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Redwood Falls Gazette
  • Into the wild blue: flying club seeks more members

  • A growing number of folks in the Redwood area are learning just how much fun it is to fly a plane, and this group wants others who have any interest in flight to join in with them.
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  • There is a certain sense of mystique that comes with being able to sit in the cockpit of an airplane and knowing you are at the controls as the machine soars through the air. A growing number of folks in the Redwood area are learning just how much fun it is to fly a plane, and this group wants others who have any interest in flight to join in with them. Through the Redwood Area Flyers, LLC., which is a flying club established for pilots and prospective pilots in this area, those who have an interest in flying can learn more about what it takes to fly and can get time in the cockpit in one of the planes owned by club members. The club was officially established by Pete U’Ren and David Bunting who are members of the Redwood Falls airport commission. “We were looking for ways to get more activity at the airport,” said U’Ren. “We wanted to bring some life back into it.” Since the club was established, more of those with an interest in flying have joined, and a foursome, including Leif U’Ren of Morton, Mark Malecek of Redwood Falls, Jim Hildebrant of Redwood Falls and Wayne Weber of Morgan have purchased their own airplane.
    Limiting four people to ownership helps to keep insurance costs down, and so there is added interest by some from the area in purchasing another plane. Malecek said purchasing a plane is not as cost-prohibitive as one might think. “I would say the average costs is in the mid-$20,000 range,” he said. Currently those who are interested in flying can take lessons through courses being offered in Marshall and Hutchinson, and those who are motivated can get the classroom portion of the flight course done in just a few months. Then the work of finding flight times and available planes to meet the 40-hour requirement must be met. Once a pilot is licensed the education does continue, said Bunting, adding one must be recertified, including spending time in the air with a flight examiner every two years. Those who fly have different reasons for doing it, as some just do it for the fun and sense of freedom one can experience in the air. Others may be looking at a possible career in flight. Malecek said members of the local flyers club are going to be available to answer questions during the Rotary fly-in breakfast this Sunday, and people can also see up close the kinds of planes available locally. For more information, contact Winston Venable, the airport manager, or talk with one of the members of the flyers club. “Up in the air you can really get a different perspective of the world,” said U’Ren. “It really is a lot of fun.”

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