Eyesight, Airplanes and Trailers

Restarting into the hobby after years of inactivity. My year-in-review story.

2021 started with an earnest desire to fly again after being out for eight +/- years. It started rough by stuffing my Sr Telemaster on the first flight. So, I picked up a Twist 150 from Dan Dierking, re-allocated a DLE 20 from another project and a Simple Stik from Paul Geders with a lovely sounding Saito 91 Twin. I was off and flying. Both are easy flying planes and with support from a lot of you I nervously started getting my thumbs back. Of course I had other planes but they all needed a tune up but we all like new things right?

Radio change

I decided to retire my ancient Futaba 9CAP and moved to a 2.4Ghz FrSky X10s. A learning curve with a soon realization that FrOS software absolutely sucked. The throttle joystick would not stay calibrated and FrSky wanted me to ship the gimbal back to China. I took one last chance and jumped to Open TX and…it fixed the issue. Open TX is a nice system but I am still learning it.

I found myself grounded

The annual visit to the optometrist brought about cataract surgery. We had been watching it for years so it was inevitable. In early August they did the right eye, my best eye, but the whole process proved challenging. First, I made a mistake that AM by drinking a sip of coffee to take my meds…only it had cream in it. That teeny bit of dairy product freaked out the anesthesiologist who wanted to cancel the procedure. (Dairy can make you puke and with your head strapped down it could find its way into your lungs. A very bad situation.) The doctor prevailed only with less vercet; which means I was TOO AWARE of everything going on. Now THAT was creepy right there! Eye number two was to come a couple weeks later but, oh no, this was not going to be simple. In my twenties I had LASIK (3 times) and, unluckily, it hampered recovery time. The doc wanted to wait until my vision changes settled down. We finally get it scheduled only to have a job status change screw up my insurance the Friday before the Monday procedure. More delays. Finally, we get to the second eye, with MORE vercet onboard this time and it went smoothly. But can I see better? Well…the prescription permanently in my eyes swung me a bit near-sighted (life-long farsighted) so it hindered my distance acuity. Advice: schedule cataract surgery in the winter.

Blind man flying

I went out to fly the Twist in September, took off to the west and as I turned downwind I muttered, “oh sh*t!” Dave Brown was flying nearby and asked if I was ok. I replied something to the effect of “I gotta land. I can’t see this thing.” It was BLURRY and orientation at the northeast corner of the field was not happening. I just let the play fly until it got closer. I continued downwind, turned base, then onto final and landed successfully…20 feet short of the runway. No harm, no foul. My vision was seriously jacked up tho. Dang!

Oh, never use a router wearing flannel.

A Long Wait

It’s December and my eyes have healed. I finally obtained glasses to tweak my distance vision but admit being slightly near-sighted means I can read without bifocals for the first time in 15 years! That was a surprise bonus. My eyes are good enough near- and mid-distance; so much so, I find myself walking off without my glasses. It’s been since September that I have flown so I am awaiting Frozen Fingers, if I get back in town in time. Gotta test out my new eyes. Flyers beware! 🤓

New (and old) planes

Diving back into the hobby meant finding and going through all my supplies, cleaning years of dust off airplanes, and buying new batteries. In my shop were two never-flown aircraft: 1/3 scale Aircraft Modelers Research Piper Cub with a G-62 and an 80″ Ohio Model Products Edge 540 profile with a ST-3250. There were two partially built projects: Wing Mfg Hellcat 20cc (unfinished and motor ended up on the Twist) and a .40 Pulsar Biplane. So I dug in and spent time getting engines carburetors rebuilt, gunk removed and even an ignition replacement for the G-62. Shout out to Paul Geders for all the motor assistance along the way. By way of Facebook Marketplace I picked up several ARFs: the aforementioned Twist 150 DLE 20cc, a Top Flight 80″ Cessna 150 OS 91 pumped, and a gorgeous built-but-never-flown Great Planes 72″ Waco DLE-35RA (arrived via Greyhound). The Waco and Cessna are ready to fly. The winter projects are the Hellcat, a TopFlight Beech Staggerwing ARF (assuming the Robarts show up) and kitting out a trailer.

A trailer? Really?

You’re gonna have to wait until Part Two… Stay tuned.

Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year


  • Stephen got into RC in 1996 before he first son was born. He enjoys building and loves WWII scale. He returned to active flying in 2021 after several years out of the hobby.

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