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Stormy skies on the horizon for popular remote control flying club in Fallbrook

New development forces Palomar RC Flyers to find a new location for flying, friendship and fun.

FALLBROOK, Calif. —
As San Diego County continues to grow, the construction of new homes and retail space is making open areas increasingly hard to find. In this Zevely Zone, we found something special in the air in Fallbrook that needs our help. 

The Palomar Radio Control Flyers Club is an organization with approximately 280 members. The flying enthusiasts travel from San Diego, Riverside, and Orange County to fly small aircraft. 

The pilots currently operate in an open field they call Johnson Field, land located near the intersection of Route 76 and Interstate 15 in Fallbrook. You have probably seen their aircraft flying at that location as you travel in the area.

Credit: KFMB

After 20 years at their current location, the club will soon lose their flying field due to new development. Within one mile radius of their field, more than 1,200 homes have been built or will be built since 2017. 

Their field will soon be filled with a shopping center and homes. The club says Pappas Investments out of Sacramento has been wonderful to them but the valuable land is needed for other use. 

Credit: KFMB

When we visited Johnson Field we were met with a tradition of friendship and flying that dates back to 1955. 

"We are all kids," said one of the flyers. Since the early 2000s, it's been nothing but blue skies for the Palomar RC Flyers, but there's a storm approaching. 

"It's pretty sad, you know, a facility like this is really hard to come by especially in Southern California," said club president Joe Villareal. "If you look around now rows of houses here, over the hill there and down below."

Credit: KFMB

Within the next year, the club needs to find a new place to fly.  

"Well, it's heartbreaking because we have enjoyed this spot, it is home to three hundred people," said Steve Gebler who is in charge of the new land search committee. "We knew this was coming sooner or later we didn't know how hard it was going to be to find a new piece of property," said Steve.

Credit: KFMB

Before occupying their current location, the landowner had a great deal of problems with vandalism, trash depositing, and drug activities. Due to the activities of the club flying on the field site seven days a week, they have provided constant surveillance of the land. 

"Our landowners have always been happy to have us because we are good citizens in the community," said Steve. 

Not only are they fully insured and follow FAA rules, but they'll also pay for everything needed for a pilot's paradise. "This place was a glorified dumpsite before we moved in a lot of transients a lot of garbage a lot of illegal activity going on here," said Joe.  

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The Palomar RC Flyers support numerous community programs. Their hobby benefits STEM programs, ROTC, Scouting, and other community service organizations. The club will also teach anyone interested how to fly for free. 

Maybe if we spread the word, this nice group of people can find a new flying location to keep on spreading their wings.

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Here is what the Palomar RC Flyers are looking for:

  • 25+ acres 
  • Relatively Flat
  • Not in close proximity to housing or other structures
  • Ability to have a runway that is in excess of 500'

If you are aware of a landowner that has open land that might be suitable, please reach out to Steve Gebler at (760) 519-8163 or email him at fly@stevegebler.com

You can also visit the club's website by clicking here.

WATCH RELATED: Up, up and away: Fly to Palm Springs on a hang glider (Jan 2020)

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