BALDEAGLE RC FLYING CLUB
The History Of The Bald Eagle R/C Club
The Bald Eagle R/C Club was formed around 1989 by a dozen or so “west-siders” who wanted a place to fly closer to their homes in the Mannford, Sand Springs, and Sapulpa areas. Some of the founders were also members of the South Tulsa RC Flyers Club (AMA #3015) that was flying on the west side of South Garnet in Bixby just north of the Arkansas river.
The South Tulsa RC Flyers club came into being when the American Turf Flyers, Inc. (AMA #1599) lost their flying privileges on the sod farm on the east side of South Garnett in 1990. The Turf Flyers found a new field at their present location out towards Coweta …but many of the members thought the drive was too far and arranged for a new field to be put on the west side of South Garner just down the road from the original Turf Flyers. This break off group became the South Tulsa RC Flyers Club.
The driving force behind the formation of the Bald Eagle R/C club was AB Moses. AB and the other initial founding members (Jerry Gray, Mark Simons, Steve Troutman, and Ken Wright) had been informally flying in a vacant field near Angus Valley Elementary school in the Prattville area of Sand Springs.
Full scale airport operations had ceased at the Eagles Nest Airport and the Sands Spring Home had ownership of the property. The newly formed Bald Eagle R/C club reached an agreement with the Sand Springs Home to use the grass runway . The Bald Eagle RC Club had a wide open place to fly about 2 miles north of the Cimmerian Turnpike off of 177th street.
One day someone went to fly and found that the runway had been plowed up . No one seemed to know what exactly had happened but apparently one of the members got sideways with the facility caretaker and we were evicted around 1990.
A field search was begun and one of our members, Jack Boone, had some contacts with the City of Sapulpa. The Sapulpa landfill (On 100th street off of old route 66 between Freddies Steak House and the Super 8 Motel) had been closed for some time and in early 1991 we were given permission to set up shop there. The city of Sapulpa furnished $750 of access improvement and runway grading to aid us. We added about 50 feet of shelter and a chain link fence separating the parking area from the pits as well as pilot station protection at the flight line.
Over the years Darrell Wright made (and continues to make) a concerted effort to develop a good neighbor relationship. We held events for Boy/Cub Scouts, a local pastor who would come by with his church youth group, and a variety of other groups that cater to the promotion of science and aviation. We also had programs for troubled youth at the Tulsa Boys Home and even did a demo in the very tight confines of the Hissom Juvenile Detention center. We also manned a booth at the Tulsa free fair promoting the hobby and our club for a few years.
The runway was fairly long but became relatively narrow on the north end that was bordered by large trees and Polecat Creek which intimated some flyers…however the south end was pretty much wide open and all in all it was a nice place to fly. Over our 9 years at that site (1991 – 2000) we hosted as many as 47 members, a few AMA sanctioned events, and funfly and quickee contests as part of Tulsa area funfly/quickee circuit.
The Forest Bluff neighborhood is located approximately 1,000 feet away from the south end of the runway. Midyear of 1999 a new person moved into the neighborhood and started complaining about our models disturbing her in every possible way. After a few meetings with the City personnel, visits from the city folks, and a favorable report by Dr. Morris, a professor from OU, that we were not a noise nuisance, we were still given a 2 month notice to leave. Ironically this was shortly after the city had spent money cutting a new access road for us as result of ongoing work at the water treatment plant. The South Tulsa RC Flyers were kind enough to extend us an offer to use their field.
We were without a field for over a year, but Dan Worden (and others) continued to stop and ask folks about flying on their property. This effort finally paid off and late in 2000 we came to an agreement with the Bethesda Adult Life Training Center (Bethesda Boys Ranch). Access to this property was given to us in large part by the resume of good works we had done in the past. Also we left Sapulpa on good terms with the city (they made a public offer to find us another spot in Sapulpa to fly, though nothing came of any effort they might have made), and maybe the City put in a good word for us with the Bethesda Boys Ranch as responsible tenants.
Coincidentally about a year after we found our new flying field, the South Tulsa RC Flyers lost their field (late 2001) and were only given 30 days to vacate. They had quite a few assets, including a first class clubhouse. Having empathy for their situation (and knowing most of their members) we agreed to let them store their stuff at our field and fly free for about 6 months to give them a chance to find another field at which time they would reclaim their items and take them to their new field.
In 2002 after a very aggressive search for another place to fly, none were found so the South Tulsa RC Flyers decided to “will” the items being stored at our field to us and disbursed their remaining funds among area clubs in proportion to where their dues paying members had joined.
Even though we had the South Tulsa RC Flyers club house there was no power within a ¼ mile and our members had made pledges that gave us a start on the $5K it was estimated cost to bring power in. We were far from the target until April of 2002 when Greg Zumwalt’s company, ZCT Systems Group, gave the club a $3,000 grant to complete the electrical work. The ability to have cold drinks for sale offsets the cost of the electricity bill and we have a nice air conditioned place to go and cool off in the heat of the day during the summer and electric heat in the dead of winter.
Having power at the clubhouse brought another huge advantage as electric plane/helicopter interest took off. We ran 120V power to the flight line shelter, we also added a DC power supply at the flight line shelter to accommodate whatever type charger one may have.