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Written by an eleven year old pilot and Jim Graham
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I am eleven, home-schooled, and fly model airplanes at Edwin Warner Park (in Tennessee) twice a week. My mom saw an announcement in a magazine for one of the park’s programs last year. It was about learning about airplanes and watching some models fly. I didn’t want to go, but we went anyway.


I immediately became interested in the airplanes and what was being said to the group of kids about how birds and airplanes are able to fly. There was a demonstration of regular model airplanes flying, special combat airplanes were flying with streamers, and there was a candy drop by a giant airplane. I thought all of this was really cool.


Before we left, we talked to Bob Patterson, who told us to come back the next week on Tuesday and we could better meet each other. I thought that would be really awesome, because I was really interested in the airplanes.


Bob told us about a sidewalk sale, which was to take place on the coming Saturday at Hobby Lobby International. We did go, and a guy there was expecting us; Bob had bought me an airplane. We didn’t know what to do, whether we were supposed to pay him back or not; we didn’t know what was going on. When we went to the field on the following Tuesday, Bob was there and he said the airplane was all mine. He has been my airplane instructor ever since.







Bob Patterson and the young author working on an aircraft.



The other guys in the club help me out a lot. When I was learning how to fly, I would sometimes crash and club members would show me how to glue the airplane back together. Bob would even take a wrecked model home and do major repairs for me. Everyone together has really helped me learn how to fly and help me understand about batteries and sizes of motors. I asked a lot of questions and listened to what was being said. Before, I didn’t know anything, and there has been a lot to find out about.


Some club members even let me fly their own airplanes in trying to help me learn. I practiced on many different types of airplanes during that time. Now I can fly almost everything. I also have a flight simulator at home, which has helped a lot. I fly in fairly strong winds and can even fly 3-D; I like the challenge.


I have been inspired by others who have gotten airplanes off the Internet. I have been designing and building my own airplanes. I have been using cardboard in constructing them, but they didn’t really fly. Jerry Franks gave me a big box of balsa, and I am excited about building some more airplanes which should actually fly.


Other than the airplanes, the best thing I like about this club is that the adults don’t treat me like a kid—a kid who doesn’t know anything. They treat me very well, like a regular member of the club, which I really appreciate and like a lot. I have made a lot of friends. Recently I helped a grownup newcomer learn how to set up and fly his airplane—that is quite a turnaround. In a couple of months, I will even be the teacher to a visiting group of kids, of which I was once a part. Wow!




1 comments

Good job, kid. You really resemble how I was...getting free planes at the age of 10-11 and snagging flights on other people's airplanes. Teaching myself how to fly and build, and going through the crashes and rebuilds. Its cool to see that the people of this hobby are still as giving and outgoing as they were for me 7 years ago. I am 17 now with a pilots license, and hope to see you make it to that point too. I am also an instructor at my r/c field and have soloed a 7 year old. Just goes to show the capabilities of young kids and throws out the stereotype that kids cant fly. (Believe it or not, but some adults still believe that). If you ever make it up to Seattle sometime, I'd be glad to take you flying!

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