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Nov 26, 2012, 07:14 PM
Wandering IT geek
ronin4740's Avatar

Park flying in Reno Nevada?

Just moved (back home) from St. Louis and I'm looking for a spot to fly smaller models without landing gear that are capable of close to or exceeding triple digit speed. Would really rather not belly land into dirt...

Also interested in where folks fly larger propeller driven planes with LG. Most of my stuff with landing gear is .40 size or so. Some of it is pretty quick and needs room to fly/land.

I have been out to the field off of Pyramid Highway and while it's a nice enough spot I'd prefer something that's closer and doesn't have a mile or so of dirt washboard between it and my house.

As I fly electrics it'd also be nice to find some place where I can plug in and charge while I fly.

Would be great if both spots were the same

Tall order, I know but am hoping I'll get a few suggestions. No, moving back to St. Louis is not an option
Last edited by ronin4740; Dec 08, 2012 at 01:32 AM.
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Dec 01, 2012, 05:44 AM
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Try here:

or there's always the dry lake on 395, north of Reno up by Cold Springs. It'll probably be a mess now with the rain, but it's pretty stellar up there after May through October. There's fence access about 3/4 up the lake, just pull off the highway and park up outside of the fence on the dirt. You can't miss the dry lake, and if you take a trip out there then you should be able to find somewhere to fly from very easily, there are tons of access points and endless space. The west "shore" is super smooth, just a little dusty.
Dec 03, 2012, 11:58 AM
Wandering IT geek
ronin4740's Avatar
Thanks for the reply. I've driven out to the club's site and, while its nice, it is a pretty long drive and the dirt road on the way out has a perfect washboard surface. My CUV really didn't like it at all... Still the field is nice and I'll probably go to a meeting or two next year and decide whether to join the club.

The Cold Springs dry lake looked like the perfect place and I did see a few people flying earlier this year, just had no idea how they got out to the lake. The gate entrance was locked and there was no contact info but it makes sense that they were parking off the highway and going through the fence there. That'll work out great for the larger .50 and .60 sized stuff I have.

I'm still hoping to find someplace with grass where I can fly the smaller stuff which doesn't have landing gear. I called Washoe County Parks and the lady said that she could not say yes to me flying in their parks. The designated flying area at Rancho San Rafael is dirt and I know from previous experience that the Rangers will chase me out if I fly in the grassy area below it.

Am thinking High School football fields at this point or the big grassy pastures at McCarran and Mayberry or out in Double Diamond. Either would work although pasture grass is harder on foam planes and hotliners than a soccer or football field grass would be.

Anyway, thanks again and good flying to ya.
Dec 04, 2012, 10:21 PM
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Eddie P's Avatar
I used to belong to RRCC - from 1998 to about 2006. But now I fly at the Carson City club and also the Ferney RC club. Our group is heavily into jets - EDF and turbine. Like you, I wish RRCC didn't have the washboard dirt lead in road. But I live in South Reno, so Carson is actually closer to me than RRCC and Fernley is about 5 minutes farther drive than RRCC but all on paved roads and it is very jet friendly.

I also used to fly hand launch electric - speed 400 pylon racers, etc, from about 1999 through 2004. There used to be a thriving hand launch electric group in Reno and we used to fly on the short manicured grass in the large tree lined fields beside the Chinese Pagoda at Rancho San Rafael. It was a great location. I was flying hotliners and speed 400 pylon occasionally, as well as a lot of scale stuff. The flying wing crowd sort of ruined that site as they were flying more powerful, faster wings that were far louder than a .60 size Ugly Stick and being flown pretty aggressively for the location. We were "moved" (kicked out) to the multi-use area (the same one you have been chased off) and after two years of altercations with the same fast wing crowd and the dog walkers, we were again "moved", this time to the dirt area. That's when I stopped flying at Rancho and started flying at the clubs again exclusively. I've heard the flyers are now no longer welcome on even the dirt at Ranch San Rafael.

The flying scene in Reno is very strong, if not a bit spotty depending on your area of interest. You might do well to try your hand launch racers at a couple select parks in early mornings. I don't know of any dedicated places where people congregate for small electric stuff like we used to 10 years ago. It was a really thriving crowd back then, before the county parks and rec department tangled with a few of the electric mavericks (that sort of tubed it all for everyone. As a matter of fact, on record, RC flying in all county parks is now officially banned). Now it seems the clubs are the place to fly, but no clubs I know of in the area besides maybe Minden have grass areas to land in. PM me and I'll let you know where I still fly smaller, higher performance electric belly landers. I tend to not advertise as I prefer "my" known areas to not be over run and banned for future use. I love flying with people (as I do at the clubs) but I am still a little gun shy to advertise my flying sites after my experience seeing how things devolved at Rancho San Rafael.

