Flying for a good cause

Published 6:09 pm Friday, October 8, 2021

Even though Halloween is around the corner, it’s never too early to prepare for Christmas.

After a two-year break, the Hampton Roads Radio Control Club is bringing back its fun fly for Toys for Tots. The Radio Control Fly-In will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Oct. 16 at Lone Star Park RC Flying Field, 350 Pembroke Lane.

This event collects toys for Suffolk Toys for Tots, with monetary donations going towards Suffolk News-Herald’s Cheer Fund, which works with Toys For Tots and the Salvation Army to make sure every child in Suffolk can have a toy for Christmas. This event in years past was usually held during the first weekend of November. However, the club moved it up a few weeks in hopes of enjoying some better weather.

“Everyone is very excited,” said Mills Staylor, the Hampton Roads Radio Control Club president. “We’re excited to have good participation since it’s usually controlled by the weather. “

In the past, up to 500 folks have come to watch club members and other pilots fly their radio-controlled planes of all colors, shapes and sizes. For inexperienced flyers who still want in on the action, there is a simulator that lets them get the feeling of flying with an experienced pilot still in control.

At 11 a.m., Skydive Suffolk will have a demonstration with jumpers landing on site. In past years, the jumpers have been dressed for the season in Santa suits and elf costumes, carrying a bag of toys.

For the kids, one plane will come by with a box of candy to do the fan-favorite candy drop. Once the drop is done, kids can run up to get whatever candy they can get their hands on.

“It’s a good fun day outside,” said Staylor. “Hopefully, it’ll be a pretty day.”

Also during the event is a raffle with various prizes. Some include a Spektrum 8 channel radio, E-Flite Twin Otter airplane with floats, gift cards and more.

Over the years, the event has raised around $25,000 and many toys. During the last event, they raised $3,000 and collected five donation boxes of toys.

Pilots must pay $10 or a new, unwrapped toy. The event is free for guests, but any donation or a new, unwrapped toy will be gladly accepted from guests as well. Food concessions will also be on site.