Jet Jam can go on, Secret Service says

February 14th, 2014 | by Blake Herzog | Comments
Coachella Valley Radio Control Club president Dan Metz shows a U.S. Navy F-4 Phantom scale-model electric jet on Monday. The radio-controlled jet, which can fly at 150 mph, was built by La Quinta resident Lou Lombardi, and is one of about 80 jets expected to fly Feb. 15-16. Crystal Chatham/The Desert Sun

Coachella Valley Radio Control Club president Dan Metz shows a U.S. Navy F-4 Phantom scale-model electric jet on Monday. The radio-controlled jet, which can fly at 150 mph, was built by La Quinta resident Lou Lombardi, and is one of about 80 jets expected to fly Feb. 15-16.
Crystal Chatham/The Desert Sun

This hasn’t been an easy couple of weeks for the Monster Energy Jet Jam Invitational, held every February by the Coachella Valley Radio Control Club at its field near Thermal, but the show of 80 supersized, supercharged model planes will go on this weekend.

When President Obama’s summit with King Abdullah II of Jordan was announced for Friday, club president Dan Metz was told by the Federal Aviation Administration the Commander in Chief would be flying in and out of Palm Springs that day, so the two-day event could be moved back one day without violating the no-fly zone in a 30-mile radius around the president.

Metz said the presidential no-fly zone prohibits any type of aircraft for a 10 nautical mile radius around Sunnylands or wherever else the president may be, and restricted to restricted to planes with a formal flight plan on file with an air traffic control tower, effectively banning all model plane activity.

But Metz said the club’s event director, Clay Seddon, was able to work with the Secret Service and the Academy of Model Aeronautics to obtain a permit which Metz said will be “a beta test for all future model plane events.”

Early Saturday, “the Secret Service will come out and inspect our planes and everything else, and we’ll be happy to do anything we can to accomodate them,” Metz said.

There will be a 1,000-foot flight restriction for the jet-plane models, which can go up to 250 mph. Forty pilots invited from across the Southwest will bring two models each to fly at the event.

Metz hopes to draw 1,000 spectators to the event, including a busload of clients from Angel View, which serves the developmentally disabled. The $5 parking fee benefits the Wounded Warrior Project.

The flying will be 10 a.m. to at least 4 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. More information, including the club’s field near Jacqueline Cochran Airport, can be found at the club’s website.

 

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