The faint buzz of the prop plane’s engine whirred as it spun through rolling loops, swooped through a snap turn, and plunged in a dive that ruffled the tallgrass.
The maneuvers might have made any experienced stunt pilot queasy, but Todd Winter was all right.
He never left the runway.
The Goldwing Sbach 342 that soared Monday evening as Winter flicked his thumbs over a Gameboy-style transmitter console was large enough to have been mistaken for a crop duster.
The gas-powered craft, one-quarter the scale of a real plane, is one of eight or nine remote control aircraft he has been flying for 30 years.
“This is about average what I fly,” he said at Marion Airport as he directed the plane through a high-speed pass.
Winter was practicing a few moves before a fun fly this weekend put on by Harvey County Radio Control Club and possible fly-time the weekend after.
“I wanted some more space,” he said, adding that he really needed to rehearse landing on a shorter runway.
The flat-calm evening made the task more challenging.
“When there is no wind, you land faster,” he said. “The more wind, the slower you land.”
One of a few Marion radio craft enthusiasts including Lin Slifer and Terry Chizek, Winter tries to get out twice a month.
But he would love company.
“It’s getting so much cheaper,” he said. “Nowadays the planes have auto pilot to correct. You press a button to straighten the plane. It is so easy.”
Real aircraft are a different story.
“I’ve been in a couple,” he said. “I get so much motion sickness. I can’t really fly too much.”