Dozens of radio control model airplanes will take flight this weekend in northwest Cape Coral.
The 20th Annual Gathering of the Giants, hosted by the Cape Coral R/Sea Hawks flying club, is set from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday at Seahawk Park. Sanctioned by the Academy of Model Aeronautics, the fly-in event will feature gas, glow, electric and turbine aircrafts.
There is no cost for admission, but a suggested donation for parking is asked of the public.
Breeze file photo
One of the planes featured at a previous Gathering of Giants show in Cape Coral.
"They will see all sorts of airplanes, turbine jets," Dick Maltby, president of the Cape Coral R/Sea Hawks, said. "We also have 10-foot-wingspan airplanes giving demonstrations on aerobatics."
He noted that the jets can catch speeds of up to 200 mph.
A B-29 with a 20-foot wingspan, whose pilot hails from Georgia, will also take to the sky.
If You Go:
What: 20th Annual Gathering of the Giants
Who: Cape Coral R/Sea Hawks
When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 15, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, March 16
Where: Seahawk Park, 1030 N.W. 28th St.
"He flies it and drops a rocket plane from it," Maltby said.
The B-29 flight is at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. each day.
"We also have a plane that we put 10 pounds of candy in," he said.
The plane then takes off and circles back around to drop its treasure onto the tarmac.
"We let the little kids run out and collect it," Maltby said. "It's great fun. The kids love it."
The candy drop takes place daily at about 12:30 p.m.
"We normally have 50 or 60 pilots lined up to fly," he said, pointing out the variety of aircrafts.
Last year, an estimated 4,250 people turned out for the fly-in.
"We're expecting between 4,000 and 5,000 people this year," Maltby said.
Spectators are invited to bring chairs; the city will provide bleachers.
"People just come out, and they tend to just sit in their chair and watch the airplanes," he said.
Plaques will be award in several categories, including for the best model airplane, the best pilot, the best warplane and more. Maltby explained that the pilots vote on their top pick in each category.
"We also are raffling off a radio controller, which is sort of the latest and greatest," he said.
While the radio controller raffle is only open to the pilots, the public can participate in a raffle for a Hangar 9 Super Cub "giant" airplane. The completed ready-to-fly aircraft is worth about $1,800.
Raffle tickets will be available for purchase on site, along with food and drinks.
Proceeds raised from the event benefit the Cape Coral R/Sea Hawks and the local Boy Scouts. According to Maltby, the Scouts receive a portion for helping to direct traffic with parking.
"We started doing this because we generate a little bit of income for the club," he said, adding that the pilots come from all over Florida, even out of state, to take part. "We have a lot of planes and fun."
The runaway at Seahawk Park is 60-by-600. RVs are welcome, but there are no hookups.
Pilots still interested in registering for the fly-in can do so Saturday.
There is no landing fee, but the proper paperwork is required.
"We expect them to have their insurance," Maltby said.
Organizers encouraged families to stop by and check out the event this weekend.
"It's not too expensive to get into. It's a fun way to spend some time," he said. "It's a hobby."
Seahawk Park is at 1030 N.W. 28th St.
For more information on the Gathering of the Giants, contact Dick Maltby at (239) 789-8238 or John Gorla at (239) 471-9845, or visit the club's Web site online at: www.rseahawks.org/.