PS the glider crowd is pretty active too. They fly nearly every weekend between Reno and Carson City. And as mentioned, the Carson City facility is great with a fantastic runway facility and great folks - only disadvantage is there is a ridge that seems a little close out on the downwind leg and it may be distracting until you get used to it. The Fernley facility is the private Fernley airport (Tiger Field). The club has use of the center of the runway area and maintains a safe operation there. Lots of turbine jet guys and heli guys at that field. Lots of activity in the area, but it can be localized.

It's been difficult since the two big hobby shops have closed down but there is a hobby shop in Sparks - he's actually able to order things for delivery within a day or so from Great Planes as well as other outlets. He'll pick up the items for you in his regular pickups and it's actually a good resource. The shop is more of a work shop with a few rack items - not a retail shop at all, more of a hobby cave that you have to special order from but you get what you want and feel good about buying from a local guy. At the end of the day it's no more than mail order and you can actually buy glue, some paint, and bits and pieces there too - that's good.

PS he is NOT in the old strip mall location as shown on random web yellow pages, he's off of Greg street and Deming way in an industrial shop area.

Then there is Hobby Town in Carson City, too. A little high on the markup and more of a "hobby" shop than a RC model airplane resource but it does have some RC supplies.
Last edited by Eddie P; Dec 05, 2012 at 01:17 PM.
Dec 05, 2012, 01:33 AM
Wandering IT geek
ronin4740's Avatar
Thanks Eddie. I really do appreciate your thoughts. I've driven by the Carson City field and intend to look at the one in Fernley soon. The Carson City club field looked like it had more than enough room for my stuff with landing gear. Am used to having some obstacles at the ends of the runway so the ridge probably wouldn't be too much of an issue. I'll just fly something slow to test it out

The Ranger I spoke with said that it's still permissible to fly off the dirt area near Coleman but when I last looked at it there was a lot of FUD, big rocks and whatnot. Didn't seem very RC friendly to me... Too bad that the hyper powered wing guys ruined using the grass area below it for the rest of us. Wonder if the County would consider allowing planes which are in the Parkflyer Class as defined by the AMA to fly there again on a provisional basis.... Might be worth going to one of their meetings and asking.
Dec 05, 2012, 10:46 AM
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I think you should look into it. It's a "tread lightly" sort of affair. It got out of hand a few years ago and it was largely not "self governable" as the association of flyers was completely un friendly to any sort of leadership. Several were completely of the mind set that "I will do whatever I feel like until I'm kicked out". And it happened. So I think it would have to be an official AMA chartered club that would have to approach the park service for use, much like the control line flyers did using Lazy R park in north Reno. Building a club from scratch is easy, contact the AMA and they will send you the forms and walk you through everything. An alternative would be to join the Sierra Silent Soarers (s3). They are a great club and they actually represented about 15 percent of the good flyers back in the Rancho days. The s3 had actually shown some level of interest in taking on representing a hand launch electric sub category and their existing membership and givernance as an AMA club would have worked but it was not the right time.. see below.

I tried to approach the park service to establish a grass park flying area under AMA leadership in 2004 or there abouts. But with what had been going on at Rancho already, the "well was poisoned" and the reaction by Parks and Rec to my attempted dialogue was to tolerate it at best. Plus, I was in the minority of people looking to do something like this where at least half of the guys flying at Rancho were just looking for something to do and it did not include following any sort of set behavior - "anti-club" was the sentiment. The AMA was very helpful to me but in the end I realized I was in by myself and felt I was herding cats. So if you started fresh you might be able to get somewhere with a mindset and charter goal from the beginning. Trouble is, you also need a movement of individuals. Is there any grass flying belly lander crowd these days? I certainly know of an indoor movement going on, check the threads right here in this forum. Maybe some of those guys would be interested, and maybe you should think about approaching s3 for membership/cooperation. Some of those guys have a lot of good stuff gathering dust that would be perfect for a nice grass flying field.
Last edited by Eddie P; Dec 05, 2012 at 10:52 AM.
Dec 06, 2012, 02:55 PM
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ronin4740's Avatar
I'll give the Parks and Rec meeting a go. Perhaps with the amount of time which has gone by + the information I can offer from the AMA on the Park Flyers program they'll be interested in opening one or two of the parks up of a provisional basis.

