I started flying a couple of years ago because it had been a lifelong dream to fly some R/C stuff. As a kid, on the rare occasion that I saw somebody flying an R/C airplane, I was absolutely mesmerized. Not so much just the fact that they were flying an airplane, but the fact that they could control it remotely, and that it was an incredibly cool gadget.
Always tinkering with stuff, but being from a pretty poor family, I always tried ways to make my own version of things that would work like an R/C unit, even stripping devices that had been discarded of their electronics, etc., trying to match circuits and make it work. I didn't have much sucess, but time marched on. Later R/C stuff started becoming more available in cheap type toys, so the concepts of how it worked started making sense. I still didn't really try anything with R/C airplanes at the point though.
Fast forward about 10 years, and while I was in college, I bought a glow cessna from a guy in our dorm. I was early winter, December if I remember, and I was just to excited. Living in the Ozarks, the winters can be very unpredictable and the winter I had that plane was extremely cold, bitter, windy, wet, you name it. But when I have a new toy, patience sometimes goes out the window. I would take that plane on any sunny yet cold day to the college track and try to use it as a runway to get it going. My early frustration was that due to the cold, it was extremely hard to get it to start. The guy I bought it from was able on one day to get it off the ground and I made about 2 passes flying it. That was the extent of the flying of that plane. I did manage to get it started on a couple other occasions in February, but the wind and wet conditions only allowed me to taxi it around as I knew I would destroy it if I tried to fly it. Along about this time, I was taking a SCUBA class at the college, so I sold the plane to buy some SCUBA gear. That put a temporary hold on my flying experience.
Now fast forward another 20 years. I had been around several people that flew glow stuff, and had even tried a few times flying theirs. While I enjoyed it, I just didn't have the cash nor the desire to mess with all the mess of glow airplanes. Along about this time I had started a new job, and an fella I worked with, John Cooper, who was a long time R/C pilot, had an interest in breaking his hiatus from flying but he too was not enamoured with getting back into glow stuff. He had some glider experience, and indicated that although he had mostly used Hi-Start apparatus or a glow pod on the gliders, he had been hearing good things about the state of electric motors in them. So we both ordered a couple of gliders from a hobby shop, and got busy building them. No sooner had we started building and studying these gliders than along came the knowlege that electric airplane kits were starting to appear that might make flying actual airplanes cheaper and less messy.
Well, with a little research, we discovered a company that was pioneering the effort by selling VERY inexpensive kits and setups. I bought a GWS Slow Stik and John bought a GWS Pico Stik. From there the fun was on. Buying this plane allowed me the growth and freedom of learning to fly that I had never had before. The lightness of the plane allowed me to crash it while learning to fly it over and over. I probably went through a dozen props learning, but the plane just kept on taking it. Eventually, I was doing more and more with the plane, modifying it with my own wings from other materials, adding things like a wireless camera, parachute drop, lights for night flying, you name it. My confidence was growing with leaps and bounds. John's experience was like a kid riding a bicycle. He hadn't lost any of his touch for flying but enjoyed the challenge of getting used to a much lighter plane than he had ever experienced. His skills came back fast and soon he was already onto newer faster planes like the Watt-age Crazy Max and the slow but fun GWS Tiger Moth.
From that point, we have had a couple years of some of the most fun flying and my dreams of R/C flying have been realized even beyond my wildest expectations. From that I have gotten to meet and get to know some of the greatest people, and fly with them, learn from them, and just have a lot of fun getting out with folks that have the same fun and passion.
I hope this is only the beginning. It has been a long hot summer here and has slowed down the flying quite a bit for me, but I hope that a renewed sense of challenge will get us all going again.
Thanks for reading and feel free to relate your expeineces and the exciting times you have had getting started flying.