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Hill Country AeroModelers club thanks Parks and Rec for 25 years

Thursday, July 26, 2018 by Jessi Devenyns

This year is the 25th anniversary of the Hill Country AeroModelers club partnership with the Parks and Recreation Department. In recognition of the city’s support, Dennis Caudle, 72, and Elliot Turner, 17, came to the July 24 meeting of the Parks and Recreation Board to say thank you. Although the club itself has been around for 70 years, it has spent the last 25 years at Mary Moore Searight Park where, at no cost to the city, “We created a miniature airfield with a 550-foot runway,” said Caudle. This self-sustaining club has also made approximately half a million dollars in park improvements over the years, and, Caudle said, “We provide an annual $2 million insurance policy within the flying vicinity.” Membership to this nonprofit club of aeromodelers is $8.30 a month and membership is demographically varied. The airfield hosts competitions as well as instructed recreational flights. According to Caudle, some of the teachers used to be instructors in the military and now share their expertise with civilian enthusiasts, ROTC members and homeschool groups. The airfield is also used in partnership with the University of Texas for aeronautical and engineering projects. Although the club focuses on model airplanes, Board Member Randy Mann asked the obvious question: “How do you feel about drones?” While Caudle said that they are welcome at the airfield, “It’s all still focused back to family and learning for us rather than cameras and intrusion.”

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