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Whether flying myself or helping someone, RC flying has become a great way to fend off the advancement of Alzheimer's better than anything else my doctors or I can find.
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Feeling Great Because I’m Feeling Terrible

Helping other RC’rs remains a big motivator

Text and photo by Tom Hintz

Posted 8-17-2015

As I write this it is the morning after a long day at the flying field and I feel awful but in a good way if that makes any sense. The yesterday started early as I wanted to get my plane put together and ready for flying before a guy I was to help with a new (to him) plane arrived.

We went through his plane, made a few little changes and before long it was ready to have its brand new engine fired up. That is where the down side of the day began. We spent 2 ½ hours flipping the new engine getting it to pop under choke. Then with the choke off it would fire but refused to keep running even though I had richened both needles up a good amount to be sure fuel was getting in. We eventually got it running with a borrowed starter but even though it was running “blubbery” rich in a few minutes it killed a crankshaft bearing. Big disappointment for all concerned.

Later another guy came out with a foamy P51 that needed some attention so I worked with him on that and got it tweaked before I took it up for a trim flight. A bit later we used the wireless trainer system in the Spektrum DX9 radios we had and got him flying his plane. He took off, flew it around through the whole battery and I landed it. He was happy and so was I.
I have always liked working with other RC people and despite the bad engine and all of the exertion there, getting someone in the air with their plane is always a great feeling. Now the morning after I’m paying for all that exuberance trying to start the new motor with stiff, sore shoulders and legs.

My RC flying is usually confined to Saturday and Sunday so I tend to go for broke on those two days. Despite knowing that my time in this hobby is limited by Alzheimer's I am still functioning very well when flying or interacting with other fliers at the field. I come home every flying day pretty wore out but this one was different. All of the flipping trying to get the new engine started wore out muscles I apparently don’t use with any regularity. So today will be a slow one for me as I let my body catch up with the exuberance of my mind.

All of this confirms that my decision to get back into RC flying when I was diagnosed with Alzheimer's was a good one. Despite the occasional difficult times RC remains lots of fun and more importantly for the fight to slow the progression of Alzheimer's it continues to hold my attention. The mental gymnastics this hobby requires keeps my brain functioning better than expected. That along with helping others and the pure joy of flying means I will always be looking forward to the next trip to the field.

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