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Any advice for an Old Guy that wants to fly?

Old 09-30-2008, 03:21 AM
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jerrymac
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Default Any advice for an Old Guy that wants to fly?

I am new to the forum so first I would like to say hello to all of you. I am a 50 year old guy that is a longtime mechanic at a Mack truck dealer and recently took an interest in learning to fly RC Helis. I spent a couple weeks searching the net and "lurking" here on the forum to get some info. I found lots of opposing opinions like ( start small and work your way up) and ( bigger is more stable and easier to fly). Anyhow, I decideed to buy a HeliPro Blackhawk 450 SE from Ka Planes to start my learning experience. I been practicing for a couple weeks with a free simulator called HelisimRC and an Esky simulator transmitter. I also ran out a few battery packs slidin around the garage floor light on the skids, but, so far I haven't gotten up the nerve to take it out in the lot and try to hover it off the ground. Has anyone used this free sim, and does it replicate the flight of the real thing at all? Should I quit using it and shell out the money for a better Simulator? Although I ordered some spare parts like blades,main shaft, spindle shaft,etc. ( at Mike Jr. from
Ka-Planes suggestion) I hope I don't have too many crashes since all them lil screws and parts look awfully delicate to handle compared to what I am used to working on every day, lol. Any advice or suggestions? I'm all ears. Wait, scratch that, I don't hear too well. I'm all eyes, ( as soon as I put on my readin glasses ). Thanks in advance for any help.
Old 09-30-2008, 04:49 AM
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Default RE: Any advice for an Old Guy that wants to fly?

Greetings jerrymac,
The best advise I could come up with is that no matter what you choose to start out with, you have to stick to it. Learn to repair your "baby" after you crash it, 'cause you will, just like every other honest flyer out there. It'll probably get expensive, but don't ever give up. If flyin' is in your blood you won't be happy at anything else 'till you learn to fly.
I started with an E-sky sim for $30.00 then went out and bought a Blade 400 that I still can't fly after EIGHT months. I backed off to a CX2 and learned how to fly it in three months. I have a blast with the CX2 and have started back with my 400. I still can't fly it but am making progress.
Half of the thrill for me is wrenchin' on the helis. My CX2 canopy is all taped up with scotch tape and a bandaid. Upgrades for better performance mostly. I only have aluminum upgrades where I need the screws in metal, I'm not into "bling". I don't think I'll ever be interested in trying any 3D stuff, I'm not into crashes. I just want to fly scale helis.
I'm 55 now and can't see, hear, or remember where I just put that screwdriver, but I really enjoy this hobby and NOBODY can discourage me from indulgin' myself.
I think this winter I'll invest in a FS ONE simulator.
Don't be scarce on this forum, ask questions, even if they seem stupid, Vent if you want, write about what you learn, we read these strings because we're all courious. Enjoy.
Mike
Old 09-30-2008, 05:07 AM
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Missileman
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Default RE: Any advice for an Old Guy that wants to fly?

If you haven't done it get, or make, yourself a set of training gear. Just like when you learned to ride a bike. It will help to keep your heli from tipping over but must be used on a smooth surface. I always recommend an empty section of parking lot at least 20' square to start with.
Any sim will help some but is not a replacement of flying the real thing.
Start off with the recomendations of Radds school:
http://www.dream-models.com/eco/flying-index.html
A real help would be a local heli pilot to, at the very least, make sure your heli is set up and properly trimmed. There is no such thing as Ready To Fly.
Best of luck and BTW I am 49 and have been flying helis for 3 years and airplanes for just over 4. (I think the airplane experience helped with helis)
Old 09-30-2008, 06:54 AM
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Magic Hook
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Default RE: Any advice for an Old Guy that wants to fly?

