By Pat van den Beemt, email@example.com – explorebaltimorecounty.com
Like any good pilot, Jack Stites prepared his plane for takeoff by inspecting the wings and body and by moving the wing flaps to make sure there were no obstructions.
Satisfied with its air-worthiness, he piloted the red-and-white plane as it took off and soared over lush green hillsides.
But Stites, 75, didn’t take to the air with his plane. In fact, the cockpit was empty. Stites stood on a grassy field in Parkton and used a hand-held radio to control the 14-pound plane.
“Ahh. Look at that. Look at that. It’s windy today, but not too windy,” he said as his plane made wide arcs through the Parkton sky while he moved two joysticks to control its path.
He said it becomes difficult to control a plane if the wind is more than 15 mph.
The gas-powered plane landed safely several minutes later on a paved runway. It turned and bumped along the grass until it stopped a few away from Stites, the president of the Radio Control Modelers of Baltimore. The club meets at Kirk Field at the Parkton landfill, named for John Kirk, of Towson, a World War II fighter pilot and former club president who died in 2004.
“I never get tired of flying,” said Stites, a retired Loch Raven High School band director, who lives in Baldwin. “I’m out here flying as often as I can. I even have a plane on skis so I can fly in the snow.”
For more information on the Radio Control Modelers of Baltimore, Inc., AMA chartered club 335, please visit their Web site at WWW.RCMB.ORG.