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Model airplanes can again prepare for flight

CARLSBAD — Carlsbad’s model airplane enthusiasts will once again have freedom to fly with a proposed amendment to the city’s municipal code.
Council members agreed to lift a one-year-old ban that prohibited the use of model planes in city parks at the Jan. 12 council meeting. The proposed amendment includes restrictions and regulations, but would still allow flyers access to public space that has been off limits.
City staff approached the council with four options to consider that would best suit the city and its residents. They could repeal the amendment and deregulate use, make no changes to the current amendment, allow regulated use at Zone 5 parks or allow regulated use on natural turf baseball fields when not being used by athletic teams.
All five council members voted in favor of allowing planes on natural turf fields. This option also requires flyers to have liability insurance and use will only be permitted between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m., said Mick Calarco, city recreation services manager.
Calarco noted that the original amendment was to address concerns of noise and safety, but the proposed regulations would adequately cover those issues.
Charles DuShay, who has been building model aircrafts for more than 60 years, attended the meeting to support the proposed amendment. He has personally recorded the decibel level of model airplanes and said, “you can’t hear these little electric planes once they’re airborne.”
“I have never witnessed or heard of anyone being injured by remote aircrafts,” he said, in regard to safety concerns with the model planes.
Several other model plane flyers spoke before council to support the proposed amendment. Gus Calderon has been flying remote-controlled airplanes for more than 30 years and has also never heard of someone being injured by the planes.
Calderon said that local model airplane club, the Carlsbad Electric Flyers, supported the council integrating the use of planes on natural turf fields into the code.
“I had no idea the depth of this sport,” said Mayor Pro Tem Ann Kulchin, who thanked all of the model airplane enthusiasts for attending the meeting and showing their support.