Bridgerland Raido Control Club History
by Jerry Cokley
Information regarding the history of BRCC had been provided by numerous “old timers” and other club members. It has been compiled with the intent to be as informative and accurate as possible. All BRCC members were invited to submit historical information and appreciation is expressed to those who have contributed. Information has also been extracted from BRCC Newsletters dating back to 1994. Most dates are “best guesstimates” as no formal records were being kept in the early days (1960-1989) of the club.
Many of the early club members include: Dave Stuart, Dick Nelson, Ivan Hooley, Dan Johnson. L.R. Earl, Mike Jensen, Scott Budge, Nate Friedli, Clark Salisbury, Brent Brown, John Kerr, Phil Swenson, Rene Winward, Frank Kenyon, Kirk Wilcox, Del Bullen, Gene Nielson, Rust Painter, Don Clifford, Virgil Merrill, Dean Rees, Calvin Jacobsen, Chris Petersen, Keith Fullmer, Bill Brenchley, Bob Germaine, Jim Wilson, Ike Lawler, Lynn Bates, Jeff Bates, Jay Brockman.
An informal gathering of model airplane builders and flyers began flying from various county roads until the local gendarmes strongly suggested that they find a safer place to fly. Free flight and control line were highly popular. Early radio control equipment was said to have been quite expensive thereby somewhat limiting popularity.
From time to time there were builders and fliers joining and leaving for various reasons. The number of pilots/builders fluctuated between 30-40 with enthusiasts flying at various times and locations.
Flying from the alkali flats, located somewhere between Newton and Smithfield, was most common. The area has been described as a rather primitive area with scarce foliage. Club meeting were held in the basement of the Logan Credit Union.
R/C pilots were allowed to fly as “preferred guests” at the Logan Airport on inactive runway #5 thanks to the determination and help of Keith Fullmer. A more formal organization developed and gradually became known as the “Bridgerland Radio Control Club”. Dues of $10 or $15 were first collected. It became obvious to the members that somewhere in the future there would be the necessity to purchase land for a flying site. The meager dues were collected and the wisdom of the early club members called for setting up a savings account for the future purchase of a site for a flying field. Sometime during this era the Airport Authority allow some “dirt bike” motorcyclists to use part of the airport for their activities. Their rowdy activities soon fell into disharmony with the airport folks mainly due to complaints from the local pilots. It was suggested that both the motorcyclists and the BRCC be removed from the airport facilities. Fortunately someone sympathetic to BRCC convinced the Airport Authority that model aviation’s interests were unquestionably appropriate at the airport. As a result the bikers were booted out and BRCC was allowed to stay.
Over the following 30 or so years BRCC enjoyed flying off runway #5 with only a rare minor complaint from the pilots frequenting the airport. Glider pilots violating the ceiling limit were the main culprits never the less BRCC’s overall performance remained in high regards with the Logan Airport. In 1986, the airport had the club use a narrow runway at the north portion of the airport during the time runway #5 was being worked on. Mike Bullen might have been the first in the club to fly with a four-stroke engine, if not close to being first. Annual Labor Day air shows were initiated in the mid-late 1970’s with a few occasional missed years. Some of the earlier air show events were held in conjunction with Utah State University Aeronautics Department. Several air shows were held on the apron in front of the old Logan Airport control tower and later on runway #5. In the early 2000’s the Airport Manager closed an active runway for the Annual Air Shows in order to accommodate the larger number of spectators. This also eliminated contestants concerns about the surface of runway #5. Its “mini Grand Canyon” cracks caused pilots with expensive planes, especially those with small wheels, to complain. Entry donation to the air shows, including food and drink sales, became a significant source of club funds and greatly contributed toward the purchase of a future flying site. Air Show admission “donations” began at $2.00 and later increased to $5.00. One year an out of ordinary individual paid the five dollars and entered with his “Stretch Limousine” full of passengers. His creativity is to be admired. Their admission was cheap and hopefully was offset by their purchases of food and drink…..making it a win-win situation. Wade Fullmer and his family established themselves as the traditional hamburger and hot dog chefs for many years.
