Small scale aviators

Published 4:58 am Wednesday, March 2, 2005

By Staff
Tim Cottrell
One would be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn't wish he were able to fly, or at least able to pilot a plane.
While that dream is obviously a long way off, the Atmore Ace Modelers come close to it with their model airplanes.
The group, founded in the late 1990s, held its inaugural Model Airplane Fly-In for Charity during the month of December to benefit the Angel Tree charity of Mobile. The club, along with support from Chuck Stevens Automotive in Bay Minette, was able to raise $375 for the Angel Tree Children. They also showed off their flying skills by flying various model aircraft and putting them through different types of unusual aerobatics.
"It was what I had envisioned for the club all along, for charities like that" Mike Barrow of Century, who has been a member of the Ace Modelers for two years, said. "I had really wanted us to have an outreach to the community and give something back to the kids, but that benefit was good. We hope to make it bigger and better next year."
Schuyler Allen, Barrow, Aaron Blanton, Chris Conway, Marlin Gunn, and Mark McGill participated in the event. In addition to the Atmore Ace Modelers, members of the Northwest Florida Modelers and the Azalea City Modelers from Mobile traveled to lend their support. The event was held behind Brooks Memorial Baptist Church on Dec. 7.
Allen, who serves as president of the club, said he hoped the event could continue.
"They have events like that all over, but this was our first," Allen said. "We hope to make it an annual event. We might do another at MayFest."
Both Allen and Barrow drew on an early love of flying to inspire them to begin flying model airplanes.
"My uncle flew mustangs into Germany during World War II," Allen, who has been flying model aircraft for 12 years, said. "He escorted the bombers. He got shot down, but my dad was also very interested in flying. They just passed it down to me."
Barrow also had an early love of flying.
"I just grew up wanting to fly," Barrow said. "I was always interested in planes. A couple of years ago I met Schuyler when they were flying at MayFest and I joined the club."
Allen said that it wasn't difficult to become a member of the Ace Modelers.
"It costs $25 a year to become a member," Allen said. "You also have to pay $50 a year to the Academy of Model Aeronautics in Ohio for insurance purposes, but it's not a matter of knowing how to fly the planes, it's just a matter of wanting to spend the time to do it."
Barrow also noted that skill wasn't necessary.
"I just graduated from a trainer," Barrow said. "I wanted to get more efficient with landings before I tried anything tricky. Schuyler's been in it for several years, so he can do a lot of the neat tricks. I'm really better at P.R. than at flying."

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