Archive for May, 2009

Bringing out the kid in me

You may find this hard to believe but I like to have fun. Not the kind of fun that involves sweaty presidents, hookers and blow, but more along the lines of good ol’ fashioned wholesome fun.  Sure I’ve always liked to laugh when people fall on the escalator or when a kid bangs his head on the playground turtle shell, but as it turns out that kid inside of me has never quite grown up. I still get a kick out of playing with toys. Not necessarily HE-Man and TMNT Action Figures but more along the lines of little cars that go fast and aeroplanes that go NEEEEAAARRRR…. (y’know, the sound a plane makes).

A couple of years ago I bought my first plane. Dave and I decided on the same model as it was good for beginners, plus it had the ability to install the ‘Sonic Combat Module’ which is a small device that emits sound waves that ‘shoot’ down your friend’s plane. The thought of dave’s plane tumbling out of the sky at my hands made me giddy with glee. Unfortunately I never got the chance to shoot Dave down since he crashed plenty on his own. It’s not entirely his fault as our planes were cheap and good entry level ones, but when flying it felt more like trying to steer the titanic than fly an airplane. By the end of the summer my plane was mostly destroyed, not so much by crashes but by a heavy banjo case with a vendetta.

I always wanted to get back into the hobby , but working in Real Estate tends to suck up every nice weekend and I just felt like I had no time. Every time the warm, sunny season came around I’d always feel the urge to go buy a plane and try to fly it, but never did. A couple of weeks ago I was talking with HES and she said she’s always wanted to try and fly an R/C plane, I couldn’t believe my ear! Turns out that was the spark I needed to restart my flying desire. I did my research, found the best deal and the best beginner plane and within a week was the proud new owner of a Hobbyzone Super Cub.

After waiting a couple of days for the weather to clear up I couldn’t wait to get my new bird in the air. Unfortunately I quickly learned that just because the sky is clear doesn’t mean you should fly. It was way too windy for my maiden voyage and my plane was all over the place. Add on inexperience, first flight nerves and Dave yelling in my ear “it’s flying it’s flying!!!” it made for one hell of a ride. I had a couple of hard landings, but didn’t break anything, only bent the landing gear. I went out the next day and again it was really too windy to be flying. My plane was all over the place and I was getting flustered when suddenly the weather gods smiled upon me and there was a stretch of peaceful calmness. Even with the serene air my plane was still all over the place! It was then I realized that the problem wasn’t so much the wind, but the problem was me, I was over controlling the plane, sending it into dives, stalls and horrible situations. Once the weather chilled out so did I and almost instantly I got the hang of it!

Once I was in the zone, understood the limits of my plane and that I could take off and land with the greatest of ease all I wanted to do was fly. And fly I did. A couple Saturdays ago I met up with Dave at the local High School to do some flying. He still had his barely air worthy frankenplane from years past and he thought it would be fun to try and fly. I launched my plane in the air and it circled high above our heads. As I was flying, two other R/C’ers showed up and craned their necks skyward. Things were going along beautifully until I quickly realized something was wrong when HES said “you’re dying”. My plane was losing altitude and I could see that the prop had stopped spinning. The battery had died and I was concentrating so hard on gliding it into a soft landing that I completely failed to see the huge football upright my plane was headed towards. I snapped to my senses just as my wing smashed into the tall metal pole. The plane tumbled down and all I heard was “OUCH!” “WHOOOPS” and “….ohhh Micah…..” from the gathered crowd. The crash took a chunk out of my wing but other than that nothing was broken! Fortunately one of the other flyers had some awesome super glue that he let me use. Jake showed up right after I crashed and was sad because that’s the only thing he came to see. Luckily he didn’t have to wait long as Dave stepped up to fly his plane. Like a seasoned pro Dave picked up his plane, did his pre-flight check and proceeded to hand launch his plane into the football upright directly in front of him. His bird came tumbling down in a bright orange flash and smashed into pieces on the ground. Once again the gasps came from the crowd but on the corner of my eye I could see Jake was elated.

