Airport mixes model planes, merit badges

Monday, October 4, 2004

While the Show Me Air Kings held their annual model airplane show Sunday at the Cape Girardeau Regional Airport, girls from Troop 336 of the Girls Scouts of Otahki Council earned their aerospace badge.

About 30 models were displayed in the show with 17 designs flown, which included Snoopy flying his dog house, a pizza box-like design and a witch.

Air King member Herb Prater, who has about 17 years of model plane experience, built the witch, one of the least maneuverable models, with wings like a black kite and a body shaped like a witch on a broomstick.

"You're lucky to keep this thing in the air," he said.

Because model airplanes are controlled solely by remote control, they require a lot of hand-eye coordination to operate.

"They're just hard to fly," said Air King member Jim Bollinger. "I've seen pilots who can't fly model airplanes."

During the show, he flew a yellow-and-black striped model of a Russian airplane. The model is capable of speeds up to 100 miles per hour and all manuevers except hovering.

For Girl Scout Kennedy Woodruff, 9, of Cape Girardeau, flying a model airplane "felt really cool, like you had a lot of control," she said.

Members of the Air Kings guided individuals and Girl Scouts in flying trainer models through a buddy box system, in which two radio transmitters were linked. The instructor could transfer control to the trainee and take it back when needed.

"Keeping it in the air in one piece and real simulated flight" keep trainees thrilled and coming back for more, said Air King member Rodney Lacey, who helped with the buddy boxes.

Keeping their eggs in one piece was another thrill for the weekend, said many of the Girl Scouts. As a team-building exercise Saturday, about 81 girls in 16 troops participated in an egg drop. The activity required that teams design a cushion that protected eggs when dropped about 100 feet from the airport tower onto a target.

Of all the eggs dropped, not one was broken.

For the first year, the Girl Scouts held badge-earning activities at the airport over the weekend. Other activities included tours of the airport, kite and paper airplane building, discussions with pilots and Cape Girardeau NASA Space Center personnel.

335-6611 extension 127

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