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Written by Gary Himes District News: Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri As seen in the August 2020 issue of Model Aviation.

This month’s article shows the trials and tribulations of buying your own flying field. It was written by Larry Kupferschmid. Larry’s article shows that the process was tough but doable, but in the space allowed, I couldn’t cover the hurdles he and the club had to clear.

Some roadblocks included overpriced land; negotiating a extension when the club could not close the deal by the expiration of the lease; club members’ donations; a fundraising campaign; a hassle with the zoning board; the search for the right attorney; the search for an afforadable surveying firm; and the discovery that no one in the club had legal authority to sign off on the sale or loan needed.

Larry made the deal happen, but I think he has a bit less hair as a result!

larry made the deal happen

After being in existence since 1964 and flying from leased sites, the Sentral Illinois Radio Society, Inc. (SIRS) was about to meet its demise! In September 2018, the club’s current site, which was initially leased to us by a local farmer at an unsustainable annual cost and then sold to an investor, was resold to an investment firm as one plot of a $6.4 million multifield purchase.

Days before the firm was to close on the land, it learned that a RC model airplane club was leasing acreage on the parcel. Wanting nothing to do with an RC club on its land, the firm was ready to pull the plug on the entire acquisition unless we vacated at year’s end! Things did not bode well for SIRS, but because our 5-year lease, although unaffordable, had been renewed before to the sale, we were able to renegotiate a 1-year affordable lease, giving the club access to the site until the end of 2019.

We formed a task force to locate a suitable alternative. We investigated numerous leads in 2019. Our first choice was to remain in place, but continuing the lease beyond 2019 was not an option.

The task force continued to communicate with the firm’s representative throughout 2019. Early on, there was no chance the firm would agree to sell the land, but slowly, "absolutely not!" became, "well maybe, but a purchase will come at a premium!"

With that glimmer of hope, two members stepped forward with major donations toward a field purchase, kicking off a fundraising campaign.

Donations from members and from the family of a longtime member who had recently passed away brought the total to $62,450. We succeeded in negotiating the purchase of the ground. A small bank loan closed the gap between donations and the purchase cost.

The process was arduous. We enlisted an attorney with extensive experience in land acquisitions. At the real estate closing in March 2020, the attorney stated that he had never seen as many "twists and turns" in land transactions as he had experienced in ours! At one point, he doubted we would pull this off.

Some takeaways: If your club is contemplating a land purchase, make sure your bylaws are adequate to allow for such a purchase, and clearly state who in the club has the authority to make the transaction. Find a patient attorney!

remember to see your club in the magazine

Remember, to see your club in the magazine, email me a submission to with the word "magazine" in the subject line. I promise to get each one into the magazine, even if I am drowning in submissions!

I’ll end by asking you to introduce someone to model aviation, whether it is on a buddy box or on your simulator!

Addtional Photos

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Gary Himes

Vice President

5204 N. Smalley Ave., Kansas City MO 64119

(816) 550-1205

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Dale Arvin, Jefferson IN; (812) 284-0162;

Gary Bussell, Muncie IN; (765) 288-3541;

Craig Greening, Mahomet IL; 872-203-0377;

Mike Mueller, Hoffman Estates IL; (847) 507-4373;

Leo Rodriquez, South Bend IN; (724)


Keith Sessions, Burlington KY; (859)


Andre D. Smith Sr., Elmhurst IL; (850)


Bob Underwood, St. Charles MO; (636) 939-3394;

Donald Way, Hobart IN; (219) 614-6218;


RC/CL Steve Ort, 140 Whit Ln., Reidsville, NC 27320; (812) 498-8353;

FF Charles Markos, 655 Carlisle

Ave., Deerfield IL 60015


Walter Voyt, Joliet IL; (815) 725-4677


Mel Ziska, Naperville IL; (630) 357-7350


Donald Way,

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