Marc Karpowich has been the AMA Associate Vice President since 1989 and remains as the only BRCC member to serve in the voluntary position as of 2010. Mark adds that he was the BRCC President for four years, with a year off, serving an additional year somewhere around 1987. The earliest available AMA records relating to BRCC show Marc Karpowich as President and Scott Stauffer as V.P. in 1991. Annual dues were raised to $25.00 with $10.00 being saved for a future flying site. Dues later increased to $50.00. Prior to flying, members were asked to call the airport and report they would be using runway #5, as well as for how long, whenever they used the field. On many occasions whoever answered the airport phone didn’t have the foggiest idea who BRCC was. For a few years, a handful of members joined Sport Flyer of America and later returned to AMA when SFA collapsed. The announcement of plans for improving the Logan Airport and the upgrading of the overall airport facilities became a serious concern to BRCC. The plans included the development of an industrial park adjacent to runway #5. This was one of the first indications that BRCC’s “guest status” would be wearing out sometime in the unknown but possible near future. After the terrorist attacks on 9-11-01 security tightened at the airport thus triggering another red flag indicator that the future of BRCC’s stay was limited.
The club maintained a cordial reputation with the airport managers, who continue to support our use of the airport for the annual Labor Day Air Show…..and still does as of 2002. Being in the “Guest Status” category somewhat limited BRCC ability to control non-members from using the field. There were concerns that unauthorized R/C pilots could cause problems which would be attributed to BRCC thus jeopardizing the club’s welcome at the airport. There were occasions when “pirates” would use the field but the situation never seriously developed. The lock at the gate was only broken open once and was repaired by Jerry Harrison. The keyed lock was later replaced with a combination lock and the combination changes were reported in the mailed out newsletters.
The airport flying site was once referred to as the Logan-Cache Model Aviation Park for a short period of time. A formal frequency board was installed. A local group of drag racers once jockeyed for use of the runway. Their request was denied by the Airport Authority much to the club’s pleasure. On occasions, BRCC shared the use of runway #5 with the Logan Police Department for its emergency and pursuit driving training. Their schedules were announced well in advance and never resulted in any conflict.
Numerous events, some competitive and some “just plain fun”, have been held over the years. They include : Freeze Fly’s on New Year’s Day, float fly, glider fly, fun fly, pattern contests, pylon races, heli fun fly, Labor Day Air Show. Other events are “sandwiched” in as desired. Most are held annually and are well attended. Ivan Hooley was likely the first newsletter editor. A framed storage shed, originally referred to as a barn, was built at the airport field by Leon Orton’s brother. Club owner items such as a generator and a ride-on lawn mower shared space with a fair size community of field mice which considerably upgraded their living conditions by setting up house in the shed.
Lee Colston was asked to compose a newsletter for one month and ended up printing and mailing it for several years. Newsletters were sent via U.S. Mail. Large wooden spools were acquired by Del Bullen and used as tables for setting up planes. The center holes provided a convenient place to deposit trash resulting in the need to cover the holes with metal plates. Michael Smith provided that service. The local hornets also found the spools to be an ideal living quarters. A giant size sand box and jungle gym play equipment area was set up for the convenience of young family members. Club members were humorously reminded they were prohibited from playing in the sand box or swinging on the jungle gym. Metal framed wooden bleachers were donated by Providence City and transported to the infield area to accommodate spectators. Holes were drilled along the pitting area runway edges for PVC pipes which supported an orange safety net fabric separating the runway from the pitting area. Michael Smith made “Y” shaped plane “hold downs” which many other members duplicated. The devices conveniently fit into the drilled holes providing an excellent anchor to secure the planes during flight preparation. Members were encouraged to use the hold downs to enhance flight line safety. The mini Grand Canyon cracks which ran randomly throughout the entire World War 2 era runway were a never-ending concern. Many man hours were spent trying to fill and keep the cracks free of weeds. Tar applications were applied by Del Bullen and Jerry Harrison as a “band-aid” effect in an attempt to create a smoother surface. Weeds grew luxuriantly within the wall of the cracks. At one point in time, there was major discussion and inquiry regarding BRCC covering the runway with a two-inch layer of asphalt. The idea was abandoned after consulting with several asphalt professionals. Mowing the infield foliage required the purchase of a ride-on mower. This was a major task requiring several hours and a very bumpy ride. The mower gradually became mechanically inoperative and was sold. A large shade tent was also purchased mainly for Air Show events. Pilots flew from five painted boxes (pilot stations) on the edge of the runway.
