While my involvement in the FPV hobby is fairly new, my love of all things radio controlled goes back to my early childhood. During the 1980’s I grew up creating things from Lego bricks, playing with model trains, racing around slot car tracks and throwing anything I could into the air. There were so many toys thrown into the air that I had to become proficient at climbing on the roof to retrieve them. Then in the late 80’s a friend of mine got a box of WhiteWings gliders and before you knew it we had even more toys getting stuck on the roof. The White Wings paper gliders were so much fun that we even designed our own from tag board and had neighborhood competitions to see who could build a glider that stayed in the air the longest. Learning quite a bit about aerodynamics along the way.
Around this time I also decided to spend my hard earned paperboy money on a hobby grade RC car. I scoured the RC car magazines for months (Yep, I said magazines. Remember that this was a pre-internet world) before settling on a Kyosho Optima Mid. Building and maintaining that car taught me a lot of skills that have followed me my whole life. I learned everything from gear ratios and soldering, to electronics. My infatuation with RC cars continues to this day as I regularly volunteer at my local RC track, record and edit video of the races for YouTube, and occasionally race.
For most of my life the rest of my spare time has been taken up with my other addiction, Mountain biking. It has a similar history to what I am now seeing in the FPV hobby. For years mountain biking was seen as something rebellious kids do while sneaking onto private property and disturbing the peace. Gaining access to public lands was a long and difficult process eventually championed by the likes of the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA). I see the FPV Freedom Coalition as a very similar organization to the IMBA, fighting for access to use public spaces in a safe way and promoting education. Back in 2007 I started working with a group of local bike riders and my local city officials to create a system of mountain bike trails. That eventually led me to becoming a founding board member for the non profit Mankato Area Mountain Bikers organization which has a goal of advocating for and building trails near where I live. Like FPV, mountain biking gives youth a fun way to experience the outdoors, build good habits, and learn life long skills.
Finally, in my professional life I chose to take advantage of another passion. Computers. I thoroughly enjoy all aspects of computers. From using them to play games, to creating websites, to networking and live streaming, to video editing and more. It should come as no surprise that the first website I ever designed was for my local bike shop where I worked during my highschool and college years. I also use my various computer skills to maintain the local RC tracks website, record the FPV Freedom Coalition meetings and build this website.
So, what got me really hooked on FPV then? For years a good friend of mine had been bugging me to give model flying a try. He had been flying helicopters, airplanes, and was involved in some of the very early days of multirotors. So I knew a little bit about the hobby and one day back in January 2017 I stumbled across a video from Aerial Boss called God I Love FPV 7. After watching that video I let my friend know I was hooked and I immediately began my search for the right FPV setup for me. After a few days of searching, watching everything I could from UAVFutures and Joshua Bardwell, I had what I needed on order and the rest is history ( or at least partially documented on YouTube).
And that is why the FPV hobby appeals to me so much. I can take so many things I enjoy such as nature and the outdoors, science and technology, and combine that with computers and art to create entertaining videos that I can share with the world on my YouTube channel. I am fighting for this coalition because of how much this hobby and other hobbies like it have meant to me over the years. I would hate to see kids lose the opportunity to explore the world via FPV and learn the skills that will carry them and their friends into the future.