In 1964 a small group of flyers were calling themselves the "Southern Alberta Aero Modelers Association" and were flying on the military airfield at Lincoln Park in Calgary’s southwest. Flying continued in this informal manner until May 24, 1968 when six of the members became the first executive of the Calgary Radio Aero Modelers Society.
Their names were: Hinds Agner, Ed Dobry, Doug Copeland, Ed Hardy, Russ Powell and Irving Steele. Original memberships were in the 30 to 40 ranges until the early 1970’s when the sport’s popularity increased the numbers up to 200 plus.
Flying by this time was predominately at the Shepard Dragstrip in southeast Calgary and at the Bearspaw reservoir in the northwest. Although the Shepard field was excellent, the property owners, Shell Oil planned to flood the runway in early 1977. CRAMS. joined forces with another local flying club, the Foothills Flyers. They had originated in about 1970 with a focus of interest in free flight models. The two clubs decided that their interests and goals were similar and that they could both benefit from a permanent flying site. By late 1976 talks with the City had produced a viable plan with the property at 54 Ave. and 22 St. southeast which became know as the Ogden field for the next quarter century. The original development included the paved runways that were paid for by the members of both clubs and through city grants.
In the mid 1980’s CRAMS. also leased a parcel of land from the City south of Highway 22x, which was developed to help take some of the pressure off of the Ogden field, which was supporting about 300-400 members. This all grass field presented many challenges to flyers as there were numerous stands of trees and power lines to be aware of. The south field was popular amongst the pylon racers as there were no close neighbors to be bothered by the noise. The south field was enjoyed until late in 1998 when the City cancelled the lease effective January 1, 1999.
The next turn of events was the notice received in early 1999 that the Ogden field lease would be cancelled. It was not certain when this would happen, but we finally got the news the Ogden field would close May 17, 1999. By this time major discussions had transpired between the CRAMS. executive and the city to obtain a new flying site. A location just south of 17 Ave and east of 68 St SE was to become our new home. Through some good fortune and a large amount of hard work by our members we were able to produce a semi-grassed field by mid September.
The next 5 years would see huge changes to the barren dirt field that we began with. A pivotal event happened one muddy day that first year. One of our members truck got mired in the muck that was the dirt track leading to our field. After several hours of struggling on his own he finally was able to free himself. Shortly after relaying his adventure to other club members the construction of the road began at a price that was incredible.
Now that we had a reliable access road the field truly became usable in all weather. We built additional set up tables, installed our "temporary" outhouses, put in safety fences to protect the pilots on the flight lines and in the pits. Additional landscaping was done to complete the south runway to its full length. Gravel was brought in around the set up tables and at the flight lines to control the mud. An electronic gate was installed to allow access outside the normal City dump operation hours.
In 2002 we were treated with the fantastic news that we had succeeded in applying for a grant for field developments. Now we could really make some progress. A plan was formulated to install new outhouses, a sheltered deck attached to our clubhouse and pavement for the access way to the runways as well as a 200' x 20' wide section of paved runway, all with wheelchair accessibility in mind.
Early in 2005, Environment Alberta indicated to the city of Calgary that the current catch area for the dump site was not large enough. The city of Calgary created a new catch area north of our flying field and then dug a ditch draining this catch area south to approx 22X. This resulted in a ditch being dug to the east side of our North-South runway. This shortened the East-West runway to about 500 ft.
Things continued along nicely until July of 2011 when we received a notice of lease termination effective April 30th, 2012 as the city had plans to rearrange the landfill and we no longer fit in with this plan. We began looking for a new suitable location with many members contributing in this endeavor and secured a suitable location from May of 2012 in the M.D. of Wheatland near Lyalta but due to unfortunate circumstances we were forced to beging looking for a new field yet again in the fall of 2014 with success coming in the Spring of 2015 with a great location just East of Irricana in the M.D of Rockyview.
As in the past, the future of CRAMS will depend primarily on the collaborative efforts of the members for financial and labor support to produce the first class facility we know we can build. This will help ensure the clubs mandate of providing a safe environment for established pilots and competent training for beginners will continue well into the future.