Hobbyists pilot aircraft in the skies over a landfill from an airfield operated by the Tampa Radio-control Aircraft Club. The facility boasts a pavilion, electricity and a paved runway.

Besides spending time on a beach or golf course, fun in the sun can mean opportunities for aerial recreation as well.

Flying small-scale, unoccupied aircraft is a hobby enjoyed by many residents, and the growing availability of consumer-grade drones, in addition to the expansive line of radio control airplane models, has created a demand for open spaces to legally and safely operate them.

Hillsborough County officials have responded by providing access to airspace and land where hobbyists can perform aerial maneuvers just short of catching the number three wire in an aircraft carrier landing.

The drone park is located at 11717 Clay Pit Rd. at the west end of Mango Park and Recreation Center. Developed with help from the Cigar City Multirotors drone club, it encompasses a clear area for drones to fly and includes obstacle course fixtures and gates to sharpen the skills required to deftly maneuver remotely controlled aircraft that can reach speeds of up to 90 mph. Adherence to applicable Federal Aviation Administration regulations is required and flying in airspace above areas such as the adjacent dog park and other recreational facilities is prohibited. You can learn more about Cigar City Multirotors by visiting its Facebook page.

Flying radio control models of aircraft has been a hobby for decades, and there are two local airfields available for outdoor piloting of propeller or jet versions of them. One is located at 7208 Taylor Rd. in Seffner, next to the Hillsborough Heights landfill, over which the aircraft are permitted to fly. The Tampa Radio-control Aircraft Club (TRAC) flies out of the field and its president, Don Riek, said there is more to the club than an appreciation of aeronautics.

“We have several events throughout the year, such as fun flies and an open house during November, for which we collect donations and send them along with a $300 check from our club to support Metropolitan Ministries.”

You can learn more about TRAC by visiting www.tractampa.com.

Another radio control airfield is located at 12705 Balm Boyette Rd., just north of the Triple Creek Nature Preserve in Riverview. It is home to the Triple Creek Radio Control Aircraft Club, which is inviting the public to its 2023 Watt Fest – Electric RC Fun Fly on Saturday, October 14 and Sunday, October 15. You can find out more by visiting www.triplecreekrc.com.

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Brad Stager
Avian-named publications have figured prominently in Brad Stager's career. Besides writing for the Osprey Observer, he started out writing sports articles for the Seahawk, a weekly newspaper serving the military community aboard Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan. That position followed a career documenting life in the Fleet, from the Straits of Magellan to the North Arabian Sea, as a Navy Photographer's Mate. Since settling in the Tampa Bay area, Brad has produced a variety of written, visual and aural content for clients ranging from corporate broadcasters to small businesses.