I've got you by five years. Yes, you should consider the expense of a better simulator important for the long run. I got into heli's six months ago. My second purchase was one of the commercial sims that cost about $200.00 bucks. It was as much as my first heli, and I questioned the move but I was advised by a forum member so I went with that. The sim is still here, and I use it often. The heli is has long since hit the trash. LOL After you put the training gear on, and you can hover your sim, I say give your heli a shot for a hover IF you dont have local help. If you do have that help, YES get them to look over your bird and hover it so its trimmed out. Your heli was test hoverd I believe so it should be close to tirm. I had no such help, so my learning curve was a little rough. Your heli is a great first bird. Just know it can be done with patience. I now can fly ff, fff, stall turns, figure eights, nose in hovers, loops, flips, rolls, backward flight, and tail slides. Yes you are going to crash. Crashing sucks but you will learn to put it all back together so it flys perfect again. Its just part of the learning curve. Stick to it.
Old 09-30-2008, 07:55 AM
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rc-jj
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Default RE: Any advice for an Old Guy that wants to fly?

i was just at my local hobby store the other day and saw a package where you get a heli max axe ez and a sim (G3.5 i think) for about 235 bucks i think ...knowing what i (think) i know now i would have jumped on that if it was offered when i first got in the hobby. I must say i dont fly my co-ax heli much now (CX2) but it helped me SO much with orientation and even starting minor repairs, before i moved up to the collective pitch helis like what you have now. {my cx2 comes in handy when i am at home and just have to fly!}

Now you can get an Esky lama V3 or 4 for under 100 bucks - i have seen as little as 70 bucks. Now i should have started by saying what i always say - if you put 10 RC-ers in a room you will get 11 opinions .....but the good thing is you will at least get feedback and that is better than the alternative. I have heard of folks that learned on collective pitch helis and did just fine.

I have found this hobby to be so much fun and now am at building my 2nd (still chicken to fly it ) and can hover an entire battery pack w/o landing ...that makes me feel like king of the world [sm=punching.gif]

enjoy the hobby bud ..and welcome

ciao
Old 09-30-2008, 09:01 AM
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one thumb
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Default RE: Any advice for an Old Guy that wants to fly?

Jerrymack,
Welcome to the club! My son gave me a coax for Christmas (last) and I'm addicted. My only problem is flying too high. I had a bit of a handle on 20 30 feet up when I was showing off to the love of my life (my child bride) when I got up ~ 100'. This was in my yard, I back up to a hill thats ~ 700' above the yard. With no wind at ground level I felt sort of safe- HA! Knife edge breeze took my little bird away faster than I could limp after it. It passed over some tall trees heading SW.
My advice is don't fly too high.
BTW I'm 'bout to turn 73 got one thumb blown off, bit of a limp from a broken ankle and was a mechanic for ~ 20 years.

Dont let the wax melt!
Old 09-30-2008, 09:08 AM
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rc-jj
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Default RE: Any advice for an Old Guy that wants to fly?

one thumb ...that is soooooo funny!

ciao
Old 09-30-2008, 10:06 AM
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Razorbk
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Default RE: Any advice for an Old Guy that wants to fly?

jerrymac,

Welcome to the hobby. Don't worry about the age. I am 70 yrs young and started in Feb with a Colco Lama V co-ax, got hooked and moved up to a BH450SE from KA-PLANES (good choice for dealer and service). Good advice from all replies that I have read so far. Practice on the simulator, go through RADDS, put on the training gear and get after it. Don't worry about crashing because you will (everyone does) and you will gain a lot of knowledge from repairing / rebuilding. Good luck and happy flying.

Razorbk
Old 09-30-2008, 10:31 AM
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rc-jj
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Default RE: Any advice for an Old Guy that wants to fly?

ditto ...and.....i too was SCARED [sm=48_48.gif] about all those little screws and do-hookey-thingies ...but i got a kit and did my first build - not only was it fun but i learned soooo much - now i get as much fun working on them buggers as i do flying.
Old 09-30-2008, 11:36 AM
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Default RE: Any advice for an Old Guy that wants to fly?

welcome to the fun, i'm 2 years younger than you and work on a fleet of mack trucks to. started this spring with hawk pro then got raptor 30 now i have trex 450 to to deal with. boom struck all 3 birds, took alll apart put back together bought all kinds of parts gor each one ready to go again, cept this time i've been practicing alot on the simulators and that has helped me so much. can now hover hawk pro with confidence. have trex set up with training gear and with in the next few nights will get it up and going.get a decent simulator, it worked for me. good luck and have lots of fun
Old 09-30-2008, 03:15 PM
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Default RE: Any advice for an Old Guy that wants to fly?

