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Curtis Ledbetter

Radio control,  Airplanes and the Cameron Dragonflies
This story begins for me back in the middle to late 1950's.   My brother Jerry and I became interested in model airplanes.
Life went on for several years and my brother acquired an R/C airplane and some equipment.
Neither of us knew anything about R/C flying.   After several unsuccessful attempts to take off in a grass field at his house, we laid out a runway made of galvanized sheet metal in the field.    He took off and reached an altitude of about 4 feet an hit a fence.   I remember his comment after we decided it was
not worth repairing.  "I am 50 years old and I will fly R/C before I die." And he did.
He and a group of guys got involved in an R/C club nearby.   They were with them for awhile and decided to start their own club.    The Cameron Dragonflies R/C Club was organized in November 1993 and AMA chartered the following January.  There were about seven charter members and most of us were novices.   My brother secured permission from his brother-in-law and we flew on his farm.
Our runway was a giant circle with East/West and North/South legs. Not conventional, perhaps, but versatile.
We had  great flying there, some great events and get-togethers until we had to move.
When we started the club those of us that didn't know how to fly learned the hard way.
It was crash, rebuild and fly again.  Jerry mentioned at the time of buying props by the dozen.  I remember driving a pickup and my brother standing in the back looking for an airplane in the high weeds.

At the fly-ins we had hand-toss gliders for the kids, bomb drops, spot landings and best in show contests for the pilots.  Lots of pictures and videos were taken.  Crashes happened at intervals, but safety was always a priority.

As the years passed member/flyers came and went with always a core group keeping the hobby alive.

One of the members, Tom, had a hobby shop down town where we went for kits and supplies.  There was a room over the store  where we had meetings and building demonstrations.  Membership varied over the years.  At one time we had 30 plus members and families.  Over a period 20 years we have had seven flying sights and a total of 85 different members.  We opened our club bank account on Nov.10-1993 with a deposit of $50.00

The Club was chartered with AMA as #3482.  The name was changed to Wings Over Lathrop and club location was moved from the Witt Road(Cameron) location in 2006.  It was charted under the same number in 2007 and stayed in Lathrop, Mo until July 2012. It was then moved back to Cameron, Mo and rechartered as Cameron Dragonflies R/C Club.   In 1997 the club was chartered with SFA as #9859.  The SFA shortly thereafter went out of business.

While at Cameron originally the club participated in a variety of functions.  In 2004 a public display was held in the Wal Mart parking lot with interaction and information for the public about aero modeling and the club.  We assisted several years with a hands-on learning program at the middle school where we did demonstrations of flying , building and theory of aerodynamics & modeling.   One member Steve headed a program at the school where a group of students set an altitude record with solid propellant rockets.
Another member Gerry explained the operation of helicopters and did demo flights.  At one  school event a member brought in a fuse for a full scale single wing craft.

Over time the club participated in mall shows -specifically East Hills Mall St. Joseph, Mo., Metro North Mall in North Kansas City, an auction in Kansas as  well as our own swap meets and auctions.  The Muscular Dystrophy Benefit  Fly-in at Taylor, Mo, was attended several years.  There was very impressive 3-D flying with smoke.  A Korean trainer piloted by a female pilot did a low flyby and rides were given in a Cessna. Events of different clubs in the area were attended, including Maryville, Mo., St. Joseph, Fawcett, North K.C.,  Smithville, Hiawatha, KS. The KCRC swap meet was a big event every year.  The Club did demo flying at Camp Farwesta, an outing for kids with cancer and festivals at Osborn, Stewartsville and Lathrop, Mo.

When the club first started we participated in a "Frozen Fingers" event on Jan first sponsored by the Flying Tigers Club at Plattsburg, Mo.  Our club has held two or three such events over the years.

We have participated in the Cameron, Mo. air show with booths and static displays of model craft.
One member, Gerry, flew with the Blue Angels in Fat Albert, their special C130 at the St. Joseph, MO. air show.   At least two former Dragonflies members own their own full scale private planes.

While we were at Lathrop we had one member that flew turbine jet models.  They are very impressive,
The trend to electric flight has changed our club considerably.  We still fly nitro & gas but a good percentage is electric.  Cameras are definitely involved and we have just started to touch on FPV.
Electrics have contributed to more flying , learning and innovation.  Looks like they will be around for a while.

There has been a number of members that have been involved with full scale aviation including airline maintenance.  One former member specialized in building and repairing Gee Bees, one learned to fly R/C in the military, another trained R/C fliers in Iraq and 3 or 4 have flown private full-scale.  One former member Matt Kelly gave his life in service to the country flying a Helicopter in Iraq. Over the years five members including my brother Jerry have passed on.  They will be remembered.

R/C planes are looked on by some as big boy toys, denying the contribution modeling has made to aeronautics as well as the hours of enjoyment by participants, families and observers.   The economic impact on the world is worth mentioning as well. Aero modelers  come from all segments of society, occupations and nationalities.  It is truly a universal pastime.

The club now flies at a new field north of Cameron.  The runway is 85' by 700' with a safety fence, large windsock, large pit/spectator area and a shelter in the planning. We have a FaceBook group called Cameron Dragonflies.
GPS coordinates of the field and travel directions are on AMA site as well as FB group.

Much more could be said about the Cameron Dragonflies.  It is no coincidence that the local school sports team is the Cameron Dragons.  The club name was chosen in a spirit of community harmony.  We are very much interested in training new flyers, young and old, male or female.
We thank everyone who has contributed time , money, flying sites, information and help for our club.
I am presently the oldest member at 81 and plan on enjoying the hobby as long as I can.

Curtis Ledbetter
AMA #493477
Sec. /Treas.
Cameron Dragonflies R/C Club
Cameron, Mo.
AMA Club #3482