It is hard to really begin to explain. I started getting into R/C Soaring when I was 13 years old in 1976. In that year I won a 3rd place award for 2-minute precision duration with my Graupner Cirrus. Hard to believe. Before long, ALL of my powered planes were parked and I was into R/C Soaring.
I joined the ESL in 1978 when the league was created. I recall the inital meeting at Jerry Zeigenfuse's house in Reading, PA. Lots of memories there. I won Sportsflyer in 1980 and graduated to Expert class in 1981. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, I had a lot of time to fly in the ESL. It was a very good time in that my wife, Trish, and my sister, Annamarie, would also fly in the ESL events. It was a lot of fun.
My life took a turn when I became the father of two amazing young men (Josh Jr and Luke) in 1999 and 2000. Eventually, after a lot of patience and micro warbirds, both Josh Jr and Luke became interested in R/C Soaring. So now the current chapter of my R/C Soaring life involves my two boys who compete in the ESL events and accompany me on the various road trips. It is really an amazing time in our lives and I am thankful for it!
Over the course of 33 years with the ESL, I have had the privaledge of meeting and flying with a fantastic group of people. We have a lot of fun at the ESL events and get together for group dinners, general R/C Soaring discussions and just good camraderie. ESL events are little get-aways that I really cherish and look forward too. In addition to ESL events, many of the members are competing at the Nationals and US Team Selection events. I consider the ESL a treasure to R/C Soaring and welcome and encourage others to try it out.
Have been interested in everything R/C since before I can remember. I can recall sneaking UNDER fences to watch my father learn to fly and probably can count on one hand the number of WRAM shows I have missed in my 40 years of life. Finally I was given a gas trainer in '93 that set the hook on R/C spending fortunately that NEVER got finished.
In '97, someone was selling a Gentle Lady and high start and I got hooked on sailplanes. Having little money and loving the challenge of unpowered flight, this was to be a permanent addiction. The following year I was given a 4 servo javelin launched plane called the Advantage. It was GREAT!!. I needed no setup time and could fill my lust for thermalling regardless of how little time I had. Have plane and transmitter - will FLY!!.
Since my first introduction to gliders, I have been TRYING to fly it and fly it exclusively. I have only amassed a small colleciton of planes: a couple of Mantises (Manti), a pair of Alcyones, a Pelikan and of course my beloved DLGs: the homemade SGII (affectionately called the Brick), a LightHawk and a LightSpeed along with a couple of Edge based planes awaiting completion. Unfortunately, building, for me, is a very slow process, almost glacier. Many of the planes are either NIB or awaiting repair or final assembly. I rarely have more than 4 or 5 planes completed at any given time. But buying planes can be just as much fun as building or flying.
In 2006, I wanted to give back to the many guys that have supported me with flying and the best way I thought I could would be by working on offering another ESL contest and for me, that was for hand launch. Already ESL had many TD contests and interest in DLGS was growing. That year, I attended every contest before the Aug date to get familiar with the format. With much help from Mark Drela, LISF hosted their first DLG contest in Aug '06. We have been hosting one ever since and growing interest in our club and the surrounding area in hand launch ever since.
There is a ton of joy to be had flying a glider, especially a DLG but to host a contest and to have so many pilots having fun and getting to know each other and spending time doing a common interest can often be even more rewarding. I cannot say if it is from the smiles from those who have just maxed their task or from the sweat and burning lears from how hard they were being pressed (but underneath would have it no other way) brings the most joy. What other form of soaring can you sweat like crazy, run around like a mad man and pilot your plane? I think all of us enjoy this aspect of the sport and being the host/CD of such an event is thrilling. For me, the effort is well worth it especially when you get paid with joy such as this.
Let me leave you with this montra:
Buy them, Build them, Chuck 'Em and Chase 'Em !!!
Flying RC since 2003. Started in small electrics and moved quickly to gliders.
President Long Island Silent Flyers since 2009.
VP LISF 2007, 2008
ESL Newsletter Editor since 2006
ESL President 2009, 2010
Publish the weekly newsletter, "The Weekend Flying Report" since 2004