By Phil Leech
Some time ago I asked Phil Leech the update our club history. Phil being Phil he took on the job and delivered. This history also appeared in two installments in our monthly newsletter.
If you have any early pictures that you think might go well on this page, or just additional information please go to the contacts area on this website and send us an email.
In the Beginning, 1986-89
So, if you really want to know something
about the history of the club you need to talk
with Doug Boucher. Doug told me that for
years, RC modelers flew wherever they could,
out in the country, in a farmer’s field until
someone would run them off. Not a very
satisfactory situation, Doug and his fellow
modelers were always searching for some
place to fly. Doug was one of the original five
founders of WCF and the first President as
well. He is the only founder still living, all of
the other guys are in Model Heaven. The year
was 1986 and Doug and these four other guys
each put up $250 and got a charter from AMA.
The four other founders were, Fred Jameson
(who owned Windsor Propeller, the same
outfit that makes those black plastic props that
you keep breaking), Sam Taber, Kent Cooper
and guess what, Neil Taylor who we honor at
our Neil Taylor Fun Flys. Fred Jameson came
up with the Wine Country Flyers name and
Doug’s wife Angela, conceived the logo and
with that Doug silk-screened some shirts and
jackets - they had a club! They originally flew
from a field that is now a shopping center with
a Raley’s and a Safeway in Windsor. With a
new flying field and an AMA Charter the club
quickly expanded to 40 members almost
overnight. They flew there for a couple of
years until the shopping center was built and
that was that – no more field.
Fulton Road, 1989
A search for a new field found them at 2365
Fulton Road in the Spring of ’89 where a
couple of agreeable ranchers, John Hess and
Andrew Matteri allowed them to fly and for
about 6 months every thing was rolling again
until October 1989 when a neighbor declared
war because of noise and got the County to
shut us down – no more field.
The in between years, 1990-92
The membership started to dwindle and efforts
to maintain interest in the Club included
sponsoring the first Neil Taylor Memorial Fun
Fly that was held at Ukiah at the PropBuster’s
field in October 1990. Another activity that
was developed was a Model Mall Show that
was held on the Coddingtown Mall. The
shows were conducted in conjunction with the
local hobby shop at the time, “Toy and Model”
which was located in the Mall.
There were serious attempts to find a new
field including a site on Llano Road called The
Brown Farm that went nowhere.
We got a boost when Sonoma County
Supervisor, Nick Esposti, who was an aviation
enthusiast, began to try to find a way to help
us. We had information that other RC clubs
across the nation were built on Landfill sites
and there were even two in California, one in
Shasta County and one in Novato. We were
shortly invited to work with the Department of
Public Works with the goal of being able to
locate at the Healdsburg Transfer Station.
This is the point that Larry Frank, who we
dedicate an event each year, the Larry Frank
Scale Fly In, became instrumental in
negotiating with the County and working with
them to develop a Site Plan for the new field.
He created several proposals to locate and
plan the new field and eventually the
engineering and a grading plan were
completed to the satisfaction of the Public
Works Department. The County had to
secure funds for the work and this all took
time. It was hard to hold the Club together
without a flying field but there was a light at
the end of the tunnel because of the prospect
of a new field at Healdsburg.
The transfer station, 1992-2007
April 20, 1992 was the official date for the
opening of the new field for WCF at the
Healdsburg Transfer Station and it ushered in
a new era for the club.
to be continued...