It's been a long time since I was flying. Twelve years, five jobs, four moves, two births and one wedding ago. Today, I finally got back into the air, and it sure felt great.
The planes had been dutifully packed up and unpacked, moved half way across the country and back, sometimes forgotten, occasionally fiddled with, but usually out of mind.
Finally they were taken out, cleaned up, one put back in working order and taken to the flying field.
I was rusty with the sticks, and I've forgotten so many of the little things I used to know. I was really thankful for the help with the buddy box, so someone more proficient could bring the thing in for nice safe landing - had I broken it, I don't know that I would have it in me to go back out again.
But I remember now why I enjoyed this hobby so much - how good it feels to see something I built gracefully floating through the air, and how fun it is to command the little contraption where to go. Soon, I'll be nailing those landings like I used to, all those years ago.
It was a pretty good day, and I'm looking forward to having a lot more of them. Any anybody out there who is looking at getting back into this hobby, by all means do so.
Anyway, sorry for the zen-like post, but I just had to tell somebody.
No need to be sorry. Glad you're back. Moving a mere 90 miles, and getting married shortly thereafter, set me back about 3 years. Now I'm back on track; flying and building like crazy. My wife supports me 100%. Dr.1 Driver "There's a Hun in the sun!"
Actually Rob, what you describe is pretty much the "norm" for most of us. The typical scenario is that we discover the hobby when were kids, and then leave it for exactly the kind of reasons that you did. Then when life "settles down" a little, we rediscover the hobby, and if we're lucky, get to stay with it for the rest of our lives. At least that's how it's worked for most of the older guys that I know. Welcome back.
Aircraft modeling is one of the best ways to fill in the void that some find when they retire from the rat race. Something to do on rainy days, cold wintery days, nights and on beautiful days. Something you can still do when the ravages of age creep up on you. A significant number of people I meet in the hobby now are those that were out of the hobby for many years and have rediscovered it once retired.
The sad thing is, I'm not old (only 36) and certainly nowhere near retirement (unfortunately). My life is kind of running a bit backwards right now, as I'm back in school for a Masters degree (after being laid off & not being able to find employment). Looks like about another year and a half before I have to get back into the "real" world.
I almost feel younger again after getting back into the air and who knows, I may yet realize a life-long dream of building & piloting a full size plane, now that the Sport Pilot thing is finally happening. Time will tell on that one, but I'm already looking forward to going out again tomorrow. I've got to get the rest of my planes back in working order, too!
A Goldberg Falcon III, with a ten year old but fresh from the box OS .40. The original had seized, but (adding to the greatness of the day) after having soaked in fuel for a couple of months, the original engine broke loose, too. A little more cleanup and I'll put it back into service on something else.
I was hoping to use that new engine in something even more forgiving than the Falcon, and was attempting to build the Spadet LC-40. I can't get 2mm Coroplast around here and I pretty much ruined things trying to use 4mm for the upper surface of the wing. So, out I went with the Falcon. I wasn't even planning on flying it that day - I was just hoping to get the new engine running. I'm glad the guys at the flying club didn't let me settle for just that.
My first plane (built when I was fifteen) was a .25 powered Kadet Jr. I loved that plane, but the last time it flew twelve years ago, I made the mistake of taking it up one last time in some pretty windy conditions. I'd just spent ten minutes fighting the wind to get the thing safely on ground, got it there, and then thought to myself "well, that wasn't so bad" & throttled it up for another go. I don't think I even made it half the circuit before it ran out of fuel.
The ensuing crash demolished the fuselage. During it's long hibernation, the .25 engine had seized, too. It broke loose after a brief bit of soaking, but it had nothing for compression. It seems to be acting a little better now, so somebody at the field suggested I try firing it up and seeing if it will run. If it does, I'll dig out the plans and build a new fuse - the wing managed to survive the impact without a scratch.
I've also got a brand new electic - the T-Hawk, from ReadyToFlyFun.Com. It flys pretty well, and it is next to indestructable (I gave it a pretty good run for it's money in that regard!) except for the propellers - if you knock a wing tip on landing, the wing can twist into the propeller. The wing comes out fine, but the prop breaks in two. I'm down to my last prop and I bent one of the stabs, but hopefully I'm over the hump enough to keep it flying for a while with the remaining spares. I'm amazed by the battery life, too (I went for the NiMh batteries over the standard NiCd's).
I truly cannot believe how far electrics have come in the last dozen years. I had a Stik-E once upon a time (come to think of it, I still do...) but it was a dog compared to the T-Hawk. The ESC weighed at least twice as much as the receiver, and either BEC's hadn't been invented yet or I was too cheap to buy one, because I remember it needed a separate battery for the flight control system.
I think somebody really needs to put together one of these pod & boom foamy thingies with a ducted fan. That would give even more protection to the motor and the prop (er, fan), and should make it even less susceptible to damage from the errant uncontrolled flight into ground.
Anyway, I got spoiled by learing to fly on that Kadet. It was a wonderful plane, very forgiving and easy on the inexperienced pilot. I taught a couple of people to fly with that thing, and had even had quite a few people who had no interest in the hobby take a turn at the controls. Hopefully it too will live to see the sky again, and help a few more people get their wings.
Nice comment. Apparently you hadnt lost the spark. I had a similar experience. Flew a little C/L in early '50s. Paper airplanes and Guillow rubberbands after that .... then I saw r/c being done and ........... In '78 my wife bought me a Cox Cessna Centurion. I now have about 8 airplanes of various configs. Most fun I've had in a long time.