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‘Gathering of Giants’ air show boasts record-setting attendance

By Staff | Mar 21, 2009

By MCKENZIE CASSIDY
mcassidy@breezenewspapers.com
Giants descended upon Cape Coral this weekend, leaving behind great shadows as they twirled through the air and buzzed a crowd numbering in the hundreds.
The R/Seahawks hosted the largest model airplane event of the year, “The Gathering of the Giants,” at Seahawk Park in north Cape Coral. In comparison to other model events in the city, such as the “Jets Over The Cape,” or “Warbirds Over Paradise,” this weekend drew the greatest crowd.
Other events control the size and type of model airplane that is allowed to fly, but the Gathering of the Giants has only the requirement of sheer size. John Agnew, member of the R/Seahawks, said planes measured as much as 80 inches from wing to wing.
“The last one was all warbirds, all of the models had to be field model of what was in the war,” said Agnew. “Here, it (emphasis) is more on size, the bigger planes.”
Military field models are never excluded but this weekend they were just a part of the larger group on Saturday and Sunday.
Agnew said there were approximately 75 planes registered for the event.
Some were models from World War II, but others were fighter jets similar to real planes used in the U.S. military today. Most of the older models ran on gasoline and have a motor similar to a weed whacker, he said, while the modern jets flew with miniature versions of the real thing.
Instead of exuding a mechanized hum during flights, the jets emitted the smooth sound of a genuine jet engine. The jets were also able to shoot straight up hundreds of feet into the sky and maneuver much easier than the other models.
“The jets have small wings, the models are relatively new and have turbine engines,” said Agnew. “It has that kerosene smell but it sounds like a real jet plane because it is a jet plane.”
The crowd watched in awe as the planes circled the park. One model even bombed the field with hundreds of pieces of candy for 50 children to collect.
Model airplane events draw large crowds not only from Southwest Florida but from other parts of the country. Some of the audience was from other states or live here part-time and wanted to see this weekend’s show.
The R/Seahawks has 300 members and its official air park is located in north Cape Coral. The pilots who participated this weekend had to possess a license from the Academy of Model Aeronautics or AMA.
For more information on membership or events of the R/Seahawks visit their official Web site at: www.rseahawks.org.