jerrymac,
I have not been at the heli's but a little over one year. I have been flying fixed wing now for 29 years and 20 of those years living in East Peoria, IL. Small world gmscholl. I started with a Lama V4 and bought a Falcon 3D. Still having a good time with both. Can now somewhat fly the Falcon 3D but it took a long time to get there. A friend here at work is a very experienced heli flyer and has been a big help and great support. If you have someone locally that knows heli's try to get them to help you. A simulator does help a lot and starting out my opinion is any is a lot better than none at all. I am putting together a T-rex 450 and have my eye on a 600. It is addicting and don't get discouraged when you crash. Every one is right on that, you will crash. Do a lot of reading on the forums and ask any questions that come up (the only stupid question is the one you ask that you already know the answer to ). A lot of good and helpful fella's on here.
Old 09-30-2008, 05:28 PM
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46u
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Default RE: Any advice for an Old Guy that wants to fly?

Off topic but I sure am glade to see many on the forums my age as I am 54. I have been messing with and racing RC cars and trucks for quite a few years. I just started getting in to helicopters in the last couple of months. The only thing I have flown so far is my ESky Lama V3 but I am getting a belt CP ready.
Old 09-30-2008, 07:06 PM
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Flying Foot Doc
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Default RE: Any advice for an Old Guy that wants to fly?

Jerrymac, i've got you by 10 years and love this obby. There is a definite learning curve. The other advice i've seen here for you is good. You don't need much altitude at all to learn to fly. If there was any one recommendation i would give it would be to become another student of Radd's School of Rotary Flight. Then keep going on the simulator. I don't know the one you fly, but I fly 2 of them on my computer and try to relearn all the lessons. Good Luck let us all know how it goes for you. Andy
Old 10-01-2008, 01:08 AM
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jerrymac
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Default RE: Any advice for an Old Guy that wants to fly?

Thanks for all the suggestions. It is nice to see so many friendly and helpful people on here. Also encouraging to see that guys that are 20 years smarter than me are flying rc helis. It gives me something to look forward to. This is a small city and I don't know anybody else that flies helis here. We don't even have a hobby shop that sells them, so I will have to order any parts I need online. I checked out a couple of the good sims, but I will probably need to upgrade the video card in my computer to run them. Hmmm, sounds like a good Christmas gift hint to the wife and kids ( simulator and video card ). I would have lots of time to practice during the long cold winters here in Pa. Who knows, maybe someday I will be good enough to fly with 1 thumb tied behind my back . Gonna go finish reading Radds now. I will let you guys know how the maiden voyage goes. Thanks again to all of you. Jerry
Old 10-01-2008, 06:05 AM
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Missileman
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Default RE: Any advice for an Old Guy that wants to fly?

As for the sims I went the other route. I bought an older version of Real Flight, G2 for the exact reason that I wanted to use it on my laptop and older home computer that just couldn't handle the specs. of the new sims. Perfectly fine sim and can be bought used for well under $100 on Ebay.
Old 10-01-2008, 05:57 PM
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maxmicrox
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Default RE: Any advice for an Old Guy that wants to fly?

hi jerrymac and everyone. I'm also new on this forum but already had some limited flying experience. Some of the co-axials are just no-brainers flying out of the box. I especially like the Walkera line because they specialize in smaller helis. You won't need to drive half an hour to some field 'cause you can fly them on your drive way or the micro helis indoors. The co-axials I liked are the Walkera 5g6 for indoors and the 5#10 and then single-axial just the perrrfect size for the drive-way is the Walkera 4g1b. They are all pretty inexpensive at around $100 and shipped out from the West Coast. I would also stock up on some spare parts. Wowhobbies.com, rotorfever.com and highvolt-heli.com are a couple of my favorite vendors. In leu of upgrading my old 5g6 I opted for a new 5g6 2.4 Gigahertz version from wowhobbies.com yesterday ($99 + shipping). If the helis is smaller and not too threatening than you can use them for real-live-time training as oppose to simulators. I mush have crashed a few hundred times on the 4g1b before I learned to hover on a single axial heli. I can't imagine the damage that will cause on a bigger heli.[&:]

Have fun!

Old 10-06-2008, 04:53 AM
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Default RE: Any advice for an Old Guy that wants to fly?

