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TCRCAM monthly meetings are held on the first Saturday of the month at 9:00 A.M. at the club field. Meetings are generally not held during the Summer months of June through September.

The Early History of Treasure Coast Radio Controlled Aircraft Modelers

By Courtney Payne

Author’s Note; Recently, Jerry Wickline requested I write a brief history of our club so the members would have an idea of how this club came about. I agreed, to do it, and here it is. Having talked with several people who are old timers in this club, and the fact we are going on their memory alone, I have stayed away from names with the exception of the first few Presidents and those who were instrumental in the organization of the club. If anyone feels slighted, it is only because I am going back twenty-six years and it is impossible to ascertain accuracy without documentation. Our club does not retain archives that can be used. I would request the reader’s indulgence in this matter and to bear with the fact there are very few names mentioned in this paper.
– Courtney

Background:

Modelling sort of descended on St. Lucie and Martin Counties from 1976 through 1978. There were small bands of people flying where ever they could. I’m sure there were many people even before that, but, it seems the period 1976, 77, 78 and 79 were when the people became organized into the clubs we recognize today. One flying site was the new construction in the booming community of Port St. Lucie. As houses were built they moved from site to site.

One group (later called Martin County Modelers) actually flew off Witham Field’s inactive runways in 1978 but, this was soon terminated by the Grumman operations people. Other locales utilized were Martin Downs, portions of I-95 that had just been paved, and several others or wherever a couple of people could find a deserted road or pasture.

Starting the Club:

There were many folks coming in from the north settling in St. Lucie and Martin County. Two of these early fliers were Karl Reinbold and Robert (Bob) Nichols (now deceased). They did not know each other at first, Bob being fully retired and Karl still working. (On a personal note, as Vice President of one of the local clubs I got to meet both men early on and sat in several county-sponsored meetings regarding obtaining flying sites with Bob Nichols).

One day Karl Reinbold met a man who was the construction field boss of Martin Downs and asked him if there might be another place they could fly. He asked Karl if twenty acres would be big enough for them to fly in and Karl couldn’t believe his ears! Karl and Bob Nichols went to look at the twenty acre site and were well satisfied with what they saw, however, it did need a lot of work. The fact that Karl was still working and Bob was retired meant Bob did a lot of leg work and Karl too when he could get time off.

They printed up some fliers to hand out to anyone they saw flying at Martin Downs and also Port St. Lucie. They wanted to start a club and this was the only way they knew how to do it. Some people were for it and others were not and wanted to remain “independents”. After signing up a few guys the opportunity folded at Martin Downs and they didn’t get the twenty acres. Additionally they had a hard time getting the new “members” to do anything. Things did break with another contact who suggested Phipps Park as a flying site.

New Club-New Sites:

The club was named by Karl Reinbold “Treasure Coast Radio Controlled Aircraft Modelers”, which of course remains our name to this day. Karl also designed the club logo which we still have. The flying ensued at Phipps Park; however, there was another site in their future. A member named Tom Finley had a contact at the new South Fork High School and was given permission for them to utilize the new soccer field. Jumping on this new locale they were happy there for about a year (approximately 1986-87) until they were told the area they were flying at was slated to be the new football field.

Sold out again, the new club was saved by another member interested in RC models, a man who was a full-scale pilot named Alex Cardenas. He said he had flown over the Mecca farms area several times and saw a paved landing strip that they could inquire about. Alex also knew the owners and arranged for our club to fly on the Mecca Farms paved strip. This is the same site we occupy today (probably one of the best in the state of Florida).

Anderson Field:

Karl Reinbold in his ongoing search for a flying site came across an area in Palm City owned by Mrs. Virginia Anderson. Mrs. Anderson and her daughter Charlotte, owned what had at one time been a dairy operation by her late husband. She gave Karl permission to fly there and this beautiful open area was named “Anderson Field”. It was used for some time as an alternate field. The cutting, trimming and care of the field (and setting up a frequency system) was taken care of by Larry King, Billy Bardsley, and Karl who frequently flew at the site.

There was an additional plus to the field in that it was close to a lake also owned by the Anderson family. Some members used it on occasion, however, your author never made it there. If memory serves me it was referred to as “Five Mile Lake”

A few years ago the author used the field as an excellent place to train new pilots who were intimidated by the normal crowd on a Sunday at Mecca farms. Once Mrs. Virginia Anderson became ill and was put in a nursing home her daughter Charlotte, sold their holdings in Palm City and bought a horse farm in Ocala. The field is now a nursery….Sad!

Presidents:

As I said in the note in the beginning I will name the first several presidents. There is no way to find out who the total list was as the club goes back to 1986. The first president was Karl Reinbold. He was in office for five years! (1986 through 1991).

The following is through 1994;
Tom Finley, year 1992
Joe Pokay, year 1993
Walt McGlynn year 1994

There you have our club history and hopefully, our history is just beginning. It’s a wonderful hobby with wonderful people.

All the Best,
Courtney