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VENTURA COUNTY ROUNDUP | East County / Thousand Oaks

Model Airplane Club Seeks Place to Fly


A 28-year-old model airplane club has lost its long-standing flying site in Thousand Oaks and is looking for a new home.

Members of the RC Model Airplane Club will solicit signatures from the public Nov. 4 and 5 at The Oaks mall. The petition urges the City Council to help secure a new location for the club to fly its models, said club spokesman Joe Martin.

Members will speak with passersby to rally support and capture the attention of city government. A World War II replica airplane will be on display.

The club, which has been using a site behind the old Northrop facility at Rancho Conejo Road, has gathered about 500 signatures and is aiming for more than 1,000.

"When Northrop sold its property, we lost our voice," Martin said. "We've been bugging [council members] for a year . . ."

Thousand Oaks has 14,000 acres of open space, much of which is restricted national parkland or land overseen by the Santa Monica and Conejo land conservancies and the Department of Fish and Game, said Rick Esler, club president. Much of the land is mountainous or rough terrain that isn't suitable for flying model airplanes, he said.

Founded in 1972 for Northrop employees fascinated by remote-operated vehicles, the club opened its membership to the public a month later, Esler said. The club has more than 100 members, many of whom are retired professionals or children who want to learn about flying.

The club has considered using a parcel at the Happy Camp area in Moorpark, but has been rebuffed by representatives of the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority because the area is a natural water basin, Martin said.

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