February 17, 2006

BATTLE OF THE GEEKS (via Raoul Ortega):

It's Planes Vs. Soccer In Redmond (Corwin Haeck, 2/16/06, KOMO TV)

A century-old tradition of model plane flying faces a stiff challenge from King County's growing demand for soccer fields. The controversy over Redmond's Sixty Acres South is the story of an older generation's love of aviation versus a younger generation's hunger for soccer.

"It may seem like a silly activity to some, but it's very enjoyable and very inspriring, really," says Seth Arlow, who flies his remote control plane with a five-foot wingspan at Sixty Acres.

Sixty Acres North has 17 soccer fields. The undeveloped county-owned land to the south is used by "modelers," mostly older men. Homer Smith is one of them.

"We have the problem of not being able to fly anywhere except in a large field," Smith says.

"There are lots of soccer fields," Arlow says. "Hundreds of them. But there is only one Sixty Acres South.

Arlow is alarmed by reports the Lake Washington Youth Soccer Association will annex the open space in north Redmond to build more fields.

"What's wonderful about this field is it's a unique place where we can actually fly this type of aircraft." Arlow says there isn't another adequate space in King County.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 17, 2006 12:31 PM

The model rocketry community has the same problem. We need big fields without trees to fly.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at February 17, 2006 12:54 PM

What do you expect, Boeing HQ pulled out of Seattle.

Posted by: pchuck at February 17, 2006 12:56 PM

around here, they do soccer, rockets, and model planes at the school fields. don't know why that won't work in redmond.

Posted by: toe at February 17, 2006 1:35 PM

Yeah, I was wondering the same thing. I used to do model rocketry in high school and we'd just use whatever field wasn't in use at that time.

Posted by: Bryan at February 17, 2006 1:44 PM

That was back in the days when people did sports on regular fields. Now they are laser leveled with watering system and special grass. Can't have rockets with, uh, "deployment malfunctions" smacking in to them, or getting roughed by the launch pads. Also, a single soccer field is no where big enough for something like this (the sign with the '7' is 1 foot tall). And this kind of thing (not mine) gets everyone involved.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at February 17, 2006 5:55 PM

show off :)

Posted by: toe at February 17, 2006 8:30 PM

IIRC, the soccer fields are only used on weekend mornings.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at February 17, 2006 10:00 PM

Not around here. Soccer games from 10 AM till 4 or 5 PM. I've pushed for dawn launches, because the air is generally stillest then, but the club just won't get up that early. I have managed to get them to go out to the family farm for launching the big stuff, but that's not possible from planting to harvest. And even the medium sized stuff (like this) requires multiple acres to be safe.

Finally, except for me, the rest of the guys are gainfully employed so they can only launch on weekends.

And the guys in the original article, the model plane flyers, need a lot of space.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at February 18, 2006 1:07 PM

i figured out the problem and it is particular to redmond...bill gate's ego leaves no room for anything else. ha ha i crack me up.

Posted by: toe at February 18, 2006 1:16 PM