Academy of Model Aeronautics

2008 With the Sanderson Field RC Flyers

A New Member's Retrospective

In July, 2008, and after waiting 60 years, I decided to join a local Radio Control(RC) club and learn how to fly. I joined the Sanderson Field RC Flyers(SFRCF) of Shelton, Washington. The club has two fields. One field is at an inactive Sanderson-Field runway in Shelton. The other field is a grass field located further north in Washington's picturesque Skokomish River Valley. The grass field is at Hunter Farms, a working farm that is open to the public.


Since joining the club, and aside from my flight instruction, I have had the privilege of being able to participate in numerous flight-line discussions with club pilots and of observing a wide variety of aircraft in flight. Much of my time on the flight-line has been spent with a small group of pilots who fly as often as the weather permits. The pilots I usually fly with typically arrive at the field in the morning, when the air is most likely to be calm.

At the Flight Line
SFRCF at the Sanderson Field Flight Line


The club events included several fly-ins. Some of the events were not open to the public; other events drew a large public attendance. Barbeques at some of the events I attended were an added bonus.

For a new "wannabe" pilot, the fly-ins were very helpful in learning about various types of airplanes and RC equipment.
Lots to Look At During an SFRCF Fly-in
Lots to look at during an SFRCF fly-in

The advice and suggestions I received during the events helped me to select the plane and RC equipment I now use for my flight training.

Royce With Trainer and Flight Instructor Bob Beatty
Royce With Trainer and Flight Instructor Bob Beatty

Several of the fly-ins occurred at the club's flying fields. In addition, I attended two float-flys that were held at scenic lakes nearby.

Almost Ready to Launch at Nahwatzel Lake
Almost Ready to Launch at Nahwatzel Lake

On the Water at Isabella Lake
On the Water at Lake Isabella Lake

Oberg's Rescue Service at Isabella Lake
Oberg's Rescue Service at Isabella Lake

Barbeque at Isabella Lake
Barbeque at Isabella Lake

Perhaps the two most memorable public events I attended were the Port of Shelton Autumn Festival and an Academy of Model Aeronautics(AMA) sanctioned pylon racing competition. The Shelton event was especially notable because many individuals, both young and old, were able to fly a trainer aircraft for the first time: the club provided both the aircraft and the flight instructors.

Flight Instructors Chuck Kentfield and Richard Robb with Student
Learning to Fly With a Little Help From Chuck Kentfield During the Autumn Festival

Pylon Races: Banking for a Turn
Banking for a Turn

Another public event was an October fly-in at Hunter Farms. The day of the fly-in was perfect for flying. It also took place at the same time the pumpkin patch was opened to the public. It was great fun watching the children race into the patch in order to find their Halloween pumpkins. The public enjoyed their trips to and from the patch all the more as they watched the club's aircraft flying overhead.

Flying at Hunter Farms
Flying at Hunter Farms


From time to time, pilots brought their aircraft to Sanderson Field to fly them for the first time. Two of these maiden flights were Shayne Waterbly's F7F Tiger Cat and Eric Oberg's SU-26 Sukhoi with Honda-sponsored trim. Both aircraft were awesome in the air and the sound of the Tiger Cat's twin engines was music to my ears. Shayne's model was the result of a three-year building project.

Shayne Waterbly's F7F Tiger Cat
Shayne Waterbly's F7F Tiger Cat

Eric Oberg and His SU-26 Sukhoi
Eric Oberg and His SU-26 Sukhoi

Watch a flash slide show of these two maiden flights.


The year ended with a most enjoyable Christmas party. At the party, Eric Oberg was announced as the new club president. Jody Diaz received a well-deserved award for serving as president over the last 10 years.

The food at the party was fantastic. Although I tried my best, I was unable to sample all of the dishes before my "tank" was full.

Waiting for Christmas Dinner
Waiting for Christmas Dinner at SFRCF

Christmas Dinner
Christmas Dinner at SFRCF

The gift-giving ceremony was fun for everyone. Everyone chose a present, the men collected in one circle, and women in another. The gifts were then passed left or right within each circle. The gift passing was directed by a hilarious script read by Sharon Diaz.

Men's Circle
Men's Gift Circle at SFRCF

Women's Circle
Women's Gift Circle at SFRCF


Most likely, by the time you read this, it will be 2009. If at all possible, the year will have begun with a New-Years-Day flight at Sanderson Field. At least, I am told that this is a club tradition.

As I write this, it is still December, the snow is flying outside, and I, too, am looking forward to the possibility of flying on the first day of 2009.

 I hope you enjoyed this article,
Royce Tivel

Royce Tivel

 Royce Tivel

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