05 December 2016

Connecting Wind, Life & People Through RC Planes

Luke 16: 9

When I was a child traveling to the beach with my mother and sisters, I waited in anticipation for the few moments I'd get to see the remote control airplanes flying at the bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

The journey from our home to the beach was roughly 20 minutes, mostly on the freeway.

Summertime was beach time, practically every weekend.

We'd usually leave for the beach around lunchtime after church on Sundays.

The air in Huntington Park (southeast Los Angeles basin) would be warm and dry by the time we'd leave.

Sometimes my mom would make sandwiches, other times we'd change clothes at home after visiting a restaurant for brunch.

If we'd eat at the beach, sand would always find its way into my sandwich... and I'd wonder if there is a connection (sand-wich).

After about 15 minutes of travel time, the air temperature coming in through my mom's two-door 510 Datsun's windows would cool down quite considerably as we'd get closer and closer to the ocean.

The anticipation would build.

The 710 freeway has sections of slab, and I remember the rhythmically reverberating sound through the Datsun's tires.

By the time we were on Ocean Boulevard, it was a only matter of minutes until we'd drive by the eastern most section of Bluff Park where the RC pilots were flying.

For a few moments passing by at 35 mph, or if the traffic light happened to turn red prior to us arriving at Redondo Avenue, I would be able to gaze at the several planes on the grass and in the air.

I would be in awe, most likely talking my mom's ear off about how I yearned for one of those planes.

My dad was in the Air Force as a young man and has been around planes practically all his life (working with airplanes since a teenager), so in trying to emulate my dad and his interests, I too adopted planes as an interest.

I'm sure I had asked my mom about acquiring a plane at least a thousand times.

And when I would find them in the toy section of the JCPenney catalog, I wouldn't miss the opportunity of bringing them to her attention, and how easy JCPenney made it for me to have one.

It was, after all, her favorite department store.

But I think the cost was a be a bit too expensive for an adolescent to have such a toy; $300 or more.

Some years later as a pre-teen, I think my many pleas to her ears (I was reluctant asking my dad), I think she mentioned it to my dad.

He came home one day with an RC airplane for me.

I couldn't believe my eyes!

It was a gas powered plane that was quite pricey, even though it was an entry-level model.

I was warned by my dad not to attempt to operate or fly this plane on my own.

Losing a finger by a speeding propeller's blade was fear enough to keep me only looking at the plane.

My dad and I were only able to take the plane out to a flying field on two occasions.

He had an acquaintance who flew these as a hobby and I wasn't too sure that man was interested or had the patience to teach my dad or myself how to fly such a toy.

On our second excursion to the flying field, that man crashed the plane after only a few minutes of flying.

The crash nearly destroyed the aircraft and it was left in that condition by my dad, ending our remote control co-expedition for good.

I wasn't experienced enough to attempt a repair, and I guess my dad didn't have the time or motivation.

But my desire to have and enjoy the remote control flying experience never left me.

As fate (and my memory) would have it, it wasn't until my late 20's that I would buy and learn how to fly one of these toys.

But I didn't buy just one plane.

I bought one too many.

I was able to afford such expensive toys after successfully starting my own small business.

And after spending too much money on these planes, the large amount was motivation enough to push me to figure out how to turn this passion into a business... another another small business was born.

The flying was a wonderful respite from the stresses of life and personal struggles, keeping my mind focused on the plane, the wind, the atmosphere around me and the scenery... at the very same bluff I would look at from my mom's car window as a child.

I would eventually make friends at the bluff, and we'd share our joys of flying and other chatter, both significant and silly.

I made a new friend recently who also exclaimed how the flying of these remote control airplanes, especially the sailplanes along the bluff using only the wind as a power source (no motors), was a form of therapy for him while being stressed out trying to handle his small business.

We mutually agreed how the joy of flight absorbs our attention for maybe 30 minutes or an hour, and how such a draw of one's attention is actually a joyous challenge that only those who also fly can understand.

“Good clean fun” another new friend states, expressing his desire to one day enjoy the fun of flying these 'toys for big boys'.

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