Iñaki Elizondo Casado’s Weberschock ‘Radical’ amidst a backdrop of balsa-hungry wind turbines at the world famous Bwlch in South Wales, UK, at the 2017 Welsh Open F3F. (image: Kevin Newton)

So you want to do for a living what you now do for a hobby?

A number of years ago, I had the good fortune to see Chris Anderson, the former editor of WIRED magazine, speak at Mount Royal University here in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Amongst his many accomplishments in addition to his time at the helm of WIRED, he founded 3D Robotics, an early entrant into the commercial drone business, and he’s the author of a number of bestselling books including most notably The Long Tail and Makers: The New Industrial Revolution.

This magnificent picture was taken on 2021–06–11 by Alexandre Mittaz after a mid-afternoon, one hour long thermal flight in the Val d’Hérens / Valais / Switzerland. The aircraft is a Drops388 from DropsFactory in Germany. Its wingspan is 388cm, weighs in at 5.8kg unballasted and is constructed with hardshell carbon fiber wings. To provide a sense of scale, Alexandre’s wife can be seen at the extreme left of the photo (you’ll have to look really, really closely).

Is great flying right on your doorstep?

One of the occupational hazards of this job is that I have a steadily growing list of ‘must see’ places to visit on this gorgeous Big Blue Marble of ours. I am truly fortunate to get to see (in some cases before it’s seen anywhere else) some truly breathtaking photos of what clearly are the best places to fly in the world. If I can ever gather the courage to get on a plane again — and I win the MaxMillions to pay for it — I could easily stay busy travelling the world for the rest of my life…

A wedge-tailed eagle takes dead aim at a Bird of Time over Mount Terrible in South Australia on May 9th, 2021. (image: Allen Moore)

Are those dark clouds gathering on the horizon?

My first RC sailplane was a Boss T designed by Seattle’s Don Burt of Superior Flying Models. Along with my older brother, I mowed lawns to abstraction in the early 1970s just so we could eventually fall slightly short of the money needed for the SFM kit, accessories and associated Heathkit GDA-1057 radio control system. Our parents faux-begrudgingly plugged the remaining financial gap and after countless hours in the ‘shop’ (actually a corner of the bedroom my brother and I shared) we emerged with a pretty fair example of the type. We took it out to the expansive athletic fields…

One of the four tantalizing clues that Dad left behind. (image: Dr. R. Patrick Gannon)

Never miss an opportunity to ask your folks a question.

My father was an institutional physician, which is to say that while our family never lacked for any necessity, we were in no way wealthy. Dad prized time with his family above all else and he was going to be damned if some high paying, private practice position was going to keep him from that. He made professional choices in the 1950s which would look positively modern in the 2020s. …

An exciting launch into big air at an F3F event in Taiwan in September of 2008. (image: ©2008 Yusr Wang, all rights reserved, used with permission.)

Our modest role in making the world a better place.

An essential element of the re-launch of the NEW R/C Soaring Digest was to clearly articulate, through our Community and Social Media Policy statements, the ground rules for interaction with the RCSD readership and the aspirations for how the readership would interact with each other when using any of RCSD’s platforms. In doing this, I more-or-less assumed there would be some push back of some sort at some point. The truth is, there has been virtually none. In fact, the opposite: feedback has been much more on the supportive side of the ledger. …

Jim Walker shows off one of his experimental Sonic Control Gliders in Oregon in the 1940s.

Thoughts on the collision between the old world and the new.

One of my earliest memories — I must have been five or six at the time — was when my father decided it was time to pass along his lifelong love of all things that fly, and bought us a Guillow’s Javelin. My brother and I were absolutely not capable of assembling the delicate balsa wood frame, not to mention attaching the diaphanous green and yellow tissue. So really it was more of an exercise in Dad building, and us watching, but the smell of the dope on the tissue was intoxicating. …

“le pilote s’appelait Gaston et c’est grâce à lui que nous avons découvert le modelisme il y a 20 ans…Il nous a aidé à régler nos premiers modeles…une bien belle aventure, les premiers pas sont toujours plein de doute” — words and image by Régis Geledan, Gez-ez-Angles, Hautes-Pyrénées, France.

Spring is finally here. And so is Fall.

For those of us in the northern part of the Northern Hemisphere — the part where it gets cold and snowy mid-November and stays that way until the end of March — there’s nothing quite like feeling the first warming rays of the sun in Spring and watching the last sad remnants of dirty snow drip away. The world is once again full of possibility and we think of summer days to come and the new chapter in our flying journal we’re going to write.

Having grown up in a time when you simply accepted what the science teacher said…

Getting ready to launch a Dream-Flight Alula at Beachside, Oregon in late summer of 2015. (image: Michelle Klement)

That was fun, can we do it again?

Welcome to the February, 2021 issue of the NEW R/C Soaring Digest. In last month’s column, my first In The Air, I introduced myself and talked a little bit about RCSD’s history, where things stand today and where I hope to take it in the future — with your help — as each new issue is published.

The time since the January issue was published has been filled with all sorts of exciting developments, some significant challenges and, yes, a few surprises I wasn’t expecting. But mostly, I look back on the past month and my thoughts are about the…

Barron Shurn prepares to launch his model sailplane at a Seattle Area Soaring Society contest in June of 2008. This would have been very similar to the competition described in the essay. (image: Bill Kuhlman / RC Soaring Digest)

Dad did his fair share of dreaming big. Particularly when it came to his kids.

On a whim in the summer of 1976 — no doubt in part because he wanted to drive his shiny silver Alfa Romeo on the twisty and dangerous road through the mountains — my father suggested I have a stab at the Model Aeronautics Association of Canada National Championships held that year in Calgary, Alberta. This was on the strength of some spotty success at similar local model airplane competitions. Dad did his fair share of dreaming big. Particularly when it came to his kids.

For my part, I thought it was a perfectly fine idea, and duly registered to…

The original R/C Soaring Digest masthead designed by its Founder, Editor and Publisher Jim Gray, which appeared in Volume 1 Number 1 back in January of 1984. The beautiful contemporary update is by Editors Emeritus Bill and Bunny Kuhlman.

Welcome back. We really missed you.

In his first monthly editorial, Terence C. Gannon, the recently appointed Managing Editor of the NEW R/C Soaring Digest, pays tribute to the past and talks about the future of the publication.

I am both humbled and honoured — and a little nervous — to bring you the very first issue of the NEW R/C Soaring Digest. Officially, this is Volume 36, Number 1 which means that RCSD published for an unbroken run of over 400 issues sweeping across 35 years concluding in December of 2018. Most recently, it was very ably published by Bill and Bunny Kuhlman. My first…

Terence C. Gannon

Not There Yet.

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