Wednesday, January 25, 2012

RC Flying at Old Mill Stream RV Resort

Rick has flown Radio Control planes for many, many (over 35) years and has always enjoyed the challenge of building and flying the RC planes. One reason we choose the Old Mill Stream RV Resort was that they actually have an electric RC flying field right in the park! Here Rick is taking off his Slow Stick from the OMS runway. 

The Slow Stick is a great flyer and uses electric power which is very quiet as well as very powerful. This plane has a 40" wingspan and weighs about 18 ounces. It is a great trainer, but still can be very aerobatic. 

Radio systems have really advanced in the past few years and now offer training systems that make it much easier to learn to fly. Here Rick and Walt check out Walt's new plane prior to its initial flight. 

 Rick and Dick are flying Dick's plane on the Buddy Box system. The two radios are connected by a thin cord which allows Rick (the instructor) to flip a switch and give control to Dick. If Dick has a problem, Rick can quick regain control and right the plane to avoid a crash. 

Here, Rick is helping Butch, who lost direction while setting up a landing. Rick has just re-taken control and is guiding the plane up and away from the flyers. 

Butch and Rick are very happy that the plane has averted disaster and lives to fly another day. The new training system makes a huge difference in learning to fly radio control aircraft and greatly reduces the stress for the new pilot. 
Rick is working with Jim, an advanced student, and is explaining how to correct flight from various positions such as inverted flight, banks, etc. Jim is doing a great job and is flying by himself after a successful solo flight. 

We have a great little field to spend the afternoon at. A small sun shield, a couple tables and a gaggle of aircraft. This is also a great way to meet lots of folks who come by and watch us fly. 

Wow - we are getting a nice sized group of flyers here in the RV park. What a great treat it is to be able to fly right where we are camping for the winter! 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

A Great Boat Trip on the Dora Canal in Florida

Here is our 15' Gheenoe which we will be taking in the Dora Canal. This fiberglass boat is popular with the local fishermen because it is surprisingly stable, takes very little water to float, and is comfortable to use. This is Orinda's first trip in the boat, so we will see how she likes it.

Orinda and I took advantage of a beautiful day to launch our Gheenoe boat into Lake Eustis at the Tavares boat ramp -- which is a large, very nice public ramp. The Gheenoe looked a bit small compared to the 22' Bass Boats being launched and our 2.5hp outboard was a bit smaller than the 250hp motors they used, but we were ready to go!

A short boat ride from the ramp is the entrance, under this bridge, to the Dora Canal which connects Lake Eustis with Lake Dora. The Canal dates back over 100 years and was dug by hand to connect the lakes. Today, it is well know for its beauty and wildlife.

 After passing under the HWY441 bridge, you immediately enter the canal and feel as if you have been transported back in time to the wilds. There are huge cypress trees growing along the banks with countless birds flying in the woods.

 The Canal is about 1.25 miles long and about 5 feet deep, although that can change quickly. It is hard to believe that you are near any kind of civilization given the wilds next to the water, but in fact, we are only a mile or so from the town of Tavares.

Rick enjoys running the powerful 2.5 hp outboard, which excels in this shallow water. Our little boat is quiet and stable; perfect for observing the birdlife.

Even though it was cool a few days ago, the 75 degree weather today has brought the birds out. This great blue heron did not seem very concerned about our passage as he watched from this log.

Orinda had a hard time seeing the birds, but enjoyed the scenic boat ride. As you can see, the water was mirror smooth which made for a nice run.

This heron was fishing and did not seem happy to see us. In fact, right after this shot was taken, he flew off in somewhat an indignant fashion.

Success! Orinda's reward for braving the wilds of the Dora Canal is a cup of coffee and a small sundae from McDonalds! We had a nice time traveling the waterways of the Dora Canal and Lake Eustis.