Thread Tools
Apr 21, 2021, 01:21 PM
I'm a pilot, 100 yrs too late
Thermalin's Avatar
Started in mid 70's and joined the Gold Coast Radio Controllers in Boca Raton, Fl. The one and only Col. Art Johnson, helped me with my M.E.N Trainer. Fantastic man who took the time to help a 14 yr old kid! I had no idea at the time I was standing next to greatness....
Sign up now
to remove ads between posts
Apr 21, 2021, 07:06 PM
Registered User
smurf's Avatar
Mine started in the mid 70's when I went with my brother-in-law to fly control line. I was the plane holder at the time. I got a control line cox model for Christmas later on that flew line a brick.
I got out of it for a while then my B-in-L got a RC plane. I went a few times with him and later he gave the plane to my cousin who never did anything with it. I got that model and flew it in a park with soccer goal post that were unforgiving.

I didn't give up, some friends got into binge launch gliders and I first had a Sagitta 600. First flight out had the elevator revered and had a yard dart. I then had a Gentle Lady and was finally able to have some fun flying around.
Apr 21, 2021, 10:01 PM
Registered User
After moving from NYC, (born and lived there till my late 40s), to Denver for work, I found myself in my 50s lonely with no friends and no social interaction ​besides the limited social interaction at work. Naturally I felt I needed to take up a hobby and searching the internets I came across R/C flying planes.

Funny cause I always have loved trains, started with Lionel as a kid and still love trains to this day, but not interested in it as a hobby, no train layouts for me as an adult.
Never had a love for any type of aircraft but I do remember watching control line flying at Inwood park in NY.

So I went to the field of The Rocky Mountain RC Flyers Club and was encouraged by everyone I met there to give R/C flying a try. Those days we flew glow and with crystals and having a career as an electro mechanical technician I loved the combination of mechanical and electronic components. I flew for a few years never moving beyond early intermediate stage but then underwent a very dark 3 years of treatment resistant depression and stopped doing everything including flying.

Eventually did recover, moved to San Diego and hooked up with the Silent Electric Flyers of San Diego, another wonderful group of pilots who welcomed me into the club. They have been repaid many times over watching me crash one plane after another including an awesome head on in flight collision that took out my Apprentice.
I don't think I will ever be a very good R/C pilot but I sure do love trying.
Apr 26, 2021, 12:18 PM
Crashing with style since 1994
I started as a 10 y/o child flying balsa guillows little planes, then I lived near a rc club near my town, I just watched in awe this guys flying pattern planes and the classic maneuvers, and I was hooked..! Then I asked my dad for an RC plane but was very expensive in 1986... I bought wathever RC magazine I could find (MAN, RCM, etc) and dreamed about flying.... when I had my first paid job, I went to buy my first trainer, a towerhobbies .60 trainer back in 1992..
I went back and forth into this marvelous hobby because of my job.. I retook it 2 years ago, flying again a piper cub with a .91 OS four stroke, and I’m hooked again.!
Apr 26, 2021, 03:34 PM
Registered User
In the early 1950's at age 13, I walked into my LHS with some friends and walked out with a control line balsa Mr Mulligan and a D&B .049. Flew it about 20 times. Got cute trying a wing over and wound up with 100 pieces. Spent the next 50 years preoccupied with college, law school, marriage, kids and building my law practice. Retired at 63 in 2009 to a life of traveling, golf, skiing and fly fishing. 3 1/2 years ago, I was visiting my son in California who started RC flying in college. He took me to his field to watch, showed me how to use the TX , let me fly his Mini Apprentice to a somewhat bouncy but successful landing and sent me home with Real Flight 8. I was hooked. Joined a club, got instruction and now, at age 75, I'm a reasonably competent RC pilot with 20 planes. I'm proud to be a member of the RC community and enjoy the thrill and camaraderie of flying as much as skiing, golf and fly fishing. My wife is not so thrilled.
Last edited by ICM; Apr 26, 2021 at 03:44 PM.
Apr 26, 2021, 04:52 PM
Registered User
When I was a kid, maybe 6 or 7, in 1966 dad built powered free flights, they had balsa dope and paper covered wings, in particular one design called a "Starduster" .

