They're back in business with renewed energy and a new place to play.
The Sun City Prop Busters, the radio control model airplane aficionados, have a new takeoff and landing field to call their own after they had to leave their former well-groomed field just a short distance south of their current digs.
The current land, donated to the club by Sherritt Coal in return for their previously donated land that had to be reclaimed for mining purposes a couple of years ago, won't undergo a similar fate in years to come.
“They've promised us there is no coal here that they'll want and it's our land to develop through a long- term lease,” said Shelly Folbar, the club's secretary.
The Prop Busters are now in the procsess of grooming their new three-acre site, beginning with a fresh crop of grass that will be left uncut this fall in anticipation of good growing conditions next spring.
They've done quite a bit of land levelling and filling in a low spot on the edge of the property.
“We had a great field before, we'll have another great one again,” said Folbar.
“We've had this land for about four years now,” said Elroy Dougherty, a club member whose son Art is the current president.
“It was too soggy to work on much last year, but we got a road built in here and we got a miniature temporary field in the meantime. It's good for small planes and helicopters, but not all the planes,” said Dougherty.
Thanks to a mining excavation site nearby, an underground irrigation system will be implemented in the spring to make full use of a good water supply.
As far as membership goes, Folbar said the Prop Busters have never had to conduct a membership drive.
“We've had as few as 20 and as many as 80. We're down a bit now, but that's mainly because we didn't have a home, but that's changed. Our members are as young as eight and as old as 80 and all are pretty active,” she added.
So far simple word-of-mouth about the local club has kept the membership growing with radio controlled model enthusiasts joining the club from as far away as North Dakota and Oxbow and Lampman in southeast Saskatchewan.
Their new clubhouse came to them by way of a donation from a construction company that no longer needed the building following the completion of a major hotel building project last year.
The excavation work, road building, grass seeding and cutting has all been done through volunteer efforts and Dougherty noted that as many as 40 companies have donated equipment, time and personnel just so that the club could get back up and operating at full potential again.
“We have the water, the grass, the three acre field, the insurance and mandatory training that is required to be a member and we'll have the membership back up again, I'm sure by next spring, when the word gets out that we're ready to go,” said Folbar.
Anyone wanting to fly with the Prop Busters has to pass the mandatory wings test, which is similar to remote control pilots who fly drone aircraft. The course is presented by the club's insurance provider. The club backs that up with a master instructors' designation for added safety.
“Everyone stays safe here, it's a requirement that anyone who flies with us completes the course,” Folbar said.
The club maintains a Facebook and website page for those interested in further details.
The Prop Busters have a rich history in Estevan, dating back to the early 1980s when they operated out of the former Estevan Airport that used to be located just south of the city ... forged out of the Second World War pilot training program. After the old airport was claimed for the coal underneath, the club eventually found a base on land donated by the coal company and now, after a little upheaval and recovery from floods, they'll be back on good soil and good company next spring. As was evidenced by the enthusiasm displayed by current members, they won't have any problems filling out their membership roster once more. The word will get out and former members and new members will be welcomed into the fold and regular flying sessions will resume with special events scheduled throughout the prime flying months.