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Back into the hobby after decades away

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Gina Purcell12/07/2020 11:16:12
3 forum posts

Hello Ladies and Gentlemen

I recently got back into the hobby with vigour a coupe of years ago. My... how it's all changed and yet in some ways, is still very much the same! The tech today is what I'd have regarded as 'space-age' when I was starting out.

Some backstory as an introduction:

The bug started around 1970 when dad bought my brother and myself these catapult-launched things that floated back to the ground like a sycamore seed. We had hours of fun chasing after those toys when dad launched them, seemingly beyond the sky, trying to catch them as they came down.

A year-or-so later and our local newsagent started stocking these flat sheet, pre-cut foam chuck gliders made by Topps. They were called Flying Things and were garishly shaped and decorated, carrying such names as The Flying Eyeball, The Flying Hero Sandwich and The Flying Nose. My summer of '71 (or thereabouts) was filed with spending pocket money on these things; the kids in our road cottoned on after seeing brother and I having such fun flying them that we were soon all at it! Imagine 10 children all launching these Flying Things at once off a small slope on a housing estate. Days of innocence!

Fate. Sealed.

By '75 our family had moved to the countryside and brother and I were starting balsa kits, well, he starting and I finishing. Soon, his interest waned but mine deepened. I got into honing free flight chuck gliders, building Keil Kraft rubber powered models, flying electric RTP, control line (the noise of Cox engines made my teeth set on-edge and any small I/C motor still does) and adding those tiny, weeny Telco CO2 motors to my Keil Kraft WW1 biplanes. Does anyone remember Telco? Huge fun. My dream was to have this small scale model but with full radio control and more than 20 seconds of flight time that I could fly in the garden.

Radio control was the ultimate, but beyond the financial reach of this young girl's purse. But by the end of the 1970s some second-hand gear came into my possession and I bought a second-hand R/C glider. It proved to be an overreach and it ended in disappointment. However, the hobby fostered a permanent interest in aviation. By 1980 I was at art college and model flying slipped into a childhood left behind. 'Life' followed, with all its rich pageant. I took the controls of full-sized aircraft a few fleeting times. Ultimately, I'd love to fly, but wouldn't we all?

Then, back in 2012/3, a TV trailer for something James May was fronting, caught my eye. He was going to launch a glider from England to France. It was a fascinating programme (some of it shot near where I live) and his description of the hobby for kids in the 1970s proved an impossibly powerful lure back in to model flying. He told the story of *my* childhood, where a little piece of my soul goes up with the aircraft I launched. There he was, joke 'flying' a tiny R/C aircraft – my childhood dream! Thank you James May, even if you flew it into the side of an aircraft hangar! So I went to the shop seen in the show in Slough and bought a RTF ST Model Discovery. It was another overreach which stayed in the loft until recently. I decided to go back to basics two-plus years ago with R/C and bought a model my childhood self would've been beyond thrilled with, a ZT Model Sky Cub 3-channel trainer. That quickly led to E-Flite's brilliant series of UMX aircraft, which better suit the land I enjoy the privilege of using, courtesy of a land-owning and kind neighbour. The space is a bit tight for the STM Discovery, but I enjoy that size model, too. Park flyer warbirds will be my next step.

And that's where I am now. I can't imagine *not* flying R/C now and will continue with this hobby for as long as I'm able to. I'll be asking for some advice soon about a UMX Cirrus that doesn't want to fly, but that's for another forum.

Sorry for the long ramble, but it's been a long journey. Thanks for reading, if you have!


Martin Harris - Moderator12/07/2020 16:33:07
9805 forum posts
264 photos

A wonderful ramble - welcome back. I was flying radio in the mid to late 70s and dreaming of some sort of telemetry - which is now a reality...and as for some of the bells and whistles with computer transmitters - and their easy affordability, I don't think I even imagined some of the possibilities!

ken anderson.12/07/2020 16:39:12
8859 forum posts
820 photos

welcome from me GIna

ken dept.

EarlyBird12/07/2020 16:45:17
641 forum posts
455 photos

A very nice introduction Gina.

My first plane was a Vulcan also from the sweet shop, I must have been about five. Launched it with a rubber band between thumb and for finger it would loop nicely but with no directional control my Dad spent many a happy hour retrieving it form the house roof.

Happy memories indeed.


paul d12/07/2020 16:50:02
219 forum posts
27 photos

Probably the best opening post I've ever read on a forum!

A very warm welcome....

Gina Purcell12/07/2020 17:14:26
3 forum posts

Thanks, chaps! Very kind of you all!

Vecchio Austriaco12/07/2020 17:46:03
1516 forum posts
728 photos


Great to hear from you, I suppose many of us had an early start into the hobby and then years of a break. So it happened also to me. Was flying RC gliders in my early 20th and had to stop because of family, job and whatever excuses. Only when the kids grew up I restarted.

Martin Harris - Moderator12/07/2020 18:06:01
9805 forum posts
264 photos

Welcome back Gerhard. I had wondered where you suddenly disappeared to as you were such a regular poster before 2016!

Brian Cooper12/07/2020 18:25:45
680 forum posts
29 photos

That's a great "ramble" there, Gina. Welcome back to the hobby. yes Yes, it's highly addictive, eh.

I too started out in this game when I am kid . . . . . and forgot to grow out of it.

Have fun.

B. C.

john stones 1 Moderator13/07/2020 00:19:22
11925 forum posts
1531 photos

Ramble away, makes good reading, as does enthusiasm. yes

Ramble on.

Gina Purcell13/07/2020 08:16:42
3 forum posts

Thanks for all the replies, chaps! And john stones 1... thank you for that excellent link yes perfect choice and exactly my kind of music smile d

Peter Miller13/07/2020 08:22:57
11771 forum posts
1416 photos
10 articles

Hi Gina.

I amglad to have you with us.

That was great to read.

Now perhaps a little building??

Danny Fenton13/07/2020 09:12:23
9836 forum posts
4572 photos

Welcome to the forum, I think many of us have beaten a similar path, and indeed the technology in the hobby has changed, as Martin H says, couldn't have imagined half the things we have now, and they will do twice what we can imagine! But you can still shape balsa and cover in tissue and dope as always, somethings never change.



Fun Flyer13/07/2020 11:21:34
366 forum posts
59 photos

This is just another example of what I've long believed. Although sufferers can have long periods of remission, there's no known cure for Aeromodelling. (Thankfully)

Welcome back Gina.

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