Castle Giant Scale Fly-In 2018

The 4th Year as a non IMAA and 21st as The Annual AMA Giant Scale Event

Once again, over the Memorial weekend at the Castle Merced Airport, formerly Castle AFB, May 24th -27th 2018. A very small portion of Castle concrete is turned into a small city of RC families, friends, all modelers with the interest of Radio Controlled large scale aircraft. It is a huge family affair and a reunion for all who attend. Next to the Joe Nall event we are the 2nd largest giant scale event in the United States.

We are so lucky to have this venue as a place to fly. Lots of room for flying and RV’s. Who makes this all happen is Scott Malta, the airport manager. Friend and fellow modeler. His boss is also onboard with the event as well as Rich H. our very own Air Traffic Controller. Rich controls the area. As Rich says “it is a miracle that we are flying at Castle with the airport still open”. We normally fly in an area but as the very large and high performance aircraft come to the line we ask the ATC for the larger flying box. We all co-exist with the airport that remains open. Constant communication with the tower at all times. All, working very well together.

Hosted by the Central Ca Model Flyers as well as the Turlock RC Club. A small mighty group that gets the job done. It all starts at 9am on Wednesday May 23rd. We go through about 25 bags of the 50lb chalk line powder to line out the parking spaces. Each space is 20’x40’ and labeled for ease of identification. Each registered pilot is assigned a parking spot and is escorted to his/her spot upon arrival. The large groups of pilots and RV’s show up on late Wednesday afternoon for ease of parking and arranging their motorhomes. They still come even on Sunday May 27th for 1 day of fun. Gates open on Thursday the 24th at 7am and by Friday we are usually filled up. I think this year we had 30 open spots total.

As the show begins, we do daily pilots meetings for all to share on the what is going on stuff. Raised the colors with Randy Courts and members of the armed forces standing at attention to bring in the Memorial Day Weekend events. Always pretty moving, knowing the history of some of these guys. All of us thank you from our hearts. Also, my dear friend Beverly Spencer whose husband is Charlie Spencer from Modaire, who passed away last year, read a poem regarding the vets and memorial day observances. Also, very touching. Thanks so much to Monty for bringing Bev out to the event.

We have a Flight line Airboss as well as 2 line bosses for help in staging who’s up next. Mostly to stage the next group to fly. My job not only as CD I and Clark Stiles control the staging lines for who flies next. My large body size makes for a great neutralizer. Attitudes and tempers all go away and patience takes over. So, flying large scale aircraft from 9am to 5pm. After 5pm we open the field to anything that flies kind of thing. Still controlled flying with the after 5pm Airboss. We even have an hour or two set aside for control line flying which this year did not happen. Too many things to do and so little time. Then after the sun goes down the night flyers come out. Lots of fun.

Also, the crew for inspections on aircraft do their thing. Pilots must have AMA and FAA UAS numbers on the aircraft. It’s amazing the amount of stuff that these guys find on aircraft. A huge asset and success of this event. It is so nice to have this kind of support. Thanks to Al and his crew of inspectors.

Weather this year once again fantastic. Thursday night we had a boomer of a thunder, lightning and rain storm come in at about 2:30am and go till 6:30am. Cleaned the runway and all the pollen out of the air. Did not disrupt the flying at all. By 9am the concrete was dry and ready to go.

The pilot count for this year was 185. Way up from last year which was 138. Way to go all you pilots out there.

This year we had a surprise guest, Rich Hanson and the new guy running for Dist. X VP Greg Stone. Both talked a bit at the pilots meeting. Well received by all. So cool. Greg fit right in and has got our vote.

Myself and Denny Baker have come up with these bright outfits so that we stand out and people can see us very well. We usually start out with Neon green then Neon orange for the 2nd day and so on. It really works.

This year the quality of aircraft that show up are simply amazing. The highlight of my weekend was having the privilege of flying Tom Rainwaters big bad Carf P47 Moki 250 powered beast. I am still on cloud nine. Thanks Tom.

Each day Tom Minger and Jerry Davis would open up the show doing the how to routines for all the new pilots lead by our famous flight line boss Robert Broomfield.

We had about 10 really cool jets this year. Jeff Loveits big Cougar. Jason Chen, with an amazing A10 Warthog. Don Corum and Richard Verano with some hot rod bandits. Keith Fick, Joe Reichlin, Jose Macias, Paul Stenberg, Chris Dillinger. All showing us how it’s done and utilizing the airports big box. All these guys are outstanding jet jocks. Hats off to you all.

Jeff and Ryan along with Tim Foster, TJ Foster, Casey Buggeln, Terry Raymond, Tom Easterday supported us with their speed demon aircraft from the USRA. On Saturday, we had a grudge match between a jet, an unlimited gas and an unlimited alcohol airplane. Guess who won? Come to Castle next year and find out. It was pretty spectacular.

Another new feature this year was the P47 Brotherhood flying all 1/5 scale P47’s with GP61’s. We had 2 sorties of about 6 planes in each. Unfortunately, Ray’s 47 met the concrete and well the rest is history. When the golf cart comes out with a large trash bag and A BROOM you know it’s bad. Cause was a chaffed wire that shorted out an aileron servo. Hats off and a moment of silence to Ray. Sorry brother.

Frank Gagliardi and the Warbird West guys displayed the big B24 which had battery issues this year and was unable to fly. Then, Jerry Newberger still wowed us with the big B17. Mike Leggett with his big B26, back in the air again. Jamie Fiffles with his big F7F Tigercat. Tom Rainwater and his big beautiful Carf P47. Lynsel Miller once again with his Hawker Hurricane.

Another highlight were a couple of 100% 3D printed aircraft. A Spitfire and a Corsair with folding wings. The technology, wow.

Dave Sullivan and James Jantz wowed us with the 3D flying. My favorite was the formation knife edge pass.

Another really cool thing this year was seeing a lot of young pilots getting out there and mixing in with the rest of us old guys.

Every year Carl Landou comes out to Castle. He flies this big old 1/3 scale DR1 Triplane. This year we gave him an outfit to wear as he flew his plane. Complete with red scarf, googles and a chrome german helmet. He was such a great sport and wore them as he flew. My buddy Carl, Thanks dude.

Thanks so much to all the vendors that showed up. We had lots of food on site and all very very tasty. Eddie our famous shirt vendor was always busy. Dave Roth also had lots of stuff from Roth’s RC Accessories. Paul and Pat Stenberg from Zap and House of Balsa supplied all the glue for the pilots upon entry.

Just to give you an idea of the vendors and sponsors that supported us at Castle this year:


Heritage Plaza Grill, Tropical Craze, Cheezy Grill, Mininger


USRA, Modesto Vets, Golden Skies, E-Power, House of Balsa, Zap, Moon Doggy, Pink Giraffe, Roth RC & Apparel, Proto Pro and Aloft Hobbies


House of Balsa/Zap, Roth RC & Apparel, Big Creek Lumber, E-Power


Well there you have it. Another Castle for the books. Another incredible event and a huge heart felt THANKS to all who supported and attended Castle 2018.

If you missed it this year, put it on your bucket list for next year. We start registration in February. So, get er done for next year. It will be here before you know it.

See you soon,