Hi Jerry - 15 years your senior - my magnifying hood nearly fell off and false teeth fell out laughing so hard from your posting. Welcome aboard!! I learned from the ground up - actually it was more like the ground down and like everyone saying - crashing is part of the learning unless you have reflexes like a cat and can write your name on rice grains. Simulator wise - haven't used or seen the Helipro simulator - but I can attest the Phoenix simulator being worth its weight in broken helicopters and in my book - highly recommended. Not only in the simulation but the visual effects. You swear you are out at the park flying instead of a graphic simulation. Opinions differ as to best helicopter to learn on and your mileage may vary - it's hard to beat a coaxial helicopter for learning the basic reflexes and a lot of fun as well. Not nearly as intimidating as the tail rotors - a lot more forgiving - and a LOT more stable. Coaxials are easy to fly after you learn. Tail rotors are easy to crash after you learn. Upgrade the fixed blades on the Blade-CX2 and they are practically indestructible.

Tail-rotor-wise my first attempt was with a Belt-CP. Couldn't fly it for more than 10 seconds at a time but sure got good at repairing. Hands a bit shakey on the joysticks but with the help of a good programmable transmitter like the Futaba and hours on the simulator it was flyable. From there the choices narrowed down to another hobby or another heli. I chose the T-rex450SE. Didn't help with the pilot error but dramatically reduced the stability problems built into the Belt. One thing almost everyone agrees with - the hobby is seriously addictive and once you start spinning it is near impossible to quit. Recommend leaving your Black-hawk in the box and practice on the simulator until you can hover for minutes instead of seconds. Keep the nose pointed forward (away from you) until it becomes automatic. Be patient - learn small steps - try not to be in a hurry. Reward yourself with flying the coaxial. Get some help with your Black-hawk. Set-up and tracking is critical and CCPM is not an overnight learn. The smallest error makes them almost impossible to fly. All them itty-bitty parts break and bend and snap like they made of rice crackers when they spinning at 2500 RPM. Heli's have a tendency of heading to the nearest obstacle in less time than you can say oooooooh sh__ !!! - and the cost of replacement parts can easily exceed the cost of the heli after a few "just one more time and I'll get it right - crashes".

There is an amazing amount of talent and proficiency flying with you in these forums - don't hesistate to ask for help. - we all started from the same place - picking up the pieces. Good luck and great flying!!

Captain_Jack
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Old 10-06-2008, 03:51 PM
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Default RE: Any advice for an Old Guy that wants to fly?

hey jerry...I aint to far from ya ..i am in media Pa......I operate heavy equi[pment in middletown..de....this is a great hobby....all kinds of good people in this forum for any kind of heli help...I use it a-bit myself...lots of insight and pricless info here...just have fun start small Do RADDS....you wont regret it...
Old 11-22-2008, 10:16 AM
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Default RE: Any advice for an Old Guy that wants to fly?

Jer,
Ever get off the ground?
I got a Shark 450 10-23-08 that had so much vib that I an not able to lift it off the ground!
Sold as new RTF but no doubt used.
one thumb
Old 11-22-2008, 04:00 PM
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Default RE: Any advice for an Old Guy that wants to fly?

Get some training gear and fly the snot out of it. I'm in the same situation / age group as well. Just started my adventure a month ago with an EXI 450. Just took the training gear off yesterday and have about 4 flights so far - just hovering tail in.
The training gear let me see how this thing reacts / flys without breaking things. Keep it low . I set up my TX so that in normal mode I had +2 to +6 pitch. That way if I got freaked out , I could drop the throttle and get back to earth reasonably slow. I know a few people will not agree with this and they have valid points for not doing it. But it flat worked for me and helped me build confidence. I still fly it like that. I didn't like having negative pitch in it because it slams into the ground too hard . I have since gotten used to keeping the throttle up and flying out of trouble.
Old 11-22-2008, 04:26 PM
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jerrymac
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Default RE: Any advice for an Old Guy that wants to fly?

Hi one thumb, actually I did get in some flight time before the snow started flying, I just forgot to post back on this thread. I got a little better sim called Clearview and practiced a lot, then picked up a used HBK2 to fool with before getting out the BH450. The 450 is much easier to fly for a newbie than the 300 size King. I am going to try to save up enough money over the winter to get a Trex 500 in the spring. ( This hobby is addicting ). As to the "vib" problem in your heli, the used King I got had a bad vib too. I seems the previous owner had a blade strike and I found the spindle shaft was bent. I replaced the shaft, balanced a new set of blades, set blade tracking and it spun up real smooth. My grandson really likes watching me fly so I think for Christmas I will get him a MCX or maybe a Lama and try to get him started. He is only 8 years old be he can fly a co-ax pretty good on the sim. ( I am gonna have to get a second job, LOL.) Nice to hear from you again. And you guys were right, there are a lot of really helpful people on here. I have asked several questions on here and I always get a lot of helpful replies. Good luck with your new heli.
Jerry
Old 11-22-2008, 04:47 PM
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jerrymac
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Default RE: Any advice for an Old Guy that wants to fly?

