Reservist's son high-flying with RC aircraft
By Tech. Sgt. Samuel King Jr., 919th Special Operations Wing public affairs
/ Published May 09, 2013
EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- A 13-year-old 'flyer' is achieving new heights in his remote-controlled aircraft hobby with the help of his 919th Special Operations Wing father.
Maj. Jeff Powell, the 919th Maintenance Operations Flight commander, and his son Cody zoomed into the RC hobby only two years ago, but Cody's climb into competitions and first-place trophies was faster than a C-145 Skytruck takeoff.
Powell said his family had always been associated with aircraft. His father and grandfather were aircraft mechanics and his wife is a navigator. He and Cody started with small department store aircraft; but after discovering the RC hobby shop and the Eglin Aero Modellers club on base, his son was hooked.
"I never realized there were RC planes that large," Cody said, of his first trip to the hobby shop at age 11. "When I joined the club, they taught me how to fly properly. It was scary at first, but I picked it up quick."
Cody practiced constantly on the golf course near his house and was quickly showing up the older flyers in the EAM. Soon, he was competing in pattern flying, in which the flyer must keep the aircraft within certain parameters while accomplishing complex maneuvers. The smoother the aircraft looks while completing the maneuvers, the better the scoring, according to Cody.
Cody purchased a second-hand RC plane for competitions from money he'd saved mowing the lawn. In his first competition, he took first place.
"The other guy did crash," Cody humbly joked.
He's competed in 15 competitions so far, winning all but one and regularly trains his friends to fly RC planes and even join the EAM. On April 27, he and the EAM hosted Eglin's Civil Air Patrol to teach the cadets how to fly RC aircraft.
"It's a whole different feeling," said Cody of controlling the aircraft. "It's totally unlike any other hobby I've had. I love the feel of the aircraft and the feel of flight through my fingers. It's addicting."
Cody joked that his mom says he has a future in remotely piloted aircraft, but for now his goal is to win the national pattern competition and possibly compete in the world championship someday.
Powell is very supportive of his son, calling himself "the sponsor and the enabler." He recently fashioned attic space so Cody could have a place to build, repair and store his aircraft.
Cody and his family will pack up the planes and travel to Andersonville, Ga., for his next competition June 1. He'll try to reach his goal of winning Nationals in July.
For anyone interested in the EAM, visit www.eglinaeromodellers.org.