These had fused elevator releases that were set with a timer which would trip a "landing" stab configuration; as I was a little kid and when the plane launched it looked like it was miles up in the sky. I watched it float down and would race to the landing site and bring it back.

The ol man made us clay ballasted-polyhedral balsa floaters that could glide the length of a football field it seemed.

From then on I flew control line. I stopped flying for a few years.

The ol man built an "EXPERIMENTAL" aluminum four place high wing that maidened in 1973.

We all got back into flying RC in the early 80s flying "slope" in the cliffs of Newport Beaches "Back Bay" just north of Macarthur Blvd. We had Chiperosa's and other scratch built ships.

We flew Belmont Shores, and the shoreline of Corona Del Mar's Crystal Cove. So much slope fun.

Now the ol man lives in Anacortes and flies some of his own designs. And recently he and his buddies are flying these graceful birds, ol mans on the right...

His "Starduster" launch, pictured below...

And there I am with my sidekick and my Gentle Lady at Torrey...
Apr 28, 2021, 10:15 AM
This bird you cant change.
FMS DUDE's Avatar
I had a buddy in Chicago land back in the late 70's pop take us out on a flight of his mysterous nitro powered bird, so I wanted one. Rocketry was fun, and easy, so was control like. I did the rc car thing, and it was ok. But those birds were the snizzle. Multiple failures in the 80's and 90's kept me away, until just recently with the sporty cub s-2 and the duette, to bad to the bone airplaines. Now I have about 7 birds in my office, and as soon as this funky weather disappers, ill go and try not to crash em..
Apr 28, 2021, 10:24 AM
Registered User
davymac's Avatar
A friend of mine in secondary school ( high school for the Americans) used to fly gas models and I went out with him to fly a few times. Could never afford one myself though.

I used to see them out flying near a local military airfield as well, with permission obviously, and always had an interest.
Recently I was involved with using drones to do some survey work with a local contractor and started doing some research into it again and found that it had reduced in cost as a hobby so I decided to bite the bullet and get involved. i bought myself a ZOHD drift fpv kit and a Flysky transmitter and have been trying to teach myself. I've managed to make a few successful flight so far, I've also manage to break and fix the drift, so i'd say it's not going to badly/
Apr 28, 2021, 08:13 PM
My magnificent sling shooting EDF fleet.

It's going way back, as a 6 year old starting the first year of dreaded schooling, I have absolutely hated from the first day. I just couldn't wait for the Friday's afternoon schools out and heading downstairs to the building's basement for an aero modeling after school workshop run by the school principle, being himself a modeling enthusiast.

Those good old days I have never even dreamt of RC models, totally unheard of, but enjoying with a great passion building balsa wood, tissue covered simple free flight models powered by 'letecka guma', aero rubber, that came in all sorts of profiles and thickness gauge.

These scratch built models usually didn't last very long, ending up either stuck high in the High Tatra's Spruce trees surrounding the schools sports ground, or in a lot of little splinters smashing out of control into the ground. In some cases repairable but most of times not.
The aero rubber came always very handy after, for another passion, after walking back home through the beautiful Tatra's Mountain forest looking for a perfectly "Y" shaped branch of the bush or the small willow tree to create a sling shots.

Using small rounded stone pebbles, or even better when we as kids got some hands on, metal balls from the ball bearings, we used to compete hitting the set targets in the forest or having even more fun making a miniature ones from the metal wire, and shooting tiny wire hooks into girls bums during the lesson's breaks.

What a fun we used to have, in the world of no PC or what they call these days the times of 'stupid phones'. And this was even during the 'cold war' era, living in the high disciplined communist run state. It was quite normal for us boys to wrap up broken up pieces of 'celuloyd'- (extremely flamable) rullers in alloy foil, nip off the little corner and put the match to it during our lesson breaks, with the missiles shooting all over the class rooms. Not to even mention, the carbite ground pit, left there at the school grounds by the builders of the new school complex, and glass bottle shooting missiles after school bonanza, we used to enjoy playing with and LOL after.

Teachers always wondered about the smell after, but being brought up in the commo regime we were all well trained at home to keep our tongues well behind the teeth. It very much reminds me of this country I escaped to, now days!

