SUN LAKES, AZ — Ever since the COVID-19 shutdown in 2020 that kept most Americans in their homes and shut down many businesses, we all have been looking for a safer way back out.
It wasn’t very long ago you easily could find a hobby shop that sold model building kits for planes, cars, and ships -- many that could be radio-controlled.
Now only a few shops hang on in the state, but the Sun Lakes Radio Control Club is fighting to keep its local retailers alive. These shops have been impacted not only by the pandemic but also by online retail giants that can deliver directly to your door.
It was in the mid-1990s when John Insana was first bitten by the model airplane bug. Now retired, he still has the passion for flight despite the fact many people are glued to video games, online shopping, social media ranting, and binge-watching TV. Like many others in the club, Insana feels that getting out and socializing while social distancing is exactly what we all need and his local hobby shop could rely on to get through the virus a little less stressed and healthier.
Members of the club meet almost daily at their little airfield to fly their radio-controlled aircraft and to drive radio-controlled off-road cars and trucks. They even compete in large events throughout the year -- and some are even international.
On the weekends the little field is really buzzing with those who are either in school or working during the week, looking for a way to get out of the house and away from the screens.
As in any club, there is a bit of ribbing by the old-timers but it is all done in good fun for all. Many of the old-timers help the newcomers learn how to play with their expensive toys, sharing and teaching the next generation for radio-controlled flight.
You can learn more about the Sun Lakes Radio Controlled Club on their website.