His report to RCModeler Magazine Writer Bill Beardsley:
To: Bill Beardsley
Re: 1st U.S. R/C Flight School
Good Morning Bill!
I returned a week ago from Dave Scott’s flight school in Shawano, WI and I want to tell you that it was the best money that I ever spent.
I came to Dave’s school having about two or three years experience (over a 12 year span), but little confidence. Flying was stressful to me. I couldn’t see the plane well (I thought). Couldn’t judge distances (I thought). Bottom line was that this was my last attempt to salvage the hobby I loved so dearly.
Why didn’t I just go to the local club and receive free instruction? I run a business and getting away to the field is very difficult. When I did manage to get to the field the senior fliers would say “just go burn some fuel and practice.” Practice what? What am I doing wrong? After you’ve soloed you’re pretty much on your own….just go practice those bad habits you’ve learned. So I felt it better to leave for a week and concentrate the practice.
Dave uses a technique he calls the DAS system. It teaches one to become a controller rather than a reactor. Instead of reacting to what the plane does, the plane reacts to you.
On Monday we started with a two hour ground school. I thought we were just going to re-hash all the basics again but was wrong. Dave relayed some new ideas about control and drummed into our heads (three people in the class) “Trust your plan and your inputs”.
To tell you the truth, I didn’t believe it. But when we started flying it worked! Sometimes I couldn’t really see the plane very well, trusted my inputs, and here she comes! Wow! By the third day I wasn’t even looking at the plane, just where it was heading. I didn’t need to know WHAT the plane was doing because I KNEW what I had told it to do.
Flying was actually becoming FUN.
The school is five days of flying. We’d arrive at the field about 9 a.m. and leave about 3 o’clock. After each flying session we’d sit down and Dave would “critique” the session. Same thing first thing in the morning, a review of yesterday’s flying, how to improve and today’s goals. Although everyone was having fun, this was not a bull session at the clubhouse, it was intense training with a goal. Every question was answered and however much time was needed, Dave gave it.
I started Dave’s school not much more than a newly soloed pilot. Take-off, Land and a Loop or two in between. At the end of the week I was able to fly a number of planes and perform the majority of aerobatics: Loops, Immelmanns, half and full Cuban 8’s, reverse Immelmanns and reverse 8’s, four and eight point Hesitation Rolls and more. I received not only the primary diploma but also the aerobatic diploma, usually only given after the second year of the school. Not bad for a guy that thought he couldn’t fly the week before. The other fellows in the class hadn’t really flown before and they both soloed on the third and forth day.
Now a word about Dave Scott.
I have never met a more capable instructor in any discipline. Dave knows his stuff backwards and forward. He dispels all the gadgets and tricks that I used to just eat up at the clubhouse. He’s a great flier, instructor and person.
Dave is also a man of infinite patience. Infinite. There were times when I just knew he’d lose it and start yelling, but nothing more than a calm, soft voice. The voice of reason.
So, I just went out to our field and practiced a little. Here’s what I got from the guys: “Wow, you’ve been practicing!” “Mind if I give you a little company while you’re flying, might pick up something”. “Could you show me that maneuver?” “I don’t fly too well, would you mind taking me up?” They’re telling this to a guy that could hardly fly the week before!
When the winds picked up as they usually do at our field in the afternoon everyone packed up. “Where are you going” I asked. “Too windy to fly”. So I thought great, got the field to myself and gassed her up. I noticed many of the guys hung around to watch this crazy person crash in the wind. As the wind at Dave’s school can get fairly strong (15-25MPH) on occasion, Dave taught us to fly in the wind, now unless it blows my plane over on the ground, I go for it without a worry.
Was it worth it?
Thanks to Dave Scott and the 1st U.S. R/C flight school I now enjoy going to the field because I feel confident. I also hold my head up a little higher when I’m not there, too.