Minerva golf course now park for remote control planes

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MINERVA, Ohio--Diane Sims and her late husband bought the Edgewater Golf Course in 1985 and for 34 years made many improvements to the property.

"We first built a cart barn and we put irrigation in, we build a banquet room. My husband, deceased husband, and I planted 2,000 trees and made it into what it is today," Sims said.

In fact, she admits she would have never imagined what it has become.

Josh Bixler said he started a radio controlled air enthusiasts group called Flite Test in his garage in 2010 growing to have 1.3 million followers online. The group encourages enthusiasts to use their imagination and over the years has created some of the most unusual things ever to have taken to the skies.

"We put out YouTube videos one a week on our main channel. One a week on our tech channel showing people just how they can get into flight, but more importantly how they can build and create their own designs, how they can scratch build airplanes," Bixler said.

Some of those creations have included a flying tank, a flying pig, a flying toilet and a 17- foot-long model of a battleship.

"I mean, it's a 17-foot-long battleship, you know, why should it fly? Why can't we make it fly? But we made it fly. So yeah, it's the impossibility of it that makes it interesting." Andres Lu said.

The group also goes to schools to encourage children to use their imaginations, to be creative, and to work to overcome obstacles.

Those who follow the group are enormously encouraging and supportive of one another.

"We don't call them a community. We call them a family and every family needs a home where that lead to is ultimately giving them a location, a destination, a location where they can come out with their kids and they can build, they can fly, they can crash and can repeat the whole process over again," Bixler said.

So when Bixler, with the help of his legion of followers, bought Edgewater Golf Course from Diane Sims, the intent was to create something no one would have ever thought could co-exist.

A golf course that is also an air park for radio controlled enthusiasts.

"She hears the vision and she buys into it, you know. And it's along the lines of yes, we are going to have golf activity, but also make this into a celebration of flight and also a place where people can come with their families and make memories as a family," Bixler said.

This weekend, Edgewater Park will host its first ever large-scale event expecting a crowd of radio controlled enthusiasts and their families from around the country.

"This weekend is really special. This is our first hosted event at Edgewater Air Park, the new home of Flite Test. This is where people will be doing wing racing, drone racing, doing night time drone racing, but also flying line of sigh,t and people will be able to learn, compete and ebnjoy flying," Bixler said.

Around the air park, the golf course still has 18 holes that golfers can play.

The unusual vision of creating a place where the two pass times can coexist appears to be working.

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