Man's happiness flies when model planes fly
Man has been interested in taking off from the ground and flying for many centuries.
One big interest here in Chino Valley is flying model airplanes. The Chino Valley Model Aviators Club has several members who not only love flying their models but building them as well, and John Casey of Chino Valley is one of them.
"I have been interested in this hobby since I was 10 years old and saw some guys flying model planes. They invited me to fly one and I was hooked from that day on," John said.
John has been building and flying his model planes for the past 35 years and was active in the Chino Valley flying club until, because of diabetes, lost his right leg this past June. Since then, he only goes to watch.
"I make my planes from scratch. I draw out the plans, make a blueprint, then cut the wood, glue it all together, sand it and either paint it or monahate it (put a plastic heat-shrink covering applied with a blow dryer and a special iron)," John said.
"Building these planes occupies my time and gives me a lot of satisfaction. They are a reflection of my happiness," he added.
It takes John about six months to build a model plane, depending on the size and detail. He just finished working on an antique plane called the "Newport 17" that took him two and a half years to finish.
"But, I'm not going to fly it because I've got too much time and money in it to risk crashing it," John grinned.
John explained that everything that applies to real planes applies to model planes, too.
"These model planes run on nitro-methanol, the same as the big dragsters use. This fuel costs from $20 to $75 a gallon," he said.
John's wife, Kathy, added, "Yes, this is not a cheap hobby."
John and Kathy hope to be at the next model airplane flying competition here in Chino Valley that happens twice a year.
"The Chino Valley airstrip (at Old Home Manor east on Perkinsville Road) is third in the nation as one of the best flying strips, and people come from across the nation to compete here," said John.
"The biggest thrill for me in working with model planes is knowing I built it, and was able to see it fly. I would like to see more young people get into model planes because they will not only learn a lot, but there is so much enjoyment in it."