Sometimes, it’s getting an aircraft off the ground – not the piloting – that can be the most difficult of things.
Just ask Jack Lowe. He’s a member of the Victoria RC Modelers Society and he’s been getting his replica Mosquito fighter-bomber ready for the 2017 Largest Little Airshow in Central Saanich next month.
It’s a large remote controlled aircraft, with twin engines – one of which was recently overhauled. Lowe uses the old starting method of turning each prop. And, after several attempts, the small radial engines do start up. But something is not quite right. One is running fine, but the other isn’t getting up to the necessary rotations per minute – plus it sounds to Lowe and his friend Jack Price that the bearings in the propeller are noisy.
That’s not good news. But, following a short break to let the engines cool down under the warn sunshine at Mitchell Airfield on Lochside Drive, they are at it again, working to get the engines in sync.
“It’s always good to do this now, and work the bugs out before the Airshow,” Price said, as Lowe nodded while working on the engines.
Price knows first-hand that testing and getting time in on piloting the remote controlled airplanes is necessary – to ensure everything is good to go at showtime. Price owns a replica A-10 Warthog jet plane — a loud eye-catcher that takes considerable skill to fly. And to maintain.
It’s a labour of love for these men, and for the 55 club members who each year put on Victoria’s Biggest Little Airshow.
From August 5 to 6, model aircraft pilots from across the Island — and special guests from the United States and the lower mainland — gather at Mitchell Airfield in Central Saanich to put on an extravaganza of miniature flight. There will be Second World War-era fighter planes, jets — all piloted by experts to thrill the crowds of some 4,000 people Price said they see during the weekend.
And of course, there’s the return of the novelty aircraft — such as Snoopy and the Red Baron (Snoopy sits atop a flying dog house), Superman and a flying lawn mower. Price admitted he was thinking of dropping some of those novelty items, but the members said no way.
“People really do love that,” he said, adding it was easy to change his mind.
The Airshow is a fundraiser for CFAX Santa’s Anonymous and the Saanich Peninsula Hospital Foundation. Price said they raised around $24,000 last year. The event itself is free to the public, but they do accept donations at the gate and raise money through their concession on site.
Returning this year will be the static medal displays and the kids’ bouncy castle, as well as other activities under the tents.
“For something that is a by-donation event, it’s really pretty good,” Price added. “It’s affordable fun.”
Price and Lowe added the Club is very grateful for the long-time support their gotten from the Mitchell family on the Peninsula, as well as form the neighbouring farms that accommodate their RC planes during the event – and allow them use of nearby fields for parking.
The Largest Little Airshow runs from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. both days.
For detials, visit vrcms.asyuler.com.