Saturday, September 08, 2007

Airshow for Model Aircraft

Today was a very pleasant day here in Colorado, a perfect day to be outdoors. After the episode at the hospital, it made me all the more glad to be outside rather than lying in a hospital bed with an open-backed gown!

Last weekend after my son crashed his model airplane, we decided to go to a model airshow this weekend, and learn more about these small-scale aircraft. At first, it couldn't have been more perfect flying weather. In fact, we were going to be able to try flying some of the trainer airplanes they had there to learn with. Unfortunately, a cold front kicked up the wind to where we couldn't do that. Still, there was some spectacular piloting going on via radio control.

These planes start as low as just under $200, and go up in price to thousands of dollars each! There was one guy there with a big trailer used to transport his airplanes to the show, so it is obvious this can be a very expensive hobby if you really get into it. Of course, most hobbies are like that, aren't they?

These little airplanes can really get moving, some of them up to 100 miles per hour in actual speed. To scale, it would be even faster than that! Here are a few of the photos I took today.

The top photo shows some aerobatic maneuvers by a gasoline-powered airplane flying nearly straight up. The pilots are so skilled that they can make the planes hover in a vertical orientation, not using the wings at all, but the propeller for not only propulsion, but also to keep it airborne.

This next picture shows the fantastic, beautiful blue Colorado skies we had today. This airplane was performing some tricks, and in this shot, you can see the flaps on the wings, oriented to make the plane twirl.

Model aircraft in flight - click to see large version

The next shot shows a model airplane on approach to the runway, with the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in the background. This model airstrip is near Golden, Colorado, famous as the home of Coors beer.

Model airplane approaching the runway

Seeing these airplanes in the sky, it is easy to mistake them for full-sized craft. The reason I don't say "real" airplanes for the larger ones is that these are every bit as "real" as their big brothers. They just are too small for people to ride in them. To get a sense of scale, take a look at the next picture, where an airplane was receiving some mechanical attention prior to takeoff.

Getting prepared for flight

There was one airborne visitor who it looked like was performing for the crowd, or maybe just enjoying the airshow. This hawk was circling overhead for the entirety of the three hours of the show. One thing I like about this picture is that you can see the feathers spread out on the ends of his wings. All-in-all, a fun afternoon, and certainly an improvement over the hospital!

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