Flying to save a warrior

Dozenâ??s of people from all over the country came out to the Ottumwa Regional Airport to celebrate a national day of flying model airplanes.

"We understood there was a warrior event going on--a charity going on for the military, so we decided we better come and support,â?? Barbara Carey, of Kansas City said.

"I just think it's time everybody gets together,â?? event organizer Joel Wilson said. â??We'll wait for the government to help our troops; it will never happen. I think it's good that we all do it as individuals, and we the people were showing the respect they do for us every single day."

Because of a letter Wilson wrote to the National Academy of Model Aeronautics, more than 175 sites are participating in the event to help support our troops.

"And I asked them lets do 50 air shows in 50 states in one day and make that a fundraiser for the Wounded Warriors, and let's help these troops," Wilson said.

Spectators could watch more than 30 world-class pilots like Chip Hyde and Matt Stringer maneuver a giant scale airplane at 200 mph.

â??We fly set maneuvers for the scale aerobatics,â?? Stringer said. â??They are based off of real airplanes, and we have to fly them as such.â??

â??My dad flew back in the mid â??70s, and he taught me how to fly,â?? Hyde said. â??We flew together till about 1982 or â??83, and then he kind of put his flying aside and helped me out. That's when I started winning the nationals and stuff when I was 12 and I won in 1984 when I was 12, and I just won again two weeks ago.â??

Hyde has been flying aerobatic and racing planes for 40 years and travelled all the way with his 18-year-old accomplice from Southern California.

"It's pretty neat. I think there is even one in England and one in Puerto Rico that's going on today," Hyde said.

Admission cost $5 per person, and organizers say the proceeds raised from the event will go directly to the Wounded Warrior Project. The fundraising continued at Courtside Bar and Grill with a wounded warrior concert at 7 p.m.