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Club History

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...