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Jul 05, 2006, 05:14 PM
It flies? I like it!
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My aeromodelling bio

Like so many others, my first models were dime store gliders and rubber powered models. For my 9th birthday I received an old Holland Hornet .049 and a Baby Ringmaster control line model. I painted it with the leftover Testors paints from my plastic model days and soon discovered why aeromodelling paints needed to be "fuel proof". I enjoyed control line and free flight until I was old enough to work weekends and summers to save enough to buy a used Orbit single stick, 6 channel radio. That radio opened up a whole new world of possibilities even though the servos were mediocre by modern standards and the pots had to be cleaned and lubed to keep performance acceptable. I built a Heathkit radio and flew it for a number of years and retrofitted older equipment with Ace Silver Seven encoders when those were available. Soldering up your own radio was part of the landscape then and years later when Krafts and Prolines were more than you could afford.

I dreamed of some day having my own hobby shop and years later it happened without trying. My best friend gave me half of his shop for Christmas one year for all the work I had done helping expand his business. We had a successful run and slowly morphed from a brick and mortar shop to mail order. The hobby business is a difficult business with long hours and low margins but despite this, we thrived. At the height of it all I was doing vendor relations with many overseas sources, product development and testing on kits and electronics; and even writing ocassionally for Model Airplane News. Then it happened, my best friend and business partner was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He beat the odds and survived for almost 7 years despite his initial prognosis of 4-6 months, but as the fight drug on, the desire to continue the shop diminished. As I had suspected for some time, it was the people, not only or particularly the models after all. We closed the shop and liquidated its assets. Two years later, on the saddest day of my life, I said goodbye to my best friend and mentor.

I was back to just being another modeler in the crowd. Not a bad place to be though with the developments that brought high performance electrics, turbines, etc. etc. into being. So, I am back to building and flying, enriched by the lives of those who touched mine, people like Earl VanGorder, Randy Randolph, Larry Marshall, George Perryman, Tom Atwood, Frank Zaic, Bill Hannan, Glenn and Hazel Sig and many, many others but, most of all, my best friend.

I have flown and enjoyed everything from free flight rubber and hand launched gliders, to snarling Formula 1’s, QMs and Q-500's powered by loud and obnoxious powerplants. I have struggled with initial disorientation followed by blissful calm flying airplanes by the pale light of glowsticks on a moonless night. I have built barstock engines, from scratch, for spark, glow and diesel all the while secretly hoping to become good enough to be invited to join Chernich and the MBI gang. I have stared down a cliff looking for that invisible source of fun that propelled my all-too-heavy PSS ship through hours of sustenance and aerobatics. I gave turbines a shot and have soared in unlimited class gliders, I have embarrassed my glow buddies with electric hotliners and F5D racers; and chased streamers many times while holding on to a control line handle or transmitter stick. I smiled every time, and trembled some, but never felt more at home than while building or flying models and enjoying the company of like-minded individuals.

I recently consolidated all of my flyable R/C models onto a single transmitter, the awesome Futaba 14MZ. I giggle when it informs me in a stern voice “Flaps Down!” in a matter that makes that old EK Logictrol or Orbit look like a caveman’s club… There they sit, the surviving fruits of my building efforts, 46 slots with nice little mug shots and counting... I am glad flash memory is cheap!

I am currently working on some actuator micro-electrics, a large electric retro-pattern bird and a new Jett powered Q500 for next season. There’s a Gasparin CO2 powered Peck Polymers Pietenpol on the next table, it is almost ready to fly, as soon as I have the time and weather to trim it. My last batch of Tan-II is getting a little stale, guess it's time to order up another and start stripping and stretching some new motors for the old birds. I also have to turn a prop adaptor for my G62 to get that old Stuka in the air before the summer is over.

I can’t wait for the wind to die down a little so I can go fly the Knuffel or maybe even the GWS Tiger Moth in the yard tonight… maybe one of the flying buddies will stop by on the way home... that would make it... perfect. Even if they don't, I swear I can feel the old man smiling alongside me on those quiet, windless evenings...
Last edited by Lomcevak; Feb 01, 2018 at 05:47 PM.
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