HISTORY OF WENATCHEE RED APPLE FLYERS R/C CLUB, PROPERTY AND PROPERTY OWNERS
In the years following world war two there was a group of modelers in the
Wenatchee area who were involved in control line model flying. They would meet
at schoolyards or Triangle Park. Even though R/C was existent at that time, it
was very primitive and expensive. By the late 1950s or early 60s, commercial
radios were becoming more available and affordable. It was at that time that
several liners decided to try their hand at R/C. Obviously the parks were not
large enough to fly from, so off they went looking for wide open spaces. A
willing landowner at the juncture of Grant and Grant Rd. extension, East of
Pangborn airport in East Wenatchee, allowed them to use his land. Several years
later they moved to the present site on Webb Road, still with free use of the
land. In 1970 they were informed that the East ten acres, known as parcel #1,
was being put up for sale and were asked if they would be interested in
purchasing it. An intensive search of the valley produced no other land suitable
for their purpose so it was either purchase the land or quit flying. Of those
involved, there were eleven who decided to jointly purchase it, with each having
1/11th ownership in the whole rather than a particular piece of ground. No one
could own more than one share. The sale was finalized on January 22, 1971 for
the price of $5000 plus $774.37 interest.
Those eleven were:
1.Thomas D. Stewart (Doug)
2. Donald A. Griffin
3. Ernest E. McClure
4. Dr. Robert W. Higgins
5. Floyd Arndt
6. Donald W. Murray
7. Allen Critchell Jr.
8. Chester M. Moore (Mickey)
9. John Lathrop
10. Robert C. Benson
11. Dr. Gary Hannon.
Those eleven men formed a group called Model Field Owners, and on November 24,
1972 they enacted a set of by-laws to govern their group and holdings.
April 25, 1972: Floyd Arndt sold to Lyle R. Matson (Dick)
August 25, 1975: Bob Benson sold to Al Burleson
November 25, 1977: John Lathrop sold to Chester M. Moore
May 3, 1990 Chester M. Moore: sold to RAF
November 9, 1990: Al Burleson sold to RAF
February 21, 1991: Dr. Gary Hannon sold to RAF
March 28, 1991: Donald A. Griffin sold to RAF
April 7, 1991: Lyle R. Matson sold to RAF
September 14, 1991: Dr. Robert W. Higgins DONATED to RAF
October 17.1991: Donald W. Murray sold to RAF
December 3, 1991: Allen Critchell DONATED to RAF
December 3, 1991: Thomas D. Stewart DONATED to RAF
January 19, 1996: Ernest E. McClure DONATED to RAF
By the time of purchase of the first ten acres, a rough dirt runway had been
cleared of sagebrush and other obstructions. Now it was time to think of
improvements. The runway was oiled to keep down the dust. A three sided 8 foot
x 16 foot, bus stop type shelter was erected. With some interest in winter
flying, a homemade stove was installed. Later 8 feet were added to the West end
and it was enclosed on the front. All went well until 1974, at which time they
were informed that the West 10 acres, known as parcel #2, was to be sold. Again
they were asked if they would be interested in purchasing it. Not knowing what
would be done with the property if they did not buy it, they decided to purchase
it. The price for this parcel was $9000. The sale was finalized on August 25,
1975. This purchase was different than the first in that it was divided into 100
shares and anyone could purchase as many shares as they wanted.
These fourteen were the purchasers:
Allen Critchell jr.
Donald A. Griffin
Ralph Lindahl jr.
Chester M. Moore
Donald W. Murray
Fred Featherstone Investments (three unnamed individuals, not flyers)
Thomas D. Stewart
Between August 1, 1977 and May 3, 1990, all except Al Critchell and Doug Stewart
had sold to these people:
Chester M. Moore
Donald A. Snyder
Ernest E. McClure
All flyers, whether land owners or not, officially adopted their by-laws on July
1, 1975 and were known as Wenatchee Red Apple Flyers. On August 22, 1975 both
organizations became official State of Washington corporations known as Model
Field Owners Inc. and Wenatchee Red Apple Flyers Inc. MFO, Inc. rented the
property to RAF, Inc. for the payment of taxes and any incidental fees.
