On Wednesday, July 16, the Oro Valley Town Council approved a measure to allow members of a local radio-controlled model airplane club to fly their planes in the Naranja Town Site.
With the exception of Councilwoman Paula Abbott, town leaders decided the Sonaran Desert Fliers Club’s electric-powered planes don’t pose a threat to civil or military aviators who would share the same airspace.
A group of pilots from La Cholla Airpark spoke in opposition to the model aircraft aviators.
Pilots flying in and out of the airpark often use a section of the park as a guide when approaching the small airfield.
The La Cholla fliers suggested the council continue the item until better coordination between the model plane and recreational pilots can be achieved.
Abbott supported the idea of a continuance suggesting there may be a need to coordinate with planes flying into Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and emergency services helicopters from Northwest Hospital.
Bob Schumann, speaking for the Sonoran Desert Fliers, said the group would do whatever the council advised if they could eventually fly their models in the park.
In the end, the council gave the model fliers the go-ahead with the condition that they fly only during set times and keep their planes below 200 feet in the air.