Spring! It’s coming soon to a District VII flying field near you.
If you haven’t had one already, chances are you’ll soon be seeing a decent day to get outside and fly. March weather can be about as fickle as it gets. I’ve short sleeves and snow boots all in the same day. Being prepared is key to being able to take advantage of the occasions this time of year when the sun comes out and the wind is manageable.
The time to go out to the shop is now. It not only promotes safety, but also helps better make for an enjoyable day at the flying field. Go over your aircraft, check for loose hardware, hinges, electrical connectors, or broken glue joints. Take care to ensure transmitter and receiver packs are up to standards.
It’s a good time to go through your flight boxes too. Tools and other essential equipment have a way of getting moved during the winter. If you’ve ever gotten to the field and had to turn around and go back home because you forgot your wing bolts or were missing something needed from your flight box, please raise your hand. Been there, done that, more times than I care to admit.
The following words and photos come from the Iowa City Aerohawks airshow held last summer in Iowa City, Iowa. It’s another one of the great stories that come from what we do in pursuit of our hobby. Roger Shultz, a member of the club’s board of directors, brought this event to my attention.
The report was written by Rich Vedepo and photo credits go to Alex Young and Chris Umshied.
“For the last 21 years, the Iowa City Aerohawks have been putting on a free air show. Initially, the show started as Demonstration Day, drawing roughly 100 people and plenty of interest.
“One of the few planned events of the day was a candy drop, an event that featured a trainer carrying Tootsie Rolls taped to streamers. The plane was capable of dropping 50 Tootsie Rolls, more than enough payload to take care of the demand. In the second year, attendance grew to nearly 200 people, with a higher demand for candy, but still manageable with our original drop plane.
“By the third year, we added more structure to the Demonstration Day with planned routines such as streamers cuts, Scale fly-bys, and even a comedy routine. We also felt we should stop referring to the event as Demonstration Day and call it what it was evolving into, an air show.
“We decided to advertise the event in the local 4th of July parade with an aircraft carrier float filled with airplanes. The advertising worked, attendance soared, and our show got even bigger. Today we feature a 31/2 hour show choreographed to music which annually draws 1,500 to 2,000 people.
“With the increase in attendance, the need to drop more candy has also grown. To meet this increase in demand, one of our members scratch-built a highly modified 12-foot Telemaster, dubbed The Candy Bomber. We now drop more than 16 pounds of candy at each show to the delight of over 300 screaming children.
“Two years ago, one of our club members, Marc Niehus, started to build a Giant Scale C-47 to honor the original Candy Bomber, an American pilot who dropped candy for kids in East Berlin after World War II.
“Marc had a personal interest in this story because his mother had been one of those children who benefited from this compassionate gesture. We wanted to share the true history of the candy bomber and Marc’s mother’s story at the 2013 air show. Although we knew this would be a touching story for Marc and his mother, we were surprised by the emotion exhibited by everyone at the show. There were very few dry eyes in the house. Truly one of the more special moments we won’t soon forget.”