Dave did a doozy on his plane and was done for the day. I was holding the pieces of my wing together waiting for the glue to set when another RC’er came to join us, we’ll call him Ted. Turns out Ted hadn’t flown in a year and the last time he did he completely destroyed his plane and had just finished getting it all back together. After much talk Ted finally decided to take it up in the air. He took off and flew fairly well but was a total nervous Nathan as he flew. It didn’t take long before he brought the plane in explaining that it was ‘too windy’ (it wasn’t). Ted talked a bunch more until I was finally ready to take to the skies again. I was nervous to see if my plane would fly again and thankfully she took right off, piercing the air above. Everything worked great and I ran the battery down, but not enough to crash again. Ted was amazed at how quickly my plane could take off and wanted to see if his could do the same. Jake ‘encouraged’ him to try it and sure enough he took off almost straight up until he got too nervous to fly and quickly brought the plane down.

We were done flying but Ted kept talking to me and showing me his fancy-shmancy controller. His plane was resting peacefully by our feet like a dog in front of a fire. Ted was explaining how the controller has a ‘safety mode’ so if anything goes wrong you simply ‘flip a switch’ and it will put the plane in a nice gentle turn. Ted turned to me and said “like this!”. With firm confidence he flipped the switch and immediately the plane came to life with full throttle barreling down the track. His face turned white as his plane continued speeding away from him. We were standing on the edge of a track and field, and as you probably know track and fields are fairly open with no obstacles around, except for the tool shed… which his plane was headed directly for. It happened so fast our eyes saw it in slow motion, the plane, the shed, his pale face, Jake’s face spreading into a huge grin……and then with about a foot until impact the plane stopped and nosed over in the grass. There was a collective sigh and nervous laughter after the almost incident. I think Jake was a little disappointed that he didn’t get to see another crash, but honestly it was one of the funniest things I’ve seen in awhile.

Even though Ted left with his plane in one piece I think he should hang it up for a while longer or find a new hobby. One thing I’ve quickly learned about flying silly little planes is that you can’t have nervous, twitchy thumbs. I think the majority of people I’ve met are fairly cool but there have been a few that were so nervous about flying they didn’t even look like they were having fun! If you’re not having fun, what’s the point?!

Although I still think that everyone should try it. It’s so freakin’ fun and exciting. It’s like being a kid all over again, except I didn’t get to do any of this as a kid! Nothing gets people talking to you like flying planes. Every time I go out people come up to me and want to look, touch and talk about the plane, especially kids and women. Kids because they’re curious and women because….well let’s face it, I make a damn fine pilot. I’ve had my plane for 2 weeks and have flown about 32 times which I admit is a little crazy! That’s about triple the amount of fly time as my first plane and there are no signs of slowing up, especially as the weather gets nicer and nicer you will find me out at the local school splitting the goalposts, divebombing the kids and circling the skies.  I just hope Dave gets an air worthy plane soon so I can have good stories, either that or maybe I’ll go look for Ted.



End note, Happy Birthday Jake! Sorry you can’t see me fly and possibly crash as I know that’s the thing that would make your b-day bright.

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Contents of an alive man’s pockets

My co-worker just came in to remburse me for an office supply purchase I made.

“Do you have $.08? If you do I can give you an even $15.”

“oh, I might I think I felt some change in my pocket.”

I unloaded my non-key holding pocket (My keys only go in my left pocket and nothing else that way I can always feel if I have them or not) and set the contents on the table.

One crumpled up dollar, plus a quarter and a penny. Two Burt’s Bees chaptsticks (one mint, and one honey flavored), some random pill, a 2gb thumb drive, one used ear plug and a piece of plastic.

I had to laugh. I always have the most random crap in my pockets. All my co-worker could do was say “gross!” I think it was the dirty ear plug that put it over the top.

What about you? What are in your pockets right now?

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