Remote control airport to debut in Valley Grande

Published 10:26pm Monday, May 6, 2013

VALLEY GRANDE — The Valley Grande City Council said Monday they have plans for a new airport within their city limits. The council discussed building an airport for remote controlled airplanes — a popular hobby in the area.

Place 2 representative Ronald Sawyer asked the council in April if they would approve of him putting together an airport that would not cost the city money and would be built and managed completely by local volunteers. Sawyer said there are many in the area, like he and Place 1 representative Tim White, who enjoy flying remote controlled planes. But the focus would be on offering an education on aviation along with a hobby to area youth.

“I just want this to be a place where we can teach kids how to fly and more about aviation but it will also teach them patience and a hands-on skill once they learn to make the planes as well,” Sawyer said, who has flown model planes for more than 20 years.

Several years ago Sawyer said some 70 local plane enthusiasts would fly model planes on the weekends off of Selfield Road, but since it was developed, they have been displaced, roaming from field to field to fly. The new airport will be housed in the 80 acres that sit behind the Valley Grande baseball fields off of Alabama Highway 16. Sawyer and White plans to borrow manpower, time and lawn mowers to clear the brush and lay a 100-foot dirt runway. Sawyer hopes more than 50 area students will sign up to use the facility at its projected start date in late June or early July.

“This is safe, fun and not as expensive as it used to be because the hobby is much more common today than 10 years ago,” Sawyer said. “It’s also very peaceful, once you are in the air you have nothing on your mind except that little thing up in the sky and trying to get it back together on the ground in one piece.”

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