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Sharing the hobby with my son

#1
I've been trying for the last couple of years to get my son to take up this hobby with me, but several things were getting in the way...
  • He is the type that wants it to be HIS idea
  • He has always been terrified of wrecking one of my planes
  • He isn't a risk taker, and was perfectly happy flying his airhogs
  • Somehow he got it into his head that this is an expensive hobby

The part about crashing my planes was probably the biggest hurdle. He watches me build, fiddle, study the forums, build, fiddle.... all leading up to what seems like a disproportion of flight time. :black_eyed: The thought of wrecking one of my planes made him sooo nervous, that even when I had him on a buddy box, flying a Parkzone Cub, he just couldn't relax and enjoy it.

Along comes the Flitetest crew with that F-22 Raptor video! It was a cool looking plane that would grab my 12 year old's attention. We watched the video together (we watch almost all of the episodes together) and then the build video that JB hosted. I looked at him and asked, "do you think we could do that?" .... I got a confident nod of approval.

So we collected the guts from my old Pico Tigermoth (RIP) and a 6mm depron sheet and started cutting!
 

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earthsciteach

Moderator
Moderator
#2
Great post! I find myself in the same situation - my 13 yo and 15 yo sons don't have much interest in flying RC. That just doesn't compute for me! Maybe I'll build something specifically for them and see how it goes. Can't wait to hear about the maiden!
 
#3
It wasn't an one day build, but overall it was pretty slick. One major difference was that my son had a stigma attached to the BIG complicated RC radio's that I use. He felt so much more comfortable with his xbox style controller that the airhogs used. SO - I programmed the OrangeRx to the little giveaway Tx that came with the Parkzone micro cub. Looks and feels like an xbox controller, but... no buddy box capability :rolleyes: It also doesn't have elevon mixing, but hobbyking has this slick little elevon mixer that does it for you... I'll post the link later when I find it, but mine came with the Parkjet MkII.

We took our brand new F-22 out for it's maiden (he asked me to fly it because he was still really nervous). I quickly learned that I am not up to par in my scratch building ability! It flew, and I managed some oval circuits, but the trim was really, really bad. I chopped the throttle to test the glide and.... yeah it dropped like a rock. My son's attitude was great, and he simply said "time for a nose job"!

The body/wing was fine, as the nose just crumpled from the cockpit forward. I cut a new nose, ca'd it on and we went back out. 2nd flight was better... but this was certainly *not* going to be the plane to get my nervous apprentice addicted.

We really did enjoy the build though. His attitude about the repair was a breakthrough! Seeing that it all came from this cheap slab of foam meant that he didn't have the anxiety about crashing it. ;) So, I set out on the search for a cool looking scratch build trainer. I settled on the Blu Baby found here: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=681556

The "cool" factor took a bit of selling. Fortunately, we recently started watching a reality series called "Flying Wild Alaska". Great show by the way, about an airline made up of 70 aircraft, the majority being bush planes! So rather than tell my son that we were going to build a "Blu Baby".... I told him we were building an Alaskan Bush Plane!!!

This build was a little more difficult than the F22, but easy enough for me now that I am an e x p e r i e n c e d builder... we got it together in about 3 days. He painted it 100% himself, and after he picked out some decals we just printed and taped them on.

I took it up last night, and oh my goodness what a gentle little flier! Handled like the old tigermoth, but this one was made out of hobby store depron! My son was so proud of it that it took a little coaxing to take the radio... but he did and he did awesome! He flew circles, then figure 8's, then reversed direction.... he even put a loop in there that surprised me! In the end, my son's little "Bush" plane chewed through 3 batteries before the light faded.
 

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#5
Thanks Earthsci! He asked me this morning if I'd have time to charge up all of the batteries because he was really hoping to be able to get back out after school today. I couldn't be a happier dad right now.

Flitetest get's a bunch of the credit for this one, as they've been a constant source of entertainment as well as a vast array of new ideas!

Dad's day is coming up guys, and trust me, this is a gift that is for you as much as it is for him/her.... happy flying!
 

colorex

Rotor Riot!
Mentor
#6
WOW, that is such a nice experience! It's very uniting to do stuff together with your kids! It makes you very happy to be with them!
 

jetpackninja

More combat please...
Mentor
#7
Awesome- I get to fly with my two grown sons that live with me.
Sometimes it's aggravating to do everything x3 but we manage to have fun together and that's what it's all about.
We've gone from askamillion question noobs to helping organize and run some of the events at our bi annual combat fly ins.

It's all about love man. Sounds like you guys are on the right track ;)