Think your remote control skills are up to snuff?

The Tri-County RC Flyers are calling all Savannahians interested in trying model-aircraft flying to head to the Staff Sgt. Anthony Davis Memorial RC Airfield off Ogeechee Road on Aug. 17 to learn about the hobby.

Participants get to try flying model aircraft, and the National Aviation Day celebration doubles as a fundrasier for the Wounded Warrior Project.

"Don't be embarrassed to come out because you don't know how to fly," said Bill Barbee, who has been flying model aircraft for nearly 40 years. "Don't be embarrassed that you don't know what you're doing, because we've all been there."

Interested newbies won't just be given a control and expected to pilot a model aircraft flawlessly. Participants' controls will be tethered to an experienced flyer's, so the instructor can get the aircraft in the sky and land it.

As a plus, the instructor can quickly take control of the plane if anything goes wrong.

"We'd like everybody to come out," Barbee said. "Anybody that has an interest in a new hobby, if they're interested in aircraft - any type that you can think of.

"We're going to try to have a plane in the air all day long.

"We've got enough planes between all of us that even if we crash two or three that day, we can still fly something."

Barbee said flying model aircraft is a hobby he loves for both the camaraderie between the more than 60 members of the Flyers group and because there's always something new to learn or try.

"You see something that looks cool, and you think, 'Well, maybe I can try that," he said.

Most members of the group have multiple planes, and aircraft range from basic balsa build-it-yourself kits to model jets with miniature turbine engines that run in the thousands of dollars.

On display Aug. 17 will be more than 30 remote-controlled model aircraft, including World War II Warbirds, jets and helicopters.

In addition to raising money for the Wounded Warrior Project, organizers are hoping the experience will inspire people - young and old alike - to take up a new hobby.

"Building a model airplane teaches you the basic principles of aeronautics, lift, propulsion, all of that, and gives, especially the young guys, a good understanding of what makes their plane fly," said Paul Frankum, who, like Barbee, has been flying model aircraft for years.

"And most of them, like me, fall in love with it and it becomes a lifelong hobby. It's very rewarding. It's very challenging to get an airplane up there and fly it successfully and land it.

"It's a great sense of accomplishment to do that. You kind of rode the monster and got it back in safely."


What: Tri-County RC Flyers air show to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project

When: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 17

Where: Staff Sgt. Anthony Davis Memorial RC Model Aircraft Field (just off U.S. 17/Ogeechee Road about half a mile southwest of Chatham Parkway; follow the air show signs)

Cost: Free admission; hot dogs, hamburgers and cold drinks will be sold

Info: There will be beginner flight trying, a flight simulator and a raffle. All proceeds will go to the Wounded Warrior Project. To learn more, go to


Go to to see video of Tri-County RC Flyers member Paul Frankum demonstrate a model jet with a miniature turbine engine.