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Posted by Smacka | 08-28-2011 @ 06:07 PM | 14,663 Views
First, let me start by saying a heartfelt THANK YOU to Nighthawks RC Club. You folks were awesome hosts, and made my first Huckfest a very comfortable stay, from the way you helped me start my day with a hot cup of coffee and a massive plate of food, to the lunch and wonderful dinners available at a fraction of what they were worth. Anytime I had a question, Nighthawks had an answer. They worked very hard to host this event, and it showed! Thank you for helping me enjoy my stay!

I had no idea how much work went into promoting and sponsoring an event of this order of magnitude. Sleepy C and Ben Fisher made it look easy. Watching them throughout the 4-days made me dizzy…as they never sat still. There was always something or someone that needed attention, and they came through in spades. Nothing I could say would do either of these two gentlemen justice, so I will simply state my apologies for the understatement and say, "Thank you so much for what you did to make my first Huckfest NOT my last Huckfest". My African Grey said it best on Saturday night…”Huckfest, woo hoo!!!”

To the Team Pilots, thank you so much for putting up with all of my snapshots. I was in your way for most of the 4-days, gathering all the evidence I could to support my proclamation of what a fantastic time it was for all involved. I was not easy on you all. I asked a ton of questions and took a ton of photos. I stood in the way when you tried to approach the pit area…and you never once made me feel I was unwelcome, and for that, my wife and I offer up a heartfelt THANK YOU!! You gave it your all to make sure people like me were entertained…mission accomplished. I learned a lot from watching all of you in action.

To Whirly Girl and her hubby Albert, many thanks for all the good conversations AND the RC advice. I so much appreciate Albert having patience with me when I was in error with respect to how the bind process worked on the JR 9303. You two are one in a million, and I look forward to our long term friendship for many years to come!

Joe “Papa” Stek, always a pleasure, my friend. I somehow always feel like a better person for having spent time with you. I hope I treat others as you have treated me. I hope to see you again, soon!

To all of the new friends we made over the past 4-days, I look forward to seeing you all again. I humbly apologize now for forgetting your names. I am horrible at remembering such a simple task. Till we meet again, take care of yourselves. If you think about it, send a friend request through Flying Giants and let’s try the name exchange again. I promise to get it straight after about the tenth try

Sleepy and Ben…the smile has yet to leave my face even though I have left Ohio. Again, thank you so much for the time of our lives. I hope to see you at the “Nall 2012”…I’ll shake the Martinis…

Take care all,
Bill (aka Smacka)
Posted by Smacka | 08-16-2011 @ 06:06 AM | 18,746 Views
Well, once again we enjoyed the hospitality of Muncie, IN. That said, this years IRCHA was marred by asshats and vendors that could not be bothered with the average joe. Here is a low-fly-by of the issues that ruined our IRCHA experience:

1) Vendors placed their Team Pilots on the flight line, instead of back in their courtesy tents. Since there were an increased number of vendors AND Team Pilots, this forced the average joe further down the flight line and made us feel insignificant, to say the least.

2) IRCHA used to be about placing the consumer on the flight line, then having Team Pilots cruise up and down the line and greeting/helping pilots that they saw using their sponsors product. This no longer happens. We have to "seek" out pilots and/or vendors for help AND when we find them they are too busy getting ready for their next "demo" flight to be bothered with helping the average joe having issues with their sponsors product.

3) All flight stations are on a "first come, first served" basis. Not so when it comes to Team Pilots. They would approach a flight station with three or four golf carts and "camp" all day, periodically traveling back and forth to their easy ups for another heli and/or supportive equipment...always keeping someone at the flight line to "hold" their spot so no one else could use that particular flight station. This was happening across MANY flight stations all at the same time!

