A History by Deryl Kartz, Society Historian, updated December 2013

The Edmonton Radio Control Society began in 1959 with a small group of young men transitioning from free flight and control line model flying, into the new radio control sport, called R/C. The radios were primitive and unreliable and were sometimes built by the flyers themselves. They were self taught and had to master the fact they were in multi directional mode and had to figure out how to fly back towards themselves and ultimately land. Takeoffs were voluntary and landings became mandatory. A lot of the early models did not survive long. However as equipment, like the new $1,000 Kraft system came on the scene, flying became truly "proportional", that is the airplane control surfaces moved in sync with the flight transmitter sticks. Some early models still exist today, even after over fifty years, and are still flyable.

These early radio control pioneers started renting flying space near Ellerslie, in a portion of a farmer's yard. The rented space was paid for out of their own pockets. These are the original founders that started the Edmonton Radio Control Society: Harold (Harry) Tom,  Dick Henderson and Bob Parkes. Later, Ross Grady, Bill Carroll, Ron Simonson, Steve Baxter, Doug Goddard, Merv Stuart (deceased), Harold (Bud)Haight (deceased), Ed Hardy and Dan Libich contributed to the field rental, and took up the sport.
Russ Goulay, (deceased), became the first President in 1960 under the newly chartered Society, and served two terms. He was succeeded by Ross Grady, two terms, Jack Ellifson, two terms, Merv Stuart, four terms, Deryl Kartz, two terms, John Maland (deceased), four terms, and Wayne Watson, four terms. There were a succession of one term presidents; Dave Cornish, Bruce Bender, Terry Willis, and John Brown, (deceased). Mo Alan served two terms, and Tom Robertson resigned mid term. Don Bain (deceased) took over mid term and served an additional two terms. Dave Kachorowski was president for the next four terms, then Ed Zeschuck took over the following three terms. Don Miller served the longest overall so far with initially four terms, then Brian Bell for one term and then Don Miller again for two more terms. Brian Bell again served one term. Bill Derkson Three terms. This takes us up to the current president, Rick Zaplachinski. There have been to date, nineteen presidents serving over the last fifty one years.
Other currently active members with long term involvement in R/C and the ERCS are, Deryl Kartz  Fifty-one years, Bruce Bender, over forty years. Ian Middleton, Peter Cary and Muryl Marler over thirty years. Neil Hansen was the membership chairman for fifteen years and Allan McGillis was, treasurer for eleven years and is now membership chairman. There are more long term members to add, giving an indication of how long this sport has been supported locally.

A monthly newsletter was started By Merv Stuart around 1962 and he personally funded it for about twenty years. Jim Childerhouse, Jim Barton, Ed Zeschuck, Dave Kachoroski Jerry Van Dyke, Dave McGowan and  Brad Lourie have continued the tradition of newsletter editor.

A Wings Program was started in 1978 by John Brown and was handled by Don Miller for many years. This is following the format of MAAC, the Model Aircraft Association of Canada. It trains new pilots to safely fly, and is a prerequisite to flying solo at all ERCS fields. There is an instructor and senior instructor test as well. Currently there are two senior instructors, Peter Cary and Ian Middleton. They were the original flight testers for this program. In 1985, Ian Middleton started a Ground School. This trains new members about the safe and proper construction of their model. This is then followed by flight training under the Wings Program. With these programs ERCS has not had a known serious mishap, aside from the odd mangled finger, trying to start an engine.

In 1991 there were some members that were not in agreement with impending changes to noise levels of the engines and a new muffler rule. The President of the day resigned mid- term and left the club. Under Don Bains' three terms as president, some  milestones occurred. There was the implementation of a noise rule requiring all engines to be muffled. This caused some conflict and some members left for other clubs. Under Don Bain there was a Member of the Year Award inaugurated for exceptional or long term contributions to ERCS. Also the executive recognized that the current field south of 167 ave. was going to be taken over by the soccer club, and a way to fund a new site had to be implemented. A $100 field development fee was assessed to all existing and new members. This has not changed to this day. Later in 1993 an annual air show was started to inform the public, and gather moral support for the sport. There were also annual auctions that Muryl Marler organized as a means of raising operational funds. The field on 167 ave. was developed in 1992 and was taken over for construction development by the landlord in 2010 There was a field in Clover Bar that took three years of work and leadership from Ed Zeschuck to get usable. It was  co- operated by ERCS and the Strathcona Flyers group. This field is now closed to make way for the new ring road. The newest Field called Bremner Field was sourced by Bruce Bender and is leased from Lafarge Aggregates. Bruce worked four years on acquisition arrangements and a lease from LaFarge Aggregates was signed in 2006 and was recently renewed to 2018. This  lead ERCS to officially open Bremner Field on August 14th, 2010 as part of the ERCS 50th anniversary celebrations.

Field Locations

In 1959 the original flying site was one mile west of Highway 2  and was a rough field used for only one year. The next field was on Ellerslie Road, which was way out in the country. It was close to a farmer's yard and took about fifteen minutes to drive from the edge of the city. It took an hour by bicycle as a young member who routinely rode his bike found out. He would tie his plane on the back fender and pedal down the highway, even refusing rides from other members, he was determined to do this all on his own, including teaching himself to fly. So it was throw airplane, crash, go home, next day ride out and do it all over again. He did learn to fly somewhat.  A lot were self taught, there was no instructors or wings program. It was watch someone else fly, then try it yourself often the result was a crash, the question was is, it repairable? Learning the hard way or at least that the ground was very hard. It was a great day to go home and not rebuild, so as to fly again another day.

