Dave Scott: Full-scale air show pilot and RC instructor
Jay Smith: How did you get involved with model aviation?
Dave Scott: I grew up in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, the home of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) and the world’s greatest aviation convention and airshow. By the age of 10, I was riding my bike to the airport twice a day and volunteering during EAA to earn admittance to the flightline and a front row seat to watch the airshow.
It was during this period that I vowed to one day become an aerobatic pilot. In the meantime, I started flying radio control models at the age of 9 with my father. Motivated by my goal to fly full-scale aerobatics, I soon became obsessed with always trying to fly my models in the way that mirrored my favorite full-scale performers.
JS: How has model aviation impacted your life and/or career?
DS: As my reputation grew as a model flier and club instructor, people began offering to pay me to instruct on a regular basis, which inspired me to develop better methods of RC flight training. Encouraged by the increasing effectiveness of my instruction and the growing demand for structured training, I was eventually convinced to provide RC flight training on a full-time basis and opened 1st U.S. R/C Flight School.
Over the next two-plus decades, I consolidated my system of accelerated flight training and expanded the business to cover all model airplane and helicopter skill levels. Along the way, I’ve written seven training manuals covering all airplane and helicopter skill levels as well as 80-plus training articles.
JS: What disciplines of modeling do you currently participate in?
DS: I do it all, but my personal favorite is and always will be Unlimited Precision Aerobatics.
JS: What are your other hobbies?
DS: I regularly ride my road bike to stay fit. I also built a highly modified full-scale Pitts S1S that I fly in aerobatic competitions and airshows. In short, when I’m not teaching, I’m working on my Pitts or practicing for an upcoming competition or airshow.
JS: Who (or what) has influenced you most?
DS: Number one is my faith, but EAA and the yearly convention have clearly had a significant influence on my life. Indeed, before the convention is over, I’m already anticipating the next one.
JS: What is the best piece of advice you could give someone about improving his or her flying skills?
DS: Although there are a lot of opinions, hoping things will magically improve the more gas/electrons you burn is the least effective approach. The key to steady advancement is entering each flight with a plan consisting of one or two areas in which you would like to improve. The great thing about a plan is that even if it is faulty, having a plan to compare the results to makes it much easier to identify what changes need to be made to achieve a better result the next time.
Keep in mind that merely hoping to improve your landings or keep a roll level isn’t really a plan. To be effective, the plan has to entail how you intend to achieve a better landing, etc.
The fact is that if a pilot is unable to determine how to fly better before the flight, it certainly isn’t going to occur to him or her anytime soon zooming around the sky at 50-plus mph reacting to whatever the plane is doing.
I know that many will respond, “I don’t want to think. I just want to have fun,” but the truth is that flying is a whole lot more fun when a person is flying well and making progress, versus those who spend their flights trying to make countless split-second decisions reacting to the plane.