4) Following the Swarm party on Friday night, Team Pilots were playing bumper cars with the golf carts up and down the flight line. They would face off with one another from 50-yards away, then full throttle head on into each other. I have no idea what the rules were to this game, nor do I know what the bottom line object was to this game. All I do know is that one ****** got out of control and ran into our easy up and snapped the leg in half, while laughing his azz off at the outcome. They were able to find plenty of alcohol at the Swarm party to "fuel" the dueling golf carts event. I wonder if trophies were awarded upon completion of the festivities?

5) Once again these same asshats destroyed private property. Each year, farmers owning fields adjacent to the event rotate their crops between Soybeans and Corn. This year it was corn. They rode golf carts into the corn. That's right folks, once again these mental migets drove their carts out into the corn fields, destroying the crops.

It is sad to see this event continue to degrade over time...

Regards,
Bill (aka Smacka)
Posted by Smacka | 07-25-2011 @ 07:43 PM | 19,404 Views
Hi All:
Spent the weekend at our flying field. We arrived Friday around 5-PM. I had intended to mow the grounds before retiring for the night in our 28-ft Dutchmen. Not to be...we had just enough time to get the bird and dog into the trailer before the weather went wacky! The wind instantly kicked up to well over 50-mph, with lightning, thunder and a fairly heavy rain. I did not even have time to unhook the trailer from our truck.

I got up early Saturday morning and decided to mow the grounds before flying. Good choice, as the winds were already whipping up around 15-20 mph. It stayed that way all day. I tried to fly my newly repaired 3DHS 57" Scott Stoops Sukhoi. The wind was just too much. I had attempted 13-landings before finally bringing it down in one piece. This plane is so light that it hates to fly in the wind, especially a cross wind. Even when I crab into the wind, it gets tossed about and makes landings difficult, at best. Sad part is, when the winds are calm this is the best flying plane I own.

I also wanted to do the maiden on my AW 1.20 Yak 54. When I first built this aircraft, I completed the maiden and brought her in for a soft landing. The landing was perfect right up to the point that the right wheel fell into a ground hog hole in the runway. The fuselage was ripped apart as the landing gear exited the aircraft. Because of the cost of the individual replacement parts, I bought a whole new arf. I figured it would be an easy assembly because I would use the same wings and stabs, saving time. Again, not to be. AW made changes to the fuselage such that using the old stabs and wings were not an option. They would now longer fit correctly with the new fuselage. So, I stayed up long nights and assembled the ARF in four days.

I did not want to maiden the Yak in the high winds, so I waited until Sunday to try again. Guess what? T-Storms started around 4-AM Sunday morning. It rained on and off until around noon. Weather broke BUT the high winds remained.

This is one of those weekends that I just enjoyed talking about RC stuff, eating good food and enjoying good company. Oh, and it was very hot and humid, to boot

I just finished a 48" Extra 300 from 3DHS. I just wanted something to throw around the sky in the early evenings once the wind dies down. It took only two-days to finish the plane, and that is because I needed to wait for some medium CA joints to dry

Life is good

Bill (aka Smacka)
Posted by Smacka | 07-10-2011 @ 05:28 PM | 18,120 Views
...weather wise AND flight wise. With my main "toys" in need of repair OR assembly, I had only a Hangar 9 DSM2 Alpha to fly. So, I sucked it up and had a ball. Got in around 17-flights...man is that thing ever slooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooow

I hope you all had calm winds and high fuel bills this weekend
Posted by Smacka | 07-07-2011 @ 10:27 PM | 18,986 Views
Well, this past weekend was a rough one. First, the weather was wonderful. Then, the carnage...

I was attempting to land my 85cc Aeroworks Yak 54. There was tall grass (hay not yet mowed) at the end of our grass runway. I totally misjudged the distance and came up 4-inches short of making the runway. The top third of the hay wrapped around the right landing gear and sent the plane head over heels onto its top. The only damage was that the left landing gear was busted free of its inner engine box former. I have yet to disassemble it to assess the total damage. I am hoping I can sandwich that area with two carbon fiber plates (with plenty of epoxy) and repair the damaged gear. The cowling is cracked and some gel coat is missing. I am going to wick in thin CA and just paint it red and fly it as is...

