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The engines on my RC planes give me lots of enjoyment along with working my mind to keep them running perfectly. Sometimes my brain makes that harder than it needs to be.
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Alzheimer’s Angers Me at Times

Recalling lessons learned decades ago is getting harder

Text and photo by Tom Hintz

Posted – 2-12-2015

Yesterday I had a great RC flying day. I got in over 20 flights with no damage or crashes. In fact, my planes are performing better because of some adjusting I was able to do. But in the end I came away from yesterday angry and a little more scared that the Alzheimer’s just took another step.

The planes I fly have gas engines that use a real carburetor. Part of flying these machines is adjusting the carbs to get the best, most reliable performance from the engines on that specific plane. While my planes have been flying well I have been making compromises in how I flew them because I knew the carbs were not setup perfectly. I tried to blame some of this performance problem on the engines being relatively new and not broken in yet. The problem is that these engines are fully broken in and have been so for weeks.

Adjusting the carburetors involves turning high and low speed screws in response to how the engine is running. Somewhere along the line I got it in my head that a hesitation when going from idle to full speed meant that the engine was too rich on the low speed side. While I was making the carb leaner and leaner something in the back of my mind was saying that may not be right.

The anger I started feeling came from knowing that I knew how to make this adjustment but was not able to recall how. I had dealt with similar issues for over 30 years working on family cars and race engines. The principles of engine operation that drive the carburetor adjustment are not complicated and I remembered that but could not remember how to apply them to adjusting my carbs today. Yesterday, after much messing around I did recall the process and got my carbs adjusted quickly.


The two screws towards the bottom of this photo are the source of the confusion this time around. In the end my brain caught up and we got these adjusted correctly.
Click image to enlarge

The frustration is coming from knowing that someplace in my head I have needed information but recognize that it is getting increasingly harder to access it. Often it seems that the harder I try to recall something the more my mind refuses to cooperate. Instances like this make me wonder if Alzheimer’s has taken another step towards taking over my mind completely.

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