A project planned for the spring of 2023 will pave over Bill Riegel Model Airpark at the Salem, Ore., airport, and replace it with a parking lot. The existing asphalt circle is at the left of the proposed new parking area and the existing grass circle is the area to the right of the cul-de-sac.

Western Oregon Control-Line Flyers to lose flying field this year

By Mike Hazel

At the recent annual general meeting of the Western Oregon Control Line Flyers (WOLF), it was announced that the flying field known as Bill Riegel Model Air Park would be lost.  The City of Salem is aggressively working on restoring regular passenger service to the Salem airport facility. 

The city received a federal grant several months ago to pursue this, and very recently the city council approved spending major funds to upgrade the airport terminal .  Unfortunately, this means adding a significant amount of parking.  As the airport manager put it, “We need our front yard back..  All of the flying area will be converted to parking.
The timeline on all of this is not set, but we have been advised that construction could start before summer.  The airport manager has promised to let us use the flying field as long as possible.  WOLF will have a fun fly event on March 4, and that date has been deemed safe. 

Use of the property in front of the airport terminal was granted by the City of Salem in 1995.  It was named by the club as Bill Riegel Model Air Park in honor of the city council member who helped facilitate the project.  WOLF will soon be working to find an alternative flying site.

The Salem field has been the site of many control-line fun flies and other events which can be found in the Flying Lines News Archive. These include The Fall Follies, the Salem Summer Meet, Lucky Hand Fun Fly events, and many Speed, Racing and Carrier contests, as well as numerous stops on the Oregon Flying Fun series.

Leighton Mangels flies his Twister on the asphalt circle during the 2022 Oregon Flying Fun No. 3 fun-fly, with the WOLF equipment shed in the background. Flying Lines photo.

Robert Smith launches a Combat plane on the grass circle as judges watch at the 2019 Fall Follies. In the background is the Salem Airport terminal, which is being upgraded with more parking. Flying Lines photo.

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This page was upated Feb. 3, 2023