Float Fly Comes Back to Lake Dallas

Float Fly Comes Back to Lake Dallas

by Susan Neuhalfen

They say the only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys. Gerald Sanders would probably agree.

“Most of us grew up playing with model airplanes,” he said about his fellow Falcon’s Flying Club members. “Then you’re focused on your career and family and then you get to an age where you can go and do it again.”

Sanders is referring to his hobby of flying remote control airplanes. As the treasurer of the Falcon Flying Club, he and his 75-member club pilot radio-controlled and gas engine planes. Those participating are true plane enthusiasts. They build the planes themselves, either from kits or from scratch. They meet once a month for fun, educational meetings, whether it be about new advances in equipment or a guest speaker who used to fly with the Blue Angels. They also love getting together during the week to fly their seaplanes over Lake Dallas, and we’re not talking about little planes, either.

“It’s just like a full size plane with all the bells and whistles,” said Sanders. “The one I fly at Float Fly has a 10 foot wingspan and weighs 40 pounds.”

Float Fly is an annual event and a great opportunity for the public to see these planes flying over Lake Dallas. This is the 15th year that Sanders and his colleagues have put on the event that took place Saturday, August 13 starting at Willow Grove Park. The Lake Dallas Park gate fee was even be waived so that spectators could get in free. Sanders said that the folks at Lake Dallas Park always bend over backwards for them and they are very grateful. They are also grateful to their sponsor David Snider, owner of Technicians on Wheels in Lake Dallas.

Float Fly features approximately 20 pilots navigating their planes over Lake Dallas. All must be members of the American Modelers Association (AMA) and follow the rules put before them at the pilots’ meeting prior to the event. All participants must have a co-pilot and all planes are thoroughly checked over. Four planes are allowed in the air at a time as safety is their first priority.

“Equipment failures happen all the time,” said Sanders of the hobby he loves. “We are always very careful to make sure that safety is the most important part of our flight.”

When asked how they decide when a plane takes its “turn” at Float Fly, Sanders explained that most planes will either run out of gas or battery pretty quickly. He is, however, quick to point out that electronics have advanced in the last few years. It used to be that the plane would only fly for about 8 minutes. Now, depending on the plane, it will stay up much longer.

As for the planes themselves, they are designed to mimic the inner workings of an exact plane. The only thing missing is the pilot on the inside. For example, one of Sanders’ seaplanes has 4 engines. Another of his planes is an exact smaller scale replica of a rare WWII plane. Those are just two of the thirteen planes that Sanders has in his “hangar”. Sanders favorite part, he says, is building the planes from scratch.

“Truth be told, I love designing and putting them together the most,” he said. “Don’t get me wrong, I do love flying them, but I really love building them.”


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