Losing an aircraft is a miserable feeling that every RC pilot comes to know at some point in their career. It's kind of like the Force, in that it penetrates us and it binds us together – except that the Force doesn't make you feel queasy and helpless.
Because it's a shared experience, it's almost as painful to watch it happen to someone else as it when it happens to you. We had the misfortune to witness a bird go missing last weekend, but luckily we were in a position to do something about it.
Thanks to RQCX-3 “Raven,” this story had a happy ending. Check it out:
After finding the airplane, probably the happiest outcome of this incident was getting to meet its owner, Ivan Castellanos. You can see for yourself in the video that he's got a knack for building cool FPV rigs – he also built the FPV micro quad that you see me fly in the video, and a couple of other platforms you didn't get to see, as well as a really slick ground station built into a small, hard-sided case. Thanks for letting us play with your toys, Ivan! We had a lot of fun!
We would have been nowhere near the Fly-A-Ways RC Club that day had we not been invited by Ken Gullberg. It turns out that Ken teaches a continuing education class dedicated to RC flying at Portland Community College. When we were first talking back and forth via e-mail about this event, he let slip that he shows our videos to his class.
With 900,000 views on our YouTube channel as of earlier today, it's obvious that someone out there is watching them, but I have to tell you it's still startling to when somebody says something like that to us. We just feel like two guys goofing around with this technology – which is pretty much what we are, actually – so it always comes as a bit of a shock to discover that people are watching our videos in some type of structured learning environment. We're truly honored.
We were also honored to be named as “special guests” for this event. As is usually the case when we go to something like this, I feel like we learn more than we teach – but I think that's the whole point of this crazy undertaking to which we've all committed ourselves: to help each other along the path, even though none of us knows exactly where we're going.
And finally, during the opening montage, you catch a glimpse of what looks like an ice chest with a sign on it for “Gordon's BBQ.” That thing is worthy of some additional explanation. I probably should have done something in the video about it, but we weren't even planning to do a video about this event. It was only once the hunt for Ivan's missing plane was on that I dug out the camera and started gathering footage.
Anyway, back to Gordon's BBQ: if that “ice chest” appears to be an industrial-strength solution to the problem of keeping tasty beverages cold, that's because it is. What you are seeing there is actually a decommissioned highway reader board. The eponymous Gordon put solar cells where the sign used to be, and uses them to charge deep cycle batteries underneath the space where he keeps the drinks, powering the rest of his cooking gear.
In addition to “clever,” another virtue that you can ascribe to Gordon is “generous” – he gave Techinstein and I lunch! Thanks, Gordon!