The skies over southeastern Shasta County were filled with planes all weekend long, but not the type you ride in, these were remote controlled.
The roar of engines could be heard all day Saturday and Sunday as 50 competitors went wing-to-wing for the 3rd Annual Fly’n Ash Fast races at the Ash Creek RC Park southeast of Anderon on Saturday and Sunday.
“It's competition, it get in your blood,” said Lauren Braucht , a racer, plane builder and the organizer. “I've played soccer on a high competitive level, I rodeo-ed for a long time, and it's just the thrill of it.“
The remote controlled, or RC, planes were divided into three categories, depending in the aircrafts top speed.
While they may be small in scale, Braucht said they’re as fast as can be.
“A lot of people will go, ‘Oh, these are toys.’ They're not toys, they're actually real flying airplanes. Four feet off the ground doing about 180 miles an hour,” he said. “They're on steroids is what they are. They are a world class athlete running.”
Above all, the sport of RC racing is engineering meeting skill.
And its pilots, or controllers, like Logan Shaw, who really make them go. And it takes some athletic skill.
“Honestly, hand-eye coordination is the key for this. So that's the main concept right there,” Shaw said. “You got to be one with the plane.”
And in a world dominated by his elders, 21-year-old Shaw is holding his own.
“Yeah, I'm the young one,” Shaw admits with a laugh. “I won this race last year. I've won a few races down in (Sacramento).”
And winning this race is no small victory. Two competitors this year traveled from as far away as Utah and Nevada, with six world championships between them.
While Braucht says the thrill of winning and competing is great, it’s just as much or more about the RC racing family.
“This is all about friendships and camaraderie and sporting event. And all different walks of life are here.”
It’s a sport that’s been growing in the Northstate, and the 22 acre Ash Creek RC Park is a great venue for RC plane enthusiast.
Braucht says there’s plenty more room to grow.
“I think people would go absolutely crazy over this.”