A lot of water has passed under the bridge since, but my early childhood bungee shooting experience came again very useful and handy number of decades later while converting from being a well estabilish scale RC helicopter builder/pilot into a fixed wing model jets. It was all happening around the 'big millenia', when real miniature jet turbines were well taking over their precesessor, internal combustion powered ducted fan jets, and electric power ducted fans (EDFs) also well in their incubation state with inefficient brushed motors, powered by heavy cadmium batteries. However, great imitation way to start learning flying these jets before getting into the turbines.

During this period, there were coming on the market number of mass produced scale looking EDF models like "T-33", "F-16's" or multi engine ones like a "Lear Jet", etc., unfortunately all lacking power, struggling to take off even off the sealed runways, not to mention a grass strip ones, the case you had no hope to rotate from, with very short fight times and batteries ending up sizzling hot if you brought the model safely back after less than 2 minute flight time.

Hand launch was too risky, often ending up with badly damaged model, like when I asked an owner of the RC shop, assuming he knows what to do during one of the local "Electric flying meet event", never asked him to start running with it, but as he did, tripping over the grass with the 'thongs' on, not only smashing my model on full stick into the ground, but also his hands trying to protect more injury to himself.

That was the end of my hotted up 64mm "Mirage" EDF jet with the bad grin on both faces. This was a perfect time to make a use of the good old bungee aero rubber which to my memory was pretty hard to obtain in the right gauge so I was using lot of fine strands wrapped together. I was never inspired by what some modelers used in form of some home made launch ramps, taking half an hour to set up and often being entertained seeing the models smash during its launch. There are hundreds of most entertaining disaster video footages on internet channels to watch, if one do bit of search using these ramps. Most of these use a foot release as being some advantage, so the pilot get both hands on the stix, but certainly not my way to launch, being just another hassle. I rather fit an extra model in the car than some useless ramp gadget, so I have learned a simpler alternative, hook it up, pull and let go, just like a sling shot.

The only difference, the model designed for this sort of launch need a minor frame reinforcement, as it's taking some pull tension of the bungee cord during its launch procedure. Using a 3-4mm ply wood I create a skid some 20-30cm long with the small rebite to hook up the bungee wire loop into. The skid is well epoxied to the cut out channel along the fuselage belly, strenghtening the body, normally some 25-30% from the nose tip. Depends on the model type, I add on a small ply skids to the wings to protect the servo arms also to keep the model more level stable during its release.

With some models, I also add well inbeded 3-5mm carbon fiber tube to the rear leaving some 10cm exposed as a handle for an easy release, (release probe). The exposed section I normally cover with the layer of 220 grid sand paper for a non slip hold.
I often hear and read about some tremendous tension some modelers use for their launching, but with an experience of thousands launches over the years I have found it un- necessary, and normally use only some one to one model weight pull tension. Most of these sling shoot models have 70% to well over their AUW power ratio so only minimal pull tension is needed for a safe and successful catapult rotation under the full stick.

Using 3 types of surgical rubber for different models, 6, 9 and 12mm OD, only some 3 meter long I have made up the bungee cords attached to the slightly elastic nylon cord that can be purchased from any boating place some 5 metes long, with the wire made up loop some 10-15cm long on the end. The rubber end with the well secured loop is hooked into the various length of metal pin, subject to the ground surface I fly off. The less stable the ground the longer the pin I hammer in, at some 20 degree angle so there's no chance it could be ripped out.

Over the years I have worked out the safe tension required with each set up and the model, all recorded in the log books for easy sling release, I normally step out and mark, before pulling the cord towards the model placed with the radio on the ground.
While holding the model with slightly rised nose to hook up the wire loop to the belly skid, I carefully grab hold of my release probe with my right hand (being a right hander), apply the full stick with the radio in my left hand and let go!

The full power (not always required) plus the cord tension does the rest, skidding the model along the ground very short distance subject to the wind conditions into the safe rotation, by the time having my both hands on the TX for the full command.

Simple as that, no matter what type of jet model off the reasonably mowed ground surface, beach sand or what ever I fly off. In my early days, I started launching using slightly longer cords, with the help of someone holding the model at some chest high level with the instruction to keep the nose up at positive angle. This type of release was more risky as the model was pulled slightly downward if not properly held with the nose up. Now days I sometimes wonder why I didn't do it right from the ground level, I have started at later stage, while on my own with the helper didn't turn up.

