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McDougal and Richard NicolsExperience the joy of flying with your feet firmly planted on the ground. You’re invited to join members of the Highland Lakes Flyers to try your hand at radio-controlled model airplanes any morning of the week in Kingsland — wind and weather permitting. The flyers usually get together about 8 to 9 in the morning — if it’s cold — at Hank Nilsen Field off RR 2545 at 702 Williamette Road, about two miles east of RR 1431.

“We’ll set you up and teach you how to fly,” said longtime member Mike McDougall, who’s been flying model planes since the 1960s. The hobby is much easier today, he says.

“Today, most planes are electric; some even have gyros to keep them straight,” he says. “You don’t need to be a mechanic anymore to maintain and fly them.”

McDougall said he was once interested in flying full-scale planes, but his wife told him to make a decision: models or full-scale, but not both.

“I chose the one I could go over and pick up the pieces after a crash,” he said. “It’s safer. Also, I’ve been married 40 years, so it’s worked out well.”

You can learn about the art of radio-controlled model planes at the Highland Lakes Flyers website. But beware. Once you’ve tried it, you might like it — too much.

“As my wife would say, you run the risk of addiction,” McDougall joked. He might be founding a Flyers Anonymous next!

PHOTO: Mike McDougall and Richard Nicols with an electric powered Reactor Biplane at the Highland Lakes Flyers field in Kingsland, Texas. Photo Courtesy Hill Country Flyers.