Ocala Flying Model Club

RC planes take to the skies with the Ocala Flying Model Club.

Written By Cynthia McFarland

Photo by Jesse Hinds, Courtesy of Ocala Flying Model Club

The development of radio-controlled planes as a hobby began in 1937. Twin brothers Dr. Walter and Bill Good made those first flights using primitive RC equipment to fly an 8-foot Free Flight (FF) model at the airport in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

A year later, the Good brothers built their first RC plane, and since then, RC model aviation has exploded as a hobby with clubs formed around the world.

The Ocala Flying Model Club (OFMC) has about 270 members, including former military pilots, commercial pilots and hobby model aviation pilots of all ages. 

The club operates out of a 200-acre site on the Florida Greenway near the Florida Horse Park. The main flying field features a 48-feet-by-600-feet paved runway in addition to a large pavilion and other shelters. 

Jesse Hinds, president of OFMC, has been flying RC model aircraft since 1968. He currently has “at least” a couple dozen planes.

“Most RC planes are patterned after real aircraft,” says Jesse. “Some of the most popular models are the P-51 and P-47 and various aircraft from the WWI and WWII eras.”

To join the club, you must be a member of the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) and also register to get an FAA number. 

“But this doesn’t mean you’re ready to fly an airplane. Some people join the club who have no idea how to fly,” says Jesse, adding that OFMC volunteers will help club members without charge. “We have instructors who work with them until they can solo and fly without assistance. There’s usually an airplane you can use to train with.”

He explains that the instructor uses a “buddy box” system, which allows the student pilot to get valuable hands-on experience but enables the instructor to take control of the plane if the student needs help avoiding a crash.

Club meetings take place at 10am on the first Saturday of each month, but anyone interested in seeing the planes fly can stop by the OFMC field whenever the gate is open.

“Unless it’s an event, there’s no scheduled time to fly. Spectators are welcome, and there’s no cost to watch,” says Hinds. “People come out, set up their chairs in the shade and watch the action.”

The next event on the OFMC calendar is the 12 O’clock High Show on September 15-17, featuring War Birds and classics.

For More Information:

Ocala Flying Model Club

1020 SE 110th St., Ocala