Flying radio-controlled (RC) aircraft as a hobby has grown substantially in the first two decades of the 21st century. Improvements in the cost, weight, performance, and capabilities of motors, batteries, and electronics have made a wide variety of models and styles of aircraft available.

Scientific, government, and military organizations are also using RC aircraft for experiments, gathering weather readings, aerodynamic modeling, and testing.

County Commissioner Paul Donohue was asked recently by a group of constituents and local aircraft enthusiasts in the Pioche area to investigate the possible use of the old Pioche airport land to fly RC aircraft.

At the June 18 commission meeting, Donohue said the old Pioche airport property, about four miles north of town on US 93, has been given back to the BLM and “a different place will have to be found for them to go fly. There is a recreation area designated down below Pioche and there might be a place down there that is flat enough for the planes to take off and land.”

Donohue said there are a handful of local people who enjoy the planes. “Years ago,” he said, “there used to be a group doing that in Panaca.”

The earliest examples of electronically-guided model aircraft were hydrogen-filled model airships of the late 19th century. They were flown as a music hall act around theater auditoriums using a basic form of spark-emitted radio signal.

During World War II, the U.S. Army and Navy used radio-controlled planes called Radioplanes as artillery target drones.

Donohue noted, “There once was a place down at the Lincoln County Fairgrounds that was bladed off, but over the past years, the fair has grown and there is just no room for that anymore down there.”