Started in July of 1982, the S.A.M. R/C Club was an amalgamation of three existing clubs, brought together as a result of the need for a club large enough to deal with Sacramento County in the matter of a lease of County property.
Because of the availability of a liability policy through the AMA that would indemnify the County of Sacramento, negotiations were minimal. By September of 1982 there were 89 active dues-paying members, and a lease with the County was formalized.
The property involved was 360 acres of future parkland that was used for grazing cattle. One of the first projects was to fence off about 30 acres to keep the livestock off the flying area.
Checking with the Weather Officer at Mather Field, it was determined that the primary wind direction in the area is from South to North. This then determined the layout of the runway and the field.
Using volunteer help, and price reductions from Community minded Business, grading was performed for the runway pits, parking as well as the access road leading into the property from Florin Road on the north. The runway and road were then paved, and the parking area covered with gravel.
This was financed by a combination of means... 60 of the initial members contributed $50 each, and they others loaned an additional $4,000. The loan was partly forgiven by the donors, and the balance paid off as others joined the Club.
Safety was a prime concern of the members, so a six-foot fence separating the pits from the flying stations was first installed, followed by a two and half-foot fence protecting the pilot stations from the runway and taxi areas. These have saved a number of pilots and others from harm over the years.
A unique feature of the field is the Transmitter Impound Shack, built shortly after the field was opened. It is shielded, so that transmitters left in the shack are completely isolated from the flying area and will cause no mishaps even if they are accidentally left in the on position.
Also installed in the first three years were the large work area tables two shade structures still in use, which incidentally have been effective shields from errant models out of control.
The lease with the county called for the Club to bring water to the site, and a well was drilled. Not having any electricity to the site, there was no need to install a pump.
The county later installed a pump when we granted permission for them to use our water to pipe to 400 trees planted for future use. The county installed electricity underground (at their expense) to the well site, increased the size of the storage tank, and installed the electrical control system including a high capacity pumping system.
This gave us access to water to create the grass landing strip adjacent to the asphalt, and the area to the south of the shade structures where the Club also planted the three trees that occasionally capture errant aircraft. The county assisted us in piping to the sprinklers, and we also piped it to the pond area created to the south, which gave an area from which we could fly floatplanes.
This also gave us electricity for use at the site of the shade structures. Unfortunately, the cost of the electricity to the pumps for the pond was excessive, and it is no longer in use.
Realizing that the lease with the County could by canceled without a great deal of difficulty, the Club established a fund to be used in the event of an eviction. This fund still exists, and is managed in a conservative manner to assure that funds to purchase or improve upon a future site will be available.
Over the years, the club has placed large enclosed containers at the site, modifying one of them for use as a Snack Shack, and the other as a storage area for items used to maintain the field and those nefarious gadgets used to run the various Fun Flys and Races and Events.
In 1998, the Club acquired a semi-trailer and has created from it a unique pilots lounge with coffee maker, chairs, windows and a small cast iron stove to ward off the winter chill. It carries a plaque identifying it as the AUGER INN and a list of those who helped bring it about.
Also in 1998, the County of Sacramento, recognizing the need to conserve finances, in a new long-term lease negotiated with the Club, transferred to the S.A.M. Club the responsibility for paying all the electricity costs. This increased our lease payments from a very modest sum to one that more accurately reflects a reasonable return to the County for the use of the property.
Many have worked long hours (some for many years) to make this field as enjoyable and useable as it is. As of the year 2000, those still active who were a part of the founding members of the S.A.M. Club are:
#2 John Pief
#4 Ed Kado Sr.
#5 Edwin Kado Jr.
#11 George Steiner
#12 Bob Fallon
#19 Lee Liddicoat
#35 Joe Chavez
#49 Wally Mc Allister
#72 Jim Lichtenberg
#86 Bruce Heald
The Club has hosted many Scout School groups at the site, giving many children and parents the opportunity to experience RC flight. Also, a NEWBIE day for those interested in R/C Modeling has been quite a hit the past several years.
The Club has averaged an active membership of 200 plus or minus for many years and looks forward to serving the needs of the Model Airplane enthusiasts for many more years.
Webmaster's Note: Developing and putting together something that smacks of the history of any club or organization is not only a painstaking job, but one that this Web Master would not want to take on. Many thanks to those who participated in digging up information from archived files, interviewed those who were there and took the time and effort to put this together: Ron Jones, J. J. Short, and Howard Baldwin.