As if that was not enough, I flew my 27% Hangar 9 232G. I had two-gallons through the plane over 9-flights. It was flying great! Again, I was attempting to land the bird. The wind was blowing straight across the runway at around 10-mph. No big deal. I crabbed the bird to the runway from the southeast corner. I then let off the aileron and added a small amount of left rudder to straighten her out. It worked wonderfully...until a big gust of wind came up and shoved the nose up at a high alpha (not good). I should have hit the throttle and aborted the landing right then and there BUT I thought I could work it through (rolls eyes). I pushed the nose slightly down to level the bird. Another gust of wind caught underneath the right wing and pushed it up, turning the bird toward myself and my spotter at a high alpha...AGAIN! When I recovered, the bird was 20-yards away and headed straight for us. Dammit! I pulled high alpha and cut the throttle, letting it tumble to the ground. I was not going to hit the throttle with a 27% bird headed toward two people. One of the down tubes of the muffler collapsed. The landing gear ripped off, sending the wheel pants through the fuselage in four places and through the balsa sheeting in two places for each wing. The tail wheel was driven through the rudder AND the engine box was ripped from the front of the fuselage.

My current employment situation has caused me to cancel my pre-order for the Aeroworks 100cc Yak 55. I just do not have the money to plop down on a DA 120 and 8-HV servos.

Now for the good news. I have a lonely DA 85 from a while back that needs a home, along with all the servos and electronics to drop right into an Aeroworks 75cc Extra 260 (purple with checkers). So, I had to cancel the 100cc Yak 55 BUT was able to take advantage of the AW summer sale to snag a 75cc extra 260 for $649...

I sure hope there are better days a coming...
Posted by Smacka | 06-26-2011 @ 06:29 PM | 16,545 Views
Went to the flying field to burn the last gallon of "Lawn Boy/Gas mix" through my DA 85. I brought my 8-oz bottle of Amsoil Sabre Professional with me to mix the next 5-gallons of fuel...but alas, Mother Nature had other plans.

We arrived with our 28-ft Dutchmen around 6-PM Friday. It was pouring rain BUT in PA if you do not like the weather, wait 20-minutes. I wanted to mow the parking area and the runway down to 1.5-inches and really trim her up nice. I figured I would "earn" the right to fly on Saturday and Sunday by chipping in to manicure the grounds. Well, I did so BUT had to wait until Saturday morning to mow...AND...I had to do so in the rain or risk more unnecessary downtime once the weather cleared. I was itching to fly!!

Damn, not to be. The weather stayed crappy all day Saturday. Report had clear skies with a minor 10% chance for rain on Sunday. So, I continued to busy myself picking up and trimming the grounds...cleaning the barns and the like.

Along comes Sunday at 6-AM. The Sun was out, the sun was out!! I readied my gear (all but the plane) for a day of fun. It was way too early to fire up my noisy engine. I am neighbor friendly and always wait until after 9-AM to fly.

While drinking my fresh ground and brewed cup of Starbucks, I noticed the inside of the trailer got noticeably darker. I thought, WTH...a solar eclipse?!?! Sure was, the sun was eclipse by thunderheads!!!!!! It proceeded to rain for 5-straight hours.

My wife and I tucked our tail between our legs, packed our trailer and headed home. We did not see the sun again until around 6:30 PM

The weather report has a 60% chance of T-Storms four out of the five days we will be at the flying field over the 4th of July. I sure hope the Meteorologist have this one wrong
Posted by Smacka | 06-21-2011 @ 06:12 AM | 16,127 Views
Well, the weather report was not good...Friday = 60% chance of T-Storms, Saturday = 40% Chance of T-Storms, as with Sunday. Actual = no rain at all, lots of sun both days, with very little wind.

I flew 8-times on Sat, and 8-times on Sun. Saturday flying was primarily to become more familiar with my Aeroworks 85cc Yak 54. I did an occasional roll and loop, nothing too dramatic. Just getting the feel down by concentrating on flat rudder turns and "touch-and-go's".

