, Milford

, Ohio

, United States

Posted on
2020-02-14 1:10:22
“As a (now retired) Mechanical Engineer, I have always been interested in aviation. At one time I started to pursue a private pilot’s license, but I realized that with a young family, this was not a good use of my money or time. But I continued to learn. I read books on aviation. I learned a lot from Microsoft Flight Simulator. I invested in a quality yoke and rudder pedals so that I could learn correctly. I would fly between real airports around Ohio in my virtual Cessna. I treated every flight as real. I created a flight simulator enclosure using a computer projector that I set up at several schools for different events. At one event, we let students land at every airport along Rt 66 from Chicago to California. At another, we recreated every stop of Amelia Earhart’s final flight around the world. (Geography lessons in disguise.) As my family got older, my daughters lived in several countries. They didn’t know that before coming to visit them, I would sometimes use Flight Simulator to practice landing at their airports. I would print out airport maps for airports along the way, so that I could watch out the window to see what runways and taxiways we used. Last summer, when my 7-year-old granddaughter came to visit from S Korea, she asked me how planes can find their way in the sky. I took her down to Clermont County Airport and showed her the NDF beacon, and showed how it looks on a chart, and the ADF instrument in the plane. The best part was when we watched a plane land, a 10-year-old got out of the left seat with his father in the right seat. Talking to a 10-year-old pilot, the light bulb really turned on for her, that this was something that she could do. When she flew out of Cincinnati on her way back home to S Korea, the pilots and flight crew were waiting in the same area. She pulled out her CVG airport map I had given her, and started a conversation with the pilot about what runway they would be using. A few years ago, there was a big box from my wife for me under the Christmas tree. I had NO idea what it was. Knowing my interest in aviation, my wife bought me an Apprentice-S electric RC airplane. That was my first introduction to RC planes. I learned to fly RC with that plane. As a kid, I had a control-line gas engine plane that flew once, but my wife’s gift was a total surprise. That was the beginning of my RC flying. I joined the AMA and a local flying club. At the field, one of the guys had a flying wing he had made from foam-core-board. He introduced me to the website where he got the instructions. Since then, I have built nearly a dozen DIY Flite Test electric planes, and have purchased a few other expanded foam commercial planes. I have attended Flite-Fest events put on by Flite Test in Ohio and Texas. My wife and I took our vacation together to volunteer at one of these Flite Fest events in California. These are incredible multi-generational educational flying events. I have found myself as a retired engineering educator learning from 12-year-olds. We are also foster parents, and I have been doing my best to make aviation part of the education of a special 6 year old boy that has been in our lives since he was born, and who we love dearly. At this point in my life, I don’t expect to ever get a full-scale pilots license. In fact, every time I crash one of my RC planes, I am thankful that I was not in it. But when I was required to register as a sUAS pilot several years ago, I felt like I had arrived in some way to hear the FAA say “Make no mistake about it, you are an aviator!” To protect my right to enjoy this form of aviation, in my wallet I carry my AMA membership card, my local flying club membership card, and my FAA registration card. I do find it ironic that I need three levels of license to fly an electric Styrofoam airplane, but I am doing my best to comply with all applicable laws. It is easier to own a gun than to legally fly an airplane that I make myself from foam-core-board that I buy at a dollar store. Aviation is a great field for education, and the cost of entry to RC flying is a much cheaper than a pilot’s license. I would hate to see the entry barrier become higher, preventing more young students from enjoying this form of flight. At my age, I think I have earned the right to say that this is silliness to think that a Styrofoam airplane would need to be burdened down with the cost and weight of an internet connection to fly where I fly at an AMA field, Flite Fest events, or at one of the local parks where I fly. This seems a very mis-directed set of priorities for my government dollars to protect public safety. Links to my videos Maiden flights of FT SE5 ### FT Explorer and FT Spitfire Maiden Flight”