WISCONSIN – July 7-14 were seven beautiful days in and around Oshkosh, Wisconsin that brought forth the hum of model airplane engines. This hum was heard at the Winnebago Flyer’s and Fond du Lac Airparks near Oshkosh, WI. Thirty-five nervous Civil Air Patrol cadets took control of radio controlled (RC) aircraft for many of their first RC flights. On two early morning and late afternoon occasions there was the additional roar of a million BTU burner being heard as an 85-foot diameter hot air balloon rose into the still air carrying cadets and senior members up on many first ever hot air balloon rides.
This was typical of how the first National Cadet Special Activity (NCSA) Model Airplane & Remote Control (MARC) Radio Control Flight Academy progressed throughout the week. While the hot summer sun warmed Wisconsin, the cadets mastered RC flying with Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) pilots teaching them the basics of RC piloting. Some motors got hot, landing gears were stressed and a few propellers were bent, but the training went on daily. A special group of cadets decided to refurbish and fix the bent and broken airplanes each evening; so began a program of flying non-stop daily and repairing planes each evening. What developed was an
understanding of all things RC plane related that no book or lecture could duplicate.
Our Chaplain, Chaplain LtCol Jeff Williams managed a spectacular nose dive that shortened the RC aircraft by several inches, and that was noted as a pilot error. Everyone will or will have made these types of RC training flying accidents. This is a part of learning to fly RC aircraft. Some oversights or boo-boos were not flight related. For the “boo-boo of the day,” a small rubber pig named “Emiline” (when squeezed, “oinks”) was ceremonially presented at the evening formation. Emiline went to the activity member who made the worst boo-boo, and they were charged to care for her until the next formation. Boo-boos of note were forgetting to send water or sack lunches with the cadets, or somehow letting your colored flight baseball hat fall into a latrine location not entirely suitable for it.
At the conclusion of the weeks’ flying all cadets had soloed with their airplane and many who had beginner skills when they arrived left much more proficient. This event was the culmination of efforts between the Civil Air Patrol and The Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) members working together to promote flying radio control aircraft and to begin a long term working relationship between the two groups for flight academies in the future. Without the AMA and AMAs/Education Director Bill Pritchett’s outstanding support and Hobbico, the company providing the
Sansei RC aircraft and its chief demonstration RC pilot, Dan Landis, this NCSA event could not have happened. CAP owes both of these two supporters a huge thank you for their tireless contributions to making it successful.
In summary when you look at a cadet focused on learning to fly an RC aircraft, you begin to see the fascination in their expression and the focus in their continence. They are in that magic world flitting about in the clouds where few go. They are doing something under the guiding and watchful eye of an AMA instructor who is passing the love of flight on to another generation. The cadets who came to Oshkosh were forever changed in some small way. They will remember this week and share with their friends and school mates their stories and the RC airplane they brought home to fly. Each cadet took home memories and a complete RC plane and radio transmitter. They have joined AMA as youth members and as such will be welcomed into whatever AMA club is in their town or city, coast to coast. These cadets came from Connecticut to
California, Louisiana to Minnesota and many states in between. They were a cross section of our Civil Air Patrol’s cadet corps, and were a genuine pleasure to associate with.
This is where the MARC program is going, and when anyone asks, “Is there is a model airplane flying program in CAP?” these 35-cadets will tell you there certainly is one. A new AEX II MARC workbook will be released in 2013 to expand and reinforce the MARC CD. CAP members can request a MARC program CD from Judy Stone (877) 227-9142 ext. 403. You can investigate the program and apply it to your units AE program. Then reach out to one another and join forces in making it grow and touch the thousands of youth who may wish they could learn to fly radio controlled aircraft. For this, CAP Aerospace Education Officers and the AMA Education Outreach staff work day after day, to get one more youth off the street and involved, and have them look up and think about aviation.
Article and some photos by: Randall Carlson, LtCol, CAP Photos by: Gail Jergensen, Capt, COWG, and 2Lt Todd Summers, WIWG