Despite some turbulence in its more than a half century existence, a local radio-controlled plane flying club is still soaring toward the future.
On Wednesday, August 12, the Bronx Blue Angels Radio Control Club celebrated over 50 years with a barbecue event at Ferry Point Park Field #4.
The special occasion featured a grill competition between Bronx Blue Angels members, a special video presentation of ‘Bronx Blue Angels Radio Control Club (50 Years in the Making)’ and special appearances by local elected officials, NYC Parks Department officials and Academy of Model Aeronautics officials.
An aerial formation featuring this club’s famous radio-controlled P40 and P51 Warbird military airplanes was presented to the delight of many.
The non-profit organization honored Senator Jeff Klein with a plaque during Wednesday’s event for his commitment to public service and for helping them this year when the group needed to obtain a permit to fly their planes.
“The Blue Angels are an institution here in the Bronx celebrating more than 50 years of flying and successful service to the community,” the senator expressed. “This past spring, I was proud to help the Blue Angels secure a permit for flight season. I thank them for this tremendous award and wish them nothing but sunny skies in the future.”
The club also presented a plaque to the NYC Parks Department recognizing their long lasting collaborative relationship.
In March, Frank Verdejo, BBA chief executive officer, contacted the senator’s office because they needed to get their permit approved in order to fly model planes at Ferry Point Park Field #4.
Senator Klein’s office immediately reached out to the Parks Department and they were successful in getting the non-profit’s license approved.
Verdejo explained this was due to Parks undergoing a transition as newly appointed Bronx Parks Commissioner Iris Rodriguez-Rosa took over for retiring former commissioner Hector Aponte, but confirmed it was resolved quickly and both BBA and Parks still maintain a very strong relationship.
BBA is a multi-generational organization having several retired police and veterans as well as many active commercial pilots among its ranks.
This club first took flight in the early 1960s and conducted air drills at the short lived Freedomland amusement park until its 1964 closure.
BBA spread its wings at Ferry Point Park until construction on Trump Golf Links started in 1999 causing the group to disperse.
Verdejo was a ten-year BBA veteran in 1999 when he approached the club’s then president and vice president asking for their blessing to have them fly at Ferry Point Park Field #4 which they allowed.
Since then, the group boasts a 16-year strong safety reputation in this open public park revealing a club that provides a fun yet safe activity for all to enjoy.
Verdejo said, Donald Trump expressed great interest in their planes telling them to “take care of those planes, they’re beautiful” and met with BBA members.
Some of the aircraft flying these friendly skies include electric and nitro gas powered planes, helicopters and the more modern quadcopters.
“I see a very bright future regarding innovation in this hobby and we must maintain the safety umbrella as tight as we can,” Verdejo expressed.
Membership is free, however Verdejo said members must adhere to strict rules and regulations regarding public safety and they must be insured by AMA.
If interested in joining the Bronx Blue Angels, visit Ferry Point Park Field #4’s soccer fields on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.