WEDC Gift Guide 2022

RC Club flying high at Bratonia Park

by | Jun 20, 2022 | Latest

Local aviation and remote control enthusiasts alike fly their aircraft in the skies over a park in Princeton.

The Richardson Radio Control Club (RRCC) flies its planes out of Bratonia Park, located at 6540 FM 546 in Princeton. On a sunny day with fair winds, one or several club members can be found flying their RC planes in the skies overhead.

The 53-year-old club was originally founded in Richardson but the name is a misnomer now because it has been flying over Bratonia Park for the past 27 years, said President Curtis Simmons. The RRCC recently signed a 25-year renewal on its lease from Collin County to remain at Bratonia Park.

Bratonia Park is located near the boat ramp off of FM 546 and is leased by Collin County from the Army Corps of Engineers. The RRCC subleases the location of its airstrip from the county.

The club is also responsible for all maintenance of the facility and construction of any upgrades or improvements, such as its paved runway, are facilitated by members. The facilities also run entirely on solar power and are not on city utilities.

At Bratonia Park, members have built six pilot stations, a grill area, a couple of assembly stations and a main storage building in addition to the paved runway, something Simmons says is rare for a RC club.

“It’s one of the premier flying sites in Dallas and the surrounding area,” said Simmons.

Simmons said the club is the only RC club in Collin County and only one of four clubs in the area. Currently, its membership sits at 151 members and fluctuates between 140 and 160 members, he added. Members come from all over Collin County and the surrounding area.

There are 12 members of the club under the age of 18, said Simmons, and most of the membership is under 65. However, most members join the club when they are in their 40s and 50s as their careers wind down.

Simmons said the club is open to men, women and families but most of the members are men, adding that wives of members will also come out to support their husbands when they fly.

For newcomers, the plane the club recommends is called the “Apprentice” and usually costs around $350, according to the RRCC’s website. However, planes tend to come in different shapes and sizes with wingspans that vary from three feet up to over eight feet.

The foam electric planes, similar to the “Apprentice,” are among the most popular in the RC plane hobby because they are typically the cheapest, which makes them more accessible to prospective members. Simmons says that new members should still test the hobby before buying their first plane.

“We try to caution people to come out and learn to fly for free before buying a plane,” Simmons said. “That way, somebody doesn’t buy a plane and decide they no longer have an interest in flying it.”

If a resident is interested in joining the club, there is a deal with HobbyTown USA in Plano where purchasers of an RC plane will receive a certificate for training with the RRCC.

The club also provides free training to new members to teach them about flying an RC aircraft and advising them on which plane might work best for them, said Simmons. There are nine instructors certified by the club to teach new members.

Members in the club also fly a variety of planes including gliders, propeller planes, jets, drones and helicopters. There are also “warbirds,” planes that have seen combat action during a war, such as the P-51 Mustang or F4U Corsair or civilian aircraft such as the Cessna 172 Skyhawk.

Simmons said there is a good mix of “warbirds” and civilian aircraft flown by the club’s membership.

Because of the airstrip’s proximity to residences, club members try to be mindful of the noise pollution their hobby creates.

“We’re mindful in trying to keep our planes below a certain decibel level,” Simmons said. “We restrict the types of planes our members fly and try not to get above the decibel level of a standard car.”

Simmons said the only aircraft forbidden to fly at Bratonia Park are RC turbine jets because of their noise levels and the runway length requirements. Drones, electric, gas turbine engine, and ducted fan jets are all permitted to fly from the club’s airstrip.

Occasionally, there will also be night flights, said Simmons, adding that members will equip their aircraft with LED lights that illuminate the night sky.

“They look like fireflies dancing around in the night sky,” Simmons said.

Club Treasurer Garry Lundberg said typical club members are aviation enthusiasts, adding some members are or have been pilots at one point in their lives.

“This is a way to enjoy and experience a love of aviation,” Lundberg said. “For some, it’s just a hobby, but it’s also a sport because you can compete.”

Residents looking to get involved have a few different ways they can join the club.

One popular event the RRCC hosts annually is a Try RC Day where the club puts attendees through ground school, a simulator and a flight with an instructor.

