On any given day you might find Paul Lockwood at the NH Flying Tigers Airfield in Derry, flying his model airplane. Mark Pied might be there too, with his helicopter.
Pied and Lockwood are members of the NH Flying Tigers Radio Control Club — with Lockwood currently serving as president — and both will be at the second annual Flying Tigers Helicopter Fun Fly on Saturday, May 31.
“Most of us had an attraction to aviation in general from early on. My father had airplanes when I was growing up,” said Lockwood. “It’s an investment to become a pilot. I’m living vicariously as a pilot through this sport.”
Lockwood has been in the club for the last four years, Pied for the last 25 or so years, on and off. The club has 62 members.
“We have a lot of people who work on planes, and we have real pilots,” Pied said. “It all started when we were kids. It’s a hobby. It’s really pretty cheap compared to real pilots, and it’s [got a] social aspect.”
Though the club is a combination of people who fly airplanes and those who fly helicopters, the fun fly is all about helicopters, and it was created with a public audience in mind.
“We want it to be constant flying,” Pied said. “We want there to be helicopters in the sky at all times.”
The fun fly will include contests between flyers, Pied said, like having the helicopters fly to a certain altitude and hover down to pop a balloon.
“Flying helicopters is really hard,” Lockwood said.
“You have to consistently be correcting it, and you have to keep your hands on it at all times,” Pied said. “It’s a challenge; you always want to do something better.”
Lockwood and Pied both said they love to put on the air show in part because they get a chance to meet non-members and chat about flying.
“Some of the WWII veterans will show up and it’s cool to see because they’ll talk about their old fighters and we have those replicated here and they love to see it,” Lockwood said.
On June 6 the club will have a fun fly for both helicopters and airplane models. Lockwood said that any model is welcome to come fly. He said last year someone had a remote-controlled hot air balloon.
“They are beautiful works of art to fly,” Lockwood said.
The club will be collecting donations at the fun fly.
“We like to try to be of benefit to the community. We are collecting to donations for the Wounded Warrior Project and locally for the Sonshine Soup Kitchen here in Derry,” Lockwood said.
Lockwood said for those who are interested in learning how to fly models, the club has a training program.