Small airplanes, big following

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 30, 2011



NORCO – When it is not being used as a flood control structure to ease pressure on the Mississippi River levees, the Bonnet Carre Spillway is known as a recreational haven for outdoor enthusiasts.

When speaking of the recreational offerings within the 7,600-acre swath of land, most area residents will bring up the boat launches, the ATV/bike trails and the fishing holes, but one area continuously growing in popularity is spot where remote control airplane pilots get their miniature crafts up in the air.

Most of the action is confined to Bleakley Field, a designated flying area near the halfway point of the Spillway Bottom Road. Destrehan resident Ralph Goodman, who was out Tuesday morning flying two of his planes, said the field is often crowded with pilots on any given weekend.

“During the week, you might see one or two people out with planes, but the weekend is a different story,” Goodman said. “Saturday and Sunday can bring out as many as 15 pilots with various sized planes on display.”

Goodman said most of the planes that fly on the field are smaller models but added some more ambitious flyers have much larger planes.

“We’ve seen people bring planes out in mobile trailers,” Goodman said. “There are some real serious pilots in this area.”

The field is home to competitions and other flying shows throughout the year.

The most recent event was a tribute to the veterans in March that attracted residents from the Southeast Louisiana War Veterans Home in Reserve.