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Friday, September 20 2019 @ 03:12 pm EDT

Big Boys and Their Toys - Flying Remote Controlled Models in Panama

Entertainment If you're into flying model airplanes then Panama is the place for you. There's a group of enthusiasts who fly remote controlled airplanes on Sundays at the old Calzada Larga airfield every Sunday, and they get out there every other chance they get on holidays or whenever. They have an organized loosely knit club with facilities for parking, overhead cover to get out of the sun, tables and work benches to prepare planes for flight, a rack to hold transmitter boxes, etc. They bring coolers with drinks, set up the BBQ, and take turns putting their toys through the paces. The lower cost planes start at about $200 minimum just to get a little trainer plane to learn and practice on. There really is no limit to the amount of money you can spend on this hobby, and some of the really hard-core guys were flying scale models with turbine jet engines at more than 200 miles per hour.

I had never seen one of these turbine models flying before today and it's truely amazing. The engine sounds exactly like the real deal and you don't have to let your imagination slip too far to get fooled. There are all skill levels represented, and the "old guys" help the "new guys" with a buddy-box cable that allows someone who's learning to have some help in keeing their investment off of the pavement until they can handle it themselves. My dad has been flying radio controlled airplanes for years and I know there are a lot of people especially from the United States and Canada who are into this hobby. If that's the case, then you're going to love it here. David Chong, Henry Hutchinson and Adalberto Alguero were just featured on the cover of La Prensa's Mosaico magazine on November 12, 2006.

A high-tech scale model of a fighter jet: Doing a low-level high-speed pass in front of the guys with the cameras. You've got to see the video of this thing (send it to me, please.......)

And now, for the hairy part: This airplane represents a significant economic entertainment investment on the part of the owner and bringing it down for a landing is the touchy part and makes for some sweaty palms. This landing, by the way, was perfect.

Some of the guys in the club: Honestly, I was too busy trying to keep Rex the Wonder Dog from peeing on the batteries to get everyone's name. Adalberto Alguero is front row, center with the cammo hat. I met him yesterday at the hobby shop and he invited me out to watch them fly.

How Big's Your Plane? There are all kinds of airplanes out there flying, from brand new to relatively crusty but still perfectly functional.

Remote Controlled Helicopters: I didn't stick around long enough to see the helicopters flying.

Ultra-Lights and Parachutes: There are other guys out at Calzada Larga that fly various types of ultralight airplanes and homebuilts, and there's a parachute club as well. This guy was buzzing around on the other side of the field.

Getting Cold Up North: Winter's kicking in, snow is starting to fall, it's cold and nasty outside. Man, it really must suck not being able to fly your planes for about the next five months. What's a guy to do? (Hey Dad, click here...)

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