The AMA rep I spoke with really pushed the idea of also starting a Park Flyers group. I guess this offers additional liability protection for the Parks and Recs department through the AMA as well as a single point of contact for them in the event they have concerns or complaints.

Problem with it being a club is that I'd either need to convince the RRCC that this is a good idea or find four other folks who'd be willing to pay to join a new Park Flyers club and someone to run it... I don't really have the time for the second and haven't built any relationship with the RRCC so I wouldn't expect their support.

Anyway, I expect this to go nowhere but I'll give it a try. If anyone reading this in the Reno area is also interested in the possibility of flying 2lbs or less, 60mph or slower (ParkFlyers) aircraft at parks and recs facilities then perhaps we might all plan to attend their January meeting? They're a bit more likely to pay some attention to the idea if there's more than just me in attendance.
Dec 06, 2012, 04:46 PM
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Based on what I know about RRCC they are not traditionally the type that would be a good fit for this... and second, I doubt they would be interested.

S3 on the other hand has already shown interest in the past (the Rancho days) and in addition half of their group probably already dabbles in park flyers. They are a Reno based glider club but they also host semi regular power float flies at Washoe Lake. But this was a while ago, who knows today.

I would be interested in flying with a park flyer crown on a semi occasional basis. You would probably do well to have a way to reach out to AMA members with addresses in the local area, not sure how you could do that with email, or if it would be an unwelcome intrusion, etc. Hobby shops used to be the way to advertise for this sort of thing locally. Now you just have to hope to snare some interest on the web like you have with... all 3 of us that have seen and bothered to post here!!
Dec 06, 2012, 10:53 PM
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PS - let us know if you get anywhere with the parks & rec.
Last edited by Eddie P; Dec 06, 2012 at 11:10 PM.
Dec 07, 2012, 11:48 AM
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Eddie and Ronin,

I agree that the RRCC would NOT be the people to approach. I do not know any of the S3 flyers but they might be the group to maybe ask for some help from in the form of bodies that agee with us on the park flyer idea.
I believe that we should start our own little club with standing invitations to any and all flyers who have aircraft that fit the park flyer rules and are AMA members.
This same club could also be beneficial to the indoor movment that Jon has been working on.
We should maybe rally the troops and set an initial meeting to get our ducks in a row and them elect a few of us to approach the parks service and layout our case with the help the AMA.
Let me know what you all think and pass on the word to others; maybe a meeting within a week or two before Christmas so we can at least get the ball rolling.
I will commit time to help us all secure a few flying spots at select parks and maybe some indoor venues.
As for me I have flown at RRCC and the Carson sites and many (possibly illegal) places around the Reno/Sparks/Carson areas for years. I live off of Red Rock Rd and work in Carson so I pass alot of great looking flying sites. I usually fly my glow engine models at the park near me off Red Rock and sometimes on the quiet weekends I will fly down near the Stead industrial area using the roadways as my runway.


PS - a good edge with the parks & rec and schools would be to invite schools/public to flying days with us to interest the children/people in aviation and also a good way to bolster our ranks, food for thought.
Dec 07, 2012, 12:27 PM
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Tom - Great idea. I've personally volunteered during career and science days in the past using aviation and aerospace as an inspiration and I've wanted to do something with the schools in terms of aerospace education and this could be a fantastic win-win for local flyers and also an avenue for kids to get into flying.

One area that is possible right away to "dovetail" RC Aviation into an aerospace education tie in with schools is using RC flight simulators. All the schools have computers now. We could have a mobile "flight station" as an introduction into flying and how it works in a small format that is scalable and attainable right away for kids, and in the language (technology) that they can speak right away.

The school tie in could be a really great way to also form a community buy in for a place for park flying to occur and also could build on the community that would participate in it.

So for sure I'm speaking off the top of my head and this also diverges and complicates in some way the initial idea of getting a couple guys together and flying for fun. Just talking ideas here.

Also I have kids in the school systems right now so I'm thinking in this regard just naturally as it's the environment I'm navigating in right now.