Sunday was another story. I started off by completing 4-rolls back-to-back following take-off at around 30-ft off the deck. My heart skipped a few beats! I followed that up with hammerhead stalls, Cubans (not the cigars ), knife edges, large and small loops, low-fly-bys 10-ft off the deck (a huge milestone for me as I usually fly at the 100-ft plus mark), series rolls (about 15 in a row) and concentrated on trying to do a good harrier at high altitude. I pointed my nose into the wind and used little blurps of the throttle...just enough to keep the plane at high alpha without rocking the wings too bad.

I am having a ball with this plane...learning more with each flight

Happy Flying,
Bill (aka Smacka)
Posted by Smacka | 06-16-2011 @ 08:53 AM | 16,233 Views
Well, it has been quite some time since I created my first two blog entries. I suppose an update is in order.

I last wrote that I had found a job that allowed me to do what I really wanted to do, and was promised compensation other than monetary, at first. This particular company was only 2-years old and could not afford to pay me commensurate with my experience, so I was offered a graduated compensation package that included milestone pay increases, stock options and ownership options as a means of future compensation. I saw the "real" potential in this plan, especially the "ownership" options. It would be the same as going from renting an apartment, to having the same dollars applied toward a house that I would eventually own outright. Yep, this was a solid game plan, if only the promises were true!

First, each time a blanket raise milestone came due, the ownership team found a reason why the company could not afford the pay increase "at this time". The excuses were endless, so it seemed. I started out as an Applications Engineer. My duties were to conduct onsite classes to teach new users the fine art of Solid Edge 3D Model programming. Since this task was somewhat dependent (who am I kidding...solely dependent upon) the sales team bringing in new users, I had to find "other" tasks to fill the downtime.

One such task challenged me to look at their production floor through critical "lean manufacturing" eyes and trim the fat out of their daily operations, increasing production by 12% across the board. So, I spent the next three days out on the production floor, observing and asking lots of questions. I observed the traffic flow of product through the entire building and was amazed this company was in business. The forklift tracks on the floor looked like a Picasso painting gone horribly wrong (if you can believe that!), with tracks all over the map...with no sense of purpose. Using sound lean manufacturing "cellular" theory, changes were made that resulted in the parts flow moving in an organized manner into the building, around in a deliberate horseshoe pattern, then back out the door in an organized, chaos free flow. Cells were set up in each work area, whereby the parts flow followed the same overall horseshoe theme as with the main flow through the building. Parts came in one end of the cell, traveled the perimeter, then back out close to the entry point...maximizing available floor space.

A close look at the paperwork trail found operators handling the same piece of paperwork no less than 36-times while processing product through the facility. With little effort, the process was streamlined such that the paperwork was handled three times...when the parts arrived, while the parts were being processed and then to prepare parts for shipment.

Other changes were made to lighting, support equipment availability (mop, bucket, tape, gloves, etc..) and communications in the form of facility metrics posted on boards throughout the plant such that at a glance, employees could see how their efforts impacted the companies monthly goals for quality, on-time delivery and profitability.

It did not take long for the changes to show positive effects on profitability. I knew at a glance that we were headed in the right direction because the forklift tracks on the production floor were now uniformed, with a sense of purpose. Bottom line? Production was increased 33% within the first 3-months!!

Well, it did not take long for the ownership team to decide that my talents would be wasted on teaching customers solid model programming. I was promoted to the Executive Management Team (clever title), responsible for quality (Quality Manager). You guess it...no pay raise. I was to stick to the "milestone increase schedule", even though the company missed the first two milestones.

My first and foremost job in my new role was to be sure we did not lose our ISO Certification. After reviewing our "Quality Management System" over a three day period, it became very apparent that unless we took immediate action, we would lose the certification. Long story short, a Quality Management System is in place to guarantee that you say what you are going to do, then do it! It took 6-months to correct the broken system. We had zero majors and only two minors during our annual audit. The system runs smooth again...

