Radio Control

Growing up I remember many a Sunday afternoon going out to the local RC Airfield with my Dad. The smell of beer and/or airplane fuel still brings back many memories of those times. Each year the local RC club held a competition called the Winter Nationals. At its peak we were attracting flyers from all around the world. It was at this time that my dad was running the show—from coordinating registrations to manning the public address system at the event. It wasn’t until I was much older (and dependent on computers) that I fully understood what he accomplished.

At one of those events I won an RC motorcycle in the raffle. It was the coolest toy I ever owned; I’m sure I was the envy of all the kids on our block. I still remember hearing my name (called by my dad) over the PA system. I was running score sheets from the flight line to the room where they were being tallied. I could hardly believe my ears when I heard what I had won. I had been doing a bit of envying myself as the son of the local hobby shop owner had been running his RC motorcycle around the parking lot all during the contest - at least when he wasn’t competing.

At any rate, it turns out this boy has grown up, and he still flies and plays with all the latest RC toys. But not because his dad owns the hobby shop. He’s paid to play now, as he works for the US Army, training them to fly their Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). He is also a sponsored RC Aerobatics competitor, with several national titles to his name. Many have seen him fly without realizing it because he was chosen to fly the scale models in the film The Aviator.

If you missed that one, you can catch some videos of him flying 3D acrobatics, which is just insane.

On the other end of the RC airplane scale is the Butterfly, a 3.6g “Livingroom Flyer.”

As for me, I never got the hang of flying, but I still appreciate the skill of those who do…


Nice job. I’m planning to come back here in the future. hours drive from where about a year ago I started.

Posted by: Jonathan Freeman on September 16, 2005 05:39 AM

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In which Mark reminisces about model airplanes...

August 25, 2005 | family

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