The Thermal-G R/C Club
held its annual
summer fly-in on August 15, 2010, at the Erie Tech Center. The day was sunny, a little too warm for
me, and quite windy. Here are a few pictures I took of the flight line. Also present were member of
the Bean Hill Flyers control line club.
If you had done a Google or Bing search on hobby shops or flying fields in and near the Erie, PA, area
a few years ago, you wouldn't have found much. If you were lucky, you'd have found a reference to the
Thermal-G radio control club, but that's about it. Now if you do the same search, you have a good chance
of finding this page.
Melanie and I moved here in May of 2008, and since then I have made an
attempt to identify where the hobby shops are located, and where the various model flying groups meet.
It has not been easy. It's almost as if nobody wants you to know where they hide out, but that's not
the case - it's just that no one has bothered to promote the venues on the Internet. So, this web page
is an effort to fix that.
BTW, I posted an article from 1962 about Erie's newspaper running a
piece on the
need for a flying site.
Maxwell's Hobby Shop
5014 Station Road
Erie, PA 16510
Maxwell's Hobby Shop is owned and run by Joe Maxwell (a very nice guy). The 600 sq.
ft. shop is stuffed to the gills with kits and equipment for all types of aeromodeling, including free
flight, control line, and radio control. There are some supplies for boats and cars as well.
Directions to Hobby Shop:
Take exit 32 off of I-90 heading north on the Bayfront
Connector (Rt. 430). Keep in the right-hand lane while going about 0.6 mile. Make a right onto Station
Road, at the traffic light in front of the Penn State Erie (Behrend) complex. Go about 500 feet, and
on the right, just past Colt Road, you will see a mailbox with "Maxwell" on it. The hobby shop is in
the building just beyond the house.
Gehrlein's Hobby Shop
9001 Hamot Road
PA 16441 (this is just outside of Erie)
Hobby Shop is owned and run by the Gehrlein family. The shop, situated in a room above the workshop
where they repair and modify full-scale sailplanes, is full of modern kits and equipment for all types
of aeromodeling, including free flight, control line, and radio control. There are some supplies for
boats and cars as well. Directions to Hobby Shop:
If you know how to get
to the Thermal-G flying field, then you know how to get to Gehrlein. If you don't know how to get there,
follow the instructions below for the Thermal-G
Then, instead of turning left at the gate (assuming you're heading south), go about another 300-400
feet and you'll see a big building on the left. That's it. The door is on the back relative to the road.
If you are lucky when you visit, there will be a full-size sailplane in the shop being worked on.
Contact: Cliff Bendig (President)
Field Location: Gehrlein Gliderport
Waterford (Erie), PA
AMA Chartered Club #1211
3-D, Control Line, Electric, Fixed Wing, Free Flight, Fuel/Gas, Helicopters, Park Flyers, Pattern,
Pylon Racing, Radio ControlDirections to Flying Field:
From I-90, take
exit 24 south onto Peach Street (Rt. 19), then go a few hundred feet and take the first right onto Oliver
Road. At about a mile, you will see the Five Points intersection, with Erie Tech Center complex ahead
on the right. Turn left (south) onto Hamot Road. Continue past the couple housing complexes and then
after a mile, keep watch to the left, where you'll see a sign next to a cleverly hidden gravel road.
If you get to the driveway for the glider port hangars, you've gone too far. Turn around, go back 200
feet and make a right onto the dirt road. The parking lot for the field is separated from the flying
area by about 500 feet. Note: There are now gates across the access road, so if they are closed, that
means nobody is flying.
Note also that the good people at Gehrlein Products
who allow the club to fly there also run a hobby shop on the site.
Erie Model Aircraft Association
View Larger Map
Contact: Ross P. Mayo (Flying
2874 Willowood Dr.
Erie, PA 16506
Phone: 814-836-1299 AMA Chartered Club #545
(photos & video
Indoor Micro R/C
Contact: John Schardt
Directions to McDowell Intermediate High School Gymnasium:
From I-90, take
the 26th Street (Rt. 20) exit heading west. Go about 1 mile and turn right onto Caughey Road. McDowell
Middle School is on the right after about a half mile. Turn in and go to the gymnasium entrance.
Note: Both Gerhlein's and
Bean Hill Flyers
View Larger Map
Rt. 6N, just east of Albion, PA
Contact: Joe Daniels
AMA Chartered Club
CW Action Hobbies
1385 Kiantone Rd
View Larger Map
Jamestown, NY 14701
Note: This article was written when CW Action Hobbies was
located at 509 West 3rd Street. I will try to update the photos within the next couple months.
Toll Free (800) 737-1180
Hours: Mon-Thur 9:30 - 6 pm
Friday 9:30 - 8 pm
Saturday 9:30 -
a great hobby shop! Admittedly, I don't get around too much, but this ranks in the top two or three
best hobby shops I have ever had the pleasure of visiting. You walk through the front door of Action
Hobbies and see shelves and walls full of hobby and craft supplies, but then you walk up the stairs
and are greeted with an unbelievable amount of aircraft and rocketry modeling gear. It would be hard
to stuff any more stuff into the available space. Action Hobbies also does a big online business, so
they probably more a lot of inventory through there. The prices are absolutely on par with what you
would pay from an online seller, so that really works in their favor. Unfortunately, they have to charge
New York state sales tax to in-state purchasers (online or walk-in), so the mail order deals save a
little if shipping is free (which Action Hobbies offers on order over $100)