Pilots put thousands into radio-controlled airplanes

Pilots fly planes at Markham Park Airfield

Published On: Mar 11 2013 04:18:54 PM EDT   Updated On: Mar 08 2013 05:00:00 PM EST
Yellow radio airplane
SUNRISE, Fla. -

Some South Floridians are investing thousands of dollars into radio-controlled airplanes.

The pilots gather at Markham Park Airfield in Sunrise to fly them.

WATCH: Full-length video of incredible aircraft

“The speed of it, the specific maneuverability and the agility of this aircraft is second to none," said Gabriel Toro. "You get the ohs and ahs just like you're at a real air show."

More than 100 radio-controlled planes use the field, and they come in all shapes and sizes.

“It's just an enjoyable hobby, meeting new people,” said Robert Lynch. "You get into a club, you get with a group of guys and you have fun."

It's not just men staring at the sky. Beverly Jo Cole has been flying for more than six years. She said new technology, like battery power, gets planes in the air faster. 

“You can come out here, throw the fresh batteries in and the planes in the air,” said Cole. "It's a little neater, a little cleaner.  I think it might actually bring more women into the hobby."

Experienced pilots at the field use duel controls to help those new to the hobby succeed. 

”When you first go to fly, you're kind of nervous, but after two or three flights on a duel control such as this one, it brings the nerves down and the skill can show through,” said instructor David Storer.

"If they can keep the plane in the air longer, they are more likely to start to enjoy the hobby and stick with it. But if you keep breaking $300 airplanes one after the other, you probably won't stay in,” said Cole.

Some pilots find fixed wing too tame. Richard Lopez got a nitro helicopter. 

”If you want something that's going to really take your mind away from everything because when you're in this, you're in it 100 percent.  You're not thinking about anything else.  It's like a drug that's legal,” said Lopez.

Radio-controlled jets can cost up to $25,000.  But pilots say you can get started in a smaller plane for around $500.