GREAT ESCAPE: Flying High at Model Aircraft Skypark in Morgan Hill

If you’ve got a plane-crazy kid in the family — big or small — head out to this local mecca for radio-controlled airplanes.

Have you ever glimpsed little airplanes in the sky west of Highway 101 near Morgan Hill and wondered what that was all about? What you were seeing were radio-controlled model planes above the Santa Clara County Model Aircraft Skypark, which has been in its current location since 1986.

Here, R/C flyers and spectators gather to watch the miniature aircraft and enjoy the fast-growing sport of radio-controlled flying.

What to do here: Spectators are always welcome to come by and view the planes in flight; the sky park is open every day from dawn to dusk, although you’re probably more likely to see action on Saturdays and Sundays. There are special events held throughout the year as well, such as this Saturday, when scale-model military aircraft will take to the skies at the Tomcats Warbird Fly-in, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Why we like it: If you’ve got a plane-crazy kid in the family — big or small — this is a perfect weekend activity. Spectators might even be inspired to learn more about the sport of radio-controlled flying and want to join in. The skypark, home to the Tomcats R/C Club, always welcomes new members; the membership application is available online at www.sccmas.org. SCCMAS makes several workshops available to members, including a primary flight training course.

And even more to like: This weekend’s fly-in will feature miniature military aircraft, some meticulously detailed and scaled to the real thing. The event on Saturday is open to all pilots who are members of the national Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) with any size of R/C warbird aircraft, prop or jet from any era with any engine type. Registration begins at 9 a.m. and the landing fee for pilots is $10, but there’s no charge just to come and watch. Awards for the top five best-looking aircraft will be given at 2 p.m.

The highlight for the club is its annual airshow, set for July 9 and 10.

“This is our big event of the year,” said SCCMAS board president Mike Luvara. “We get about 3,000 people over the two days.”

More details will be posted on the skypark website in the near future.

About the Santa Clara County Model Aircraft Skypark: R/C plane enthusiasts in Santa Clara County first started meeting in 1978 in Santa Teresa Park; after that location was closed to flying, the group found its present location and opened the skypark in 1986. The Tomcats worked closely with the county Parks and Recreation Department to develop the park to what it is today, with much of the work done with volunteer labor. Today it’s considered one of the finest R/C airfields in the United States, with paved runways, taxi and pit areas, and has the facilities for almost every type of R/C flying.

Directions and phone: Take the Cochrane Avenue exit from Highway 101. Proceed west on Cochrane to Monterey Road (0.6 mile); then take Monterey Road north approximately 2.6 miles. Just after Live Oak, turn right at the entrance to Mara Brothers, 550 Monterey Road. You'll see the SCCMAS sign at the entrance to the driveway located between the high power lines. Proceed down this private driveway and through the first gate. Follow the road to the right around the pond, and continue to the field. The address is 10250 Monterey Road, Morgan Hill. Restroom and handwashing facilities are available at the field. For additional information, photos, a webcam, brochures and more, see the website at www.sccmas.org or call (408) 292-1212.


Walter Dunckel June 10, 2011 at 01:14 PM
Wow, those are some great pictures of flying models! Excellent work! Walter
Kathryn McKenzie June 11, 2011 at 12:28 AM
Walter, I can't take credit for the photos — those are from the SSCMAS — but they are terrific shots of the planes in flight!


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