Following my Quality Manager assignment, I was promoted to Engineering Manager. Pay raise? Yep...50-cents an hour! I am now up to $10.50/hr with milestone increases, stock options and ownership options. Life is good

As the Engineering Manager, I was tasked with bringing in new business and to head a team of people challenged with automating many of the tasks currently performed on the production floor. The mindset was to have one operator perform 4-5 tasks such that in a horrible economy, the company could delay hiring new employees and make due with the ones we already have. Typical lean manufacturing concepts of utilizing the resources you already possess more efficiently. Fair concept, now to make a difference. Again, long story short, automation was put into place on several long term programs. This is where it made sense to start automating...more readily available savings. The result is that due to automation, we were able to take on more business without having to hire new employees. The company profits were on the increase. What was NOT on the increase was my salary I was the Engineering Manager for 4-months. The ownership team decided we really did not need an engineering team. Two people were let go, and I changed job titles, again.

My new assignment was that of Production Manager. My main task was to monitor each individual employees production rates, and match that figure with quoted established production rates. In almost all cases, the quoted rates were well above the actual production rates. Before hiring on board, the past sales team made horrible decisions for the company. I quickly discovered that some jobs had us losing money. We fixed what we could, and what could not be fixed was let go. I spent quite a few days traveling to our customers in an effort to renegotiate contracts that would give us a marginal profit. This was only attempted on those programs where we could not make changes to become profitable. It was a painful process to go to companies and state we needed more money or we have to let the program go. Not fun!

My other task as a Production Manger was assigned by myself...to come up with a positive incentive program for all employees that allowed them to share in the company profits. At face value, this was a difficult task due to the fact that the company has missed my pay increase milestones time and time again, yet I was to set forth a program that funneled a portion of company profits away from me, and to the other employees. Being an Executive Management Team member can be daunting at times! I have to think about the company before thinking about myself. Try that sometime...

Well, a new incentive program was born...the "Pay for Performance" program. In a nut shell, those that performed, reaped the rewards. Rewards came in the form of bonus checks, paid days off and paid leave early days. I will not bore you with all the minute details, other than to say I worked my ass off to put this program in place, and the results were very positive. We had employees that were actually treating each other with respect and smiling...a lot!

Guess what? I was a Production Manager for around 5-months, or so. Yep, my title changed again. I was promoted to Plant Manager. Pay raise? You bet...$1.00/hr!! I now make $11.50/hr salary

Plant Manager is pretty much self explanatory. I ran the entire operations, responsible for it all. Two-days into my new role, I looked at our financials heavily. I guess that was the wrong thing to do! I found that one of the owners siphoned $75,000.00 off the company to fund a dog grooming business for his wife. Another owner bought a brand new truck (Chevy Avalanche) and, you guessed it, charged it to the company. Yet another owner (5-owners in all) charged a $15,000.00 John Deer tractor to the company. What the f**k were these people thinking?!?!?! All this was illegal as all hell. Tax dodging comes to mind immediately, along with a whole host of IRS issues, to say the least. Had we been trading on the open market, the SEC would have had to be called in. I would not have gone to jail for anybody!

Well, after I shed light on these, and many other, issues with the ownership team, I was no longer their favorite child. They eliminated my position, stating that times were tough and that they were going to fulfill this role themselves. They offered me two options...1) Continue working at my current salary as a floor operator OR 2) Accept a forced lay-off.

My state unemployment compensation ran out as of Dec 2010. I qualified for the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program through the Federal Government. I was on Tier 3 of 4 when without warning the payments into my account ceased. A quick inquiry found that during a 3-month period ending April of 2011, PA's unemployment rate dropped below the qualification guidelines set forth by the Federal Government SO my benefits immediately ceased (as of today!).

I have been looking for work for quite some time now. I even decided to go back into engineering in order to find work. No dice...this area is just NOT hiring, period...unless you want to work as a floor operator for $8.00/hr

How can I not feel totally boned?

