RE: Restarting in Pattern after years away
Wow, you inspire me. I took "off" about 5 years during the mid-to-late '80s to finish off college and get started on my own (I had discovered girls too, which were generally not all that impressed with the planes). In fact, I got back into pattern to get over an old girlfriend... I soon met my wife-to-be and she has been, lets say quite supportive. With respect to family, I figure I'd have thrown in the towel already if it were not for my son. He seems to be quite interested in model airplanes. In fact, I'm getting a bit tired of listening to repeats from the last TOC and past Masters videos. Trivia- did you know Mike McConville flew the last flight of the last TOC? I think I'm going to turn the TV off before I go crazy.
Well, I guess my point to all this is you can take time off and come back competitively. While I took time off, Chip Hyde was busy winning the NATS and World Championships. Looking forward from the late '80's I'd never had dreamed that I would ACTUALLY win the NATS. It took a while, but it shows that no matter how long you take off or how you are flying, you can do it!
Equipment. JR radio. This is good equipment. The 4721 is still a viable servo. I used them on my rudders for years. The 8411SA is the one to get if you want to upgrade. Its stronger and has a very tight gear train for the larger planes flying aggressive maneuvers. I was using the 7005 low profile servos in the wings forever, it seems. I switched to the 9411SA for the ailerons this season and I feel as though I've got more precise control. I can feel this during loop segments. The holding power seems to keep the wings more locked-in.
For batteries, I recommend the Li Ion or NiCd. I recently had a bad experience with NiMH, but it may have just been a bad pack that I bought at a local hobby shop. I'm using Duralite Li Ion batteries.