In 1979, federal government made it know that they planned to include almost all
of East Wenatchee in a new reclamation project known as the Greater Wenatchee
Reclamation District. This did not come into being until 1984. In 1985 MFO, Inc.
became concerned about the cost for the property when the water actually became
available. In July 1987 some of MFO shareholders were sufficiently concerned
that they wanted to put the land up for sale, because in April 1988 they would
be assessed a $2008 water bill whether they used any of it or not. At that time
the majority wanted to keep it and find a way to pay for the assessments. But by
October 1987 MFO voted to get an appraisal of the property and put it up for
sale. On November 20, 1987 they were given an appraisal of $88,500. It was in
December 1987 when MFO was actually going to sell that RAF became involved. MFO,
Inc. offered to sell to RAF, Inc. for the price of $50,000. The club had decided
that they could pay both the property taxes and the water bill in order to save
the land from being sold. Annual dues were raised from $15 to $65 per year,
voluntary contributions, yard sales, and anything else that could be thought of
were employed to raise money. This was successful for both 1988 and 1989. 1990
brought the confidence to RAF that they could not only continue to pay these
assessments, but could begin to buy the property. Parcel #2 was already divided
into 100 shares, so to make them equal, parcel #1 was done that way also, so
that each 1/11th share holder then had 9.09 shares. Each share had a face value
of $250 x 200 shares = $50,000. It was after shares began to be purchased, that
we were informed by legal counsel that parcel #1 had never been conveyed into
the corporation. Some quick work by the use of quit claim deeds, that was
accomplished. Three very important instruments were issued by Douglas County. In
1971 and 1975 upon purchasing, the county issued conditional use permits for
the property. In 1990 we were granted a Recreational overlay district. These two
virtually prevent anyone from causing us problems or shutting us down because of
our activities. The third granted was Open Space Taxation Agreement, which cut
our property taxes in half.
From May 3, 1990 to March 29, 2000 RAF either purchased or received as a
donation all 200 shares for the property for a total price of $20,715. Some
shareholders sold at full price of $250 per share, others sold a reduced price,
others sold at their original cost, and others chose to donate a total of 60.36
Those donating were:
Allen Critchell Jr.
Thomas D. Stewart
Ernest E. McClure
Dr. Robert W. Higgins
Donald A. Snyder
In the spring of 1993, Waste Management planted more poplar trees on our North
border, which caused us to think of moving the runway further South to avoid
them. It was also decided that since we now had more than 66% of the property
shares (legal advice), we could make improvements or changes without fear of the
remaining shareholders stopping us. Because of Waste Management’s placing of the
trees, they agreed as mitigation to do all the necessary earth moving for the
The runway and slope were done in the summer and fall of 1993.
Final grading, leveling, and sprinkler system installation were done in March of
1994. April 2, 1994 was a day that those who worked will not soon forget. The
Baptist Church on Maple St. in Wenatchee donated all the sod we could cut in one
day, so 25 men cut, hauled to our field, and laid in place 32,000 square feet of
sod that day in the area now known as our taxi way.
Within days, an equal area was seeded to the North of it for the runway.
Final parking lot grading was done in June 1994.
Summers of 1995, 1996 saw the installation of the fence, sidewalks, spool bases,
tables and an 80 foot extension on the West end of the runway and taxiway.
On April 12, 1997 we obtained sufficient sod from Central Washington Hospital to
do the slope between runway and parking lot levels.
The clubhouse was built in the summer of 1998
The grading of the upper grass area for RV parking was done mostly in 1998, with
final grading in the spring of 1999 followed by installation of the sprinkler
system and seeding.
The greatest debt of gratitude of all flyers, past, present, and future must go
to all those original property purchasers because without their foresight and
sacrifices, there would not have been any land to either save or develop.
Because of their leading, all who have followed with hard work and contributions
of time and money have made our facility one of the best in the entire
Northwest. Every year, we receive many compliments from visiting flyers who
can’t believe that we own the site and have developed it ourselves.
In 2000 Waste Management approached RAF with the proposal of purchasing our
property for the price of total replacement of the facilities, far more
grandiose, at another site of our choosing and additional cash incentives. It
would be equal or larger in acreage and be fully developed by them to our
specifications. It would be a turnkey site when the swap was made. As of this
date, an option to buy contract is in effect with them and all that is lacking
is a suitable site.
Submitted January 25, 2003
By Don Snyder