The first self release at the field, I still remember well, the heart ticking bit faster with bit of unknown, but with the other hand on the radio immediately after the release I knew strait away I don't need any helper further on. This was actually a twin EDF "Lear Jet" with the fixed main landing gear but instead of the nose gear, the model was fitted with the ply skid-hook design along the nose belly section. The model with its old brushed motors and heavy nicad load had no hope rotating off the grass, so the sling shoot was a great alternative to get it airborne for a short no more than 2 minute flight time, those were the early days!

Luckily, with the times and dramatic progress in e-power technology, the brushless motors and lipo batteries were becoming more common on the market with the great variety of larger scale looking ARF models hitting the market. One of the first I have got my hands on was a "F-4, Phanthom" by FlyFly models, powered by 90mm EDF fan coming as a stock with 6S set up and what a difference it was compared to an old tech. Most of these kits came with the pretty lousy fixed landing gear so the first one I built as a sling shooter to make it lighter and less draggy.

It took off like a hot missile with some peculiar out of control flight sequences on numerous initial flights but soon after ended up in the pretty nasty distruction. Fixable at first, but total write off few flights later. It was all happening at the times of 2.4 ghz advancement replacing the old 36 megs., I was still using, not knowing that was the problem!

It took 3 more total write off models, and a lot of discussions with fellow modelers to learn and confirm that the higher voltage of 6-8S, (25-35V) wasn't very compatible with my 36 meg. signal. Must have been the hatred of the schooling, being bit of a slow learner! LOL.
As the years went by, there were many more ARF models I have converted to this type of launching for its simplicity and practicality to minimize the weight and often the hassles with the landing gears, while flying off the harsh surfaces. Finding it also very handy to experiment while designing my own build prototypes to sort out the flying characteristics, such as center of gravity of some new scratch build creations.

Great advantage is having an immediate control of the model with the safe speed, split second after the release. With the wide variety of models ranging from 30 to 90mm EDFs I use separate bungee set up, the light 6mm cord to launch any model up to 70mm, no more than 2 kilos AUW, the mid 9mm cord comes handy for slight heavier 70mm powered jets and the heavy duty 12mm cord catapults at ease larger 80 to 90mm models at 3 kilos and over.

For an example, one of my decade plus old 90mm EDF, "BAE Hawk", now with well over 1000 safe sling shoot launches in the log book, haven't suffered a single fail launch, that must speak for itself! Still with the original motor, ESC and more than half of its flying action off the salty beach sand it performers like a dream to date, naturally with its regular maintenance and lubrication of all moving parts.

The model take off weight ranges from 2.7 to 3.5 kg, subj. to large 6S battery in 4.5 to 9Ah capacity with the flight times up to 10 minutes of smart throttle control. Even at full take off weight my HD, 12mm cord is stretched to only some 3.5 kilo tension with aproximately double its length for an easy rotation under the full stick off any surface. I often have to launch these in X, or down wind, subject to the flying spots, with the pull tension just a couple of steps further to give it some extra juice on the hotter down wind leg.

The latest of my sling shooter builds is the "F-18, Hornet" by Jepe, deciding for the first time to hot it up to 8S using full metal Mercury 90mm EDF power unit. Having a great experience flying the same model more than 10 years ago, tho, only as a 6S power, this one should be a missile with its sleek design and minimal weight, the main objective during its construction. Unfortunately, still un-flown thanks to the worse wet spell in the region in last 100 years, so the weather people say, but won't take long after the sun comes out to sort it all out for another exitment of this great RC hobby I enjoy. Stay tune for the next chapture, Happy and safe flying, Joseph Frost.
Last edited by jofro; Apr 29, 2021 at 03:27 AM.

Quick Reply

Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Category Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Discussion Alarm Clocks.....What's Your Story? Kenny Sharp Life, The Universe, and Politics 31 Dec 14, 2010 02:54 PM
Discussion Lasik eye surgery - what's your story ClayH Sailplane Talk 37 Jan 19, 2008 08:20 AM
RC anger. Post your story about the maddest you've been and what happened. jay flay tway Life, The Universe, and Politics 9 Jun 18, 2005 03:31 AM
That's One Tough Engine Story! What's Yours? flystoolow Crash Discussion 1 Feb 24, 2005 01:52 AM