Learning to Fly

I’m into things that fly, as my parrot would tell you if he could form sentences.  I coo’d over the Moeller SkyCar when Popular Science ran pictures of it.  I wanted a JetPack as a kid (but really, who didn’t?)

I have a couple of remote controlled aircraft, my favorites being my helicopters, which I’ve always had a certain fascination with.  Airplanes seem improbable to most people, but helicopters are just plain wrong.  Flying the real thing is like trying to pat your belly and perform brain surgery at the same time, but it’s not too bad - You’re actually in the thing, so figuring out how to make it go, say, left, is reasonably simple.  Learning to fly a remote control helicopter is like beating your head against a brick wall, but with fewer opportunities for reward.  It’s tricky.  You’re not in it.  If it’s facing you, and you want it to go to your left, you make it go to it’s right.

Many people (the smart ones, anyway) start with a simulator like RealFlight so they can crash without spending a ton of money.  I went the stupid route and started with a small, fixed pitch helicopter.  After about 12 years I could lift it into the air, watch it wobble violently for a moment or two, then slam it back into the ground so I could go to the hobby store for more parts.

Then I bought RealFlight, practiced a bunch, and got a ‘real’ (collective pitch) helicopter called a T-Rex.  Fast forward a couple years, and now I’m actually pretty good.

I still practice in RealFlight, and they keep improving it, which is cool.