News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Outlaws send remote-controlled craft into the skies

When Howard Hughes' giant Spruce Goose took off on November 2, 1947, it stayed in the air for all of 26 seconds. When the Outlaw RC Plane Club at Sisters High School (SHS) sent their model of the Spruce Goose into the air on Thursday, May 11, they had much greater success: The first flight lasted for two minutes, and the second lasted four minutes.

The club of remote-controlled aircraft enthusiasts built a 10-foot-wingspan replica of the legendary plane in a one-day build in the physics classroom at Sisters High School late last month. The wind was too stiff on the day of the build to risk the aircraft, so flight day was pushed out for a couple of weeks.

Club members and advisors held their breath for the first launch on Thursday. The sight and sound of the massive RC plane flying overhead was spectacular and thrilling. The plane flew twice, decorated with the Outlaw Aviation logo on the tail and name under the wings. Each time, the plane made a perfect soft landing in the grassy field behind the high school.

The students were proud of the success of their accomplishment, and excited to integrate new ideas into the plane in the near future, such as a functional bomb bay to drop various objects - such as flower seeds, as suggested by member Devan Hepburn.

Timber and Tobann Bionda serve as president and vice president of the club, which also includes Andrew Pomering, Devan Hepburn, Max Burks, Weston Dean, and Luxen Morris. Advisors are Dan Oliver, SHS physics and math teacher); Tara Morris (SHS special education teacher); and Amy Bionda, SHS volunteer and school district employee.

"Timber and Tobann have put in an amazing effort to bring this RC Plane Club to life," Oliver said. "They have created a fun, inclusive atmosphere where students can come to learn, connect with others, and enjoy themselves while at the same time acquiring skills and knowledge that will benefit them in their future endeavors. Kudos to Timber and Tobann for becoming leaders at our school and sharing their passion with others that benefits everyone involved."

The Outlaw RC Plane Club will be recruiting new high school members for the 2023-24 school year. They are looking for students who:

• Are passionate about aviation and love to learn new things.

• Will participate in the weekly meetings and respect the material (RC plane parts are expensive and construction techniques can be complicated). Meetings are held weekly on Thursday after school in the SHS physics room from 3:20 to 6 p.m.

• Most importantly, students who want to be a part of a really creative and fun team environment.

The Outlaw RC Plane Club received funding support from Sisters High School and the Sisters Schools Foundation. Cascades RC Flyers: $200 donation for AMA student licenses, and provided a variety of RC plane parts and tools. Bend Aero Modelers provided an RC plane flight simulator and plane parts and tools. John Hayden also provided a variety of RC plane parts and tools.

To make a contribution or for more information, contact Timber Bionda at [email protected].

Club advisor Tara Morris said, "I am really excited for the opportunity for students to join the RC Plane Club. It is a terrific outlet for students to explore physics and engineering through a hands-on, creative outlet. The club is extremely organized and really gets things done. It is fun to see what they have created."


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