The South Sound R/C Swap Meet: A Little History

The first annual South Sound R/C Swap Meet was held on Saturday, November 9, 2013. Sponsors for the event included the Thurston County Miniature Aircraft Assn.(TCMAA) and the Sanderson Field RC Flyers(SFRCF). The event was held at the historic Olympic Flight Museum in Olympia, Washington, and was judged to be a success by all participants.

The success of the event exceeded the expectations of both the club organizers and the museum staff. In just a few short weeks, all fifty tables were sold and a table-waiting list was started. Some 350 participants–table holders, event workers, and the public–attended the event. Table holders began setting up on Friday. These included both vendors and regular table holders. When the doors were opened to the public, there was a long line waiting to enter.

Attendees consumed 80 hot-dog meals served up by museum staff. Free coffee and doughnuts were provided during the hours reserved for table setup. Complementary coffee was provided throughout the event by the museum.

There was a tremendous variety of new and used R/C products for sale, swap, or trade. The overall quality of products, both new and used, was surprisingly good: products offered did not consist only of R/C junk or throwaway items. There were originally-boxed ARFs and kits of all kinds for sale, including those for gliders, fixed wing, and rotary wing aircraft.

The venue for the event, the Olympic Flight Museum, was a perfect fit for the swap meet. Early on, and at the suggestion of Pat and Dan Nalley, event coordinator Dick Robb contacted Teri Thorning, Executive Director of the Olympic Flight Museum, and discussed the possibility of using the museum space for the event. Dick and Teri realized immediately that the aircraft museum was a perfect fit for the R/C swap meet. Cooperative and enthusiastic planning for the event began at once.

In order to advertise and promote the event, webmaster Royce Tivel brought online. The site included a simple shopping cart for purchasing tables and raffle tickets. Two thirds of the tables were purchased online; one third of the tables were purchased through a mail-in form. In addition to the online site, Dick Robb and D.R. Phillips, both members of the Sanderson Field RC Flyers (SFRCF), contacted Oregon and Washington R/C clubs. D.R. also placed many ads for the event on the Web at places likely to be seen by those interested in R/C. Informational flyers were distributed to clubs and a few hobby shops. Thom Martin, Remote Control Hobbies, Olympia, promoted the event both at his shop and at his club, the Thurston County Miniature Aircraft Assn.(TCMAA). Word-of-mouth did the rest…. Thom also collected the great raffle prizes that were donated by generous R/C enthusiasts. The museum promoted the event on the front page of their web site–thanks Teri.

As I write this history, it is now 2017. All previous events have been widely attended by the public, vendors, and other table holders. I am looking forward to the 5th South Sound R/C Swap Meet later this year.

Images of past swap meets can be found at