Have a nice day,
Bill (aka Smacka)
Posted by Smacka | 07-15-2008 @ 06:52 PM | 8,537 Views
...to our economy? Certainly the Bush Adminstration has to share in the credit/blame BUT that is just part of the answer.

I used to live in Southern CA for 47-years. I was tired of the crowds, the noise, pollution, taxes and the heat...yes, I really hate hot weather. It was time to leave this paradise.

I met my current wife on a football message board. We are both Saints fans. Now, before you shudder, consider that I used to be a Rams fan (back in the Carol Rosenbloom (sp?) days). Well, when good ol' Carol mysteriously drowned in the ocean while his wife (Georgia) was in one of the state rooms on their yacht, the "Team" was in dire straights. Georgia took to running the team. She fired Jim and Jack Youngblood, Hacksaw Reynolds and Isaiah Robertson. As if that was not bad enough, she uprooted the team and moved them to St Louis. The team was never the same again. I guess I was so used to following a losing team, that I naturally gravitated to the Saints. Enough said.

As I said, I met my current wife on the football message boards. She was from Western PA. We hit it off great! When it came to deciding where to live, in order to close the 2300-mile gap between us, PA won the toss for a great many reasons. Did I mention I hate the heat? I sure love the PA snow

I was a Test Engineer for a local Aerospace company is Cali. I figured with my back ground, finding a job in PA would be a snap. I was wrong! The prevailing industry in Western PA is Powder Metallurgy. Folks out here had no idea what talents I possessed, nor how to apply them in PA's working environment. I had two things against me...1) No one could trace my geneaology...they did not know who my parents were, who I was, who my frineds were, etc...They did not grow up with me so they shied away. 2) I had no practical PM experience on my resume. Forget that I was a 27-year Aerospace Engineer. Forget that I was a designated Engineering representative for the FAA. Forget that I managed enitre qualifification programs for military and commercial aircraft, and that I was one of three engineers that signed "safety of flight" certifications for these aircraft...on and on and on...

Well, rather than feel sorry for myself, I went to Penn State and completed 19-courses in Powder Metallurgy such that I had an education in this narrow field of expertise. Armed with that, I went job hunting again. No dice! I was still not worthy. Until this day, I have no idea why. After two years, and my nest egg running low, I paid my way through Sage Trucking School in Lebanon, PA. It was a 5-week long course. Two-weeks into the five week program, I received a call from a local Powder Metal facility. They wanted me to work for them as an Engineering Consultant. I was responsible for reporting my own taxes, etc...I explained that I had paid for trucking school, and that I wanted to finish with my Class "A" CDL, with endorsments. When asked, "What if we say we cannot wait?" To which I replied, "That is a business decision you need to make. If you cannot wait, I do understand, however, I am going to finish this school and graduate". They waited for me. So, armed with my newly acquired CDL, I went to work as an Engineering Consultant.

3-months went by and the company decided I was worth a regular position with benefits. A year later, I was worth a forced reduction lay-off, with no hope of a call back. Isn't life grand? It took me 2-years to find a job in PA, and only a year and 3-months to lose it!

Well, I was unemployed for 9-months. I received a call from a new company in the area. Long story short, they hired me as an Applications Engineer, responsible for managing old and new business, software design and hardware design using a 3D modeling program and design of all automated equipment. As the company continues to grow, so does my earning potential and opportunities for personal and professional growth. I like my chances...

In closing, I believe our Governor needs to spend less money on creating/maintaining Elk viewing tourism, and more on creating viable jobs for the local people in PA. I am all for tourism...just not at the expense of the local economy. Politics is a particular nasty part of living life in Western PA. Governor Rendell continues to rave about how our local economy has its lowest unemployement rate in the state's history...BUT...what he fails to explain/acknowledge is that people have to feed their families. So when they are laid-off at a local Powder Metal plant making $18.00/hour, and they accept a job at Wal-Mart for $9.00/hour...well, they do not show up as unemployed but their earning potential has just gone into the toilet. There is no category in politics to cover what is happening out here. Just so the governor can bragg about the lowest unemployment rate in PA history...and all is well.