In the early 1990’s BRCC had interest in developing its own flying site in the city of Trenton at an abandoned baseball field. A delegation was sent to meet with the Trenton City Council and obtained permission to use the site but it soon proved too inconveniently situated and too far away for most club members. In 1995 the FAA officially closed runway #5 and painted large “X’s” at both ends. Summer club meetings were held at the flying site while winter meetings were held at the USU Aeronautics Building and later at L.R. Earl’s Hobby Hanger. The BRCC February monthly meeting were held at various local restaurants and election of officers were conducted. The cattle rancher who owned and operated the 90 acres west of the runway had a legitimate beef. One of her cattle ingested a fatal quantity of Monokote obtained from an R/C crash site in their pasture. Fortunately, the rancher was satisfied with merely telling BRCC to please pick up and remove all pieces of crashed model airplanes. The bovine, valued at $700.00, had an autopsy performed at USU which verified the cause of death as ingestion of the Monokote covering. Allsop Turf Farm was the site of many glider flies and a couple were also held the Little Bear Bottoms turf farm in Wellsville.
In 1999, BRCC Presidency, Dave Stuart, Jeff Craw and Gary Blazzard met with the Director of Logan City Parks and Recreation regarding the possibility of the city building a flying site as part of the Logan City Park. The outcome resulted in being wishful thinking as there were no city funds allocated for a radio control site.
Discussions about and searching for a future flying site became more all-important. Members were asked to keep aware of any land which might be available and suitable for a flying site. A “Field Acquisition Committee” consisting of Dave Stuart, Lee Colston, Bob Eckert and Dave Widauf was organized. The BRCC By-laws and corporation documents were drawn in July 2000, Scott Cannon and Mike Paskett are listed as Original Incorporators.
BRCC began in earnest searching for a suitable flying site to purchase. At this time Michael Smith and Amos Palmer were the prime movers and literally beat every bush and cruised every back road through Cache County in search for a prospective flying site. Their two years of unrelenting determination culminated in focusing on a likely site west of Benson Marina. After considerable negotiations, a 20-acre parcel of land was located on 3000 North, east of State Highway 23. The property owner, Val Rasmussen, agreed to sell the “dry farm” land for $900.00 per acre with an option to buy the adjacent 10-acre parcel to the west. The sale contract was signed by Ivan Hooley and Eric Hawley. BRCC was now the owner of its own flying site making this the ultimate highlight event in the history of BRCC. The ink on the contract was still in the final stages of drying when Mr. Rasmussen expectantly died shortly thereafter. The timing was definitely in favor of BRCC as the property would likely have been tied up in probate for an indefinite period of time. The heavens in which the planes fly were definitely smiling upon BRCC. The area is free of any developments or buildings, is easily accessible and is adjacent to a paved county road. It is an ideal flying site and one could not have expected to have located a better location for radio control flying. Other than the giant overgrown black willow tree on the adjacent property to the east and the two poplar trees on adjacent property to the northwest, there are no obstacles. These trees would eventually become a source of concern, humorous comments and interesting conversation over the years. The possibility of having a concrete or asphalt runway donated to BRCC had the attention of club members for many months but unfortunately that possibility eventually evaporated. A year after the original 20-acre purchase BRCC bought the 10-acre “option to buy” property on the west. That ten-acre parcel was encumbered in a Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) with the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture which prevented the club from making any alterations or improvements to the land. The CRP contract expired in 2009 and was not renewed; therefore the club could now do whatever it desired with the property. BRCC made arrangements with the local farmer, Larry Roundy, that he could farm the property and he, in exchange, would maintain the weed control around the flying site. A “bulletproof” frequency board made by Michael Smith and Amos Palmer was erected at the field. All of the improvements and accessories at the Logan Airport were dismantled and disposed of prior to BRCC moving to the new field. Ivan Hooley deposited the large wooden table spools at the Logan landfill after members decided not to take them to the new flying site. The wooden bleachers ended up at a local salvage yard and the shed and port-a-potty were transported to their new field location. The shed was fitted with a new set of shingles by Ivan Hooley. Several hundred yards of free wire fencing was located near Beaver, Utah, and was transported to the field by Amos Palmer. It eventually was strung along the south property line adjacent to the county road and partially on the east property line. Eric Hawley and Al Hill created a BRCC website for newsletters and other club information. Gene Haycock contributed his professional skills in drawing the preliminary flying site plans.
