Lone Tree Flyers club hosts annual Fun Fly event

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The Lone Tree Flyers hosted a Fun Fly event on June 10-12, drawing model airplane pilots from near and far who came to fly over the fields of Lone Tree for a weekend of fun and community.

In 2010, Gary Kleinmeyer and several other airplane enthusiasts chartered the Lone Tree Flyers with the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA). Prior to creating their charter, the Lone Tree Flyers worked with the City of Lone Tree to build the airfield, which sits behind the cemetery and American Legion in Lone Tree. In about 2004, Kleinmeyer approached the Lone Tree City Council, asking for help with clearing out the dump that previously occupied the space. About five or six years ago, the club installed a runway, which was uprooted during the derecho in August 2020 and has since been replaced with a higher-quality surface than was there before.

Richard Huyck traveled from Polk City to fly in the Fun Fly event. He’s been flying model airplanes for over 33 years but had never traveled to Lone Tree before.

“There was a flying event in Ida Grove, Iowa. This was years and years ago, when there was a company there called Byron Originals that made model airplanes,” Huyck said. “They had an event and it was so cool — they had airplanes that were dog fighting, airplanes that looked like they were dropping bombs in a WWII reenactment. That just hooked me in. I went and got a plane the next day, and I promptly crashed it because I had no idea what I was doing.”

Huyck said learning the fly the remote-controlled airplanes was a long process, but one that he enjoyed. The process for learning has changed since he first started flying, however.

Back when I started, you had an instructor, who would take off and then hand you, the student, the transmitter. And then if something happened, they would grab it from you,” Huyck said. “But now adays, they have these things called a Buddy Box, where there are two transmitters. The student has one and the instructor has one, but the instructor has all the controls, so they can immediately take over if something happens.”

Huyck said there are two airfields near him in Polk City — one in Elkhart and one in Dallas Center — but making the trip to Lone Tree was special because of the people he met at the Fun Fly.

On my second flight I lost a wheel out in the field. I went out to look for it with no luck. But Gary, he said, ‘Come into my shop,’ and we went there and got me some wheels and stuff to fix it,” Huyck said. “We came back and the wheels didn’t fit, so he went back to his shop… and back and forth three times. It was so nice of him. He said, ‘You’ve come this far, you have to fly.’ That’s what these guys do — they’re so nice, they just want to see you fly and share with you.”

The Lone Tree Flyers host their Fun Fly event every year on the second weekend in June.

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