The Thermal-G “EAGLES” Radio Control Club
The Thermal-G “Eagles” Radio Control Club, Erie, Pennsylvania, was formed in the early 1970's by a group of young people with an interest in building and flying radio controlled aircraft, which, with the introduction of ever better radio equipment, was becoming a popular hobby and sport. The Club has grown in the intervening years, and its membership now consists of one hundred men and women and young men and young women, ranging in age from fourteen to ninety-two, and includes students, retired seniors, professionals, as well as many other occupations. Among these are a large number of the original founding members. The name “Thermal-G” was taken from the Thermal-G Ranch and Gliderport located on Hamot Road in Summit Township on which was located the flying field for the Club. Today, the Club flies from the Lawrence J. Gehrlein Model Airpark which was named for the Club’s patriarch and a recognized pioneer in Pennsylvania aviation, still on the original Thermal-G site. The Thermal-G R/C Club is a chartered club of the Academy of Model Aeronautics, the national aeromodelling organization.
With the increase in the membership has been an increase in the activities of the Club. Included among these has been the participation of Club members in most airshows held at Erie International Airport – Tom Ridge Field over the past two decades, the annual production of a Model Airshow by the Club, static Mall shows, presentations on radio controlled flying at local schools, as well as participation by Club members in model airshows in Hamburg, New York, Olean, New York, and Maple Cave, Pennsylvania, in addition to others. It has become a tradition for the Club to demonstrate its community involvement by sharing the proceeds from the Model Airshow with a local charitable organization.
The Club meets on the first Sunday evening of each month throughout the year, either at the flying field during the Summer or at the Gehrlein Shop adjacent to the field during the cold months. In addition to Club business, meetings are devoted to new models being built and flown by members, new techniques in building and covering models, and advancements in radio controlled modeling and equipment. A Club Dinner for members and guests is generally held in February, and a Club Picnic is held at the flying field in August or September.
Those wishing to join the Thermal-G “Eagles” R/C Club are required to complete a Club Membership Application Form, and to provide evidence that they are members of, or have applied for membership in, the Academy of Model Aeronautics. Nominal dues – currently $25.00 per year – are also in effect.
One of the features of the Thermal-G R/C Club is its Club Instructor Program. Although any qualified member may instruct a newcomer to radio control flying, three members are designated each year as Club Instructors. These members are permitted to provide limited teaching sessions to those newcomers who have not yet received membership in the Academy of Model Aeronautics. Instruction is provided without charge.