Above: Scott Stoops’ RC interests include high-performance aerobatic and 3-D RC aircra;. He
also enjoys developing models for 3D Hobby Shop, a major model manufacturer.
Help and instruction are keys to
safety. There are multiple venues for
knowledgeable assistance and
information within the hobby.
As a nearly 28-year member of the AMA, it was always a goal of mine to be able to give back to
the hobby by writing for Model Aviation.
With so many respected modelers’
names gracing its pages, I was honored
to accept Editor-in-Chief Jay Smith’s
invitation to write a flight training
My name is Scott Stoops and nearly
everything in my life—other than my
wife and three children—revolves
around airplanes. I work as an airline
pilot for a major airline, fly a full-scale
aerobatic airplane in competition, and
develop model airplanes for 3D Hobby
Shop. I wrote and published an RC flight
instruction manual, and have written
more than 100 articles for various RC
I still learn something new nearly
every time I fly full-scale or RC
airplanes. For me, learning is the majority
of the fun that I have in this hobby.
It is my hope that this new “Flight
Training” column offers not only good
information, but is also inspiring and fun.
To get this column rolling in the right
direction, I want to focus on what I
I certainly never intended to put myself into these situations, but I still did.
You see, the problem with gaining experience with airplanes—either full-scale or
model—is that the test often comes first, and the lesson comes second. If you survive
the test, you get to learn the lesson. Fortunately, we can learn from others’ mistakes.
I’ll share one of mine.
My first substantial exposure to the test, followed by lesson paradigm, was
in a full-scale airplane shortly after I got my private pilot’s license. As a wildly
overconfident 17-year-old high school senior, I had recently checked out in my first
aerobatic airplane and completed a basic spin and unusual attitude course.
I was scheduled to start learning aerobatics with my instructor, Troy Hozempa, the
next week, but in my youthful state of exuberance I thought I had earned the right
to go and play a little.
Heck, the last pilot had left the parachute in the seat and all I had to do was
strap up and let her rip. I was, after all, a reasonably accomplished RC pilot and
a competent—if green—full-scale pilot. I could certainly get myself through a
Hammerhead, loop, and a roll, right? Wrong.
At the top of my first Hammerhead turn, I inadvertently entered what can only be
described as the worst, three-turn “hammer-spin” imaginable. Good thing I had some
spin training, because without it, I likely would have been a statistic.
Like a dog caught chewing its owner’s shoes, I nursed the Citabria back into the
pattern with my tail between my legs, knowing that I was neither knowledgeable nor
prepared enough to make that jump without instruction. The reality is that no one is.
MA welcomes Scott Stoops PLUS: > Mistakes come
69 Model Aviation AUGUS T 2012 www.ModelAviation.com