My name is Kevin Garland and I am currently a senior at Embry-Riddle majoring in Aeronautics, with an Air Traffic Control (ATC) minor, and an Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) minor. How did I get where I am today? Well, back when I was just six years old, my grandfather introduced me to aviation by means of flying Radio Control Aircraft. I first soloed my first R/C Aircraft when I was seven years old and since then I knew what I wanted my future career to be in.
Today I am a commercial-rated pilot with instrument privileges and currently sponsored by some of the top Radio Control Aircraft companies in the world. I travel throughout the southeast region competing in precision aerobatic flying, or known as IMAC. (www.mini-iac.com) The 2011 season started back in January and currently I am ranked 4th in the region in the Advanced Class. Due to time constraints, I have been able to make only three competitions this year. The first one was in Land O’ Lakes, Florida where I came in 1st place with my new competition aircraft called a Raven. Ohio Model Planes, which is my sponsor, supplied me with this aircraft for my 2011 Season. In February, I attended the Deland IMAC event and placed 2nd place and finally in June I attended the South Georgia IMAC, in Andersonville, GA and placed 1st place.
The season is currently coming to an end with only a few events left on the schedule. One, which takes place in Ocala, Florida during the Fall Break, is a competition that the Radio Control Airplane Club at ERAU has always attended and done well in. The last contest of this year is the 2011 Southeast Regionals. This is where the top 10 pilots of each class go and compete to see who performs the best for the 2011 season. This contest takes place the second weekend in November in Jacksonville, Florida. Last year we brought home 3rd place in the Advanced Class and were 2nd place for the points race. We hope to bring home a win at regionals this year!
Flying R/C Aircraft is not all about competing. On September 18th we hosted an Indoor Fly-In at ERAU’s ICI Center. We had a total of 32 pilots from all over Florida attending this event. This was the second run of the event and it was a success for the organization! Keep a look out for the 2012 Indoor Fly-In which we hope for it to be in March!
The R/C Club at ERAU currently has 49 members involved in the organization. Many members have no experience flying R/C Aircraft so we assign instructors to teach them to fly. We have been busy the past month teaching new members to fly, which a few of them will use these skills in the field of Unmanned Aircraft Systems. Having R/C Experience is great to have on your resume if you plan to go into the Unmanned world!
That is about it for this month. Check back next month for results on how we do at the Ocala Aerobatic Competition. The R/C Club and I will be heading over to compete as usual and we always have a great time!