Be well,
Smacka
Posted by Smacka | 06-27-2008 @ 07:25 PM | 8,588 Views
To Anyone With Patience Enough To Read My Rambles:
Kudos to you!! I never really understood what "blog" stood/stands for. Let me apologize now for completely wasting your time. Get comfortable, crack a beer (or your favorite mind altering substance ) and journey with me for a few moments...

The year was 1983. I just purchased my first house in San Bernardino, CA and I am a nervous wreck. I have a decent job as an Aerospace Engineer (please, do not be impressed...it's only a job...no more important than the toilets I used to scrub at "Roy Rodgers Roast Beef Restaurant" at age 16). My wife(at the time) and I were trying for our first child. We were not successful until we dropped major bucks on the house (go figure)...but, I digress...I received my first piece of snail mail spam that said "Dear Home Owner"...boy, did that ever sound sweet!! It was a mailer from Tower Hobbies. It was August of 1983. I picked up that flyer at least 100 different times and set it back down. I figured there was no way I could afford these "toys" with a young one on the way. Well, I succumbed to internal pressure. I bought an airplane kit for $80.00. I figured as an Areospace Engineer, I could figure out how to assemble the darn thing and make it fly. What I did not count on is all of the support equipment required to assemble, then fly the darn plane...what with the CA glue, flight box stuff...on and on and on...

Well, I was hooked...and six months later I finished the plane...a 63" wing span trainer. It turned out wonderful, if I do say so myself! I was so proud of that "bird". I placed an ad in the local paper to find a club or flight instructor to help me with learning to fly. The last thing I wanted to do was to "break" my new toy! There was a gentleman by the name of "Guy" who responded. Turns out his wife was a babysitter, too. I figured I would have some use for her later

Well, we ventured off to El Mirage dry lake bed, in San Bernardino County, to try out my newly built work of art. In 10-seconds, maybe less, my trainer turned my work of art into a bag of tooth picks. Well, so much for all of his experience...

Fast forward to December of 2007...My new wife gave me a really special Christmas gift. It was a Hobbico NexStar Select RTF. I was so excited!!! I completed the build in like one and half days. Winters in Western PA are a tad rough, so I had to look at my new "bird" for quite some time before getting her in the air. While waiting, I decided to do some internet research on topic...since a lot has changed since 1983! I soon discovered that the FM frequency was out dated, and not desireable. I also discovered that the on board autopilot is/was not a good thing because it teaches/taught new pilots bad habits, like pushing the nose down to land (due to fighting the autopilots tendency to push the nose up to maintain level flight at all times). Since discovering these tidbits of information, I decided to remove the autopilot receiver included with the kit, and install an AR7000 receiver and purchase a JR X9303 2.4 GHz radio. Overkill??? You bet! BUT I am now learning to fly correctly, without the cheater's bad habits. Additionally, I do not have to screw with the frequency board or worry about getting shot out of the sky on an FM frequency due to stray RF or a local idiot (which, in my first trainer's defense, may have been what happened back in 1983).

So, what have I learned? Too much to mention...except for this...join a local club and have an instructor teach you the fine art of flying. It IS the least expsensive road to travel. It also allows you to have more money for your toys. What else? Please have a look at my winter build (Hangar 9 Cap 232G-27%) to understand what I mean. I just completed a Hangar 9 25% Piper Cub PnP, and I have next winter's build in my basement...Matt Chapman 1/3 Scale Cap 580.

I am not sure where this hobby will take me next BUT I can tell you this...it's been one hell of a journey, thus far...and it can only get better from here!

I have a few successful NexStar flights under my belt, and the Cap 232G required zero radio trim to fly straight and true FIRST FLIGHT.

Thank you for taking the time to read my ramble...may all of your flights excite you to no end!

Warm Regards,
Smacka
PS: I apologize now for my horrible spelling.