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Model airplane enthusiasts from around the country gather at Lake Jacomo

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Posted at 7:59 PM, May 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-28 21:10:11-04

LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo.  — Anyone near Lake Jacomo over Memorial Day weekend may see some miniature combat airplanes battling it out in the sky.

Model airplane enthusiasts from all over the country traveled to the Charles W. Reed III flying field to participate in a control line combat competition.

David Fischer drove his fifth-wheel RV down from Minneapolis and said the high gas prices on the trip are worth the event, which is one of his favorite past times.

During a round of competition, two pilots operate the model airplanes, which both have a streamer attached to the back. The pilot flies the plane by using a handle that is attached to a control line. The goal is to hit the opposing plane's streamer and keep the plane in the air as long as possible until the fuel runs out.

Kansas City residents and brothers Andy Minor and Cary Minor run the local control line combat group, which is affiliated with the National Aeronautic Association.

Andy Minor said the brothers, like so many other pilots, started flying the planes as kids when their dad taught them.

It seems simple, but Andy said there's a lot of work that goes into constructing and flying the planes.

"When you get out here, you realize it takes a little bit of engineering, it takes a little bit of putting things together," Andy Minor said.

He said there are only about 100 control line combat pilots around the country, and most of them have been flying the planes since they were little kids.

Bob Mears and his brother traveled from Lubbock, Texas, for this weekend's competition. He said they also learned how to fly the planes from their dad.

"It's something that dad could teach us about engines, airplanes, sportsmanship, competition," Mears said.

He still can't get enough of it, even at 68 years old.

"It's just a great feeling," Mears said.

Mears also loves that the sport has given him the opportunity to travel and compete around the U.S. and the world.

"We get to fly with people from all over the United States, not just the United States but all over the world — I've been to Italy, Spain, Bulgaria, Hungary," Mears said.

They may be a small group, but they're always looking to welcome new members to pass their love for the sport on to younger generations.

To get involved in the group, visit the Kansas City Radio Control Association's website.