There are the local schools and there are also some very good private schools that would also probably be interested. Also, not everyone knows this but there are a couple really big time aerospace companies right here in Reno. They could be corporate sponsors with the education aspect.
Dec 07, 2012, 12:56 PM
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ronin, welcome back to Reno, and thanks for being enthusiastic about flying in Reno. I live near DeadTom and only 7 miles from RRCC field if I take the cross-country desert roads, but I have to take the highway which is a 45 minute drive. I know your pain. I only fly park flyers and I am always looking for good places and people to fly with. Here is a rundown of what I have found:

-All the AMA fields have already been mentioned in this post.
-The HC&M hobby shop crew (the only r/c flying resource in town) fly almost every Sunday morning at USA parkway (asphalt runway/5-lane road) with unlimited airspace. This is a non-AMA crowd and each event often includes target shooting with firearms, archery, model rocketry, r/c cars. There is a lot of courtesy and teamwork going on, but no rules are established or desired.
-The RRCC and HC&M guys did a lot of Float Flying at Boca Reservoir over the summer
-Fernley is a great bunch of guys flying off off the airport runway; unlimted flying space. I can get to the Fernley field as quick as I can get to the RRCC field
-Carson City field is a great (asphalt) field with unlimited flying space
-Dry lake at Cold Springs is private property and you need a key to access. It is not an AMA field. Not many people fly there due to personality conflicts. Check with Mark at HC&M to contact the keymaster if this site interests you.
-City Parks: there is no law on the books stating that R/C planes can't be operated. If someone knows otherwise, please let me know. Tread lightly. Be safe. Be responsible. Many parks have sports fields which can nicely groomed grass. The soccer fields are filled with soccer players during the best flying hours. Many parks have locked gates until 8 a.m. so you can't slip in an early flight before the games start.
-If you are one to follow rules and FAA advisories, then you need to stay 3 miles away from the Reno airport, which covers almost all of the valley floor/flat areas.
-There is a park in Panther Valley with grass and a dead-end asphalt road for runways. This site is not for beginners due to trees surrounding the grass but I go there often.
-Jonquil Ct. in Golden Valley is a good place for flying day and night. Asphalt dead end road with no houses to the south, east and west.
-Spots complex on Sky Vista Pkwy. Rumored that the north grass fields are mostly unused but setup for soccer.
-Good spot for sloap soaring off Red Rock rd, overlooking the Cold Springs dry lake bed.
-NW corner of Arrow Springs Dr. and Whites Creek Ln. is a dirt runway. Private land but the runway is semi maintained for R/C flying.
-Lazy 5 Regional Park on Pyramid highway is where the control line guys fly. The Soccer fields are excellent for R/C flying if you can find them empty. The control line guys will try to run you off to the AMA field and claim that you can't fly there because you don't lease a portion of the park like they do. But they have no authority to make you leave the soccer fields.
-I am working on an indoor flying location on Vassar blvd. May require some giving back to the community in order to fly there regularly.
-Bridgewire is a community workshop and we have established a small flying support group. Alot of home-brew quadcopters. Lot's of tools if you like to build custom stuff including a CNC laser cutter (great for making custom airplane parts). We occasionaly pick one of the places above and fly on Saturdays.

If an AMA field at a city park is the desire, expect to pay an annual lease. I like your energy and I will help out any way I can. let me know when and where you are flying and I will try to join.
Dec 07, 2012, 02:02 PM
Team of ONE....or...Team Me
DeadTom's Avatar
Eddie and Jon,

Good information; Jon, the Vassar St location is ideal as it is centrally located and the giving back to the community is exactly where I was heading with the conversation. Giving back as in inviting the community into our RC world in the form of education and as Eddie said a mobile flight stations for students to learn on.
The more we involve the uneducated the more educated and excepting they will theory that is.
When do we want to meet up, introduce ourselves and make a game plan, this is something that I have wanted to do for years but did not have the time to invest. Now I am ready to invest my time as I have less than 8 years till retirement and would like get the ball rolling. My grandson is now 5 and I would like for his generation in our city to have some more options available for their future like the aviation and aerospace industries.

Dec 07, 2012, 03:27 PM
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Where are you guys? I'm in extreme south Reno (Mt. Rose hwy area toward Tahoe). We should meet to fly.
Dec 07, 2012, 03:33 PM
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Working with kids is awesome. When you see young eyes light up becuase you just launched an aircraft that you have had for years and are nearly bored with, it makes you step back and get excited about the hobby all over again. I had the opportunity to support a local school this spring for a 6 week after school program which taught them about flight and flying small 3 ch coax helicopters. For the grand finale, I organized to have a bunch of the RRCC and Fernely club guys come out for a flight demo and static display of aircraft. Video below.

I am free this weekend. We can meet at Bridgewire in Sparks. It's near the corner of Greg and Industrial Blvd.

For clarity, it is my understanding that our goal is to find/establish a consistant location for flying Park Flyers. AMA umbrella is desireable. This includes outdoor and indoor locations. Also, the ability to include the community for education and just plain fun is a secondary goal. Is this correct?

RC Madness (2 min 3 sec)

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