Is It Spring Yet?

I know, I shouldn’t wish any of my precious time away, but I was looking at two of my Christmas presents today…it’s gorgeous weather out…and got to pining for the warmer weather.

As you may recall, I went out almost every morning with good (and even not so good) weather this past spring, summer and autumn to indulge my love of aviation with my ultra micro R/C aircraft. All of them are in fine shape and I’ll be flying them, but now I’ve got a couple more in the hangar.

I’ve already talked about my nano Red Arrows-schemed Hawk electric ducted fan jet model, shown here on the right. I’ve been applying some hobby-type TLC to an already decent machine to get it ready to really perform, and the Sky 500 on the left just arrived from China, a gift from my friend Karen. Incidentally, that’s my cell phone between them included for scale…these guys are small!

It’s another item that was sheer fantasy a few short years ago, a capable radio controlled sailplane that only weighs 40 grams, yet can climb under its own power to the altitude of choice, where the pilot can shut down the motor and cruise around looking for areas of rising air to stay aloft, soaring just as full size sailplanes do. To minimize drag, the propeller blades fold once the power’s off from the pressure of air passing it. I used to love flying my 6 foot span glider at the nearby Percy Priest dam here in Nashville, but haven’t been able to do anything like that since becoming disabled and stuck in the house…until now!

My new favorite vendor HobbyKing just started carrying these, so it was a natural choice when Karen told me she wanted to get me something nice for Christmas. If anyone seeing this wants to try one, HobbyKing has just added them to its US-based warehouse. Inexpensive to begin with, now you can save the time and money you’d spend if ordering it from Hong Kong. It’s ready to fly, including the needed transmitter with four AA batteries and one tiny rechargeable lithium polymer flight battery (I ordered a few extras so I can fly as long as I like, at about a buck each it’s no strain on the budget) and it’s entirely assembled…charge the flight battery, bind the transmitter to the plane’s receiver, and off you go! It’s remarkably easy to fly and made of crash resistant EPO foam, a heck of a deal for new or experienced pilots.

Yep, it ought to be a very fun spring!

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About Glenn Horowitz

I'm a 20 year civil courier pilot, retired by multiple sclerosis. From summer of 2011 until December 2013 my efforts went mostly to my first blog, Get Glenn Mobile, to raise the funds needed to convert my Honda Element for wheelchair access and end my virtual housebound confinement. This was realized just after Christmas 2013 when I was able to acquire a superb X-WAV Element, already modified for my use. Though the original goal wasn't met, what was raised, plus my Honda, plus the proceeds of the sale from my mother's car were enough to make it happen. It's an amazing story in itself! Now, after my release from homebound prison, I can augment the journalistic work I'm doing for the American Daily Herald by getting out in public, talking with people, perhaps even getting some media attention to explain why someone as disabled as I am knows these unfunded entitlement programs like Social Security and its 'disability insurance' are bogus and do more harm than good, and in fact why the whole welfare/warfare state is contrived to keep the gravy train rolling for those who benefit while they drain our resources and eat out our substance. Why 'public education' is really public INDOCTRINATION that's become a meat grinder destroying our youth and our future. Why the fiat currency foisted on us by the Federal Reserve for a hundred years has destroyed the dollar and will without doubt cause its collapse. On and on the list goes, and I want to talk with the world about these vital matters. Please visit my new blog, 'Liberty On Wheels' at http://libertyonwheels.com/ if you're interested in learning more!

Posted on January 30, 2012, in Fun Stuff and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Hi Glen,

    My name is Bob Donner, I live in Minnesota. I have primary Progressive MS and although I’m not totally confinrd to a wheel chair I use a seated walker and cannot drive. I’m 57,married and my wife hauls me around. I’m thinking of getting into RC flying but I’m concerned about flying with limited mobility. Any recommondations? Interesting fun facts? Disscusion of the spoon theory? (grin) I too read the wheelchair kamakaze blog. I find it well written. Thanks for any advice.

    • Hi, Bob, welcome aboard!

      It’s tough to give advice without more details about how compromised your mobility is. When you say you’re not *totally* confined to a wheelchair…is that a power or manual chair, and can you transport it to whatever flying site you intend to use? If you can walk, however badly, can you negotiate grass and uneven terrain? Likely you can’t, which means being limited to paved smooth surfaces.

      In my case, since I can’t bring my chair with me I use it to travel the mile or so to the largish parking lot (seen in my Krip Kam 3 video that includes this). If I could bring my chair with me it’d open up tons of sites, big industrial parking lots and such apart from the official sanctioned model airfields I’d use for my larger planes.

      Every aspect of the environment becomes critical, as I’m sure you’ve noticed in your daily life. If one of my planes has a crash or unscheduled landing in grass or bushes I’d have to write the plane off if I didn’t have an able helper who could retrieve it, and when I go out at dawn in warm weather of course I don’t.

      I had the advantage of some experience with aviation that began at an early age so I have a pretty realistic appraisal of the planes’ capabilities and my own and by flying conservatively I had no crashes and when the infrequent landing happened and I had to pick up a plane it was always within the confines of the parking lot.

      I hadn’t been able to do any of this before my power wheelchair arrived…even though I still had some walking ability, it was minimal and my low energy level (you probably get that with your own PPMS) ensured I couldn’t go even 50-100 feet.

      Until I know more of your details, some suggestions:

      Start learning about the hobby…go lurk at a site like RC Groups and read a lot at your own pace. If you’re unfamiliar with aerodynamics and how these machines work, you’ll be busy taking this stuff in, and there are no shortcuts. By the way, I find that the new breed of micro R/C aircraft are wonderful with my limits since they’re lightweight and very portable. Once I can use my Honda I’ll be loading bigger planes in the back to fly but for now these tiny ones do a great job. Their big limitation is that being so small and light they can’t tolerate wind, which is why I go out at dawn to fly them when it’s calmest…and even then I had to return after being unable to fly. I love my Hobbyzone Champ, and it’s one of the finest basic trainers if not the finest ever made, and you can get started right away since everything needed is in the box it comes in, all for $90 shipped. You’ll benefit from learning basic orientation issues before actually flying by spending some time in the free FMS simulator first, but if you take your time it’s as close to a guarantee of success as you’re likely to see.

      I suspect you’d be well suited to indoor R/C flying, lots of people do this in school gyms, armories and even full size aircraft hangars. It’s something I’d love to do once I get my mobility; not only is indoor R/C flying big fun but it can be a very sociable pastime with others who enjoy it.

      In that line you might research local R/C clubs and see if there are some in your area. There are services available through the AMA (Academy of Model Aeronautics) that might be helpful, and if you end up flying bigger planes at official fields it’s almost a mandatory outfit to join if for no other reason than the liability insurance membership provides.

      One more thought…if you like helicopters, they’re small, light and inexpensive enough to fly in almost any open space in your home. If you’re brand new to them you might find it more satisfying to begin with one of the coaxial helicopters in the mCX or larger CX series, then move on to the more challenging single rotor ships like the mSR or mCP. I went straight to the mSR and love it…it weighs just an ounce and is quiet but I can fly it around my living room whenever I feel like it.

      Lots of variables to get sorted, but if R/C flying interests you I’m sure it’ll get sorted. With all the technical innovations making things possible that were total fantasy just a few years ago, there’s never been a better time to be into aeromodelling!

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