High Desert Happenings: Families get to fly high in Victor Valley

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HESPERIA, Calif. — When I visited the Apple Valley Air Show in October, I knew I’d see high-flying plane acrobatics and stunts; what I didn’t know is that I’d be introduced to a whole, new pastime.

Inside one of the hangars, were miniature and single-engine aircraft for spectators to view. That’s when I stumbled upon the Victor Valley R/C Flyers, who asked me if I wanted to fly a plane. I was struck with both excitement and fear when asked, but, they went on to tell me it was called a “Buddy Box” flight and someone would be helping me fly a plane.

I took their informational flier, with some hesitation, and without any more research, I clustered up enough courage and headed out to Hesperia one weekend, as I attempted to mentally prepare for what was to come.

As I pulled up to the site to fly planes, the anxiety grew. I had tried to trick my mind into believing even though I was about to fly a plane for the first time, everything was going to be okay. The R/C Flyers members were extremely courteous and helpful, although as I pulled in, I noticed these aircraft looked a lot smaller than I thought they’d be, as I saw them diving through the air.

As I walked up to the drag way, I noticed, I’d psyched myself up for nothing—these were radio-controlled aircrafts! I was not going to get inside a small, Cessna plane and fly it (with assistance) as I thought—I was going to fly a model plane with a remote (and assistance).

My husband, who had already noticed my thought process was delusional, just shook his head, once he noticed I had finally realized the activity I was actually getting into was far from the one I thought I was going to experience.

But this was just fine with me. I ended up flying an Avistar plane with Mr. Clyde Miller for about 45 minutes.

The Victor Valley R/C Flyers is a non-profit group with about 70 members and the Saturday I visited, also happened to be the 16th anniversary of their organization, complete with celebratory cake and treats.

Clyde Miller has been with the organization since it began in 2008. He said their purpose, “Is to increase the enjoyment and promotion of radio-controlled models through the teaching and education of students of all ages.”

If your children or you are looking for something to do in the area, the R/C Flyers have about 6 Buddy Box flying events each year. When I went, there were about two dozen families ready to fly.

They have two, main events that include two Warbirds races, with World War II P-51 planes, or similar, each year. They also have two Sailplanes events and host Chips for Kids, which is their setup I’d seen at the Apple Valley Air Show.

The members are very knowledgeable on all of their aircraft. I found it interesting just watching them fuel up the miniature planes.

Miller said you can purchase similar planes at several places. “To name a few, Tower Hobby, Horizon Hobbies and Hobbyking,” he said. “And we can fly anything from a small, electric foamier, to 50% size planes. Also we have a separate helicopter and drone area and even a separate place to fly sail planes.”

The organization is primarily funded though club member dues but they also receive funding from events and donations.

You can find the Victor Valley R/C Flyers online at vvrcf.org, as well as on Facebook under “Victor Valley RC Flyers Group VVRCF.”

Public Affairs Specialist, Janell J. Lewis Ford, gets guidance from Clyde Miller to fly an Avistar model plane with a radio remote controller.