MARCS is the oldest club in Arkansas, and one of the early clubs to be chartered by Academy of
Model Aeronautics (AMA) with charter number 107 out of almost 4000 chartered clubs. MARCS
constitution dates back to the mid sixty's.
Members flew at several locations prior to obtaining the present location, the site of the old North
Little Rock airport. Over the years the flying site has slowly been expanded and improvements
added. Two metal building serve as a club house and storage facility, along with two sun shades
with work tables.
The runway is approximately 125 ft. wide and 450 ft. long. The surface is grass that is mowed very
short by the club members. The flying field meets AMA minimum setbacks and is protected by an
electric fence set about 20 ft. outside of the runway.
One of the original founders was WILLIAM BISHOP, he worked to obtain the present location and his
name appears in the original constitution. For his contribution to the club the field was named in his
honor: “BISHOP FIELD”.
During the 70's, and through the mid 80's, MARCS held an annual three day RAZORBACK
CLASSIC on Memorial Day weekend. Flyer's came from a half dozen state to compete in the Pattern
and Scale events. They could use the points earned here to work up higher in the AMA pattern
events. In the 90's, an annual spring event (CARTI) was held. MARCS has monthly Fun Fly and
swap meet events and invites other local clubs.
MARCS is a nonprofit corporation in the state of Arkansas. As a chartered AMA club each member
MUST be a member of the Academy of Model Aeronautics. AMA members are provided liability and
property insurance. It also provides a number of other privileges and services.
Items of the past
This is a rewritten text from the Arkansas Democrat Magazine
Sunday, July 9th 1967 By: Chuck Hemingway
Titled: Miniatures Fly on Radio Beams
Ken Vick is a tool and die maker; Frank Osborne; Lou Davila is a Major in the Air Force; George Stillions is the manager of a Little Rock business firm. But they all have something in common – airplanes.
And just about every weekend, weather permitting, the four meet at a grassy field east of North Little Rock and nose their planes into the air. These planes aren’t the big kind you climb in and fly yourself, but a smaller craft, put together with a dash of electronics, painting and woodworking. And as the four like to point out, this hobby comes with no strings attached – all you have to do is tune in. The four were the main movers behind the organization of the Mid – Arkansas Radio Control Society, a two-year-old club catering to a sport that’s growing in Central Arkansas – radio – controlled airplanes.
“Don’t call them toy airplanes.” Stillions was quickly to point out in a recent interview, “They’re not, They’re miniature airplanes.”
Since the society began two years ago, group that now gathers at the flying site-an 800-acre field on what used to be the old Central Flying Field in eastern North Little Rock – has grown to a corps of 19. “The reason we formed the club was the lack of a place to fly our planes and a lack of a way to contact other modelers,” said Osborne, the current club president. “Nearly everyone in the club had been building and flying a number of years.”
The four-man core rounded up a group 10, including themselves, and organized the club November 1964. It received a charter from the Academy of Model Aeronautics in January 1965. As a club they were able to negotiate collectively for a flying site and gained use of the field. The oldest member of the club. R. B. Smith of Little Rock, used to land at the field over a decade ago while it was still in use as an airstrip. But the Federal Aviation Agency closed the field, and now the society has its own runway that’s 150 feet long and 75 feet wide.
The principle behind the radio-controlled craft is simple: the operator controls the actions of his airplane through a beamed radio signal. However, it’s the degree of application of this idea which brings into play newer and increasingly sophisticated equipment. The Federal Communications Commission has allotted five frequencies for the use of clubs and enthusiasts throughout the nation, including the Mid-Arkansas Society and clubs at Pine Bluff, Fort Smith and Fayetteville. When a beginner takes control of an airplane, he generally starts out with the simplest radio available-a one-channel affair which gives him control over the up-and-down and side-to-side motion of his craft through use of a rudder. But the bigger the plane or the more control the operator exercises over his craft, the harder it is to fly. This can get into tricky territory where the operator controls the rudder, throttle, ailerons, rudder trim, elevators and wheel brakes. “A beginner flying that,” Stillions said, pointing toward a large, clean-lined craft, “could keep it up about a minute.”
There are three ways in which an operator can control his plane: with the single channel, intermediate and multichannel or full house controls. With intermediate control the operator has a range of two through 10 channels. Operating on one of five frequencies, different controls on the are affected by varying the tone of the beamed signal. For example, one tone operates the ailerons and another the rudder. Stepping up to multichannel control puts the operator right in the drivers seat. He has full control over the plane like a real pilot. Both intermediate and multichannel controls give the “pilot” on the ground authority over the rudders, ailerons or engine throttle. But the multichannel gives you complete control. For example, turning on a light is comparable to using intermediate control. When the switch is pushed, the light comes on all the way. With multichannel it’s comparable to turning a light switch halfway and having the bulb emit half-light. When using this type of control, the operator moves his rudder stick on the control box and the airplane rudder moves only as much as he moves the stick. When intermediate control is used, no matter how far the control stick is moved, once the connection is made the rudder moves to its fullest extent, either right or left. Equipment of the multichannel sort, also called proportional control because the plane equipment moves in proportion to the control stick, can cost more than $600. A beginner can buy a single channel unit for about $20.
One drawback of the sport, however, is the mortality rate among the planes is high. But that’s part of the game – those in the sport say it’s as much fun to make a plane as it is to break it. “There’s nothing more certain than mortality,” grinned Osborne, “and crashes are inevitable.”
Getting back to the present!
Back then the equipment was not that reliable as the equipment now days! A good pilot even counted their blessings if they brought home their plane with just minimal damage.
$20. was a lot of money back then for you young folks, so you can imagine what $600 was back then.
I wish I could have scanned some of the old pictures, but it’s a bit old and yellowed.