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So where did this all start? « Canada's Drone Enthusiast Group | alpha flying circus

So where did this all start?

One of the questions I get asked the most when people either see the stable of aircraft in our hanger, or encounter us out flying in a park, is “How did you get into this?”

Thinking back, it probably started when I was very young, and able to put together my first model…..hang on a sec, a memory is coming out of the fog….toy airplanes that were included in cereal boxes….Kelloggs Corn Flakes to be exact….different versions of some air canada passenger planes that I remember using as fighter jets as I say and had my morning breakfast before school.

Soon it was unbelievable war scenes with Spitfires and Hurricanes defending the shores of England (my birth country) from the ME109’s and FW190’s that had crossed the channel.

Soon there would be different models of planes being built (I was never really good at models) and strung from my ceiling so I could lay back in bed and dream of being a pilot.

Well we get older, and pursue our careers.  The lack of perfect vision tore up the dream of flying F18’s, but my love of aircraft never waned.

Children come, and I remember my son being very young as I spotted a plane called the Firebird XL in a local hobby store when I was looking for a bike.



It was one of the early electric planes.  Gas and nitro had never attracted me as the inconvenience was more than a new father had time for.  This came with a radio (2 channel) and a brushed motor, and NiCad batteries.  These preceded NiMh batteries, which preceded LiPo’s.

So 2 channels.  Throttle, which controlled climb with throttle on, and descend with no throttle.  Left and right were controlled by a V-Tail setup.

I beat this plane up.  I remember knocking it out of trees with long sticks.  Climbing trees.  Climbing onto roofs.  Even though my options were limited when it came to the flight aspect, I was hooked.

I look at some of the parks that I flew this in and wouldn’t fly planes half the size in those parks today.  Still, I learned, and fixed, and taped, and got addicted to this new form of RC.  Electric.

Like any hobby, this was followed up by a few planes……

The Sopwith Triplane (yes that is Damon)

DCP_1895 DCP_1896


The GWS Tiger Moth (responsible for teaching a bunch of friends how to fly renamed “YellowBird”)


The Mulitplex Picojet and Twinjet

picojet twinjet


This is just a sampling of the planes that I started on, some of them far past my skill at the time.  I got very good at repairing foam!

When I got started, this would have been in the mid to late 90’s, I had to drive to Brandon to pick up product as nobody in Winnipeg was carrying the electric product as it was thought to be just a phase.  Little did anyone know how much the hobby would explode with the advent of Lithium Polymer batteries, and 2.4 Ghz radios.

I look at the stable of planes I have today.  Brushless power.  Some of them giving me over an hour in the air, others 5 minutes of pure unadulterated speed.

I still love to fly LOS (Line of Sight) but have been captured in a new way by FPV (First Person View).

That addiction started 4 years ago when I put a camera and video transmitter on my Twinstar.

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First flight was down the street in a park, far to small for what we were doing, but we were too excited to try it out.  Bruce actually was looking through the goggles while I was test flying, and he stood beside me and slipped the goggles over my eyes for my first “in plane” flight.

Instant addiction.

The feel of flight was as close as you could get without paying for lessons and a real airplane.  The vertigo that you get with the altitude and the rush of speed was transferred and the empowerment of being able to steer an airplane as you flew….flew around.  Wow.  Hard to describe.

Since then I have become very comfortable with all sorts of craft with cameras on.

Long range Skywalkers filled with electronics that can fly it home in an emergency.

motor and video tx Winnipeg-20120806-00084_renamed_22044 Winnipeg-20120806-00089_renamed_2732 Winnipeg-20120806-00092_renamed_18122


Black Mamba Quadcopters that can shoot up to hundreds of feet in minutes, yet hover effortlessly a few feet above ground as we fly along trails.


Where did this all start?  It starts in your thoughts as you dream about looking at the world from a different perspective.  It starts when you first show your friends how easy it is to learn, and see the joy on their face when they fly by themselves for the first time.

It starts when you share your knowledge with others and help them to experience the same awe that I experience every time I get the chance to “fly”.

It is easy to see where it started.

It will be even better seeing where it ends.

Feel free to join me and the guys in the circus for a wonderful ride.


  1. Hi there! Would you mind if I share your blog with my twitter group? There’s a lot of folks that I think would really appreciate your content. Please let me know. Thanks

    • I would have no problem with that. Hope you find the content educational and informative.

  2. You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this matter to be really something that I think I would never understand. It seems too complex and very broad for me. I’m looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the hang of it!

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