“Radio Controlled Hobby Nostalgia”

As I get to thinking about building radio controlled model airplane kits, I remember back to my first airplane.  I not only built the airplane from a kit, but I also built the radio from a kit.  It was a Heathkit radio that I bought through a catalog, and when it came it was in a million pieces, more or less.  At first, I was frightened about this, but having just built my own airplane from a kit, a I figured I had a good chance of being able to build the radio, as well.  It was an eight channel radio system with four servos.  Building that radio was somewhat of a challenge.  Mostly because the parts were so tiny and my soldering iron was very large, but I succeeded in building the radio.  I still have that radio today, it is 34 years old, and it still works as good as it did when it was new.

I flew many different airplanes with that radio, and I intend to keep on using it as long as it keeps on working.  It has survived many crashes, some were completely fatal to the airplane.  So apparently I must’ve done something right.  I have had to replace the battery packs a couple of times, but other than that, it has served me well.

What I’m trying to point out here is that there is a lot of enjoyment and personal satisfaction to be gained from building your equipment from a kit.  I don’t think the Heathkit company is even in business anymore.  I guess that means that if I should have a serious flying accident or a radio failure, I’ll have to replace it.

It is installed in an older plane that is mostly just junk that I use only when my other ones are out of service, so if I should have a radio failure and lose that airplane, it really won’t hurt my feelings to badly.

I still haven’t got my kit yet, and needless to say I haven’t started building it yet either.  I hope it shows up soon because I want to get on with building that kit and creating the video of the process.  I just talked to an old friend tonight, who has covered his airplanes with silk and dope.  That method of covering the airframe was used even in the construction of some full size aircraft.  In this day and age that seems to be a lost art.  I consider myself very fortunate that I will be able to learn that process from him and pass it on to you.  See you next time.

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