Something New and Different (and Very Fun!!)

A friend of mine recently embarked on a new hobby, and invited me to come and have a look. He has taken to flying model airplanes, which sounded fun and intriguing, and definitely new to me. (I’d never seen it done before). I’ve heard of places where men gather to fly them, but had never seen it, so with a certain amount of curiosity, I decided to tag along on a quiet weekend. And Wow!!! What a lot of fun!!!

I’m not ‘technical’ by nature, and I suspect that most/many women aren’t. The group I observed was all men, not a woman among them, but what struck me first was the camaraderie among them. Rather than closed and suspicious of new arrivals, although they didn’t know either of us, they were friendly and helpful, lent my friend tools he needed, and gave him friendly advice, and were very welcoming to me as well. The group was interesting and varied. Americans, some people speaking Spanish, someone from Brazil. And most of them had several planes, and in some cases, they had a van full of many models, battery chargers, a gazillion wires, and enough tools to build a 747. And a LOT of tape to make repairs with—-crashes are frequent even among the experts.  The planes are flown by remote control, and are of varied styles and sizes. Helicopters, a ‘droid’, a lot of ‘fighter’ planes, underwing, overwing, bi planes, large and small planes, and even some jet planes. Most of them are about two feet across, in some cases three feet. There were even some artificial ‘birds’ made out of fabric, which flapped their wings. The planes seem to go about a thousand feet in the air, and sometimes swoop down low to the ground, and then sweep up again into the sky. Even knowing nothing about it, it was exciting to watch them, and fascinating to watch the delicacy and skill with which they control the planes, even my friend, who was relatively new to it, but impressively adept at it. (Definitely a boy thing!!! Although there are women pilots in the sky, and very good ones. But among this group of model plane experts, there was noticeably not a single woman on the two days that I went).

It was fascinating and a huge amount of fun watching. My friend pointed out that the hours kids spend on video games gives them a head start on learning how to maneuver the planes. But the group I saw flying was of varied age, and not particularly young. I’d say they ranged from their thirties to their sixties, they weren’t kids, they were serious men. And many of them set up tables to tend to their injured planes or charge their batteries. And all seemed to be extremely dedicated and very knowledgeable. They were meeting in a large field where there was plenty of room for everyone to fly their planes. And in the spirit of camaraderie I mentioned, everyone took pleasure in the others’ victories with a skilled maneuver, and sympathized with a rough landing, or worse. There was a total atmosphere of friendliness and enjoyment, no sense of competition or envy of someone else’s plane, everyone was just having a great time, enjoying chatting with others with the same passion, and sharing information. It was exciting and fun to watch. And it was a pleasure to be part of it, even as an observer. The hours flew by as I watched the planes take off and land, and the intricate maneuvers in between. It really was terrific!!!

It actually surprised me that there were no women doing it, or even watching it. It looks like so much fun. I was the only woman there, even as an observer. I didn’t have the feeling that I’d be good at it, and wasn’t tempted to try. But I had a ton of fun being part of the relaxed, friendly atmosphere, and seeing people have so much fun. And my friend turns out to be a natural pilot, with a lot of skill, and did very well. He held his own among the experts, and did a great job flying his plane. People always tease about men and their ‘toys’, and that they stay boys forever. But after spending two wonderful afternoons, sitting in the sun, and watching the model planes, I’d say they have the right idea. What a great way to have fun, out in the air, meeting people, and testing one’s skill. I have a feeling that it’s even harder than it looks, a lot harder than it looks!!! You need a good eye and good hands, and have to make some fast saves to keep your plane from crashing. But even when they do, they repair the damage with tape and glue, and replace propellers, and in no time, the planes are back in the air again, battle scarred but still efficient.   I had a wonderful time, seeing something so new to me. It was great!!!!!

Love, Danielle

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2 Comments so far
  1. Zerita Harris December 6, 2011 9:14 pm

    Mrs Steele I would be honored to meet you I have all of your books. Your take to all on kinds of festivities through your books. I am a Gulf war soldier and was severely depressed but through your books, and much prayer I have survived!!! Please take me on a reality quest with you…Z(501-352-2630)

  2. Sunday December 19, 2011 6:47 am

    Hello again Danielle!

    I just had to comment on this subject because it brought back so many wonderful memories of my father and brother when I was growing up in the 1970’s decade. My dad and brother loved remote control airplanes. They would spend anywhere from 6 months to a year building them and then they would take them out to a field near where we lived and fly them. Sometimes they would buy a model kit to build a rocket instead. I remember their first launch with the rocket that they were so proud of after they finished building it. My dad launched the rocket and real fire and smoke came out of the bottom of it – it was so cool! I also remember their biggest and most expensive model airplane kit my dad bought my brother one Xmas. The plane was six feet across from wing to wing. I think it cost them a couple hundred dollars (at that time, that was a lot of money to spend!) and when they were finally done building it, they took it out to their favorite field for a “test” run. The plane crashed because of a problem with the engine. My brother stood there and cried his eyes out and I swear I saw tears in my dad’s eyes too. Poor guys. The same thing happened when they built their first helicopter and tried to fly it – it spiraled down and crashed after about 5 minutes in the air. The black helicopter hit the ground so hard that it shattered to pieces and could not be salvaged. Thank goodness they had more good flights than bad because those two continued to pursue their hobby until my dad was diagnosed with cancer and died in 1978. But my brother and I will always have those wonderful memories of dad’s model airplane hobby. To this day, I still love anything that flies with remote control. Last year my husband bought me a small helicopter for Xmas. The one nice thing about it is that even if I crash it, it’s so light in weight that there’s never any damage! lol Oh, and it has a cool video camera on it so I can take videos while flying it in the air! Once again, thanks for bringing back some very special memories, Danielle. ((((HUGS))))