Airplanes (model ones, that is) likely coming to EPCAL

NEWS-REVIEW FILE PHOTO | An aerial view of Calverton Enterprise Park.
NEWS-REVIEW FILE PHOTO | An aerial view of Calverton Enterprise Park.

It looks like airplanes will be coming to the Enterprise Park at Calverton after all.

Model airplanes, that is.

At last Thursday’s Town Board work session, council members gave their informal approval to a proposed three-day event in August celebrating “National Model Aviation Day,” which is Aug. 16.

A group called the Edgewood Flyers has proposed the event on the weekend of Aug. 15-17 on the southern portion of the unused runway on the southwest corner of EPCAL.

“We’re a community-based organization that deals with model aeronautics,” said John Sabini, a member of the group, as well as a Jet Blue pilot and a professor of Aeronautics and Technology at Vaughn College in East Elmhurst.

The group, which is a member of the Long Island Model Aviation Association, has about 150 members, and they are governed by the Academy of Model Aeronautics.

The LIMAA seeks to promote interest in aviation and science in an educational environment, Mr. Sabini says.

The group is proposing to have setup and registration on Friday, Aug. 15, then an all-day flying event on the Saturday after that, and an awards ceremony and cleanup on the Sunday, Mr. Sabini said.

The group would raise money through a $25 fee for entries in the event, and last year, the AMA raised $76,000 for Wounded Warriors nationwide on National Model Aviation Day events, Mr. Sabini said.

All of the proceeds from the event go to a charity, he said.

Usually, the National Model Aviation Day event is held upstate, leaving participants to drive for hours to get there, Mr. Sabini said.

This would be the first time it’s been held on Long Island.

He expects between 200 and 250 participants and another 100 or so spectators.

Mr. Sabini’s group had sought to use the EPCAL runway for model airplanes in 2007, but town officials at the time were concerned that it would negatively affect their attempts to get state approvals for the site.

This time, that doesn’t appear to be a concern.

“We actually did run this through the state Department of Environmental Conservation and because it’s a one-time event, the DEC had no problem with it harrowing the birds,” Supervisor Sean Walter said.

The group plans to park cars on the edge of the runway and not on the grass, Mr. Sabini said.

Mr. Walter said one change he’d like to see is for the entrance to the event to come from the Route 25 entrance to EPCAL, and not from the Grumman Boulevard/Line Road entrance. Mr. Sabini had no problem with that, but said they chose this site for the event because it wouldn’t interfere with SkyDive Long Island’s activities.

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