2017-02-16 / Front Page

Taking flight for fun

By Becky Holland


Harold Smith, 73, works on his remote-controlled airplanes on a daily basis. It is a hobby that he has enjoyed since the early 1980s. (Becky Holland/Statesman Photo) Harold Smith, 73, works on his remote-controlled airplanes on a daily basis. It is a hobby that he has enjoyed since the early 1980s. (Becky Holland/Statesman Photo) Harold Smith, 73, retired to Chandler last March after spending more than a dozen years in the oil and gas business. He and his wife decided that they liked the area.

As they have gotten settled, Smith rediscovered his interest in remote controlled airplanes. In the early 1980s, he got an interest in remote controls. He had been in competitive racing of remote control cars and boats. It was then that he took a chance on remote control airplanes.

“I had been competing for so long and that was all about winning … flying was just going to be for fun,” Smith laughed.

“I had always liked airplanes. In the beginning, the systems weren’t very reliable, but now the systems are much more dependable,” Smith explained.

He has built several airplanes from scratch… and has worked with several sets where he also just has to put the pieces together. Either way, “I love it.” Flying the planes gives Smith a huge smile.

A member of the Texas Unlimited Fun Flyers group, Smith and his friends fly planes all over, and mostly in Tyler at the Northside R/C Park Flying Field. “It is open all the time.” Smith said that there are all sorts of people who fly remote controlled planes.

His two favorite planes are a SU 25M and a YAK54. Both planes are about 16 pounds. One has an 88 inch wing span and the other has an 89 inch wing span.

In reflecting on what he has learned from his hobby, Smith laughed, “Everything has an expiration date.”

On what he would like to tell people who might be interested in taking up the hobby, Smith said, “I think you would just need to come out to a field and talk to the people who are flying the planes. Ask them questions.”

“I work on the planes daily… even if it is just waxing them,” he said.

Smith added, “It is a wonderful hobby.”

Return to top