RC Aviators return from the pandemic to perform in public

NORFOLK - After years of away from the public eye, resident aviators finally found a chance to stretch their wings.

Just before the kids rush the field for the annual Egg Pickup, the Norfalcons provide a little entertainment from above.

“The club teaches people that are new everything about flying airplanes,” said former Norfalcons President Adrian Hanft, “from there it becomes, I have to say, sort of an addiction.”

The RC club has a storied history of helping Norfolk residents earn their miniature wings.

“We’ve been flying at our site, which is just south of the airport, for over half a century,” Hanft said.

“We’ve got people in our club that have trainers that teach people how to fly. Once you’ve checked out on that, you can fly on your own.”

The performance at the Egg Hunt is a return to form of sorts - viruses and legislative red-tape has kept the crew from hosting their regular venue performances in town

With the explosive rise of drone popularity in recent years, lawmakers found themselves having to adapt to a rapidly changing airspace.

With the legislation, registration, and regulation of drone activity, small-town RC plane hobbyists found themselves caught in the storm.

“The whole drone thing has scared a lot of people,” Hanft said, “suddenly with us trying to comply with regulations, at one point it was like you had zero feet clearance to fly. And that went up to 50 feet, which still isn’t a lot of room.

“We’re pushing 2 years of dealing with this legislature.”

Hanft says those regulations are continuing to ease as time goes on. Though their play area is a little smaller these days, the club hopes to keep practicing and introducing their craft for many more years to come.

“The more advanced pilots, every time they do a new maneuver or a new stunt, I thought ‘well that would be fun to learn!’” Hanft said.

“My favorite part of aviation is the challenge. I don’t think you can ever get to a point where you could say, ‘I know it all.’”