Video Clips of Mike 'ShowTime' McConville
Mike McConville at the
2004 E-TOC 6.22
Mike McConville at the
2004 XFC 13.70
Mike McConville at the
2004 E-TOC 6.85
Mike by Mike:
I'm a second generation RC'er and was born into RC. My dad
Jim, who now lives in Sarasota, FL and still flies, first
put a transmitter in my hands when I was age 4. Though I grew
up at flying fields, I was a pretty normal kid, played a variety
of sports and various activities other than RC. At the age
of 11 something really clicked and that's probably when I
became an RC addict.
up in Cincinnati, OH in the 70's I was exposed to some of
the biggest names in pattern at the time such as Dave Brown,
Mark Radcliff, Dean Koger and Don Lowe (still my hero's),
so my primary interest was always in aerobatics. Having decided
RC was my thing, I sport flew for a year. Toward the end of
that year my dad and I joined a new club where we met Dick
Hanson who was also an avid pattern pilot. Flying with Dick
and his son Guy really got me interested in competition, and
so we built a couple of Hobby Barn Curares and the next spring,
1978, I began to compete in pattern.
remember a very humble beginning at my first contest. Flying
Novice class, I placed 14th out of 16. I beat the guy who
crashed and narrowly edged out a guy with a 3-channel flying
wing. A much younger Steve Rojecki won Novice class at that
Shortly after my first contest, an up and coming FAI pilot
named Tony Frackowiak moved to Cincinnati. For the next
several years I was able to fly with Tony and learned a
huge amount from him about flying, model design and set-up.
I was very fortunate to have such world class guys around
to learn from. With their help I was lucky enough to go
from a humble start in competition to winning the US Nationals
for the first time, in Expert class pattern, in 1981. I
competed in pattern very heavily until 1996, when I shifted
my attention over to scale (IMAC) type aerobatics, where
I have focused my most of my attention ever since.
In 1984, at the age of 20 I was invited to the Tournament
of Champions for the first time to fly warm-up flights for
the judges. In 1992 I was invited to compete in the TOC
for the first time, and competed in every one since, till
the event ended after the 2002 TOC. Being a TOC competitor
is something that I will always treasure and feel extremely
privileged and grateful for the opportunity to have been
part of such an amazing event.
I started designing airplanes while competing in pattern.
My first design was called the Newwave, which I first few
in 1984. The Desire series was first flown in 1990 and that
was the first of my designs that became commercially available.
I'll never forget the rush I got in the early 90's when
I arrived at the NATS and saw several of "my"
Desires on the flight line. Many, designs later, it's still
a thrill to go to a field and see guys flying models that
I was able to be part of bringing to market.
really getting involved in RC as a kid I had set my sights
on building a career in the Hobby Industry. My first summer
job at the age of 16 was with World Engines in Cincinnati.
There I started to learn a little about distribution and
proprietary product. After college I worked in Control Systems
Engineering for GE Aircraft engines for 6 years. In 1991
I decided to take a stab at my life long dream and try to
build a career in the Hobby Industry. I worked for Hobbico
for a short time, then moved to Hobart, IN to Midwest Products
as head of model design. Among several designs we released
between 1994 and 1997 were several IMAC type models such
as the Extra 330S, Cap 232, Giles G202 and Pitts Super Stinker.
In late 1996 an opportunity opened up and I moved to Champaign,
IL to work with Horizon Hobby, where I've been ever since.
Its been a lot of fun being part of the growth Horizon has
seen and particularly with the Hangar 9 line which I've
been head of for the past several years now.
Its interesting that a lot of people I meet have the impression
that I fly for a living. In reality, I probably fly less
than most folks. A lot of my time these days is spent planning
product releases, working with manufacturers to get them
made to our standards, marketing them etc. However I still
find time to compete some and fly some demos.
Mike and his daughter Grace
For the past several years I've been fortunate to have the
friendship of people like Dennis and Caroline Gergits of Carden
Aircraft, Brian Hueffmeier who now works for Desert Aircraft
(worlds best gas engines IMHO) and George Hicks (aero genius).
Carden makes some of the best flying aerobatic models I have
ever flown, and Brian puts them together better than anyone.
George is a sounding board for many projects and ideas. However
its the friendship with people like this and others, not what
they do, that makes doing all of this worth while.