Hi batman, actually I did put training gear on before trying to fly them, since it seemed that it wouldn't take much of a tip to the side while taking off or landing for the blades to strike the ground. Like you, I also made a few changes to my HBK2 to make it a little easier to control for a newbie. Being a small heli it reacted very quick to small cyclic inputs, so I moved the servo rods in a little farther on the horns so it didn't react so quick. It might not be the right thing to do either, but it made it easier to learn to fly. The 450 sized heli is a little easier to fly though so I didn't make any changes to it. The bad thing about living here in Western Pa. is the winters are long and cold so I will probably be learning all over again when spring comes[:@]. At least I can fly the sim all winter.
Old 11-22-2008, 07:18 PM
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Default RE: Any advice for an Old Guy that wants to fly?

Hi, Im 41 and I started flying helis about 2 months ago. Helis are extremely challenging to master, and thats the reason why I love it so much. I always get an adrenaline rush after a flight. I highly recommend you get a good sim. I use Reflex XTR and its one of the most realistic sims for heli out there. I started with a Sceadu Evo 50, its nice and big and stable heli for beginners even in high winds. I recently bought a Trex 450seV2, its very agile and twitchy even with flybar weights added, more difficult to fly than the Sceadu, but I love it cos its a fly anywhere heli. Here's a video of me maidening my Trex:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IrdyEWj2dB0
Old 11-22-2008, 07:50 PM
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axel8000
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Default RE: Any advice for an Old Guy that wants to fly?

Jerrymac,
Hey man! WOW! I bought my first heli from ka planes about 3 months ago! I got the blackhawk 450.. not the SE.. I wish I would have bought the SE to begin with.. but my heli now has everything the SE has on it and more! I am actually kinda glad I didn't go with aluminum to begin with, because I crashed a few times before I got to hovering really good.

I hope you've tried out RADD's school of rotary flight http://www.dream-models.com/eco/flying-index.html

That's how I learned to get off the ground.. now I'm flyin all over my yard!..

I suggest you stop by the thread that's on these forums called "Heli stuff and fellowship." It was created by a great guy dooleye here on the forums... Lots of great people over there that have helped me a TON in learning to fly and in repairs.
.
I can tell you this, once you crash it the first couple times and you tear the thing apart to fix it. Thats when you are really going to learn. In the 3 months I've had my heli I've physically removed and replaced every single part I think.. lol

If you don't enjoy fixing it, you wont enjoy helis! but considering your background, you should enjoy fixing it. In fact, I have more fun building and repairing than I do actually flying! lol

Mike Jr. at KA planes is a super nice guy! You made a good choice buying from him. He always answers emails and is always willing to help answer questions. My suggestion, if you haven't already. Is to get the hex screwdriver set that they sell. I wish I would have gotten it to begin with, those screwdrivers are a livesaver! Mike will even tell ya that.

as far as lipo batteries go... I have found that the best price around is for the zippy lipos... they work great and are a good price.
you can find some here http://www.hobbycity.com/hobbycity/s...5C_Lipoly_Pack

and the best charger.. by far! is the FMA cellpro
http://www.fmadirect.com/products.htm?cat=45&nid=4
you'll need the charger and the kokam addapter.. also the 12v adapter is good to have.

not trying to get you to spend money.. but let me warn you.. this hobby IS expensive.. lol.. I've got about $800 into my heli already.. but it's so much fun, it's money well spent.
Old 11-22-2008, 08:39 PM
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one thumb
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Default RE: Any advice for an Old Guy that wants to fly?

Hay,
The vib I have I'm prety sure is the main gear (teeth bent and chewed), I am trying to order a new one now.
The place I got it from (Shark 450) is in Canada and the contact is not very helpfull.
But that's life, Y'got push sometimes.
one thumb

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