BRCC voted to accept “Lifetime Membership” fees of $1,500.00 which was in harmony with the AMA lifetime membership fee. Certificates were issued to those participating. A onetime “Membership Fee” of $250.00 was initiated. Both were designed to generate instant cash to help pay for the new field. The “original” runway, designed to best fit in the 20 acres ran in a more northeast and southwest direction than the final runway design. Keeping a safer distance from the county road was a major factor in the realigning and the additional purchase of the 10 acres made it achievable. The new 600 foot by 55-foot runway began taking shape with the first ground breaking on 6 June, 2005. Compacting the soil, applying granular soil sterilizer and covering the entire runway with a black weed barrier material were the next steps. The material was secured to the ground with long wire staples and made for a smooth flying surface for the remainder of the summer. The Logan Airport manager notified BRCC that as of January 1, 2006 all radio control activities would no longer be allowed. In actuality, BRCC was without a flying site for a total of only seven days.
Jerry Cokely personally met with each Wellsville City Council person to encourage them to vote in favor of having the City donate pit run gravel for the new flying site. All but one was in favor. Club members then met at the City Council Meeting where Michael Smith made a verbal presentation to the Mayor and City Council who then voted in favor of donating the gravel. There were two major gravel hauling days, one in November 2005 and the second in June 2006. The November delivery resulted in one of the gravel trucks sinking deeply into the soft soil under the black weed barrier material. This necessitated the gravel to be dumped along the edges of the runway and later distributed over the runway. It was a less desirable method but the only choice as there were many gravel trucks under contract to haul gravel to the field that day. Ivan Hooley later spent many hours on the front-end loader leveling out the gravel as best he could with a front end loader. More gravel was needed and in June 2006 the second delivery of pit run gravel was deposited on the runway, once again, donated by Wellsville City.
Gene Haycock and his “survey party” of Bob Eckert and Jerry Cokely spent many hours “shooting grade” along the 600-foot runway as Gene’s rodmen. Road base gravel was then applied on top of the pit run gravel. A good soaking with liquid magnesium chloride was applied atop the road base making a firm and water repellant surface for the remainder of the year. A second application of “mag chloride” followed the next spring. A temporary vinyl netting “safety fence” was erected, as a club project, separating the pitting area from the runway. A decision needed to be made relative to paving the pitting area with asphalt or concrete. The choice for asphalt paving would require a $125.00 assessment. The choice of paving with concrete, being poured and finished by members, required the commitment of 20-30 hours of labor for the project. Members voted for asphalt. In July eight field safety benches were donated and built by members. The bench material was precut and put into kit form by Jerry Cokely. The club checking account was moved from Well Fargo Bank to Washington Mutual in order to obtain free checking. The temporary field safety fence was removed. In August the runway was paved with four inches of asphalt. This was without doubt, the second biggest highlight event in the history of BRCC, the first being the land purchase. The 600 foot by 55-foot ribbon of black was finally on site. Dick Nelsen accepted the honor of cutting the ribbon for the official Ribbon Cutting Ceremony which took place on September 8, 2007.
