Sportsman of the Month, Greyson Pritchett, displays his Castle Creations, Hacker-powered, Futaba-guided, 62-inch Osiris.
New practice regimen for the upcoming
by Mike Riggs
Contest season is about to begin. Bursting at he seams with excitement and anticipation of the upcoming season, I await. Yep, it’s time
to bring out the competition airplanes and show
our stuff. Memorial Day weekend and the National
Society of Radio Control Aerobatics (NSRCA)
District 8 season opener in Wenatchee, Washington,
are only a few weeks away.
The past building season was dark and cold.
Instead of spending the winter months flying a
simulator and indoor airplanes, I decided to brave
the elements and continue flying outdoors. That
worked out great until January brought daytime
highs in the low teens.
Despite the bitter cold, a day job, holidays, and
limited daylight hours, I managed to get in a few
flights. Every day at the flying field during the
winter was extra special.
Shedding winter clothes has already begun. Soon
shorts and T-shirts will be the uniform of the day at
the flying field.
Talk of flying brings a question to mind.
How many flights do you average per flying
session? Driving home from a contest last year, I
contemplated why flying four rounds on Saturday was always so exhausting—fun,
but exhausting. By the end of a typical four-round contest on a Saturday, I am spent.
What can we do to minimize feeling so exhausted?
What I came up with is twofold: health and practice.
• Sunscreen: We’ve heard it a hundred times. Put it on and keep it on.
• Water: No matter what the temperature is, always drink plenty of water.
• Eyes: Looking up into the sky, focusing on the relatively small moving objects we
call airplanes, strains our eyes. Through some hand-me-down advice, I started using
eyedrops before going flying.
Not being a doctor, all I can report is that the eye drops have at least given me the
perception of relieving eye strain. I’ve been using my wife’s Visine. I have been told
that a product called Systane works even better and I plan to try it as soon as my
wife runs out of Visine.
• Nutrition: Being a Type II diabetic means my blood sugar level is always on
my mind. Contest lunches are generally served at the convenience of the contest,
between rounds and not planned for a particular time.
In an effort to always fly my rounds with a healthy blood sugar level, I have gotten
into the habit of eating something before each flight, roughly every hour to hour and
a half. Typically, I eat an apple or a banana. A side benefit is I do not get as nervous as
I used to, particularly when I lose the airplane’s orientation.
• Three to four flights used to be a
typical trip to the flying field for me.
Add the stress of contest flying and
it’s no wonder I become so exhausted.
Flying six flights during a typical, all-day
trip to the flying field is my new regime.
The idea is that more flights during
practice will make flying fewer flights
during a contest less exhausting.
Last fall, after the contest season, I
began a six-flight regime when I started
flying my Baby-O, a 47-inch Osiris,
regularly. The first few six-flight sessions
felt like a marathon, especially in the
cold. It became normal after a while.
Whether changing health and practice
habits helps contest performance remains
to be seen. The real goal is to find ways to
enjoy contest flying even more. It’s just
part of the reason that I’m so excited that
the season is about to begin!
101 Model Aviation M AY 2013 www.ModelAviation.com