KRCF President Ron Anderson out at the runway with his RC plane. Photo by of Brian Baxter, The Montanian.
By Brian Baxter
Out at a semi-remote runway nestled in between the Haul Road and the Kootenai River, our local Kootenai Remote Control Airplane Flyers gather. The sun shone brightly for their Kootenai RC Flyers Fun Day. Club President Ron Anderson explained the club’s origins. “The Kootenai RC Flyers (KRCF) was established in 2010 as an Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) chartered club,” he said. “The purpose of KRCF is to encourage and promote safety, enjoyment, fellowship, participation, and growth in the sport of aero modeling in the Lincoln County area.”
The fame of WWI flying aces was based on aerial victories. Aces became listed after verifying the date and location of combat, and the foe vanquished, for every victory accredited by an aviator’s home air service. German ace Manfred von Richthofen was known as the Red Baron, and had his aircraft painted red. This fighter pilot with the German Air Force is considered the ace of aces of the war and is officially credited with 80 air combat victories. Eventually, Richthofen was shot down and killed near Vaux-sur-Somme, France on April 21, 1918. The generally accepted story goes that the Baron had received a head wound in a previous dog fight that might have affected his flying abilities. Richthofen received a fatal wound just after 11 a.m. on that day after engaging the Royal Air Force in air combat of pursuing and evading attackers with numerous maneuvers such as hammerhead turns, barrel rolls, Yo-Yo’s, shooting dives, breaks, and defensive spirals.
The Canadian pilots of Sopwith Camel aircraft finally shot the German Ace through the heart and lungs with a single .303 bullet. In the last seconds of his life, the Red Baron still managed to rough-land his plane in a field. It is rumored by Australian Medical Corpsmen who got to him first that his last word was “Kaputt,” loosely translated to mean finished. It was also rumored that the Baron was shot by an infantry soldier while the ace was trying to land his plane. Eddie Rickenbacker was America’s most successful WWI Ace scoring 26 aerial victories. Eddie died in 1973.
KRCF Club President, Ron Anderson, just happened to be getting set to fly his RC plane as this reporter arrived. It was impressive to see the aerial maneuvers that he could perform, and it sure looked like fun. The club is hosting an Aerobatic Plane Club Fun Fly on September 14, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Call 293-7824, visit www.KootenaiRCFlyers.com, or check out the club’s Facebook page for details. Their model airfield is located on Corps of Engineers (COE) land and its use and development are guided by an annual use agreement between the COE and the club. KRCF is chartered by AMA, and all flyers using the field are required to have a current AMA membership. The charter provides proper and safe operating parameters, and the AMA memberships provide liability insurance for their flying activities. For more information on the AMA call 765-287-1256.
The club currently has 18 full members and one associate member. Membership age runs from five years old to almost 80 years old. The groups officers include Ron Anderson, President; Sam Scheer, Vice-President; Norm Crum, Secretary-Treasurer; and Steve Scheer serves as Membership Officer. Anyone interested in learning more can stop by Scheer Bros. Hobbies and talk with Steve about the club. The club is very interested in introducing people of all ages to RC flying. They offer free flying lessons from certified instructors while using the club’s trainer plane with a dual control system.
The club also encourages folks to just come out to watch and see what the hobby is all about, in a family friendly atmosphere. The group had a good turnout for their summer annual public fun fly event, and these gatherings are the club’s way of highlighting their hobby to the community and showing off the fantastic local facility. Interests in the sport can continually and expand to helicopters, drones, and even possibly jet models. Who knows, you might even become an ace.
Le Tour De Koocanusa Continued from page 1
Historically, there were several names given to the river. The two main groups of the Ktunaxa peoples, regionally known as the Kootenay (Canada) or Kootenai (USA) were divided into at least two groups. The Upper and Lower Kootenai’s. The Upper Kootenai called the river aqkinmilok, meaning simply river. These groups existed relatively unknown in early times, hunting and fishing for sustenance. The Blackfeet Indians called the Ktunaxa people’s home territorial river the Flatbow River, after the tribes powerful , stylish bows. French Canadian trappers used this term also. While searching for the ultimate source of the Columbia River, explorer David Thompson called the now Kootenai River, McGillivray’s River in honor of his fur trading partners William and Duncan McGillivray. Kootenai is believed to be an Alogonquin word for Water People.
Thompson called the now Fisher River that flows into the Kootenai the Rock River for rather obvious reasons. It was later named the Fisher River, supposedly after a local early miner. Some at one time thought the river named for the furbearing weasel the Fisher, but this seems a mis-nomer as this large dark chocolate brown mustelid uses timbered, slightly higher elevation habitats, and does not substantially depend on a fish diet. Koocanusa, is a name given to the lake created by Libby Dam by the winner of a naming contest who combined the first three letters of Kootenai, Canada, and abbreviated U.S.A.
From 1807 to 1829 various Trading Posts were established by the Northwest Company and the Hudson Bay Company on the Kootenai River. David Thompson, along with Finn McDonald and William Kittson, had small fort like furtrading posts at the mouth of Rainy Creek, near present day Canoe Gulch (Libby District) Ranger Station, and near the Riverbend Restaurant and Kootenai Angler property on the lower Kootenai stretches. Riders on the Le Tour de Koocanusa will be passing by the McGillivray Campground and boat ramp; Ziegler Mountain Lookout; Parsnip and Big Creek Bald eagle nesting sites; the Old Rexford Town site; Stone Hill Climbing Rock Face; McGuire Creek; Ten Mile Scenic Overlook; Cripple Horse Creek; and ending back up at the Libby Dam. The touring cyclists may even catch a glimpse of Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep, or Mountain Lions as they enjoy the route.
By Brian Baxter