REDDING, Conn. — A love of flying runs in Bill Morris’s family. His father served as an aerial photography instructor in World War I. Morris, a Redding resident, would later carrying on the flying tradition by learning to solo pilot a Cessna 150.
On Tuesday, Morris watched a model aircraft demonstration at the Meadow Ridge retirement community. Though he hasn’t flown a plane for years, Morris hopes to fly again — with a model plane.
“What I learned — of course, this is 50 years ago — I can probably apply some of it to flying one of these models, but it’s much different standing on the ground watching the plane than sitting in a cockpit,” Morris said as a model aircraft whizzed by.
Morris was one of the members of the burgeoning Meadow Ridge Flyers Club, which also counts a former TWA pilot and B-29 radio operator among its ranks.
Once a month, the members meet with Steve Edkins of New Paltz, N.Y.-based Killer Planes for flight demonstrations and training.
Following the demonstrations, members can practice flying on a flight simulator computer program. One day, its members may take the controls.
Edkins, who piloted the model aircraft Tuesday, said some can pick up flying after a few experiences with the controls.
“It depends on the person,” he said. “Some people can start flying after, like, one lesson and most people — probably four or five lessons [before] they’re out soloing."
The aircrafts are still not easy to control. Edkins often finds himself crashing — so much so that he keeps a tally on each plane. But the planes are made of a durable foam material that doesn’t break apart, so he usually picks up the plane and starts flying again.
And Edkins has no fear of going full throttle. “You have to keep testing them to the limit,” he said.
Meadow Ridge is located in Redding just over the Wilton town line and also near Ridgefield and Weston. For more information on Meadow Ridge, visit its website here .