Control Flying – The Original Fly-By-Wire

controlflying-1Fargo, North Dakota.

Every so often, I discover a collection of photos that I meant to share and somehow they got left off the production schedule. I won’t bore you with the mundane details of how I track images for sharing, but I will say that this post features photos from over a year ago that were sitting unprocessed on my hard drive just waiting to be tweaked and shared.

In the opening shot, a woman and her young son are enjoying an activity that I thought was completely forgotten. With radio controlled model cars, boats, trains, planes and self-flying drones, I’d have expected flying model airplanes tethered by a control wire would have gone the way of the dodo bird. Not so much. The young man in the photo is certainly enjoying the experience of helping his mom fly the plane that’s somewhere out at the end of that wire line control they are holding together.

control_flying_hdr-3At the end of the line is a little yellow airplane complete with a small gasoline engine turning a simple propeller. The occasion this weekend was a gathering of people from the upper midwest who get together annually for a meet. In 2015, Fargo hosted the group. The event even gathered some local media attention as a reporter from a local television station stopped by to gather some video for the local news.

control_flying_hdr-2In the photo below, we discover that more than one airplane can fly in close proximity. Obviously it takes some skill to keep the two aircraft from colliding, or from even just getting control wires tangled, a potentially fatal condition for both aircraft. These two flyers aren’t just occupying the same flying circle, they are actually dogfighting. The object of the dog fight is to use your propeller to cut the streamer that is attached to the opponent’s tail.

control_flying_hdr-4The closeup shot below provides a clearer view of the streamers trailing the two aircraft. The winner must trim the streamer from the other aircraft and land his or her aircraft safely after having done so.

controlflying-6There was a time in my youth that I owned a much less sophisticated version of one of these aircraft. Spending the day watching these modern day control wire flyers brought back some memories of years gone by.


John Steiner


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