In 1962 the corner field location, on the same farmers' field. was moved to a new site alongside Ellerslie Road,  It had better access and an open field with a power line not too close for approach, There was an old tractor with a very tall exhaust stack, which indeed got hit just before someone said, "someday, someone is going to hit that stack". There were no houses for a good mile. ERCS operated there for thirteen years and in 1975 had to move because of engine noise. There were complaints from across the road at the newly constructed house. Mufflers were not required and noise levels were not established yet. Merv Stuart sourced a new field in north Edmonton about 1.5 miles south of the 167 ave. field. There were no buildings and the Society operated there sixteen years. When the baseball club took over the site, a new search was on, and there was no location for a year. Members flew where ever they could at other sites, like St. Albert. In 1992 Mo Alam sourced the site at 167 Ave. ERCS operated there eighteen years until the fall of  2010 when the current owner started land clearing to build homes on the site. In about 1995 Ed Zeschuck sourced and led the construction of the now closed Clover Bar Field. He put in so many hours organizing and personally building on site, with little help, that some suggested that it be named "Eds' Field". He did not want that.

 In 2006 ERCS learned that the new ring road was going to require the Clover Bar field for operations and equipment storage at some time in the not too distant future. The search was on again. Bruce Bender found the present Bremner site in 2006. Nate Rondeau applied for a change to the land use bylaw and was successful. Bruce Bender applied for a development permit from the County of Strathcona to make a flying site. At first the County refused to grant one because the adjacent golf course said noise was going to affect their business After a hearing, and the Society spending money on a noise consultant to provide sound data from out airplanes actually flying, a permit was finely granted on appeal. The Mayor, Kathy Olsen and councilors, Linda Oflyniuk and Vic Bidninski of Strathcona Council supported our cause. Lafarge supplied leased land, and leveled and helped to get it constructed. Sea containers were moved there from other sites and new tables and toilets were set up, as well as fencing and in- ground grass watering. Canadian Dewatering helped immensely with the supply of the pumps and irrigation systems and club member, Bob Wonitoy did electrical and pumps installations. There were weekly phone outs and work parties were arranged for watering, seeding and with good turnouts. There were 50+ trees donated by Dundee Developments, a local tree farm. Members worked long hours transporting, digging and planting.. The new site started limited operation in June 2010.The Scale Masters was the first sanctioned event staged. The official opening, along with the 50 years of The Edmonton Radio Control Society was celebrated on August 14th, and 15th 2010. There were about 1000 people and a fantastic air show. The food was sold out, and the flying show superb, and a great potluck barbeque. A total team effort from organization to implementation! Bill Derksens' dream was fulfilled! He proposed the celebration four years previously. More programs for ongoing funding are in the future. A casino application was rejected. With food banks that we support, and air cadets we teach, and museums we display for, and communities we provide recreation for, through air shows and mall displays, we have a better chance of getting a casino. Our membership needed to increase to more than 100 from our usual 80 to help in ongoing monthly field overhead. This has been accomplished.
With the advent of park flyer electric r/c aircraft some may choose to fly illegally at school grounds and city parks, it is up to the membership to discourage this and encourage these potential new members to join a world class site that we can provide.
This also includes a water site for float flying and we are now approved by the county for turbine jets.

ERCS Executive History At A Glance


Original Founders 1960
Harold Tom
Dick Henderson
Bob Parks

Original Members
Ross Grady
Bill Carroll
Ron Simonson
Steve Baxter
Doug Goddard
Merv Stuart (deceased)
Bud Haight (deceased)
Ed Hardy
Dan Libich
Russ Goulay (deceased)

Past Presidents
Russ Goulay (deceased)
Ross Grady
Jack Ellifson
Merv Stuart (deceased)
Deryl Kartz
John Maland (deceased
)
Wayne Watson
Dave Cornish
Bruce Bender
Terry Willis
John Brown
Mo Alam
Tom Robertson
Don Bain jr. (deceased)
Dave Kachorowski
Ed Zeschuck
Don Miller
Brian Bell
Bill Derkson
Rick Zaplachinsk
Todd Tate

Newsletter Editors
Merv Stuart
Jim Childerhouse
Jim Barton
Ed Zeschuck
Dave Kachoroski
Jerry Van Dyke
Dave McGowan
Brad Lourie

Web Administrators
Dave Corscadden
Todd Tate

Member Of The Year Awards
1990  Ed Zeschuck
1991  Ian Middleton
1992  Peter Cary
1993  Murray McDowell
1994  Bob Wonitoy
1995  Neil Hanson (deceased
)
1996  Emile Fournier/ Bill Russell
1997  Neil Hansen (deceased)
1998  Dave Corscadden
1999  The Muryl Marler Family
2000  Bob Wyllie
2001  Cliff McKercher
2002  Dave Kachorowski
2003  Frank Kelly (deceased)
2004  Dave McGowan
2005  Merv Stewart (deceased
)
2006  Bruce Bender
2007  John Gemmel
2008  Don Miller
2009  Al McGillis
2010  Al Robertson
2011  Brad Lourie
2012  Harold Tom
2013  Jan Kramer
2014  Darrell Shivak
2015  Les Patterson
2016  Iain Middleton