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August 13, 2008 > Flying high

Flying high

By Giovanni Albanese Jr.
Photos By William Mancebo and courtesy of Bayside RC Club

It is not often that a complete novice is allowed to take control of a plane, helicopter or racecar without much, if any, prior experience. Such a situation would be envisioned as stressful and at the very least fraught with tension. However, such an experience will not only be possible, but encouraged and enjoyed by all at this weekend's Family Fun Day sponsored by the Bayside RC (remote control) Club.

For the sixth year, the club is holding its Annual Family Fun Day at their airfield on Warm Springs Boulevard in Fremont this Saturday from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. More than 300 members focus hours of their spare time on the construction and operation of remote-control planes, helicopters and racecars. Travelers along the stretch of road between Grimmer Blvd. and Mission Blvd. are often treated to the sight of scale model planes swooping and diving in the airspace or sprinting around a racing oval track.

The club designates a select few qualified people as instructors to help others master the intricacies of flight and racing. This event will pair visitors with these instructors using a device called a "buddy box." The "buddy box" connects the inexperienced with the experienced flyer's remote control. As the instructor guides the plane into the air, full control can be released to the student. In the event of imminent danger to the aircraft, instructors can assist or regain control while correcting the situation and relinquish operation back to the student when all is well.

"The event is put on to introduce new people to the hobby by allowing them to fly a remote controlled helicopter or plane along with an instructor," said Bayside RC Club President Peter Kontorinis who added,. "And because it's fun for the kids."

Kontorinis also pointed out that the instructors' experience ranges from three to 20 years, who build many models of their own from scratch. Models come from all over the globe and each craft attracts its own group of devotees. "We have over 320 members in our club. Some do just helicopters, or aircraft and others just do cars. Some do everything," said Kontorinis. "Each member has their own garage full of planes and helicopters ... some have more than 20. Some have many more." The models are labeled as ready to fly (RTF) or almost ready to fly (ARF). The ARFs are models that need slight tweaking to be considered RTF.

At the Annual Family Fun Day, there will be much more to do in addition to instruction and flight training. A barbecue lunch of hamburgers and hot dogs for a reasonable price is planned as well as a raffle with a chance to win an RTF model aircraft and a one-year membership in Bayside RC Club. Demonstrations of RC models will include an introduction of how model helicopters, planes and cars work; learning about model mechanics, electronics and engines; and "riveting lunchtime plane and helicopter demonstrations": plane stunt flights, helicopter aerobatics and aerial combat.

Admission to this event is free. Previous years have drawn very well, according to Kontorinis. Last year, 120 attendees participated in introductory flights with instructors with hundreds more in attendance. Seating is limited at the field, so visitors are advised to bring a fold-out chair and shade.

No one is too young, or too old, to learn how to fly at the Bayside RC Club. The Annual Family Fun Day will provide families all the fun needed for a day's outing Bayside RC Club has also planned a Flea Market on September 13; and Auction on November 1.

For more information about Family Fun Day or any other matters concerning the Bayside RC Club, contact Club President, Peter Kontorinis, at 510-393-5734 or You can also visit the Bayside RC Club Web site at

Family Fun Day
Saturday, Aug. 16
9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Bayside RC Club
45031 Warm Springs Blvd. Fremont
(510) 393-5734

Free Admission

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