The Shade Tree Miniature Aircraft Association’s (SMAA) flying field is located in Glen St. Mary Florida, about 35 miles due west of Jacksonville. This club hosts several events during the year, the most popular being their “Dawn Patrol over the Glen” open to of any size WW1 models. They also have a “Warbirds over the Glen” meet for warbirds of any size and era.
My flying buddy, Scott Prossen and I packed up our Balsa USA Sopwith PUPs and made the four hour trek north from our home in Lakeland, Florida to the participate in the first annual Dawn Patrol over the Glen fun fly and not knowing what to expect, I can tell you we were pleasantly surprised. The event has a beautiful grass flying field and the warm welcome afforded us by the local club members was great. These folks spared no effort to make us feel at home, offering to assist us with any needs, including the use of tools to help me remove a stripped cap-head screw. As you can see by the photos, the wide open flying area covers several acres of unrestricted airspace. The flying field itself is nicely mowed and is wide enough to always allow takeoffs and landings into the wind. Truly a “Field of Dreams” for WW1 modelers!
Another nice surprise was the pilot’s entry fee included a “Home Cooked “ Spaghetti dinner along with salad and dessert. This delicious meal was prepared on-site in the club kitchen and served by the women club members. A partially-covered eating area, complete with outdoor tables and benches, offered an opportunity to just relax and talk with fellow modelers after a perfect day of flying. Truly unforgettable. It was Southern Hospitality at its best! As we enjoyed dessert, (homemade pies, cakes and brownies,) raffle tickets were pulled for some very nice prizes provided by the local hobby shop and Balsa USA.
Both Scott and I won coupons discount coupons for 20% off any Balsa USA kit. Having built and flown several of their kit designs over the years, I can say, without reservation they offer the best wood kits available and continue to be a very generous supporter of RC Club events around the country. Scott, I, and several more of our flying buddies, are already planning to attend next year’s Dawn Patrol in April As well as the upcoming Warbirds over the Glen event this November. I would encourage all warbird modelers to check out the Shade Tree Club website (shadetreemaa.net) and put these events on your calendar as “Don’t Miss” RC Events. Hope to see you there!
Photos and Text by Bob Curry
This Balsa USA 1/3-scale Albatros is a work in progress by master builder and local Shadetree Miniature Aircraft Association (SMAA) RC Club member, Mark Chapman. A DA-85 is installed for power. Mark covered the fuselage with individual thin hardwood sheet, curved and applied wet with lapped joints, exactly as was done on the full scale Albatros. (Monty McMillan event CD is posing with Mark’s Albatros).
This photo shows the amazing craftsmanship on display in the cockpit of Mark’s Albatros.
Mark’s son, Matt, is also a modeler and was flying the 1/3-scale Balsa USA Nieuport 28 in the colors of the American “Hat in the Ring” Squadron, powered with a Zenoah GT80 twin cylinder engine.
The all white 1/4 scale Fokker DVII is not a kit! Peter Jackson (Shown with model) started with a just a set Balsa USA plans and a stack of wood to create this beautiful scratch built model. Powered with an Evolution 30, it’s a great flying model!
Two Balsa USA 1/3-Sopwith Pups flown by Scott Prossen (above) and myself (Below.
My Pup is powered with a Zenoah GT80cc twin and Scott’s pup is powered by a DLA 120cc twin.
This Balsa USA 1/4-scale SPAD XIII flown by Bill Toppa is powered by a Saito 180 gas engine.