Annual fun fly draws area radio control airplane hobbyists

By Kay Braddock

       About eight years ago, Ralph Poffenberger decided to make a stop in Terry before traveling on through the cut-across on state highway 253. The Prairie Unique sign had piqued his interest on previous travels along the highway, as he headed towards Wolf Point. 

This time, though, he decided to stop.
“I always did want to fly a model airplane,” Poffenberger recalled, noting before he left the store, which features a section dedicated to radio control models and trains, he had what would transpire into a new hobby in-hand. 
It would take a year before Poffenberger delved into his new hobby, but once he did, he now admits, he was hooked.
“It’s extremely addictive,” Poffenberger shared as he stood in a room surrounded with radio control airplanes, parts and the equipment needed to build them. 
He converted the building, that once served as a small garage, into his hobby room. It now houses more than 20 radio control airplanes and hours of dedicated hobby time. 
Radio control airplanes can be purchased as ARF (almost ready to fly), stick built or scratch built, Poffenberger explained, noting the level of difficulty increases from ARF to scratch built. Most fly between 65 to 75 mph. 
“We all put way more motors in it than it calls for,” Poffenberger said, pointing to one of the planes he built that can go as fast as 110 mph. “It’s a guy thing.”
Although he attends other area fly-ins, he pointed to the friendly camaraderie particularly shared at the Terry Fun Fly.  
“This is just kind of a fun group,” he said. “It’s pretty laid back.”
Most flights at the Terry Fun Fly are non-competitive excluding one that includes cutting streams of crepe paper from the tails of other planes. 
Between the radios, fuel stations, starters, chargers and other various tools and supplies needed to fully engage in the hobby, Poffenberger admits that the hobby can expend a fair amount of funds.
“It’s no more expensive than any other hobby,” he said, pointing out that some sewing machines can cost up to $10,000.
“You can get into it for a couple hundred dollars if you just want to get into the basics,” he said. “Or you can get into the thousands.” 
But Poffenberger considers the time and money afforded to the hobby are all well spent.
“It’s a good, clean, fun hobby.”
Published June 3, 2009
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