Today was a good day, after all was said and done – started off rainy and miserable and an unlikely day to get into the air, but it all worked out and turned out well.
I took my new radio and plane out to the field, hoping the weather would clear up, as it was pretty rainy. Not a really hard rain, so much, but persistent; I figured even if I didn’t get to fly, it was okay, as the guys who go to the field are pretty chatty and informative and a decent set to be around.
So we spent a good hour and a half (while I was there) just shooting the breeze, gently picking on each other and recounting various war stories… nothing especially memorable apart from talking about the old days of having to pick frequencies, I think, and it was pretty interesting hearing some of it, because I remember going to airfields with my father and watching him do all that stuff himself.
At four in the afternoon, the weather finally turned. The rain dropped off, the sun actually found its way out, and we got to see some planes fly. I mostly watched for a while – it’s nice watching things do well in the air, after all, and that’s why I wanted to fly myself, and I finally asked one of the more experienced pilots to help me set up my plane and radio.
That took a while; we did a radio check and we thought everything worked, got the plane in the air, and sure enough, something wasn’t right. The Apprentice wouldn’t shift out of the “safe mode,” which was the same problem we’d been fighting with my AeroScout – even though we had completely different gear in play today. Like, literally nothing was the same except a battery, which would have had no effect on anything in the communications between transmitter and receiver.
This is where the shift in radio from RadioMaster to Spektrum paid off, though, because with the input of a few of the other experienced pilots, we worked out which setting was wrong, and changed it. (If I’d still been on the RadioMaster, I’d have been on my own still, and I think I have enough experience to say with confidence that this would not have worked out well.)
After that, the plane got in the air and was set up properly. I got the radio back in my hands and flew the plane around a bit – in some ways I’m back to square one in the air, but that’s okay. I need to get some successful flying time – a lot of it – and advance more slowly than I’d been trying to.
And that’s exactly what happened. It wasn’t an exciting day in the air, mostly figure-eights and some other really simple patterns, some good takeoffs, some good landings (with no errors this time at all, although my landings could have been a little smoother, maybe?) — but the key is that there were no crashes, nothing done on my part that I could have or should have prevented, no miraculous rescues in the air, nothing out of the ordinary whatsoever.
Just a smooth, simple day of flying, with no drama – which was pretty much exactly what I needed.