Winter Flying

Thanks to those who contributed to our call for New Year’s Day “frozen fingers fun fly” stories. More than three dozen clubs and members submitted stories and photos.


25th annual Frozen Finger Fun Fly at the Beresford (SD) Field.  We had ten area pilots attend, fly and eat chili.  It was an all electric flying day with lots of hand launches due to a 3” snow cover.  Weather was great at 32 degrees and calm winds.


20 of us flew together at MTRCS at Cain Ridge, TN on January 2.  We had a great time of flying and fellowship.  25 showed up.


January 1st 2023: The Pikes Peak RC Club (PPRCC) just completed its annual January 1st Frozen Needle-Valve event. About 20 members attended (several not in the photo) and the temperature being 25 degrees and no breeze, it was much better than last year! (18 degrees and 20 mph winds!). However, we did have to shovel a small path for take-offs. Landings were made anywhere in the snow. Club member Eric Oliver was the only flyer to think of having skis instead of wheels on his plane and they worked as advertised.

But it wasn’t all flying, the club provided McDonalds McMuffins and coffee, plenty of socializing, followed by the January club meeting. The event kicked off around 8:00 am and ended around 12 noon, with no crashes, disappointed flyers or frost bite.


Every year Suburban Aeroclub of Chicago (AMA #274) has a “First Flight” event on the morning of January 1.


   Our club, the Iowa City Aerohawks, has a New Year’s Day Chili Fun Fly every year for the last 45 to 50 years. It’s  not uncommon for us to have an actual air temp of 10 to 15 below with a  20 mph wind so, it’s  not for everyone. 

     Before we had a heated clubhouse, we would gather around a Weber grill for warmth, next to our mower shed that shielded us from the wind.   It wasn’t much but, at least you could warm your fingers up a little.

    Getting your glow engines to start was another challenge, this was before electrics became popular. One year it was so cold we tried starting the  glow powered airplane inside a warm van because we had no luck in the extreme  cold. We finally succeeded after a couple of hours of continued effort only to close the tail of the plane in the van’s sliding door, breaking the tail completely off the plane. Very disappointing to say the least.

    Sometimes it isn’t  so much who  the first person to fly on New Year’s Day will be  but, who is going to be able to get their engines started. Now with electrics  things are much easier  but I’m old school and still prefer glow. It’s the principle of the thing. I have since learned of the starting method of using Zippo lighter fluid when it’s  cold. Wow, what a difference a little shot if Zippo makes.

    Now we are fortunate to have a heated clubhouse and enjoy the day flying, watching football and eating from a buffet featuring several different chili receipts and fabulous side dishes. It’s not uncommon  for us to have 30 to 40 people in attendance  throughout the course of the day. Yes, we’ve come a long way baby. We look forward to the New Year’s Day Chili Fun Fly each and every year, no matter what the weather.


Our 3rd annual “Frosty Fingers Idiot Fly” gathering was a rip roarin’ success here in Memphis.   In order to qualify for a “Fun Meter” pin, you have to fly one flight but the landing is optional..
For a change, the weather was mild w/ light winds and mid 60’s temps.. an ideal intro into the new year. Our group flies a mix of U/C, a few die hard “Flea Frighters” and some RC’ers..  Obviously,  a  good time was had by all..


KCRC’s annual Icicle Fun Fly. Kansas City Radio Control Association (AMA Club 390) has been  having this New Years Day fun fly for over 60 years. It has always been come and fly regardless of the weather. There are always pots of chili for eating and a fire barrel for warmth. The 2023 Event was surprisingly blessed with fantastic weather with light breezes and the temperature in the 40s to 50s.

As Secretary of the Club I took pictures of each guy and their airplane who flew and will present them with a certificate with their photo at our January Club Meeting.

Here is a group shot of the gang that showed up to fly. It was the largest group of RCers that we have seen recently.
Here is another shot of the activity captured from one of my movie clips. The action started early and went throughout the day with at least 4 airplanes in the air at all times.

The Charlotte Aeromodelers held our first annual Frigit Digit Fly In on January 1st. 2023 at our field. Doug McClew organized this event and it went very well with 15 club members participating.  Participants received a customized decal for the event and were treated to hot chocolate,  coffee and donuts for an entry fee of $10.00. Two airplane kits were raffled off all to benefit the club. We hope to have this event every year!


This picture is from January 01, 2023, after flying at Grass Field RC in Minnesota. Forty size or smaller electrics make for quick setup and a study airplane helps since winter flying from skis is hard on the models. On the last flight of the day, I caught a ski breaking the prop and cracking the covering on several lower wing bays as it spun around. A little work and it is ready to go again.


Hey there!  We had a fantastic day of flying on New Year’s Day in Georgia at the Stone Mountain RC Flyers.  Our president Ken Lightner and I wanted to try glider towing, so he built a Flite Test Simple Soarer, and I designed and 3d printed a tow release mechanism for my FMS Kingfisher.  Here you can see a video of one of our take offs:

I wanted pictures of the event, so I handed off my camera to the club’s other photographer Bobby Smallwood, and he got these fantastic shots of towing a glider to the moon!

Great fun was had by all, including a really nice flight of a Delta-themed AL37, which I managed to photograph with a real Delta airliner in the sky behind it, a successful maiden flight on the FMS Pilatus PC-21 my lovely wife gifted my for Christmas, and a visit from the local wildlife.  You can find the rest of the pictures Bobby and I took here:https://stonemountainrcflyers.smugmug.com/SMRCF-2023/SMRCF-01012023/


Thanks to all who sent in submissions!

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