Nipissing Miniature Aircraft Club pilots test their skills

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Local and out of town model aircraft pilots gathered just outside Callander for a display of aircraft and flying skills

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It has been dubbed the annual “Fly Fun”.

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This is a flagship event organized by NIPMAC, the Nipissing Miniature Aircraft Club.

Between 30 and 40 airmen, some with several miniature planes, settled at the NIPMAC site near Callander.

NIPMAC President Foley Soroye had this to say about the members’ passion for flying.

“Love is almost like you were born with it.”

Soroye says once you’re in the club, you never get out.

“Our oldest member was 96, unfortunately he just passed away, he flew last year. We have guys in the 80s or 90s, at the same time we are the second generation. They are six years old and you can see the love they have to fly in their eyes. Each of us can remember when we had the bite (to fly).

Some of these aviators are extremely talented and their planes can perform dazzling aerobatics in the skies above the Cranberry Trail.

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The president of NIPMAC, it’s a matter of practice.

“As with anything else, you take hours. You work and practice.

Peter Merkel has been flying model airplanes for nearly 50 years and his flying experience is extensive.

“I’ve been interested in aviation all my life. I became a private pilot at 16. I was in the air force, I was flying for them. I then became an air traffic controller, and I was an air traffic controller for 35 years.

Merkel has around 30 airplanes in his collection that he built during his almost 5 decades immersed in this hobby.

NIPMAC has moved several times since its beginnings in the 70s. Merkel likes the current location, just outside Callander near the Cranberry Trail.

“We can thank the Municipality of Callander for this, the council and the town have been very good to us allowing us to develop this location as a flying field.”

The increase in the use of drones has been dramatic. Merkel thinks the spike in drone use is good news and bad news for pilots of model aircraft.

“Like any activity, when you have a segment of the population that abuses the privilege, it can hurt the hobby. Drones themselves are wonderful in the sense that it means a much more diverse group of people like to fly. That’s another side of the hobby. Drones, on the whole, were good for the hobby.

NIPMAC has four events remaining on its 2022 schedule. Two are at Cranberry Trail field, two are held at Nosbonsing Lake.

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