Pacific Corp. became a grave concern when they announced their intention to install a high voltage power line from Cutler Dam to North Logan. The high voltage poles were either going to be erected along 3000 North, adjacent to BRCC property, or on the old railroad right of way approximately a quarter mile south of the flying site. BRCC members made their concerns known at a public hearing. The power line poles were eventually erected along the former railroad right of way and have presented no problems for R/C flight operations. Another concern surfaced when a local automobile salvage dealer began looking at the property adjacent to the west boundary of the field. Fortunately these worrisome concerns never developed. On October 4, 2007 Scott Jensen, Keith Merrill and Jerry Cokely met with the Cache County Planning and Zoning Commission and BRCC was granted a Conditional Use Permit to fly radio control model aircraft at the site. Jerry Cokely was voted in to be the BRCC Historian.
Discussion regarding safety and various procedures at the field resulted in forming the “Rules and Regulations Committee” consisting of Scott Jensen, Lee Colston and Marc Karpowich. They later submitted their recommendations which were approved by members. In 2006 Richard Williams had completed the complex AMA Grant Request Application form resulting in BRCC being awarded a $5,000.00 grant from the Academy of Model Aeronautics for Flying Site Development and Improvement. L.R. Earl was successful in obtaining RAPZ (Recreation, Arts, Parks and Zoos) tax funds for advertising the Annual Labor Day Air Show. The following year Scott Jensen duplicated the requests with another $5,000.00 AMA grant being awarded and more RAPZ tax assistance.
The AMA also sent BRCC a $330.00 check from “an anonymous donor” for a club that was developing a flying site.
AMA awarded two trainer planes, two transmitters and a flight simulator to the club in connection with the AMA TAG (Take Off and Grow) program. This program was designed to encourage and train future R/C pilots. Richard Williams and Jerry Cokely made major repairs to the foundation and base of the outhouse which had become the victim of high winds. The Brad Wursten family was most generous in providing a $5,000.00 low-interest loan which allowed for paying off the runway asphalt bill. After Mike Spindler augured the post holes and Rick Jensen, Vern Smith and Jerry Cokely installed a four-foot chain link safety fence along the entire length of the pitting area. Aaron and Ron Bliesner were instrumental in the proper installation of a drain line designed to carry excess water from the west side of the field to the east. Thanks to Brad Wursten, Mike Bullen and others for their contribution and work on covering the parking area with pulverized asphalt. Mike spent many hours on the roller compacting and smoothing it.
There are continuing improvements at the flying site. The old “crapper” was replaced and a much better conditioned one was purchased. The entrance gate at the county road was moved to the north allowing all vehicles, especially vehicles pulling trailers, to safely leave the roadway while unlocking and opening the gate. Undoubtedly the best news of the year 2012 is that the Bridgerland Radio Control Club is now totally free of any debt. The entire 30 acres and the asphalt runway have been completely paid off. Focusing on increasing club membership, the members voted to make changes in membership fees. The meeting at the field was likely to be the most attended meeting in the history of the club. The new and less expensive fees were set at $75.00 for adults, $25.00 for youth/students and $100.00 for families. The revisions proved beneficial and have resulted in several new memberships.
During a winter meeting at Central Valley Machine, President Scott Blickenstaff established two committees. The Property Maintenance Committee (Ivan Hooley, Jerry Cokely, Vern Smith, Bob “the builder” Olson) and the Website Development Committee (Tyler Story and Dave Olsen). The runway and pitting area was entirely coated with a polymer sealer by Top Job Asphalt and new lines were painted on the runway. It is expected to preserve the asphalt for at least five years. The club is extremely pleased with the results. At a summer monthly meeting the field safety benches were given a fresh coating of stain making them look new again. Juan Diego High School in Draper removed the Astroturf from the football field and the club acquired a significant portion (70-80%) which was placed along the sides of the runway. The huge and heavy rolls of Astroturf were transported to the field on flat bed trailers. The heavy material required machinery and substantial manpower for handling and putting it into place. Many days of manual labor was provided by many club members as well as operators of the equipment needed for the project. The flying site is now enhanced with a green lawn effect requiring no watering or mowing. Now “soft landings” can be made on the Astroturf. Six rolls of the Astroturf have been held in reserve for future use. The parking area has been significantly extended to the east and west allowing for considerably more area for parking of vehicles and trailers. Road base gravel and pulverized asphalt was spread and then compacted with a vibrating roller. The Astroturf and the extended parking areas are great improvements for the flying site. Club members have been saddened by the passing of Dario (Big Ragu) Brisighella (1953-2013) who put his heart and soul into the interests of the club. His talents and abilities will certainly be missed.
