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Skies over Slater feature aerial show

Monday, August 24, 2009

Two remote-controlled airplanes cruise in the sky above Slater Memorial Airport Sunday, Aug. 23.
(Geoff Rands/Democrat-News)
Seventy-three pilots from around Missouri and beyond flew 108 remote-controlled airplanes, jets and helicopters at the third annual Slater R/C Field of Dreams Fun Fly, held Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 22 and 23, at Slater Memorial Airport.

There was, almost without exception, at least one plane in the sky at all times, with the action subsiding for a few reasons, including the arrival of a full-sized airplane on the runway and a mid-air collision between two aircraft, as well as the subsequent search in the cornfield for any parts of the airplanes.

R/C Field of Dreams club representative Don Ronnebaum estimated that more than 500 people came to see the mini-airshow.

Dallas Kirby, 11, of Slater, said he attended last year's event, too.

"I just like the planes," he said.

Seated spectators see a pair of airplanes begin to circle back around toward the audience during the third annual Slater R/C Field of Dreams Fun Fly Sunday, Aug. 23, at Slater Memorial Airport.
(Geoff Rands/Democrat-News)
One plane, modeled after a World War II-era bomber, dropped sets of harmless bombs onto the runway below.

Mark Trent of St. Peters entertained onlookers with constant barrel rolls of his airplane, a scale replica of the Krill Yak 55-M, a Russian aerobatic airplane. He also hovered his airplane just above the landing strip, nose up, for quite some time, giving the visual impression that it was dangling by a string.

"Hovering's easy," said Trent, who has flown radio-controlled airplanes for 30 years on and off. The rolls are much harder to do, he said, because "you're flying four inputs at the same time."

Jim Lazendorf, a pilot of 12 years, came from St. Louis to fly his 46-percent scale replica of an S2S Bulldog II, the same plane Jim LeRoy flew during his deadly crash in Dayton at the Vectren Dayton Airshow July 28, 2007. The R/C plane even had a figurine of LeRoy seated in the cockpit. Lazendorf said he bases his routine on LeRoy's.

Lazendorf's plane left smoke hanging in the air behind it as it made its way around the landing strip, went into loops and even into a sustained flat spin, leaving a corkscrew-shaped trail of smoke above it.

"Smoke looks good on a day like this," said Lazendorf.

Grain Valley's Dalton Price is only 11, but he said he's been flying radio-controlled airplanes since the age of 3.

He flew an Edge 540, trying one of his favorite moves on the grass, a "touch and go," in which the plane touches only one wheel to the ground before it ascends again into the sky, a move he usually reserves for concrete runways.

Price attended last year's Fun Fly, flying his AT6 Texan with the same three-dimensional style he continues to use.

A Waco Biplane, donated by George Berlekamp, was purchased in an auction by Derick Samson for $575. All funds went to R/C Field of Dreams club.

J.P. Hub of Columbia won an Ultimate Biplane in a raffle.

Contact Geoff Rands at marshallreporter@socket.net

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Thanks for the two beautiful photographs of the skies over Slater. We are very fortunate that MDN has so many talented photographers. Great to read about a successful "festival" in the town of "festivals".

-- Posted by upsedaisy on Mon, Aug 24, 2009, at 6:55 PM

The show was great! What, no pics?

-- Posted by What the f...... on Mon, Aug 24, 2009, at 12:27 PM
Response by Eric Crump/Editor:
Two photos are included with the story.

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