Hundreds of Model Airplanes Soar Over Atwater

The biggest model-airplane show west of the Mississippi is underway at the Castle Airport in Atwater, and as many as 500 different planes will soar through the North Valley sky this weekend.There are no trophies or ribbons for the 200 pilots who come to Atwater. The big draw is the camaraderie and putting planes in the air.Dave Sullivan of Sacramento has been flying planes since he was a seven. His aerobatic airplane has a price tag of $6,000. It weighs 39 pounds when it's full of fuel and it can move at 110 miles an hour. Sullivan likes to push the envelope when he flies his plane. "Trying to put the plane in positions that produce adrenalin. I'm an adrenalin junkie so if it's not on the verge of doing a soil penetration test, I'm not really happy," said Sullivan.Sullivan's plane can roll, fly upside down, and the engine is so powerful it can literally hang vertically just inches off the ground.The 17th annual West Coast Festival draws pilots from all over California, Washington, Nevada and Arizona.Two hundred big kids with controllers will spend the next three days making their planes dive, spin and practically dance in the air.The Memorial weekend event also draws rows and rows of RVs and as many as 7,000 visitors.