Ground school teaches participants the basics of aerodynamics and the impact of physics on the plane. The simulator allows students to experience flying an aircraft without the risk of the consequences of a crash.

The club’s instructor uses what is called a “buddy box” where the instructor and student both have a controller for the RC plane. At any point, the instructor can regain control of the airplane and guide the student through different maneuvers and throttle control.

This year’s Try RC Day had 65 attendees, said Simmons, and the club has had as many as 80 people show up.

The club is also hosting a swap meet in the cafeteria of Allen High School from 8 a.m. through 3 p.m. Saturday, August 20, where residents and club members can buy and sell RC planes. The rental is paid for from the club’s finances, said Simmons, adding that the event is open to the public.

General admission to the swap meet is $5 or families can pay $10 for entry. There is also an auction scheduled from 1-3 p.m. during the event.

Members also host charity events such as a Memorial Fun Fly for deceased club members and organize with local charities, such as Allen Community Outreach.

Residents interested in joining the club can visit the club’s website to find the new membership application. They will also need to become members of the Academy of Model Aeronautics.

New members will also be required to pay the initiation fee and annual dues to the club when they join. There are application forms residents can return during the club’s monthly meeting or the application can be completed online.

Once members complete their application, the club assigns them an instructor.

For more information on the club or to join as a member, residents can visit rrcc.org.

For more stories such as these, subscribe to The Sachse News.

Veterans

0 Comments

Related News

Package service starts Nov. 21

Package service starts Nov. 21

Residents wary of porch pirates this holiday season can opt for a service offering secure storage of their packages while they may be away from their home. For the second consecutive year, the Sachse Police Department is offering a holiday package service that allows...

read more
Sachse High’s Mane Attraction puts on local gigs

Sachse High’s Mane Attraction puts on local gigs

One group at Sachse High School is helping to spread holiday cheer this season by putting on performances at a variety of local venues. Sachse High’s 19-member a cappella group, Mane Attraction, has been preparing for its performances since late October and put on the...

read more
Retired officers lead, serve others

Retired officers lead, serve others

For 103 years, members of one of the nation’s oldest patriotic, nonpartisan veterans service organizations have continued to serve their communities — and their country — with a purpose to “promote patriotism, civic responsibility, public service and leadership in the...

read more
Superintendents highlight ISD successes

Superintendents highlight ISD successes

Local superintendents focused on the excellence of their respective school districts during a luncheon event for local businesses. Garland ISD Superintendent Ricardo Lopez and Wylie ISD Superintendent David Vinson spoke at the Sachse Chamber of Commerce luncheon...

read more
Deadlines near for Christmas activities

Deadlines near for Christmas activities

Although Thanksgiving is right around the corner, deadlines for Christmas activities are fast approaching. Sachse residents eager to show off their decoration skills are encouraged to sign up quickly for the second annual Christmas tree decorating competition at the...

read more
Turkey Trot takes marks Nov. 24

Turkey Trot takes marks Nov. 24

A Thanksgiving staple in Sachse prepares to run its race for the 19th time this year. The annual Turkey Trot takes place at 8 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 24, outside of Sachse High School, which is located at 3901 Miles Road. Runners should arrive at 7 a.m. to get checked in...

read more
Collin County DA holds press conference on lawsuit

Collin County DA holds press conference on lawsuit

This story was updated with more information, including from an exit interview transcript with Fallon LaFleur Friday, Nov. 18. Collin County Criminal District Attorney Greg Willis struck a defiant tone in his response to an Oct. 31 lawsuit that alleges he sexually...

read more
City approves bids for employee insurance

City approves bids for employee insurance

As Sachse prepares to enter the new year, it is lining up the benefits package it will offer to employees. Council received a presentation from the city’s benefits consultant, Jonathan Weegar from HUB International, during the Tuesday, Nov. 1, special meeting. City...

read more
Real Options mobile unit coming to The Cross Church

Real Options mobile unit coming to The Cross Church

Residents in need of pregnancy resources have another option to turn to — one that has over three decades of experience serving Collin County. Allen-based nonprofit Real Options is partnering with The Cross Church in Wylie to provide pregnancy resources to residents...

read more