The starship Enterprise, a miniature drone, a tiny helicopter, and several fixed-wing planes took to the air inside Marion Elementary School gymnasium Sunday afternoon.
Ron Black, Valley Center, a first-time participant at Marion but a longtime remote control airplane pilot, steered the Enterprise around in the air, flying it near airplanes and off to open air spaces.
Model planes are not the only planes he flies. A pilot since 1963 who owns his own plane, he started flying model planes in 1977.
Black operates 10 model planes designed for outdoor use and several more designed for indoor use.
McPherson resident Loren Jost brought two airplanes and a micro-sized drone to fly Sunday.
About four inches across, the Inductrix drone has four horizontal propellers and a camera that transmits a cockpit view to goggles worn by Jost as he steers it by remote control.
“It’s just like being in the driver’s seat,” Jost said.
His other two drones are a little over a foot wide and designed for outdoor use, as are his other airplanes he did not bring Sunday.
Jost has been a model aircraft pilot 13 years.
“I’ve always been kind of a technical person and this fits right in with that,” Jost said.
Nick Scharping, Wichita, has been a model airplane flier 11 years — since he was 3. The eighth-grader designs and builds his own planes.
“For Christmas, we just get him foam board,” his father, Brian Scharping, said.
“By the way, I’ve got about five sheets left,” Nick said.
Nick has seven indoor planes and “too many to count” for outdoor use, he said. They range from a 23 ½” wingspan to 94”.
It’s a father and son activity for Brian and Nick Scharping. Brian Scharping has flown model planes 26 years.
The love of all things aviation comes naturally to Brian Scharping.
“My dad is an aircraft mechanic and pilot,” Brian Scharping said. “I’ve been around airplanes all my life, and Nick’s been around airplanes all his life. I’m an engineer for Spirit Aircraft.”
Sunday was the second time the pair have flown at Marion. The event is nicely located for them because it gives them the chance to visit Brian’s grandmother, who lives just east of the elementary school.