Wayne Francis – Instructor
I will start off with some of my earliest memories of flying.
To start with I remember learning to fly a control line plane. I must have been round the age of 10-11. it was a bright yellow jet style plane with a very loud 0.15 size motor with no muffler. I don’t really remember the build too much but I do remember helping put on the water soaked decals with Dad. On my first few flights Dad stood in the middle of the circle with me and guided me and my hand through a few flights. I can always remember what happened next. One nice fine morning I got up early and it was calm and sunny so I asked Dad if we could take out the control line plane. He said sure he would get out of bed (doing God knows what) later and come with me. He told me to get it ready and check the motor was going to run. I set it all up and it seemed to take an age for me to get it going compared to Dad. I had it up on the outside table as we had done before. I finally got the motor started and then realized it was coming towards me, so I put my hand out to stop it only to go right though the prop arch with my right hand At this point I screamed very loud as it went though my hand and I remember watching the plane engine still running. It flew for a short distance and crashed into the ground. It was straight to the doctors for me. After all was calm I had lost the tip to my index finger and cut my pointer finger and ring finger. I was three months in bandages and had many visits to the doctors. It was a moment in my flying I will never forget and a time I learnt the upmost respect for ANY motor big or small.
For some reason after all this it did not deter me from flying. I remember Dad coming home from his trip to Hong Kong and giving me and my brother an OS 15. Wow a brand new motor. Next was the trip to the hobby store to choose a control line plane for it. I ended up with a little profile plane. What made me pick this one was the OS.15 was on the upper limit for power and I wanted it to fly really well. My brother chose his own plane as well. Once we got them home, we went to start the build. Dad told me to sit and copy the plans for it. I was so angry by now, as I was drawing plans and they were building my bothers plane. Once they were built, we used tissue and dope to cover it. It flew really well and never had any crashes.
As Dad started to get into RC I was there all the way. For some reason I enjoyed it as much as he did. We use to go out both weekend days for the whole summer. One year we went though 20 litres methanol. To start with I could not afford too much gear so I chose a Tower Hobbies Minute Man trainer and motor (motor still running fine today). I think I flew it for the best part of 2-3 years before I could afford much more. I learnt many good things in that time. Landing the plane safely from any part of the sky was the biggest thing, something I will never forget. I have had a few planes over the years. One was my Lanier Stinger 10. It was a birthday gift. Flew like a hairy hand full till it was trimmed. It was the plane I had my first crash with. We were away camping and Dad and I had found a farmers paddock to fly on. I had just taken off, powered back and started my first turn and nothing happened, nobody home. I moved the sticks in all the ways possible and nothing happened. I then yelled for help from Dad thinking he could help. He grabbed the transmitter and nothing for him either. It was the longest time ever watching my plane circling without control. At one stage I thought it was going to hit the van but missed that and went though a fence, destroying the plane. I spent the next few days crying. I don’t think I have got over it yet. I had an Uproar for many years and I learnt most of the basic aerobatic moves on this plane. After many years without one I decided to build a new one. It never did fly as well as I remembered it, so after some planning I built some floats for it and now its a great plane to fly all over again.
I have competed twice at national competition The first time I was 4th,, the second I was placed 3rd in the Juniors. I still have the certificate in a safe place. After realizing competition was not for me I just kept blasting holes in the sky and having a great time.
About 4 years ago I came to a point where I was flying my helicopter a lot and was about to start learning the aerobatic side, when I realized it was not for me. I then put all my effort into learning 3D plane flying. After lots of simulator time and plenty of flight time I can do most of the moves I want to. As a kid I used to love watching one of New Zealand’s top RC pilots flying his 42% Extra 260 and doing full on 3D The one move that I could never do was the rolling circle and it always annoyed me not knowing how to. After lots of practice I can now do them with ease from any height I want
One of the most satisfying things to do is to take a new student and teach them to fly. Being able to share my knowledge and teach them the safe way of doing things is really rewarding.
I have a strong passion for flying and know it will stay with me forever.