Spectators take in a show at the Airmeet.
Photo by Horizon Hobby
For four days in September, Sanford Seacoast Regional Airport was the epicenter of radio control excitement, as it played host to the first Horizon Hobby U.S. Airmeet.
The Airmeet was started four years ago by Horizon Hobby Germany as a unique way to give the general public an up-close look at the world of radio control hobbies. The annual event quickly grew into one of Europe’s premier R/C attractions. This is the first year the Airmeet has come to U.S. shores. If the enthusiastic response it received from the public is any indication, it likely won’t be the last, Horizon publicist Kim Payne said.
Admission was free, and more than 20,000 spectators, including 600 students from Sanford-area schools, showed up to experience the four-day event. As with its European counterpart, the U.S. Airmeet included demonstrations by many of the world’s top R/C and full-scale pilots, including former U.S. aerobatic team member Matt Chapman.
In between aerial displays, spectators were able to take the controls of an R/C buggy or airplane at one of the "try me" stations. Other attractions included model rocket launches, nighttime fireworks displays, and a massive off-road race track where visitors watched professional R/C drivers compete head to head.
In addition to the thousands in attendance, media outlets all along the New England coast made it to the event.
Joe Schamuhn, Vice President of Strategic Marketing for Horizon, was pleased with the turnout and the positive public response. "The first U.S. Airmeet was a great success for everybody involved — Horizon, the pilots, the drivers and of course our partner, Ray and Robin’s Hobby Shop," he said. "We proved that fun, interactive R/C events like this can draw just as big a crowd in the U.S. as they do in Europe. Most important, thousands who have never had any exposure to R/C hobbies now know just how fun they can be."