Beauty at Paradise: RC airplanes spread their wings


Attendees admire a P-47D Thunderbolt.
Attendees admire a P-47D Thunderbolt. Photo: John T. Stemple.

26th October 2013 | Lakeland, Florida, USA. The scene at Paradise Field was one of beauty. Sexy airplanes and pretty girls were everywhere. As one drank in the panorama loud roars from jets punctuated the snarl of reciprocating engines. It was the annual “Monster Planes” event on the grounds of Lakeland Linder Regional Airport in Lakeland, Florida. On the flight line support crews and pilots readied aircraft as photographers snapped countless images during flybys. The excitement among attendees was palpable.

The participating Giant Scale RC Airplanes were radio controlled model aircraft possessing a wingspan of 80 inches or larger and a minimum weight of 30 pounds.

An attendee posing with an RC jet. Photo: John T. Stemple/Military Aviation Chronicles.


Although much larger than smaller RC planes, in general, the bigger planes are easier to fly. Furthermore, giant scale planes are also have more carrying capacity. This means video cameras and other payloads may go aloft aboard the aircraft.

Mr. J.R. Hafer, publisher of 20th Century Aviation Magazine, said, “Some of these are so real that, if not for the smaller dimensions of the planes, I cannot tell the difference.”

J.R. Hafer poses with a Wildcat. Photo: John T. Stemple.

“The prices,” he added, “of some come close to full-size planes. In fact, I saw a beautiful P-47 Thunderbolt selling for almost $13,000.” Mr. Hafer was one of approximately 4,000 enthusiasts who attended. Among many other media representatives was RC Sport Flyer magazine’s staff photographer who was diligently recording the sights.

TF-100 Super Sabre with afterburner lit. Photo: John T. Stemple.

Turbine-powered jet aerobatic displays, aerial combat demonstrations, helicopter demos, electric jet aerobatic routines and World War II fighter “beat ups” (low-level passes) took place. 

RC Skyraider makes a pass. Photo: John T. Stemple.

Roughly 300 airplanes were on static display over the course of the event, and the Blue Angels’ “Fat Albert” Lockheed C-130 Hercules paid an unexpected early afternoon visit to the main airport.

Additionally, simulators were on site, which allowed visitors to experience the simulated flight of everything from trainers to jet aeroplanes.

Furthermore, industry vendors staffed booths, and food and beverage retailers provided sustenance.

A F-16 in IAF livery. Photo: John T. Stemple.

Paradise Field, which is at West Pipkin Road at the intersection of Air Show Road (Gate 36) in Lakeland, Florida.

The actual address is 4997 Air Show Road. The Bermuda Grass runway dimensions are 800 feet by 70 feet.

TF-100 landing. Photo: John T. Stemple.





 The author (John T. Stemple) thanks the sponsors of “Monster Planes” for granting access to the flight line.

Responses from readers:

Raymond Sigmond says:
11/13/2013 at 19:31

I have always wanted to learn to fly RC planes. I liked reading your report.