Friday, July 20, 2012

Wings Across America Pilot #350

In case you don't know about Wings Across America, go ahead and visit this link:

The following is a brief explanation of the program taken from the official description of the project:
A group of model airplane enthusiasts will fly a battery powered radio controlled airplane called
a ParkFlyer in all 48 contiguous United States.  The name they have given this adventure is
Wings Across America 2008 or WAA-08 for short.  What sets this project apart from all the
others ever attempted or completed is that the pilots will hand deliver the plane from pilot to
pilot.  The plane will never be shipped by mail to its next destination.  This method will be
creating a "chain" of pilots that will fly this model airplane all across the United States and back
to the starting point.  Upon completion of the adventure, the model airplane will have flown in
48 states and cover a distance of over 25,000 miles.  The plane will end her journey at home field
about 5 years after it made its maiden flight in eastern Virginia.  Currently, 356 pilots have
registered to take part in this history making project as well as 246 Academy of Model
Aeronautics (AMA) Chartered clubs are hosting the adventure as the plane makes its way across
the United States of America.
WAA-08 is the creation of Frank Geisler of Gloucester, Virginia.  Frank is an avid RC pilot,
USAF veteran, and AMA leader member who volunteers his free time to help promote the sport
of model aviation.  When Frank discussed this project with some of his friends it was received
with such enthusiasm that the project was born of this energy.  All that was needed were to find
hundreds of RC pilots across the US and in every state willing to fly the plane at their home field
then drive to the next pilot, thus forming a nationwide network of pilots who would fly an RC
airplane across America. The RC community is always looking at ways to promote the hobby
and introduce the fun, excitement, and learning opportunities this hobby has to offer to young
adults.  This is an excellent way to showcase this hobby to a lot of young Americans.
I had been hearing about the project for some time from various media outlets and knew that it had already been near the Cleveland, OH area, so I just followed with interest whenever I would hear about it. I never thought I'd be able to see and hold the plane, let alone fly it or become an official WAA pilot. The story starts when I visited my good friend Jack who had been repairing a plane for me. I pull into his driveway and he immediately says, "moose, I've got something to show you..." He opens his tailgate to reveal the WAA box.

I knew what it was right from the get-go and grabbed my camera so I could get a picture of myself with it. He then proceeds to tell me that he needs to get it to Columbus to the next pilot. I could not believe what I was hearing, because in two days time, my family and I were going to be heading to Columbus ourselves to visit COSI and the Columbus Zoo! One thing led to another and I pulled out of Jack's driveway with the WAA plane in the back of the Forester.

After contacting Frank and letting him know what was going on, I quickly made plans to visit my home field of the Flying Aces of Aurora, AMA Chartered Club #4859. There's really nothing exciting to report on the flight. The plane flies like any well designed 3 channel trainers. It handled the 5-8 MPH winds just fine. It was a privilege and an honor to put a flight on the Steven's AeroModel Squirt.

The closing of my personal chapter of the WAA journey ended in Columbus, OH when I met up with pilot #351 Michael See to transfer the plane.

I did adorn the travel case with my name and a brand new ATTF sticker. (created by NachosCheese Graphics) It's an exciting thought to maybe see that same case and plane behind glass at a museum. Is it wishful thinking that it might end up in the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum? Pilots ARE dreamers, right?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Showing RC to Cub Scouts

On June 28th, Jeff Maruschek from the podcast, along with Bobby Roarison, and Dave Bondi from Austintown Hobby Shop visited the Breckville Cub Scout Day camp to provide after-lunch entertainment for around 140 cub scouts. The goal was to give the scouts a quick glimpse of what RC is about, the equipment we use, how it works, aerodynamics, and examples of planes ranging from ultra-micros up to a 100cc 3DHS AJ Slick. This afternoon's fleet consisted of  8 RC models including 2 30cc sized planes, 2 50cc sized planes, and lastly, a 104" 3DHS AJ Slick powered by a DA 120. Due to the small field size, a few smaller foamies were also brought for some flying demos.

Jeff led the demonstration with a quick overview of the hobby in general. Topics included current radio technology, AMA safety regulations, model sizes and costs. After some questions, the guys wanted to explain how the planes actually fly and how they're controlled. Jeff would explain each channel on the radio while Dave would move the appropriate surfaces on a 71" 3DHS AJ Slick. 

Next, the guys gave a quick flying demonstration with some 3D foamies. Bobby took to the skys showing some general flying and then quickly progressed into some extreme 3D maneuvers. "Bobby's a much better pilot then me, so watch him make the plane do things you'd never expect a plane to do!" Jeff said to the kids. The flying led to another round of questions, however this time it was noticed that more of the fathers were joining in and asking questions!

In the end, the trio kept the 140 scouts as quiet as they had been all week! The administration could not believe how attentive the kids were for the entire demo. There are, however, a few things the guys learned for next year's demo. "This year was more of a last minute thing that turned into a "shock and awe" display for the kids. Next year we're going to concentrate more on trainers, good first models, and buddy boxing" says Bondi.