COTTAGE GROVE, Ore. — Even though the Fourth of July has come and gone, patriotic celebrations continue this weekend with “Warbirds Over the Pacific” where World War II replica planes will take to the skies.
Model airplane pilots are preparing for takeoff at the South Lane RC Modelers Flying Field.
“Safety is our first priority,” said Mark Knigge.
Every flight starts with a ground test to, checking the wings and the rudder.
“We all fly by the seat of our pants with no instruments,” said Contest Director Gus Phillips.
Just a model plane and a control. And like many old school planes, to start the engine, you have to crank the propeller.
Knigge, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, took an interest in radio controlled planes as a child.
“About 14 I got a job, and I was flying by 15,” Knigge said.
He’s been flying ever since.
Knigge’s plane and about 30 others including the P-51 Mustang, the P-47 Thunderbolt and the Corsair will be on display at Warbirds Over the Pacific.
“They are, in fact, World War II fighter planes. They fly like them. They are aerodynamic designed like them,” Phillips said.
What’s different is the reaction time. Phillips says it’s five to ten times faster, so piloting these planes takes great skill.
The fourth annual event is a contest. But more than that, it’s a tribute to veterans of foreign wars, the motivating factor for Phillips who organizes the event.
“We shouldn’t ever forget who went to war for us. So that’s why we do this,” Phillips said.
Building replica planes to keep history flying.
The public is invited to attend this free weekend event, and they will also get to vote for best plane and pilot best in show.