Foamflyer's RC Airplanes
Frequently Asked Questions
I used to be a very active newsletter editor and webmaster. But I've recently quit, partly because of diverging interests. You see, I only build and fly electric or wind-powered (gliders, slopers) planes, and everyone else builds slimers. As a result I couldn't really share my newest project with anyone, or carry on a meaningful discussion about anything electric since no one either understood or gave a crap. A serious decline in newsletter contibutions also was a factor. On a brighter note I recently married, moved, and joined a new club - we'll see how it goes.
Why don't you fly slimers anymore?
If you're not in a club, where do you fly?
Open fields, deserted streets.... Additionally, I live only a few miles from some good slope soaring hills.
How did you start in this sport?
I've liked airplanes since I was born. After building many plastic and balsa model kits as a child, I was intrigued by model planes that you could control in the air. A childhood friend of mine was also intrigued, and at the tender ages of about 14 thought we could mow enough lawns to earn enough money to get started. I didn't think that was reasonable, so I had to wait until years later when I had the means to afford the stuff. As a teen I dabled a bit in some early RC gliders with no help and no success. After marriage and the start of family life, my Brother-In-Law decided to take up the sport and we kind of learned together. Not in a club mind you, but out in the desert. Well, we both got reasonably good at it (for novices), but he got tired of repairing crashed planes and lost interest (like so many people do). Needless to say, I stuck with it and continued learning.
What is the dumbest thing anyone has said to you (in relation to model airplanes)?
Years ago I was in a local hobby store and bought a magazine (either RC Modeler or Model Airplane News - I don't remember which) because there was an interesting plane in it. At this time I was really into building from plans - I didn't have enough confidence to design my own yet. So the store employee commented at how the cost of magazines has gone up, and I said, "Yeah, but I want to build the plane in it". He said, "Oh I've built all those". I looked at him square in the eyes and said "There's nearly a thousand plans in their plans catalog. I don't think anyone could build them all in a lifetime." The guy ignored me through the rest of the transaction, and I left the store. He probably thought I was an a$$ h0l3, but I thought he was too.
Ok, so what is the second dumbest thing anyone has said to you (in relation to model airplanes)?
Years ago I called the local hobby store on the phone (yes, the same one) and asked them if they had a particular part (I don't remember what - probably some certain size of propeller, nothing outlandish). The reason I called first was because I had moved to a smaller town ten miles away, and the store was famous for not having what you wanted. After asking, the guy said "LOOK, you're gonna have to come down here and see for yourself!" Now I wasn't a troublemaker or anything, but it's unusual for a customer to be treated that way. And I thought he was an a$$ h0l3 after that. Shortly thereafter I began seeing how long I could go without visiting the store. I think I managed about a month while I tried every possible way of avoiding it, including mail order.
What's up with calling planes "So"?
After I built a lot of planes it seemed it was getting more and more difficult to come up with cool plane names. Since my ancestors are from Germany, I decided to use the first two letters of my last name, as in Ar for Arado, Me for Messerschmitt, Do for Dornier, He for Heinkel, etc. Isn't that cool?
Why do you have a website if you're not selling anything?
Because I enjoy web design and want to share my hobby with others. I've received emails from people all over the world saying my planes are cool and asking questions about them, and how to make their own. It's really cool hearing from people in other countries.
Do you sell anything at all?
I sure would like to get rid of some old slimers, but they're difficult to ship. I still have a bunch of engines I can't get rid of. But if you mean why don't I sell kits, well, I did once, of the So.20. The guy said for the price I provided a great value that you don't find in other kits, and the quality was very high. But I don't want to produce kits all the time because I don't think that would be very fun.
What kind of music do you listen to?
It's true - I have a difficult time building with no tunes. I usually have the boom box cranked in my workshop, to the exclusion of all else in the world. Here's some bands I like (not in any particular order): Rush, Dream Theater, Rammstein, Pantera, Metallica, Static-X, Killswitch Engage, Ra, Trapt, Taproot, Creed. Country-Western, rap, and pop stuff, can't stand it. I also sometimes listen to Tangerine Dream, Goldie, Crystal Method, and Hive when I'm in the mood. But most of the time I need to ROCK!
What TV shows do you like?
I don't watch much TV, but when I do I try to watch any Star Trek rerun or any Stargate series. Sometimes an occasional show on the History Channel or Discovery Channel too. Also, Fox News is great.
What do think the funniest movie of all time is?
Do you rate or grade your planes?
Yes. I developed a "Success Rating" to help me evaluate planes, and it goes something like this:
5 The plane flew well and predictable. No tendency to wander. Smooth and stable flight, a joy to fly.
4 The plane flew OK, but had a tendency to wander. Smooth and stable flight to a lesser degree.
3 The plane flew, but poorly, Always on the verge of uncontrollability. Not smooth or stable, a fight to fly it and a relief upon landing.
2 The plane crashed on one of its first flights. Pilot error could have been a factor, but the design didn't appear robust.
1 The plane really did crash on it's first flight (usually right after takeoff).
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