BERKELEY – Hidden from the bustle of Route 9 is an open field where there’s no sound for miles around.
Until the engines fire up.
That’s the sound some of the airplanes make that are being flown by the Pine Barren Modelers RC Club. As one member, Brandon Heeren, said: some of them sound like a swarm of hornets and some of them sound like full-sized aircraft.
Each one is just a few feet long and remarkably light weight. The club has been making use of an asphalt runway on Johnson’s pit, the property behind the Beachwood Mall on Route 9. They also use other locations nearby.
The club has been around for at least 50 years and has about 90 members right now, and they’d like to have even more. Any day with good weather, you’ll see at least one person flying.
Actually, the weather doesn’t even have to be that good. Even on a windy day, they’ll take a chance. They just love to fly.
Richard Bombedier, the appropriately-named president of the group, said the field is insured and each of the fliers is insured. They all have Federal Aviation Administration certification in small unmanned aerial systems.
You don’t have to do all of that just to try it, though. You only need that if you fly solo. They have trainer planes available. There are buddy boxes, so that you can fly but an experienced pilot is still in control, kind of like when you learned to drive a car.
The group is hosting an open house to bring in new members, he said. The one they held last year was a great success.
They also do community outreach, showing local scouts how to fly.
“Anyone who wants to learn to fly, no experience necessary, the club will teach you,” Bombedier said.
Open House Info
The Pine Barren Modelers RC Club AMA Chapter #1727 will be holding an open house on May 15 (weather permitting) at the Johnson’s Pit Field (aka Temp field) off Rt. 9 in Berkeley Township. Turn down Gladney Avenue then make a right onto Locker Street. Go half way down and turn left into the gate. Follow signs for parking. Do not drive down pavement of runway.
Flying starts at 8 a.m. to approximately 2 p.m. No landing fees and free food. Runway is 700’ x 30’ pavement. Open to anyone who wants to come and fly. Buddy box available for training. AMA needed for solo flight.