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Archive for March, 2018
Posted by rclad | Mar 28, 2018 @ 11:45 AM | 2,255 Views
Last year I started a logbook of incidents I have had while flying model planes. It was titled "Incidents and Accidents," but I never defined those terms. It turns out, as far as I know, AMA hasn't made a clear distinction either. Perhaps it really doesn't matter, as long as you report any injuries caused to another person or persons while flying an RC model, or damage to property. I added the NTSB definition of those terms, as well as a copy of the 2018 AMA Insurance Summary and claim information, to the logbook introduction here. From that information I defined what I mean when I refer to an incident or accident in my logbook.

I hope we are all working on making our flying experience as safe as possible, so that we remain free of accidents - and incidents, too!
Posted by rclad | Mar 16, 2018 @ 01:27 PM | 2,225 Views
Among the many tributes to theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, who died this week at 76, I heard a quote that intrigued me, one of many from his long career about the universe and our place in it: "One of the basic rules of the universe is that nothing is perfect. Perfection simply doesn't exist.....Without imperfection, neither you nor I would exist.

This must be a reference to how natural selection takes advantage of the random mutation of genes when cells divide. It raises for me an interesting question about how we who compete in IMAC or Pattern, or any number of RC events, resolve the paradox of our sport: we are imperfect beings out to relax and have fun with our friends, but we are doing so with machines and technology that demand incredible attention to detail to be safe, at a minimum, and fly perfectly at best.

Hawking's own life was a paradox. He was diagnosed with ALS at 21 and given only a couple years to live, yet he went on to pursue a long career in physics, defying the odds against him and reaching great heights, not only in the academic world, but in popular culture as well with his book, A Brief History of Time. He helped us understand that when a star dies, many new stars are born in its place. Many of the elemental particles that make life possible - carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, sulphur and phosphorus - are the remnants of stars. We are the stuff of stars.

I will take Hawking's achievement as inspiration to pursue excellence in my flying, even though the odds are stacked against us of reaching perfection. That may not even be the ultimate goal.
Posted by rclad | Mar 12, 2018 @ 01:37 PM | 2,894 Views
This is one of those moments in life that comes unexpectedly, where the impact doesn't hit you until the moment is gone. In retrospect, I would have handled it differently, had I realized how rare it was. At the very least, I should have gotten a picture of him. Now, all I have is a memory and this story. Oh well. C'est la vie.

Saturday was a gorgeous day for late winter, with blue skies, light winds and temps in the mid forties. I had to make a trip out to Mason at 2 pm, so I didn't get out to the Airmasters field in North Bend until 3:15. The gate was locked, so once again I had the field to myself. I assembled my 87" Extra and just completed the first flight of the day when I noticed a visitor pull up in the parking lot. After swapping out my batteries and getting a drink prior to my next flight, I saw that he was still sitting in his car. I walked over to say hi.

To break the ice I asked if he brought a plane to fly. He laughed through the open window and said, "No." Then he stepped out of the car, his lanky frame rising to my height or more, at least 6 feet. He looked strong and in good health. He appeared to be of German descent with handsome features and salt and pepper hair trimmed neatly on his head. He asked if my plane was an Extra 300. "Yes," I said. He said he was an unlimited aerobatic pilot and was interested in flying one before purchasing an MX... something. "An MXS?" I asked. "Yes, that's it.&...Continue Reading