Jay Smith: How did you get involved with model aviation?
Dave Scott: I grew up in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, the home of
the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) and the world’s
greatest aviation convention and air show. By the age of 10, I
was riding my bike to the airport
twice a day and volunteering
during EAA’s AirVenture
to earn admittance to the
flightline and a front-row seat
to watch the air show.
It was during this period
that I vowed to one day
become an aerobatics pilot. In
the meantime, I started flying
radio control models with my
father. Motivated by my goal to
fly full-scale aerobatics, I soon
became obsessed with
always trying to fly
my models in
mirrored my favorite full-scale performers.
JS: How has model aviation impacted your life and/or career?
DS: As my reputation grew as a model flier and club instructor,
people began offering to pay me to instruct on a regular basis,
which inspired me to develop better methods of RC flight
training. Encouraged by the increasing effectiveness of my
instruction and the growing demand for structured training,
I was eventually convinced to provide RC flight training on a
full-time basis and opened 1st U.S. R/C Flight School.
Over the next two-plus decades, I consolidated my system of
accelerated flight training and expanded the business to cover
all model airplane and helicopter skill levels. Along the way,
I’ve written seven training manuals covering all airplane and
helicopter skill levels as well as 80-plus training articles.
JS: What disciplines of modeling do you currently participate in?
DS: I do it all, but my personal favorite is, and always will be,
Unlimited Precision Aerobatics.
JS: What are your other hobbies?
DS: I regularly ride my road bike to stay fit. I also built a
highly modified full-scale Pitts S1S that I fly in aerobatics
competitions and air shows. In short, when I’m not teaching,
I’m working on my Pitts or practicing for an upcoming
competition or air show.
JS: Who (or what) has influenced you most?
DS: Number one is my faith, but EAA and the yearly
convention have clearly had a significant influence on
my life. Indeed, before the convention is over, I’m
already anticipating the next one.
JS: What is the best piece of advice you could give
someone about improving his or her flying skills?
DS: Although there are a lot of opinions, hoping things
will magically improve the more gas/electrons you burn is
the least effective approach. The key to steady advancement
is entering each flight with a plan consisting of one or two
areas in which you would like to improve. The great thing
about a plan is that even if it is faulty, having a plan to compare
the results to makes it much easier to identify what changes
need to be made to achieve a better result the next time.
Keep in mind that merely hoping to improve your landings
or keep a roll level isn’t really a plan. To be effective, the plan
has to entail how you intend to achieve a better landing, etc.
The fact is that if a pilot is unable to determine how to fly
better before the flight, it certainly isn’t going to occur to him
or her anytime soon zooming around the sky at 50-plus mph
reacting to whatever the plane is doing.
I know that many will respond, “I don’t want to think. I just
want to have fun,” but the truth is that flying is a whole lot
more fun when a person is flying well and making progress,
versus those who spend their flights trying to make countless
split-second decisions reacting to the plane.
168 Model Aviation APRIL 2015 www.ModelAviation.com
Dave Scott Full-scale air show pilot and RC instructor
by Jay Smith