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‘Gathering of the Giants’ air show this weekend

By Staff | Mar 15, 2018

It’s an air show like no other, with the planes’ size small enough that you can hold one in your arms.

More than 70 pilots and several thousand spectators are expected this weekend for the 24th annual Gathering of the Giants event at Seahawk Air Park at 1030 NW 28th St..

These pint-sized, radio-controlled planes may be small in stature, but they have an awful lot of power, with some able to go as much as 200 mph and able to do stunts that an actual pilot wouldn’t dare try.

“This is not a competition, we fly for the crowd to see what happens when the plane goes up and comes down,” said Dick Maltby, president of the Cape Coral R/Sea Hawks Club, which is putting on the event as its big fundraiser. “We have turbine jets that go 200 mph and fly four feet off the runway which makes the crowd ooh and ahh.”

The planes can run on gas, diesel, electric and turbine power and can run for 10 minutes on 20 ounces of fuel, though Maltby said his can run as long as 35 minutes going 70 mph.

The largest plane ever to fly at Seahawks Park during a Gathering was a B-29 Bomber with a 20-foot wingspan flown by Mac Hodge of Georgia. The plane subsequently crashed at another show.

Typically, the remote-control planes with wingspans are between 60 and 84 inches.

“If you drive a car at 30 mph, it will go a long way. If you go 100 mph the trip will be much shorter,” Maltby said.

There will be a candy drop for the kids, a flight simulator, food trucks on site, prizes for pilots, a raffle for a plane, and much more. People will also be able to sit in bleachers provided by the city.

Last year’s event drew only about 35 pilots because of the rainy weather. With that not expected to be an issue, many more are expected to come from as far away as Ohio and North Carolina.

The event is Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. There is free admission and a $5 donation per vehicle. RVs and lawn chairs are welcome.

For more information, go to rseahawks.org.