12 O’Clock High Fly-In features premier radio-controlled aircraft, but not a department store model – some of these plans have wingspans of more than six feet.

Just as they did during World War II, the warbirds of yesterday will take to the sky over Lakeland once again…

…kind of. 

12 O’Clock High
12 O’Clock High

On October 20-22 at Paradise Field in Lakeland, the sky will buzz with replica warplanes, biplanes and planes of yesteryear embracing more than six decades of aviation history during 12 O’Clock High. And with some wingspans exceeding six feet, these aren’t department store models. 

Welcome to the world of large scale radio controlled airplanes, on average weighing 50 pounds and having as much as 20 or more horsepower – and costing up to $30,000. 

Event organizer and promoter, Frank Tiano, has been interested in radio-controlled aircraft since 1951, but work took up too much of his time after high school. He found his way back to the hobby in 1972, even joining with two other enthusiasts to form an adhesive company in 1979, a company that today continues to make various types of model glues. Ten years later, in 1989, Tiano felt his hobby should be brought to the attention of the world.

12 O’Clock High
12 O’Clock High

12 O’Clock High is not a competition, it’s a fly-in. RC aircraft pilots and fans come out for the camaraderie, to come out and fly together. The fly-in draws about 100 pilots with 220 airplanes and as many as 4,000 spectators. And while he enjoys providing family-friendly entertainment, Tiano said he also likes the potential of boosting local businesses.

Paradise Field is located on a portion of Lakeland Airport property at 3875 W. Pipkin Road. 12 O’Clock High will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. from Thursday through Saturday. Besides the airplanes, there will be a food court as well as numerous hobby vendors. Admission is $10.00 at the gate, which includes parking and a pit pass. Children under 12 enter for free. 

You may also be interested in Lakeland, Aviation Adventures, or Top 10 Restaurants.