Sunday afternoon, radio-controlled planes and jets streaked across the sky above Lampkin Field in eastern Daviess County.

Samuel Ling, 17, a member of the Owensboro Isotopes RC Airplane Club, was performing daredevil spins and twists with his biplane over the field. Ling, who took to the skies with more than one radio-controlled airplane Sunday, has been flying for most of his life.

"My dad was in it before me and I started flying when I was five," Ling said. While flying a remote-controlled airplane can be a challenge, technology has made learning to fly, and not crashing, easier than before, Ling said.

"The plane pretty much flies itself, and it teaches you how to fly," Ling said. For a relatively small cost, people interested in radio-controlled flying can get into the hobby, Ling said.

"Once you buy a radio, that's the most expensive thing," Ling said. After that, "all you need to do is buy a plane and some batteries."

Isotope club members are at Lampkin Field most every weekend. But between Friday and Sunday, club members with tents and some campers stationed themselves at the field for their annual "Fun Fly" event, a flying demonstration that draws pilots from across the region.

Sam Hodskins had a both a custom made airplane in the air, and a custom sky diver on-board. As one man flew the plane with his radio-controller, Hodskins guided the skydiver down, using his controller to move the skydiver's arms and steer the parachute.

"I built this completely from scratch," Hodskins said of his skydiver. Like most hobbies, radio-controlled airplanes have a wide variety of price ranges, but a person can get into the hobby with not much more than $100 for a small plane, Hodskins said.

"It can be as cheap as you want and as expensive as you want," Hodskins said.

Drones have become a rage in radio-controlled flying groups, and the Isotopes have a drone racing course at Lampkin Field. Small cameras are also being mounted to airplanes, giving pilots on the ground a view from the sky.

"It's almost like being inside" the airplane, Hodskins said

Tim Hendrix was flying a new plane Sunday afternoon. Learning to fly has become easier, thanks to the internet and YouTube, but club members are happy to give new pilots help getting while they learn, Hendrix said. Many planes also come already built, so people don't need strong building skills to take to the air.

"There are lots of people in the hobby now who have never built," Hendrix said. "... The downside is, if you crash, you don't know how to put it back together."

Hendrix, who mowed lawns at age 13 to save money for his first radio-controlled plane, has been flying for decades.

"I joined this club when I was a kid," Hendrix said. "... That's the big thing (for new pilots), getting into a club and getting access to help." The hobby is accessible to anyone, Hendrix said.

"The young guys with their video game skills pick it up" quickly, Hendrix said. "But one guy didn't start until he was 80."

James Mayse, 270-691-7303, jmayse@messenger-inquirer.com, Twitter: @JamesMayse

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