There are many benefits to flying remote- controlled aircraft.

It helps improve hand-eye coordination, it can relieve stress and it’s just something fun to do.

But the biggest advantage is when a plane crashes, the pilot walks away with nothing more than maybe a bruised ego, said Rod Chavez of Uniontown.

Chavez isn’t the only one in the area who has an interest in the hobby.

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Two years ago, he joined the Southern Indiana Flying Eagles. The club has around 30 members, and when the weather is nice, they likely can be found with their eyes to the skies out at their flying field near the Seymour airport.

“I used to fly helicopters and full size experimental light sport aircraft,” Chavez said. “But with these, I can defy death.”

On Saturday, several of the Flying Eagles displayed their planes, helicopters and even drones at the Seymour Library, giving the public a chance to see the aircraft up close and an opportunity to talk to the pilots to learn more about the hobby.

Chavez said he first got interested in RC aircraft after one of his friends started flying one.

“It was a gateway into the hobby for me,” he said.

Since then, he’s invested in several models, including a DJT Phantom Vision drone.

“The technology is just spectacular,” he said.

More than 100 people made their way through Saturday’s display which included many different sizes, shapes and colors of models. From small toy kits to an exact replica of a Focke Wulf 190 German fighter plane, each model was handcrafted by its owner.

Drones, which allow the operator to take pictures or transmit video while flying, were well represented.

Although it’s illegal to operate drones commercially, that hasn’t stopped many people from flying them for fun, said Flying Eagles vice president Justin Drake.

“There are rules, like you can’t fly higher than 400 feet, but if you follow the rules, you can fly them all day long, just so you aren’t making money off it,” Drake said.

Chavez and Drake both were excited to talk shop and give people a better understanding of the technology behind drones.

“We want to introduce people to them and hopefully get more people interested in it,” Drake said. “It’s one of the few hobbies that everyone can do, because it’s safe.”

The activity is perfect for children, parents and grandparents to do together, he added.

Drake has been flying remote-controlled aircraft since he was 14, he said.

“My parents used to take us to Ceraland in Columbus and there would be people flying them there,” he said. “While my parents were fishing, we would ride our bikes over to watch them fly.”

He’s been hooked ever since, starting with small plastic models and now working with drones.

Drake has used his drone to assist police with locating a couple of suspects who fled into a cornfield after police had stopped their vehicle.

“It was exciting, being able to show off what it could do,” he said.

The Southern Indiana Flying Eagles will sponsor two big flying events this summer, the annual Freeman Field Radio Controlled Air Show on June 7 and then the second annual Hoosier Scale Classic on Aug. 1 and 2. That contest serves as a qualifier for the National Scale Masters series and will attract flyers from all over the country, Drake said.

“It’s a big deal, and we hope to get a lot of people out here to watch,” he added.

During Saturday’s event, the club also set up two laptop computers with flight simulator programs to give people a better idea of what it’s like to fly a remote-controlled plane.

The flight simulator was a big hit with brothers Ethan and Landon Hehman of Brownstown and other kids.

The Hehmans said they were having fun using the controller to maneuver the digital plane down a runway into the sky and then flipping it over and crashing into a field.

Landon, 10, said he was glad that his aunt brought them to the display.

“When I’m older, I want to be a pilot,” he said.

The boys said they have remote-controlled cars at home and have made model planes before too.

“I think it’s cool to see how they are put together,” Ethan said.

“And they’re fun to fly,” Landon added.

Both were impressed by all the models on display, but they were drawn to the FW 190 fighter plane.

“It’s my favorite, but I bet it took a long time to make,” Landon said. “I would love to try to fly it though.”

At a glance

For more information about the Southern Indiana Flying Eagles and upcoming events, visit their website at or contact club president Steve Ort at 812-498-8353 or

Upcoming events:

Freeman Field Radio Control Aircraft Show (fly-in and swap meet)

When: June 7, all day

Where: Freeman Field at the club’s flying area near the airport

There will be games for kids, food, door prizes and a raffle. The event is free to the public.

Hoosier Scale Classic flying competition, qualifier for the Scale Master Series

When: Aug. 1 and 2

Where: Freeman Field at the club’s flying area near the airport

Author photo
January Rutherford is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. She can be reached at or 812-523-7069.