Most all of us model aircraft enthusiasts, at the basic level, just want to play with our toys... what gives us the enjoyment of playing with them? What attracts us to these toys? For me, flying model aircraft is like the near-realization of a life-long dream of actually piloting a real aircraft.
What kid dreams of being a passenger on an airplane? ...We don't want to be the passenger; we all want to be the PILOT of an airplane. As a little kid with my plastic army men and plastic airplanes, I would "fly" that airplane, gripped between my fingers, around the living-room, sometimes on specific missions, but often that flight would become a general "sight-seeing tour". Imagine how it would look from inside the plane as we steeply climb from floor-level, up, over the top of the arm of the couch, across the full-width of the couch at a thousand feet high... and then we roll-right and pass through that potted philodendron, just brushing our wingtips against those dark green leaves, risking life and limb at the very idea of that maneuver. If I was the pilot inside that little plane, how awesome an experience that would be! ... and then we have engine trouble and head for a safe landing on top of the TV... Safe!... good landing! ... thank the maker!
How many little airplanes with spinning propellers got held in front of an electric fan or out the window of a car as we pretended to fly, feeling the vibration of the motor and the lift of those tiny wings in the wind? .. a life-long dream.
The realities of life eventually overtake us and, for most of us, the physical practicality of becoming involved with aircraft... the expense, the demands, the training, the logistical limitations, the actual application and value of an aircraft to your every-day life means that the dream is set aside... not deleted; it lingers just behind the edge of your daily life. Then you catch the edge of a TV documentary on "Chuck Yeager breaks the sound barrier!" or "Space-X lands a rocket back onto its launch-pad!" or "Amelia Earhart's wreckage confirmed!"... and that dream is reawakened to increase your pulse-rate once more!
Radio control model aircraft let you realize that dream. It involves you with making preparations for flight, organizing your gear, learning the skill of piloting your craft, learning the ability and agility of your craft. You start the motor. You launch it into the air! You dive, you climb, you roll-through all of those scenes you could only imagine in your mind's eye, before. All too soon it's time to land. Learning to land your model aircraft is the hardest part of it all... during the flight, danger to your craft is never so great as at that moment at the point of landing... and yet, with practice, we learn to pilot that model aircraft in for a safe landing.
Do things go wrong? Of course! The weather tosses your model in such a way as to make each flight a new challenge. That motor of yours is a bit quirky today. Are those rubber-bands that I hear humming or is that some mechanical failure in process? I think my carburetor is set a little too rich. That model cannot FLY inverted! Against those white clouds, I can hardly see my wings! ... and then "Bang!": hard landing. Now I have to fix it before I can fly, again. ... ... and then you DO fix it!
The model aircraft hobby requires you to take an interest in many seemingly unrelated areas of study. Certainly you learn about the aerodynamics of your flying models. You learn about glues and adhesives of all types. You learn basic electronics and batteries... modern radio systems and hardware require that you learn some computer-logic as you program your transmitters and control-modules. You need to use hand-tools and power-tools... pliers, miniature screwdrivers, drills, sanders, saws and cut-off wheels. You learn to plan-for and prepare-for your each excursion to the flight-line. Charge your radio, your on-board batteries, your glow-igniter, your starter... charge enough batteries to ensure that you can get-in several flights while you are out there. Put together the essential tools and parts that you might need when you are at the field... so much to learn and accomplish, so much to be proud of accomplishing... and all part of the enjoyment of the hobby.
Some model aircraft come complete and ready to take flight, right out of the box. Others are "less-so"... and still others come as a small box of parts, ready to be painstakingly assembled into flying-machines. Receiving any of those as a gift will get your pulse racing as you imagine the possibilities and the potential of that flying model.
Live the dream. Relive the dream. Enjoy flying model aircraft.