The Penticton Model Aviation Club (PenMAC) took to the skies above Okanagan Lake on Sunday with their scale model planes.
There were 26 pilots cleared to take off from the beach at Pyramid Park, the skies having lost some of the thick smoke and flight ceiling low enough to stay well below the flight path of the firefighting air tankers taking off from Penticton Airport.
The annual event brought in people from clubs across the valley, who came for the clear skies and a lunch with fellow enthusiasts.
The club even had one member of a North Vancouver model aviation club join them with flying who was in the area on holidays and decided to join in.
Calm waters and a lack of boats on the lake made for ideal conditions for take-offs and landings.
“There’s very few spots in North America that are this nice for the type of flying we’re doing on the water here,” said Rod Maubray, the club’s secretary. “We have this whole big lake here for landings and take off.”
From delta-wing planes to scale models based on real aircraft like a navy jet-trainer, there was plenty of variety on display.
The planes ranged in size, from smaller electric models to larger, gasoline-fueled third-scale planes, which are now in the minority.
“There is a majority of electric planes, and they vary anywhere from a 24-inch wingspan all the way up to eight-foot wingspans,” said Maubray. “The electrics have progressed phenomenally over the last 15 years with the advent of lithium batteries.”
It’s not an expensive hobby to get into either, with some kits now available and ready to fly for as little as $150 to $175, and there is plenty of support for people interested in getting involved.
“It’s not a competitive hobby, everyone helps out when you’re getting started because everyone was there,” said Maubray. “There’s a real sense of camaraderie.”
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