Sig Kadet Mk I

Sig Kadet Mk I

For some reason, my parents kept the original box and used it to pack things in for their subsequent moves to Denver, Dallas, and Minnesota, so last I checked, the box from my first RC airplane still survives, even though the airplane itself is long since been a faded memory.

Built Summer 1982.
Destroyed sometime in 1983.

This was my very first R/C plane built back in the late summer of ’82. I bought it using the money I made working on my Uncle’s farm in Minnesota the Spring and Summer of ’82 after my Freshman year of high school. I don’t even remember the specifics of it’s demise, but I have vague images of cart wheels down the runway on a windy day so perhaps that was it.

I built it in the basement of our house in MN and got as far as having the engine and radio installed. There was a hobby shop off Rice St. called Mac’s Models where I bought everything, and one of the guys there helped me get the engine running for the first time.

We traveled a bit at the end of the summer, so the completed airplane spent some time in an attic in Denver before we finally ended up in Globe AZ for the start of my Sophomore year of high school. I found a little club in Globe that flew off a gravel field behind the Gila county fair grounds and commenced the process of learning to fly. By the end, this thing had been run through the wringer and looked like a patch work quilt. But then in the mean time I was building a Kadet Mk II (with ailerons) and was ready to transition to that.

Gene Gardner was the club instructor, and the only club member that actually knew how to fly. He was a good and patient instructor and taught me the basics. I guess you could call him an “old timer”. He had zillions of great model and real aviation stories.  He could build and fly everything up to and including those tuned pipe, retractable landing gear, pattern zingers. I always remember how he could dead stick anything and plunk it down at his feet every time. I never saw him miss once. I didn’t kept in touch with him after I left AZ for college. I hope he’s still building and flying and teaching new students.


Earlier Model Airplanes

Here is a picture of me in jr. high in my front yard in Peru.  I’m holding a Comet Taylorcraft model.  Pretty awesome huh!?!  (The plane I’m referring to.) 🙂

I don’t really have any other pictures to share, but growing up I put together quite a few plastic models, Guillows balsa and tissue models, and the occasional Estes rocket. These have all been lost or destroyed along the way … but they were a lot of fun to assemble and play with at the time, and led the way to the bigger and more expensive toys I play with now.

This is a picture I found on the web that is similar to the first plastic model my dad built for me.I remember the first model my dad helped me put together (well mostly put together himself for me and my little brother to play with.) That was a DC3 and I thought it was pretty much the coolest thing I had ever seen.

I should also mention “Uncle Bart” who used to fly his many R/C planes in the late afternoon when I was growing up in Peru. It didn’t matter what we were in the middle of doing after school, if we hear a little model engine buzzing around in the sky, my friends and I would jump up and run to the small airstrip to watch him fly (after we finished gasping and wheezing from our sprint.) This is where I was first introduced to the wonderful hobby of R/C aircraft.

This is also where I witnessed some really cool crashes. When I was a kid and it was someone else’s airplane, the crashes were the coolest part. Once I started building and flying my own airplanes, the crashes became the worst part. There is always an attrition rate with toys, but like anything, keeping your equipment in tip-top shape, repairing any problems that start to develop, and keeping your batteries well charged can minimize potential problems. (But no one is perfect!)