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Radio control flying company shows aerial stunts (w/video)

By JR Ortega
May 19, 2014 at 12:19 a.m.

A 3D helicopter zooms by Tim Jones, 26, of Ventura, Calif., as he flies it in a demonstration for the Victoria Radio Control Flyers group at the Club Field  in Telferner. Jones was part of A Main Hobbies, a California group that is traveling the country to introduce people to 3D flying and meet other enthusiasts. "It's taken me 10 years to be able to fly the way I do. Most people might start to get proficient around two to three years with one of these." he said. When talking about why he loves to fly 3D he said "It's the ultimate video game except that it's real. It's the hardest hand eye coordination you'll ever encounter."

Want to learn more?

The Victoria Radio Control Flyers meets at 7 p.m. the fourth Tuesday of every month at Bayside Seafood Restaurant, 4204 N. Navarro St.

The organization typically meets to fly Saturday and Sunday mornings, weather permitting. To learn more, contact Steve Zimmerman at 361-894-7390 between 5:30-10 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Ted Sheblak squinted upward, watching as the helicopter danced like a dragonfly against an azure, clear sky.

"I'm telling you, that thing ain't human," said a friend of the 73-year-old.

Sheblak joined the Victoria Radio Control Flyers organization about five months ago and has been flying a trainer plane to get started.

But what he saw demonstrated Monday afternoon by A Main Hobbies - a California-based company specializing in radio-controlled crafts - was unbelievable.

The helicopter, flown by Tim Jones with A Main Hobbies, was flying every way but straight.

Jones, of Ventura, Calif., controlled the first craft - a 700 Class T-Rex. He flew the helicopter upside down, on its side, and eventually, straight up into the air, letting it drop and flip in a downward spiral from hundreds of feet in the air.

A Main Hobbies' Helicopter Flight Activation Team is touring across the U.S. from California to Michigan to host demonstrations and hold discussions, said Greggor McGrath, another team member.

Victoria was the group's fifth stop.

"We just want to build relationships and go out and enjoy the hobby," McGrath said.

This is what Sheblak has enjoyed about the group since joining.

"I just like to be around these people," he said. "I learn from their experience."

About 20 people with the Victoria flyers organization stood out at the Club Field off Hiller Road in Telferner, watching the aerial stunts.

Each watched the demonstrations and then took to the field themselves.

Chris Mott, who has been part of the the Victoria Radio Control Flyers for about five years, flew his plane, a 97-inch GeeBee Senior Sportster.

This is one of eight or nine planes he flies, he said. This is his favorite, partly because it has a pilot that looks like him that was custom made for the cockpit.

Mott got into the hobby in the 1980s, building two or three planes. Then, the hobby stopped.

It was not until five years ago, when he joined the club, that his passion took off once more.

"I crashed a lot of planes. I'd crash one, then I'd just go home and order a new one to replace it," he said while laughing.

Steve Zimmerman, the organization's president, has been flying planes for about three years. He became interested after a member invited him out on a flight.

Zimmerman always wanted to be a pilot, but this is enough to put a smile on his face.

"I got the bug," he said while laughing. "This lets me scratch that old itch."

The hobby, which Zimmerman and several of the others admit can be pricey, can also be cheap.

You can get away with a trainer plane for about $200, he said.

"You can throw as much money as you want at it," Zimmerman added.

Some planes, like Mott's, are a bit pricier, but it's all about how much you love the hobby.

And beware, it's addictive Mott said.

"Taking off is optional," he said, smiling. "Landing is mandatory."

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