Print this articlePrint this article

Written by Tony Stillman
Flying Site Assistance
As seen in the August 2017 issue of
Model Aviation.

Bonus video

On June 3, 2017, I visited the Shadetree RC Club in Glen St. Mary, Florida. The club was enjoying its new flying site and I wanted to get more details about how the club found and secured this site.

I spoke with Tim Sibley, club president, about the club and how it had obtained its current flying site. Tim stated that the club had been at its old site for quite some time and had worked with local kids in the community—especially with the Boy Scouts. Unfortunately, the landowner sold the property, and the new owner was quickly moving in construction equipment to start building on the site. The club had to vacate.

This quick site loss was a shock to the members and several of them began searching for suitable land to relocate the flying field. Club members met with officials from the county’s park and recreation department to see if some land could be obtained. Unfortunately, the county was feeling a major money crunch and was unable to assist the club, so the members kept looking.

Mark Chapman and his Nieuport 28 at the new Shadetree RC Club flying site.

One club member logged roughly 1,100 miles on his car while searching for a new site! After much effort by many members, a local farmer who was harvesting hay on one side of the old flying site property heard about the club’s plight and told club members that the hay he was harvesting was for a church in nearby Jacksonville that owned cattle that grazed at an abandoned ranch. The ranch had plenty of land that might be usable as a site.

The farmer gave the club members the contact information, and they investigated. As it turned out, the church was interested in allowing the club access, especially because of their common interest in youth. They worked out an agreement, and club members began cutting the overgrown grass and moving equipment in from the old flying site.

The new site is large and has a wide-open runway area of approximately 22 acres with a wide, long, nice grass runway! Because no one lives on the property, there are no overfly issues.

John Craig and his Contol Line airplane Teo-Streak. The airplane is in inverted flight on the far right side of the photo.

The club is working on making improvements and will be able to hold future events. In the past, the club hosted International Miniature Aerobatics Club events and it plans to do so again after the field improvements have been completed. In addition to the RC runway, the club created a Control Line circle and John Craig was putting it to use while I was there.

If you are in the Jacksonville, Florida, area and want to visit a great club site with lots of friendly people, drop by Shadetree RC Club in Glen St. Mary. You can find the site information on the AMA Club Finder page at: Just put “Shadetree” in the club name field, select Florida as the state, and click on search.

I want to thank Tim and the other club members who welcomed my wife, Genie, and me, and fed us lunch as well! Thanks again, and congratulations on your new flying site!

-Tony Stillman


After enjoying events at the old site for a number of years I can't wait to get out and see the new field. Great job everyone involved!!!

Add new comment