What Is It With R/C Airplanes Lately?
Less than a week after
the (arguably) over-hyped crash of a model Piper Cub
during a performance at a central California air show,
now comes word out of Iowa that a local model airplane club has
received shoot down threats for airplanes buzzing around the club's
According to stories in The Hawk Eye newspaper of Burlington,
IA, a member of the Burlington Model Airplane Club was recently
approached while flying his plane alone by an unidentified man who
threatened "to shoot airplanes out of the sky." It is believed the
man was upset by the noise made by the model airplane's engine.
Sheriff Mike Johnstone told the R/C pilot, Jack Polson, that
police are investigating the matter. Anyone caught shooting down a
model airplane would be charged with destruction of private
property, Johnstone added.
The club has an airfield at nearby Big Hollow, an area that
allows residents to fly their model airplanes.
In another incident believed to be separate from the initial
shoot down threat, three other members of the Burlington club were
approached by another man while one of them was flying his
airplane, who threatened that "next time he would shoot it out of
"This guy came unglued
and started ranting and raving about flying over his house," wrote
member Bob Deggendorf in an email to club president Ted
Tom Berenger, who lives less than one-quarter mile from the
club's airfield, said that he understands why residents would be
concerned with dangers posed by model airplanes. Berenger, who
boards about 20 horses and allows owners to ride on his property,
recently filed a complaint with a county park ranger about the
"What if one of those planes hits one of those people?" Berenger
asked. "Whose insurance is going to pay for that? Who's
responsible?" Horses and other livestock can be very easily spooked
by any loud noise, including that from model airplanes.
According to conservation director Jeff Bergman, however,
Berenger isn't believed to be the person who has made the shoot
The club has issued a notice to its members that for the time
being, out of concern for its members' personal safety, no one
should fly at the field alone.