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Aerohawks' flights of fancy

IOWA CITY — The airspace over the Johnson County Landfill is usually busy with scavenging birds. On July 12, the birds had to share the air with dozens of colorful radio controlled (RC) airplanes.
The Iowa City Aerohawks opened their flying field – located near the Johnson County Landfill – to the public for their 17th annual air show.
“People can bring their families out and watch an air show and have a good time,” said Roger Schultz of North Liberty. Schultz served as field marshal for the event, which featured freestyle flying demonstrations, skill contests, and a fly-by of replicas of World War II vintage aircraft. Each flight was choreographed to music, adding to the festive atmosphere. RC planes attempted to swoop, dive, and otherwise maneuver to cut streamers attached to them. The finale of the day was “Thunder Over the Landfill,” an event where several planes flew in combat patterns trying to cut a streamer off of a tow plane.
Two firsts occurred this year as the club recognized and honored two WWII veterans from Lone Tree, and also celebrated the first flight of a jet turbine powered RC aircraft.
Doc Elliot and Ferd Green flew with the U.S. Army Air Corps (forerunner of the U.S. Air Force) in combat operations in the European theatre. Elliot flew in B-17 bombers as a belly gunner and radio jammer, while Green was a fighter pilot flying ground support missions in a P-47 fighter. Both men received plaques honoring their service as well as resounding applause from the audience.
A variety of RC aircraft was flown, ranging from smaller trainers to large scale war birds, sail planes, and even helicopters. One highlight of the day provided a sugary reward for the kids as a small helicopter dropped candy… all by radio control. The “adult” version dropped an empty six-pack of beer, with the winner trading it in for a full set.
Schultz pointed out the show not only entertained but also informed people about the RC aircraft hobby. He noted a person could get started for as little as $400 for a complete, ready-to-go plane. From there, he said, the sky is the limit – pun very much intended.
Speaking of the hobby in general and the air show in particular, Schultz said “it’s all in the name of fun.”