, Lebanon

, Tennessee

, United States

Posted on
2020-02-13 17:57:37
“My journey into model aviation started way back in the 1990s. I was 7-9 years old and heavily into N-gauge model trains at the time. My dad took me to a local Hobbytown USA to pick out a couple new freightcars or some track or somethin’ of the like and, hanging there proudly above the foyer just inside the door, was a nitro 40-size trainer. I saw it and…that was that. I knew I had to fly one at some point. Fast forward a decade and a half or so, I finally get my hands on a NexSTAR 46, get it outfitted, even had agreements to buddybox at a field in the area. But the guy pulled out last second. Next guy did the same. The NexSTAR ended up a wall decoration for a while longer. 9 or 10 years later, just last July, it finally took to the skies. On chance no less. A couple months prior I had stumbled across Flite Test and thought ‘hey these things are cheap and just bounce, lemme build a couple!’. Wanted to self-teach on the foamies, then finally fly that poor NexSTAR. I had brought a Spear, powered by two Cox 049s, and a Mini Sportster with a single Cox in it, as well as a nitro shortcourse(I love love love engines so this is pretty much all I run in RC), and for S’s and G’s I took my NexSTAR down as well. By this point it had been robbed of parts to get cars running, so it had no receiver, no receiver pack. I didn’t have any viable plane fuel for the engine on me either; I’d only brought 1/2a fuel which had way too much nitro and oil for that engine and some car fuel that had not enough oil and slightly too much nitro. I had little luck with the DTFB planes. The engines on the Spear weren’t playing nice and the Mini Sportster just incessantly groundlooped. Then it rained and most of the guys left, but one of ur local sailplane pilots…Bruce…and I hung around under the enclosed canopy over some of the pit stalls. Got to chatting. He mentioned the NexSTAR, asked if it was set up. I told him I could get it set up if I borrowed some parts from the foamies that had failed to launch. I pulled the Rx and the 2s2200 LiFE pack out of the Spear, got them set up in the NexSTAR, got the CG and linkages trimmed out. I had test run the engine on car fuel prior and found it would at least run on the stuff reliably, so I fuelled it up with that, lit the fires, made some final mixture adjustments, then set it on the runway. Bruce did the initial takeoff, trimout. Thing was…flying amazingly well actually. See for yourself! We didn’t have any means of buddyboxing so instead we just passed my Tx around. Once he got it trimmed nice and 3 mistakes high he passed it to me, coached me as I flew some circuits. I passed it back to him, he greased the landing in. My second time out, he wasn’t there. And, being the socially dead hermit I am, I couldn’t bring myself to ask anyone else. So, nervous as all hell(The NexSTAR is OOP and there’s no plans, so if I total it that’s it, it’s gone), I fuelled it up…on proper 15% plane fuel this time…lit the engine off, took it out there, and up it went. I figured, either I get this thing in the air and back again in one piece, or I get it up there and fly it to the very last second, either way it’s going up. Been tired of it hanging on the wall for a decade. Flight went swimmingly. Was jerkyherky in my turns but I was sure to keep it 3 mistakes high so I was never at risk of crashing it from a single errant twitch. Some other guys were there, watching(I chose a lull in their flying so I had the skies to myself). Flew for about 5-6 minutes, started making practice landing approaches, inching lower and lower each time. And in the midst of that I did a risky thing…I pulled it into a loop. Successfully. I did some wingovers too; even accidentally stalled it and was able to regain control before anything bad happened. Aileron rolls? Yup, albiet with the plane fighting me the whole way(It does NOT like being on its back).All flights end via a meeting with terra firma, and this one was no exception. The only question is whether or not the plane is useable again afterwards. I came in nice and easy, puttered along at about head height over the runway, powered up, made one more circuit. This time I’m committed. Bring it in, bloody well grease it right onthe first third of the runway, mains then nose a second later. Flew it again later that day, this time I had a guy coaching me(though I remained on the sticks the whole time). He mentioned expo, I told him I had none, he recommended 30%. This landing wasn’t quite ideal…I have a real bad problem of this…overshot the runway into the mown grass, then overshot that into the taller stuff. Engine stalled, plane went arse-over-teakettle. But NexSTARs are tough birds and the grass was soft; she was unharmed and flew again the next week. And the week after. And again and again. It’s still flyable today. I’ve flown it at Edgewater. Got it stuck in a tree and had one of the younger Bixlers help shake it back down, fixed it in the pits, flew it again the next day. Joshua probably remembers it; he told me while I was there that hearing the 4-stroke I had since given it caused him to pause what he was doing upstairs and look out the window! I bought that NexSTAR to learn to fly on all those years ago, and by jove, it taught me how to fly. And on my second ever trip out with it no less. That thing is irreplaceable far as I’m concerned; not enough dollars in the world would part me from it. As for the sorts of stuff I like to fly…well, easygoing highwings like the NexSTAR are on the list. But I also like fast, sleek stuff. Pattern ships, in particular. And I love recip warbirds, scale stuff. Some jets, too, though I’m not all that fond of jets beyond a few specific craft. Among the jets out there, the ones I do want to have: * F-86 Sabre(GORGEOUS bird) * ME-262(Also a pretty bird, extremely historically significant) * SR-71(FPV + long range radio comms +pitot tube = supersonic RC plane? This’d be the airframe for it) Non jet, I want to get my hands on: * Douglas DC-3 * Boeing B-17 * Boeing B-29 * Lockheed Super-Constellation * P-47 Thunderbolt * Spitfire * P-51D * P-38 * P-39 * C-130 I also very very very strongly prefer engines, almost to the point I’ll refuse to buy an electric unless I can convert it over. As I type this I’ve got a Tamiya Globe Liner kit with a Toyan SOHC 4-stroke sitting here to power it instead of an electric motor. I’ve converted Mighty Minis(I even got a Commuter to fly on a Cox 049!). Gonna build the Master Series P-47 around an old Fox 45RC Ringed, gonna put a smol 4-stroke in a Simple Scout, eventually I’ll build the MS P-38 once I can track down a pair of Enya 4-cycles to power it with(These engines, specifically, because I can time them for reverse rotation without any parts being replaced). I’ve got an E-Flite PT-17 1.1m that’s gonna get a smol 4-stroke in it, and even my FT Adventurer will eventually get a Cox 020 in it! I have a STRIX Alatus race wing with a Magnum 15XLS 2-stroke on the back ready for maiden even. For me, the engines are half the fun of the hobby. I’ll put them in pretty much anything. Scale trucks, sub-200g ultra micros, giant 20+lb warbirds, whatever it is I’ll try to shove an engine into it. Flite Test is, at least in my opinion, the single best thing to happen to aeromodelling since radio control systems got miniaturized enough to be practical for everyday flying. They inspired me to finally get my wings after so many years and they promote the sort of all-inclusive friendly atmosphere that makes flying so enjoyable. My 4 days at Edgewater for FPVFEst 2019 were absolute heaven; nobody complained about my gassers(Much the opposite I had a generally positive reaction! Even fired my NexSTAR up for a dad and his son that wanted to hear it run, let dad feel the pull from the 4-stroke)…it was utter perfection really. I don’t have a testimonial photo, but feel free to use the video of my NexSTAR’s maiden if you want. As an aside, I do kinda wish Flite Test would cover ICE aircraft more often.”