Nov 17, 2012, 10:12 PM
Joined Nov 2008
Back In The Air!
Today was the day that I was going to get back up in the air. That has happened. It was a good day (no crashes)... but the results aren't what I expected. It goes something like this...
The weather for Saturday was predicted to be PERFECT. Clear sky, temps in the mid-sixties and nearly zero wind.
I had decided during the week that I would go ahead and take my electric R/C airplane with me. (A Hobbyzone Super Cub.) That way, when I was ready for a break from the fast-action the control line would afford, I could renew my R/C learning experience that I had laid aside some 2-3 years ago. (During that time I only put about 6 fledgling flights on the Super Cub.)
Well, as I was cruising the control line forum here at R/C World... I happened by to check out the electric R/C forum to see what had been happening in that hobby during my inactive period. Wow... cool to see there were lots of "warbirds" available now... both WW2 and WW1. Always had a weakness for warbirds... hey... what's this?
I noticed that one of the participants on the forum was from my town I live in! (Poteau, OK.) Now how cool is that? So, I PM'd him and ask him where the flying was being done in Poteau. (I figured if the area was large enough that R/C can be flown there, so to, can control line.) As luck would have it, he and his cronies were going to be also be flying Saturday and he invited me along. We exchanged a few PM's. Turns out we knew each other from back during the time I worked for different railroad. Cool!
Now, off to bed and let's get this thing started...
First order of business: Run the cleaned up (modified) 35 Stunts on the test stand. Not cool. Being as the venturi is modified (bored out), I wasn't able to sustain a run using the suction tank. I would have to use a bladder... might as well do that at the field.
Loaded up a 35 Stunt foamie, my 36X powered Demon, my R/C Super Cub, flight box, et al... and it was off to the field.
They were already there and flying their R/C airplanes. After introductions, I browsed around watching, and asking questions. Some good flyers among the 4or so guys there. Only one had any C/L exposure... way back when he was a youngster: A Cox plastic plane of some sort.
Eventually, one of the guys offered to help me get a control line airplane up in the air. (Note: Honey Buns was more than glad for me to go to the flying field with the guys! That way, SHE wasn't the one getting covered in exhaust goo!)
I readied the 35 Stunt powered foamie... covering the bladder compartment with a rag in case that 12 year old bladder rubber exploded! It didn't... and soon I was attempting to light it off. This is where it got frustrating. I had forgotten that these modified Stunt engines were very fussy. I quickly got my fill and took the foamie off the lines and hooked up my Demon with its restricted 36X. (I did NOT want to trouble shoot and work on engines at the field!!!)
Within seconds, I had the X engine lit and the needle set. Whew boy... The Moment Of Truth has arrived!! (Can a 60 year old Offcial Old Fart still fly a combat ship?)
Giving the signal... it lept into the air. Whoa... it's FAST! (And it's corked... I suspect it was only flying at about 90 MPH. To think I used to routinely fly them at 110 MPH a mere 12 years ago!!)
The rust on my flying skills was painfully obvious to me. I had to WORK at staying up with the Demon. I kept the airplane manuevering so I didn't have to turn circles. When I WOULD fly level circles, after only a few roundy-rounds I could feel dizziness setting in. Then it was back to manuevers so I could stand still in one place so the dizziness would pass.
Finally, the bladdered emptied and I brought in down for a landing.
They were impressed... I was NOT.
Hmmm... time to thoughtfully reflect on this combat plane idea of mine.
Inwardly feeling disappointed... I ambled back to the R/C area and watched the others fly for a bit. After a while, I went ahead and put my Super Cub into the air to renew the learning process.
I flew the Super Cub a couple of times... and as one of the battery packs was charging... the helper guy offered to help me get the Demon back in the air for another flight.
Agreeing that it would be wrong on several levels to put out all this effort to get my C/L stuff ready to fly only to fly it one time... we went back over to my impromtu C/L field and prepped it for another flight. Within a minute it was fueled, started and I was on my way to the handle.
This flight went noticably better as I was beginning to settle down and fly the plane. I still was NOT "comfortable" with it... but better. It is good that I flew it again. It would have been a critical mistake on my part to leave the field with the negative impressions I had from the first flight.
From this, I returned to the R/C area and eventually flew my R/C Super Cub another time after they were all gone.
So, I am officially back in the air. I CAN fly my C/L combat planes... but I'm certainly not ready to take out the restrictor and get it on like I used to enjoy doing.
However, I couldn't help but notice some things about the way the day went.
* The fuel goo (exhaust, evaporated fuel on the hands/fingers/etc) was more noticable to me than when I was younger.
* Whereas the adrenelin rush of flying a fast combat ship was one of the elements I best liked about control line "back when"... I noticed the apprehension of the Demon's quickness and snap caused an entirely different adrenelin response!
* I noticed I found it very relaxing to simply amble about the sky with my R/C Super Cub.
* I also noticed the cleanliness of electric power... offset somewhat by the charging times required in order to have "fun" again.
The above are just some of the things I felt and experienced during the course of the day. Some of the experiences and feelings were not what I was expecting.
I have a lot to think through over the next few days or few weeks.
I may not find the fun I used to find in fast combat planes. I may have evolved to where I like things at a more relaxed pace. That is, a nice flying C/L stunt plane... and/or a nice and relaxing R/C electric plane.
One thing has already been rethought:
Given that it is going to take a LOT of airtime to even get a portion of my former C/L skills back (IF I can get them back)... I am fairly certain I DO NOT want to compete in any form of competition. I simply don't have the drive necessary anymore to regiment myself to the building, practicing, etc, etc, that competeing (even casually) requires. No, I think if I'm going to be a flyer, fun flying is going to be where it's at with me. (Along that line of thought, I do think a nice flying C/L stunt plane would be relaxing.)
So, from this point, I intend to fly the combat planes some more... as well as pursue getting more proficient at R/C flying. (i.e. Be able to keep it off the ground and land it where I want to!) Along the way, I hope it will become more apparent to see where my fun factor is going to best be found.