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Men starting up model flying club
MR Long flying club4
Pre-flight checks are done prior to any plane being flown. - photo by Photo by Mike Riddle
Two Long County men, Gene Long and John Yesis, recently have turned their lifelong dreams of flying into reality.
No the men aren’t flying around like superheroes or even flying their own planes, but their gas-powered model aircraft have been known to soar through the skies for hours.
Long started flying about five years ago with a basic helicopter, and soon after was given a broken, gas-engine airplane by a friend.
“I was given a cub (plane) and had to rebuild it, but after a little work I had it ready to go,” Long said.
According to Long, there is a big difference between flying helicopters and planes.
“By far, helicopters are much more difficult. But it’s like anything else, the more you do either one, the better you get.”
Long introduced Yesis to the hobby about a year a go and it didn’t take long for his friend to develop an affinity for flying as well.
“I came out here with Gene, and watched him a few times. Then I bought a trainer and I’ve been doing it every since”
Yesis said in addition to his Trainer 250, he also has a P-51 Mustang and a Showtime-50.
“The trainer did the basics — go up, down and side to side. The P-51 is a little more acrobatic, and the Showtime-50 is more of a acrobatic plane,” Yesis said.
Yesis said he spent about $450 getting started, paying $250 for the trainer plane and another $200 for the starter kit.
Long said model planes and helicopters can run from $200 up to $15,000.
“It’s like anything else, you have a low-end and a high-end but generally, the bigger the planes get, the more expensive they are,” Long said.
As Long and Yesis have practiced flying during the past year, they’ve met several other model aircraft enthusiasts. Now, on weekends, it’s no surprise to find seven or eight people flying ten to fifteen different aircraft with them.
“I really would like to get a club started and have it sponsored through the AMA (Academy of Model Aironomics),” Long said.
He added, “If we do it through the AMA, you have insurance and other befits for the members.”
Long said he has seen proficient flyers as young as five years old but generally, a good age to introduce children to the sport is around eight years old.
Recently, 12-year-old Jesse Warner demonstrated his skills during a flying session with his father, Robert. Jessie was no slouch, showing he could keep up with most of the adults on the pad.
Both Yesis and Long agree flying model aircraft is fun and exhilarating.
“You come out here, start concentrating on flying your plane, and you forget about every thing else in the world. Just about everyone who does it loves it,” Long said.
If you’re interested in flying with Long and Yesis, or in starting a flying club, e-mail Long at
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