Rural Missouri - June 2021 - 26

	 Similar to John, Josh's path to the runway started at a young age
flying with his father in a single-engine two-seater and building model
planes. As thrilling as actual flight was, it was the hobby that would
ultimately change his life. Months spent building balsa wood models
culminated in 15-second flights followed by spectacular crashes, with
a young Josh learning a little from each experience. " Finally, two years
later I was able to build a plane that would circle, but it wasn't the victory of that that I remember - it was really my dad's encouragement. "
	 Years later as an adult working in youth ministry, Josh put his love
of the RC hobby to use connecting family members who had drifted
apart emotionally - particularly fathers and sons.
	 " They fall in love with what we call 'shoulder time,' where people are
next to each other engaging in a common activity, " Josh says. " That's
the goal. Our tool is airplanes. "
	 To make the hobby approachable, Josh knew he had to bring the
barriers to entry - namely the cost of the models and components
- down significantly. He combined the expensive components into a
swappable power pack, so that when one foam board airplane crashes
the electronics survive and can be inserted into another model and
used with the same radio control. A starter kit, electronics and all,
costs around $200 with some airplane-only models costing less than
$20. All of the materials used in the planes are sourced in the U.S.,
and combine to create planes which fly true to their real-world counterparts. The company even developed a microchip to enhance the
stability of the aircraft and, in addition to other beginner-friendly
features, assist with launching and leveling the plane on take off.
	 John and Josh agree the most important skill to building a plane
isn't technical knowledge or previous experience, but patience.
	 " If you can hook up two strands of Christmas lights and not burn
the house down, you can build an airplane, " John says, adding that
crashes are part of the learning curve. " It's going to happen. The best
way to say it is, 'I haven't crashed yet ... today.'‚ÄČ "
	 Making the hobby easy and approachable had only one drawback, according to Josh: die-hard hobbyists crave a challenge. John's
skillset, designing more detailed aircraft out of molded foam pieces,
helped solve that problem when he officially joined the Flite Test team
in April. His realistic recreations of dozens of World War II classics will
give enthusiasts something new with which to test their skills.
	 " I've built modern jets, airliners like 737s, but I really gravitate
toward the WWII planes because there was so much going on technology-wise, " the Howard Electric Cooperative member says. " The survival
of nations depended on new designs. "
	 Designs start with researching a particular aircraft and turning that
model into 3D graphics. Lasers cut each piece to specifications. John
builds the model and then, in a process he calls " angry beaver, " whittles away at the prototype by hand until everything has been adjusted
to perfection. The changes are then fed back into the computer so that
the lasers will replicate perfect cuts of the new design, ensuring Flite
Test customers receive a consistent build experience with each model.
	 " To get someone from their first plane to this level does not take
very long, " Josh says, pointing out a massive A-10 Warthog that engulfs one nearby worktable. " These planes give you the ability to afford
to crash. And when you can crash and fail at an accelerated rate, you

Left: Frowning faces are unlikely to be found during a build event in Fayette. Kids
and parents assemble foam board gliders of WWII planes and modern fighter jets.
The event is free. Models are categorized by " cents " or how many pennies fit into the
fuselage in order to balance the aircraft for flight. Photos this page courtesy Flite Test.

26 RURAL MISSOURI | JUNE 2021



Rural Missouri - June 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - June 2021

Contents
Rural Missouri - June 2021 - Cover1
Rural Missouri - June 2021 - Cover2
Rural Missouri - June 2021 - Contents
Rural Missouri - June 2021 - 4
Rural Missouri - June 2021 - 5
Rural Missouri - June 2021 - 6
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Rural Missouri - June 2021 - Cover3
Rural Missouri - June 2021 - Cover4
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