote control aircraft take to the skies over Turners Falls airport

  • A refreshment stand at Turners Falls Municipal Airport for the annual Father’s Day Fun Fly on Sunday. STAFF PHOTO/JULIAN MENDOZA

  • Expert flier Dean Lampron pilots his Mamba. STAFF PHOTO/JULIAN MENDOZA

  • A family looks skyward during the annual Father’s Day Fun Fly at Turners Falls Municipal Airport on Sunday. STAFF PHOTO/JULIAN MENDOZA

  • Expert flier Dean Lampron readies his Mamba at Turners Falls Municipal Airport for the annual Father’s Day Fun Fly on Sunday. STAFF PHOTO/JULIAN MENDOZA

  • Expert flier Dean Lampron pilots his Mamba at Turners Falls Municipal Airport for the annual Father’s Day Fun Fly on Sunday. STAFF PHOTO/JULIAN MENDOZA

  • Mike Prosciak’s SAB Heli Division Goblin Kraken model helicopter. STAFF PHOTO/JULIAN MENDOZA

Staff Writer
Published: 6/19/2022 7:21:06 PM
Modified: 6/19/2022 7:20:46 PM

TURNERS FALLS — Undaunted by heavy winds, Hatfield-based model aircraft enthusiast Dean Lampron, featured presenter at this year’s Father’s Day Fun Fly, spun his Pitts Model 12 “Mamba” biplane with expert grace as he dropped the jaws of families gathered at Turners Falls Municipal Airport.

“We have an expert among us!” Franklin County Radio Control Club President and organizer Ted Toothaker exclaimed.

The event, which began in 2011 and was last held publicly in 2019, invited fans to watch club members flaunt their aircraft and engage in “combat” with top-of-the-line remote control planes on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Toothaker said that at its peak, the event brought out around 1,200 attendees, including a number of local pilots eager to show off their state-of-the-art aircraft. Limited by Sunday’s difficult currents, some of the sky’s faithful were forced to opt out of the annual remote control aircraft event this year.

“For the smaller planes, it’s kind of a no-go,” Toothaker said of the wind.

Those brave enough — and appropriately equipped — to brave the weather included operators of the region’s top-of-the-line model airplanes and helicopters. Although Lampron said he still had to “adjust everything” as a pilot of bigger, better aircraft to accommodate the wind, his “highly aerobatic” plane would not be deterred from putting on a show for the spectators.

“It gets a lot of the public, which is nice because most of these are just fliers (who attend),” Lampron said of the Father’s Day Fun Fly.

Easthampton resident Mike Prosciak, a veteran flier who has attended each year’s Fun Fly, made the day work with his large SAB Heli Division Goblin Kraken model helicopter. A helicopter, he said, is not “experiencing the same forces” as a plane in the windy skies and receives “not as much” wind interference.

“It’s just a different machine to fly at a certain point,” Prosciak said. “You’re not really flying a wing. You’re flying a machine.”

Aside from looking to bring in a variety of different aircraft, organizers of this year’s Fun Fly looked to bring in as much money as possible to benefit those affected by the war in Ukraine. The club accepted donations and conducted a raffle at the event, with all proceeds going toward a Ukraine benefit charity started by organizer and former Franklin County Radio Control Club President David Korpiewski, who recently helped his Ukrainian daughter escape from the war-torn country and has been shipping supplies overseas to benefit refugees. Korpiewski estimated at the beginning of the day that the event would raise “probably a few hundred bucks.”

“The sooner we can get those supplies over there, the better,” he said, noting that there had just been a new and devastating wave of bombings in the country.

Whatever the weather, those holding remote controls said being involved in the hobby means something bigger on the ground.

“It’s kind of like a lifelong bond,” Lampron said of the connections between fliers. “If you meet them across the country, it’s like family ready to fly.”

Reach Julian Mendoza at 413-772-0261, ext. 261 or jmendoza@recorder.com.

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