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Baltimore County

Model airplane group's fundraiser takes off Saturday at Southwest Area Park

The Southwest Area Park Modelers, expanding its annual community-service fundraiser, will hold its first Baltimore Bash Saturday.

The Baltimore Highlands-based group is part of the Academy of Model Aeronautics, a nonprofit that promotes model aviation as a recreational sport and hobby.

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The group, which has about 120 members, has held a benefit for a veteran-related charity the last three years. This year, the gathering will benefit Disabled American Veterans, a nonprofit that assists disabled veterans in need and their families.

Art Vail, the group's treasurer and event coordinator, said there are several veterans who are part of it.

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"We thought it was a noble cause," he said. "We wanted to do something to give back."

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The day will include a free air show, food and raffles from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the the group's flying site at Southwest Area Park. There will be a benefit concert at Gianni's Italian Bistro and Crab House from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., where Red Dirt Revolution will perform.

Those who attend will be able to watch and fly model radio-controlled aircraft. When they fly, they will be attached to a "buddy box," so if they run into trouble,an experienced flyer can take the controls.

Flying will be subject to weather. The ideal weather conditions are when temperatures are 50 degrees and winds are less than 12 mph , said Bob Pollokoff, a member of the group since 2001.

Last year, the club raised about $1,600, Vail said. With additional sponsorships and support, Vail hopes to double that figure this year.

The Aug. 19 event is taking place shortly after National Model Aviation Day, Aug. 12. A scheduling conflict prevented the group from hosting an event last weekend, but it still wanted to host an outreach event.

Vail said those who attend gain an appreciation for the hobby.

"It's not the easiest thing to do," he said. "People watch the people and it looks easy. When you get your hands on the sticks, yourself, you realize airplanes can be sensitive. It's just a learning curve."




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