East side RC

Sharing our love for model aviation with the community

History of ESRC


By: Roger Watson

 Man has been building model airplanes since the beginning of recorded history.    Orville and Wilbur Wright were the first giant scale modelers. They did not have the benefit of radio control equipment so they were forced to make provisions to be on board to fly their models. By 1936 there was enough national interest to form the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA).

By the nineteen fifty’s model engines had evolved enough to allow model building to become very popular. Free flying models and control line models were common. Some of the models were still powered by rubber bands. Radio controlled models was(were) a novelty that was just beginning to become practical. People were flying models in parks and fields and anywhere else that they could find space. At this time the Southern Illinois University had acquired ground for a new campus at Edwardsville (SIUE) and allowed these early modelers to use a designated portion of the athletic grounds along the Old Bluff Road on the west perimeter of the campus. These early pilots organized and named their group the East Side Radio Control Club (ESRC). SIUE Chancellor, John Rendleman, and SIUE Director, B. D. Hudgens, were supporters of the club. SIUE Director, Oudi Yeagle, was an ESRC member.

This early club boasted expert scale builders and formula-one race pilots. Building and racing contests became popular events. Clarence Ideau was one of these experts. He owned the “East Side Hobby Shop” on 23rd and State Street in East St. Louis. This may have influenced the selection of the club’s name.

The club drafted a constitution and became chartered by AMA. ESRC was the 251st club to join the AMA. The stated purpose of the club is to act as a social organization for everyone that has an interest in building, finishing and flying radio-controlled model aircraft. The club works to provide a safe environment to get started and advance in this hobby. Instructors provide free training to beginners to promote safety and gain new members.

The club operates under an agreement with SIUE. This agreement requires all of the club’s members to be AMA members because this is the source of the liability insurance. The agreement requires all the members to display current membership cards so the SIUE authorities can recognize modelers as properly instructed and insured pilots.

Most but not all of the current ESRC pilots fly plane(s) with wingspans of 50 to 75 inches and use glow fuel engines in the 0.40 to 0.90 cubic inch displacement range. The majority of the planes are considered to be sport flyers or fun flyers. These planes are proportioned to fly in the manner the pilot enjoys. Some of the members also fly scale model planes to simulate full size flights and pattern ships to perform competition level aerobatics. Gliders and helicopters are also present. 2001 was the first year a member routinely flew electric powered planes. These are the planes that are best suited to the physical characteristics of the field. Giant scale planes, combat flyers and racing planes are not well suited to the ESRC site. Each winter some pilots fly with snow skies and each spring they try float flying off of the lake at Horseshoe Lake State Park.