The February banquet meeting was held at “Elements” River Woods restaurant and was well attended. The shed which the Club has owned for “eons” was sold to and removed by Larry Roundy, who farms the agricultural portion of our 30 acre flying site. Over the years the shed served as a storage place for event materials, lawn mower, tent, BBQ grills, miscellaneous stuff, a shelter during the annual “Freeze Fly” and sudden adverse weather conditions. We generously shared the structure with untold generations of field mice both at the former Logan Airport runway #5 location as well as at the new field. Swarms of wasps and hornets also shared the rent free accommodations. The shed had been loaded onto a flatbed trailer and moved to the new field on February 3, 2006 where it began its rapid journey to deterioration and removal.
The club ventured into cyber space by joining Facebook in January and posting its own website in August. Both instantly became big hits. Find them at: https://www.facebook.com/BridgerlandRcclub and http://bridgerlandrc.com
BRCC lost another long time member with the passing of Keith Mauer on August 5, 2013. Keith spent many hours at the field and was also involved in the Civil Air Patrol for many years. R.I.P Keith.
During the November club meeting the 2014 budget was adopted and the dues structure was changed as follows:
* New memberships will be $125.00 which will include the first year’s dues.
* Regular member dues will be $100.00 if paid by March 1st, thereafter will be $125.00.
* Dues for members who did not pay, nor participate in the club the previous year will be $125.
* Family membership will be $125.00. (Family includes spouse, or children under 18 years, AMA required for all.
* Student member dues will be $25.00 (Attach proof of enrollment Spring and Fall sessions).
The Club’s Post Office box address is: P.O. Box 6066 North Logan, Utah 84341
With all of the improvements at the field, several events were successfully hosted by the club during the year. The annual New Year freeze fly was later followed by two pylon races, the inaugural Big Ragu annual glider fly which was combined with the fun fly and a float fly at beautiful Riverside Water Park. It was definitely a busy and fun filled year.
A well-deserved “thanks” is in order to all who have contributed their time, energy, machinery, equipment, personal skills and rendered financial assistance in any way toward the growth and development of BRCC’s first class flying site. There has been an increased need for numerous work projects over the past few years involving BRCC members and they have been recorded here in this writing as well as in the Club Photo History book. There are over 200 photos of the new field development posted on the club website.
Nearly all members have contributed to the growth and success of BRCC and sincere apologies are extended for any inadvertent oversights. A special thanks is due to those who have searched the shadowy recesses of their memories to seek out names of early club members since the inception of the club back in the 1960’s. Many, they know who they are, have contributed and this history is more accurately reflected as a result of their input. Saying thanks falls far short of expressing total appreciation. A photo album showing all phases of the new field development as well as this written history was compiled by Jerry Cokely, BRCC Historian. An exhaustive effort was made to obtain the names and appropriated dates of deceased BRCC members as well as those who have served in past BRCC presidencies.
DECEASED CLUB MEMBERS
Rust Painter 1927-1968
Gene Nielson 1929-1981
Don Clifford 1928-1997
Virgil Merrill 1926-1998
Dean Rees 1923-2000
Jerry Harrison 1932-2004
Scott Budge 1930-2004
Calvin Jacobsen 1923-2008
Carlos Garrido 1966-2008
Jay Taylor 1932-2012
Keith Maurer 1932-2013
Dario Brisighella 1953-2013
Lee Colston 1925-2018
Del Bullen 1932-2019
Rene Winward 1931-2019
Keith Hansen 1930-2019
Wade Fullmer 1940-2019
Paul Leishman 1963-2020
Nathan (Nate) Friedli 1929-2021
* Limited Information from AMA records
** Presidents recollection
All other information obtained from Club Newsletters.