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‘Warbirds’ take to the skies

By Staff | May 29, 2010
MICHAEL PISTELLA Cape Coral resident Keith Grant readies his Grumman OV-1 Mohawk Vietnam War-era plane for flight during the fifth annual Warbirds Over Paradise radio-controlled airplane event at the Sea Hawks Air Park in north Cape Coral. The event continues Sunday from 9 a.m. to sunset. More photos are available online at: cu.cape-coral-daily-breeze.com.
Cape Coral resident Alex Miller's P-51 Mustang lands during the fifth annual Warbirds Over Paradise radio-controlled airplane event at the Sea Hawks Air Park in north Cape Coral. The event continues Sunday from 9 a.m. to sunset. More photos are available online at: cu.cape-coral-daily-breeze.com.

Warbirds circled over the skies of north Cape Coral this weekend.
The R/Seahawks, a local radio-controlled model airplane club, hosted “Warbirds Over Paradise” this weekend where hundreds of models took off from the Sea Hawks Air Park and cut through the skies for an audience of almost 500 fans.
What makes this show different from others, such as the club’s “Gathering of the Giants,” is that every model used this weekend is based on a plane flown in one or more wars over the last century
“It is absolutely warbirds only, and we dedicated it to veterans,” said Ed Gamils, club president.
The club has 320 members and other model airplane enthusiasts from across the United States travel to the semi-annual shows hosted by the R/Seahawks.
Cape Coral residents Don and Joann Decker brought foldable chairs and spent the afternoon watching planes – with wingspans between 40 inches and ten feet – take off, perform tricks from one end of the park to the other, and come in for smooth landings.
“This is the first one we came to,” said Don Decker. “A friend of ours flies his plane here, but he is a snowbird and he’s gone home to Buffalo.”
He said he particularly enjoyed the models of modern-day jets, which have scaled down versions of real turbine engines, and the helicopters that took off and landed near where they sat.
“There is no better time to come out here and see this on Memorial Day,” said JoAnn Decker.
Gamils said he was pleased with the turnout, even though some people may not have come because they were busy with other plans for Memorial Day. The show came to an end at approximately 2:30 p.m., but Gamils said some pilots would keep flying until sunset.
“We’re flying until we can’t see,” he said.
He stood next to a bright red Fokker DR1, a plane made famous in World War One after being used by the Germans in air battles against France. This plane was later nicknamed the “Red Baron.”
According to Don Decker, the pilots started packing up their airplanes because the wind was beginning to pick up, and he said none of them want to have an accident that could jeopardize the integrity of the model.
“What affects them is the wind,” he said. “And this isn’t an inexpensive hobby.”
The Sea Haws Air Park is at 1030 28th Street, N.W., and Warbirds Over Paradise will be open again on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.