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Jul 21, 2011, 08:24 AM
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those were the days, my friend


as there is not much to talk about r/c models at this time, i will tell you about my life; all those things that shaped what am now.
1-flying before driving
i have to tell you that i began flying before driving. that is, flying a full size airplane before i drove a car.
in those days i was a student at the university, and a friend talked me to taking flying lessons. at the flight school they had piper cub j3's, and we had to fill-in the tank, and start the prop by hand. fun! we arrived at 6am because, as we were at 7,000ft altitude, the poor things could not climb much afterwards, when the temperature rised. the instructor was a very professional fellow, but very short, so he had to add 2 cushions to the seat so he could see above the instruments cluster, that did not have many instruments, by the way. no gas gauge-just the lenght of a rod told us how much fuel was left. he sat at the front seat. i had told him that i was a student of aeronautical engineering at the university but had never flown before. at the runway we had to wait until the control tower had a green light (no radio, sir) so we were cleared for take-off, and he took-off and we climbed to cruise after a long struggle, when we began to do figure 8's and coordinate the turns with the turn and bank indicator, and so on. i had to overcome sea sickness and the horror of heights (called acrofobia), as i never flew before, but eventually things got under control. then he told me to throttle back and start a descend. we had flown to a field nearby, a dry lake that was smooth as silk and wide and large. as i was making the approach i asked him when he was taking over and he said that i was going to land myself. i said to him that i had never flown before, but he told me to keep going on. so i kept throttling back and slowly pulling the stick back, until we made a clean 3 points landing-no bouncing, nothing. then he told me to take off, and that was another story. i had a hard time controlling the plane-too much left-right rudder, but eventually we took-off. we did that several times. since then, landing has been easy for me, but taking-off on a tail dragger is not. when we finished the flight and walked out of the plane, he asked me: so you never flew before? but it was fantastic to be airborne.
2- (july 22): you belong to my heart, now and forever... says the song. and at the time, there were many romantic songs like that. once a friend from school invited me to a party, where some guys were singing and playing guitars very well. later they were about to leave, when my friend asked me: would you like to come with us? we are serenading our girl friends. we could serenade yours, too. so we went, and since i accompanied them to their serenades. my girl was thrilled. i did not play guitar, neither sang, but was very pleasant to hear them. then 1 of them told me that his dad was a major in the air force and owned a lightplane and introduced me, and his dad invited me to fly with him. it was cessna 140, all metal-with a tail wheel. so i had the chance to fly-this time free! marvelous days, with so many memories!
later, after i got a job, married and started raising a family, i could not fly anymore.
some time later i was saddened when i learned that the major died when his lightplane cought fire in flight. and then my instructor too died in a fire in flight. my son says that i am a cat because i have many lives. maybe 1 of these was used there. i could be with any of them at the time.
Last edited by phil alvirez; Jul 28, 2011 at 12:26 PM.
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Nov 27, 2011, 02:03 AM
If it spins, wear it.
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Interesting life. I too learned to fly young, sixteen in a Cesna 150 (1978 was the year) Learned many things that apply to driving older cars at the time such as, turing off all electrics before the key. A 1967 VW beatle would drain the battery if you left the radio on. Like you my flying was limited and in total stopped at about 100 hours. I had two long breaks but never lost the ability to fly the real ones. I was rusty but able. Flying in the late 70's was still crude to some extent and after my first break from it, I discovered everyone had started using headsets and intercoms. I really don't know how I learned how to fly with all that shouting before. You didn't ask a question often just because it was so difficult to hear the answer over the engine. Places I flew to and things that almost happened (near misses with more than one jet) it's quite possible I used up my quota of luck too. Nothing bad ever happened but looking back, it sure could have. Glad to have had the experience and lived through it. Things are so different now and general aviation looks nearly dead for anyone new to learn it. I was unable to find an instructor for my son to learn to fly several years ago. Gave up.


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