Model plane club grounded during fair due to President Trump's vacation

Thursday, August 10, 2017
Model plane club grounded due to President Trump's vacation
Tim Fleischer reports from Bedminster.

BEDMINSTER, New Jersey (WABC) -- It's one of the highlights of the Somerset County Fair, which Wednesday starts its 70th summer.

Over the next three days, across the vast pristine airfield, members of the Broken Props Airplane Club were hoping to fly their model planes like they have the past 52 years.

The only thing flying there now are the geese.

"We can't do what we came to do," said Tony Devergillo, 4-H Club Leader. "The kids are sad."

This sign explains it all, that due to President Trump's vacation in the Bedminster area, a temporary flight restriction (TFR) has grounded all flights in the area, including model airplanes.

"Yeah, a little disappointment," said Robbie Devergillo, 4-H Club President. "Of course the president's protection is always number one."

Club members prepare for this big event all year long, going to club meetings and working on their remote control model planes to be able to fly them twice a day at the Somerset County 4-H Fair which attracts 50,000 people.

"Even if you're not flying, just being at the fair and part of the fair is something special that not everyone can be a part of," said Peter Bellek, 4-H Club Vice President.

By way the crow flies, the president's club is roughly four miles from where the members fly their planes.

"Would they be that much of a threat?" Eyewitness News asked.

"No. The planes we fly are limited by line of sight. So basically the area that's in a border here is basically is the line of sight," Tony said.

As of now the 10 members will share with fair visitors their exhibits and their love of flying.

"Maybe find other things to do. Like do activities, like maybe build a plane, maybe do paper planes," said Ryan Bellek, 4-H Club Secretary.

They even have a flight simulator.

"It's kind a like virtual reality kind of thing where you can practice to help you get good at flying model planes," said Alex Tole, 4-H Club Member.

Making the best of this grounding, the members are keeping with the true spirit of the 4-H club.

"Goes with our four H's, head, heart, hand and health," said Lisa Rothenburger, County 4-H Agent. "It's not just about what you are learning but how you can give back. And who you are and the kind of person you are becoming while learning all those things."

Valuable lessons learned so they can fly another day.