Up in the wild blue yonder
RUSHMORE — The skies over rural Rushmore will soon be filled with multitude of aircraft doing aerial manuevers and buzzing over the tops of the endless cornfields. But the pilots of these planes, jets and helicopters will have their feet planted firmly on the ground.
The 24th annual Flying Farmer Fun Fly, featuring radio-controlled aircraft, is set for this weekend at Boldt International Airfield, aka the home of Dave Boldt, just south of Rushmore.
Boldt expects that some of his RC enthusiast friends will start to show up the middle of this week, set up camp and stay through the weekend. The event draws hobbyists from throughout the region and sometimes even farther abroad.
“Sioux Falls, Aberdeen, Beresford, Yankton, S.D.,” listed Boldt of the locales from which known fliers will make the journey. “There’s a rumor that a couple guys are coming up from Omaha, Neb., too.”
Boldt himself got hooked on RC aircraft a few decades ago.
“I’ve been an airplane nut all my life. I quit when I was 19 because I discovered girls,” he said of flying full-size planes.
“I didn’t know there was such a thing, but if you remember, they had a hobby shop there in Worthington, Guy Manufacturing. My wife went down there and bought me a kit, and I didn’t even know how to put it together. I actually learned how to fly at Olson Park.”
Boldt is a member of the Southwest High Flyers RC club, which eventually became based at the runway he carved out of the fields surrounding his farm place.
Thanks to advancements in electronics, the RC range of aircraft has expanded greatly in recent years and now includes helicopters, quadcopters and jets.
“A quadcopter is a helicopter with four blades instead of two,” explained Boldt. “They have them with six, too. We have a guy here who has a six-bladed one with a GoPro camera on it. They can take it up in the air and take your picture on the ground while you’re flying it.”
Although he’s impressed by the technology, Boldt’s own tastes in aircraft run to more of the historical variety. He usually spends the winter months building a new aircraft.
“This year I built an Ercoupe,” he noted. “Nobody knows what it is, made in the 1940s, ’50s, ’60s. It’s an old man’s airplane. I’m mostly into the warbird things from World War II. We’ll have some of them here, I know. To me, they’re the real airplanes.”
Boldt encourages spectators to come attend the Fun Fly to check out some of the aircraft and talk with their pilots. Concessions will be available, operated by club member Roger Harvey.
“You’d be surprised that people don’t even know there’s such a hobby,” Boldt said.
The Flying Farmer Fun Fly will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. All RC enthusiasts and spectators are welcome, but are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs.
Boldt International Airfield is located at 21316 300th St., 4 miles south and 1¾ miles west of Rushmore.
Daily Globe Features Editor Beth Rickers can be reached at 376-7327.