Pilot Profile - Dwight Schilling
Dwight Schilling with the
1. Tell us about yourself, where you live, occupation,
I currently live in Carol Stream, IL and run an insurance business out of my
home. I have been doing this for the last 20 years
2. How did you get started in RC helis? When did you
start? What equipment got you started?
Helicopters have always interested me. When I started my career in the insurance
industry in 1983 there were many hours during the daytime that needed to be
filled with productive activity. When meeting with a client one afternoon, I
saw a RC helicopter sitting on his dining room table and ask details about how
they work. After a very short conversation the client offered to sell me the
machine for a very cheap price. Not knowing if the price was good or bad I called
the local hobby shop and was told that a Schluter Heli Boy and HP61 Gold Cup
engine with a 4-channel Futaba radio was not worth too much. I offered $100
and that is the start of my RC helicopter history.
3. What do you think have been some of the greatest advances
in RC helis?
There are several significant advances in recent years. Heading Lock Gyros and
Governors. With the combination of these 2 items the average guy can get a "Perfect"
setup in a couple flights compared with many gallons of fuel and time that was
required in the past.
4. How many gallons would you burn in a year?
In an average year I burn between 75 to 80 gallons of fuel. In a year preparing
for the Worlds that can go upward of 100.
5. What do you enjoy most about the hobby?
In this hobby I have met many nice people. It is the friendship that makes it
enjoyable. Attending events and shows you meet many people having a good time
all with different motivations.
6. What advice do you give to someone just starting out
with RC Helis?
If you want to keep your wallet close to your backside
Buy a simulator!
When you practice with a simulator you can save many hours of repairs not to
mention the money saved from crashes.
7. Tell us about the setup of your primary machine and
reasoning for it.
For the last 13 years my primary focus is flying FAI competition. The most important
goal is to have a machine that will fly well in all conditions regardless of
whether the wind is blowing or not. For this reason I spend a significant amount
of time working on rotor head setup.
8. You've had a long association with Kyosho, have you
been involved in the development of any of their machines?
I have been involved with Kyosho for 14 years. In that time there have been
many ideas passed on to them that eventually became part of a machine. Many
of the design changes between the Concept 60 and the Concept 60 SR and SR2 were
made as the result of my recommendations to Kyosho. The 60 SR2 4-Stroke was
developed and released as the result of the prototype testing and proof that
I did showing them it was a viable market to accommodate.
Dwight's World Championship
9. The Kyosho Caliber 30 seems to be doing quite well
in the 30 size market, what's been the feedback you've had from Caliber 30 owners
Kyosho hit a home run with the Caliber 30. Back in the days of the Concept 30
they did very well then struggled for years trying to come out with a good follow
up machine until the Caliber series. Now they are doing well again in the 30
The most common comment I hear is the autorotation bearing seems to fail too
soon. Since I do not fly the 30 much I have not experienced this failure yet
but it seems to be common.
10. The Caliber 60 has been very successful in the upper
levels of FAI competition, please give us your thoughts on why it has done so
The Caliber 60/90 represents high quality with no cut corners. Everything on
the machine is of the highest standards. When pilots look to fly in competition
they want to use products that are made to high quality standards so in theory
the only thing holding them back is their own ability. In keeping with this
idea Kyosho has developed the Caliber 60/90 series.
11. While Kyosho now has a great entry level machine
in the Caliber 30, and top shelf machines such as the Caliber 60-90 range, their
mid range selection is very sparse. No machine for the popular 50 size market,
and the Concept 60 range is starting to date. Does Kyosho have plans to address
this issue in the near future?
At this time I do not know what plans that Kyosho has to address the middle
of the road mainstream market. It will not surprise me to see something show
up on my doorstep one day that is the new mid-market machine. There have been
rumors for years floating around about a cheaper version of the Caliber 60/90
but I have never seen anything. Considering the competition, it would be prudent
to have a good alternative for what is currently available and not just make
a cheap machine to have something to sell. This may indicate waiting until they
feel they have a good option. For the record there is a Caliber 50 machine that
has never been imported to the US. It is literally a mini version of the Caliber
12. Currently the focus in the United States appears
to be on 3D flying as opposed to FAI style. What do you think the future holds
for FAI style flying in the US?
Actually FAI flying in the US has never been real popular. The rest of the World
is where FAI has always flourished. In Japan they do not fly much 3D as there
focus is on FAI. In the US we will continue to have pilots that aspire to fly
competition and improve on the precision type of flying rather than the more
loose 3D style. There have been many well respected 3D pilots that tried competition
and have commented on the difficulty of getting a precise setup. Many have improved
their 3D as the result of what they learned. Even though there is a significant
following for 3D flying you must keep in mind that most of the development of
new products (currently) comes from the competition scene. The likely reasoning
is that precision flying requires consistency and perfection therefore more
stringent requirements are placed on equipment. That is not to say that 3D doesn't
push the equipment harder but it is not as precise of a flying style.
13. What are your thoughts on what makes a good helicopter
for FAI competition?
In one simple word "Setup". All the practicing in the world will not
make up for a well setup machine. If you were to fly the machine of the top
FAI pilots you would be surprised how well they fly without much effort. The
greatest example of this is hovering in the wind. There is very little the pilot
can do to stop the machine from moving around. With a properly setup machine
the model is very stable and manageable. If a model has awkward tendencies in
certain maneuvers working on setup can many times cure this.
14. Our hobby can be very trying at times, we all sometimes
get runs of bad luck, give us an example of a frustrating run you had.
There have been many times through the years that things seemed to going well
with equipment only to have some simple thing happen to cause a major crash.
I had one machine flying very well this year right before the first contest
only to have the gyro come unplugged in flight due to the double face tape de-laminating.
It caused a major crash that should never have happened. How do you solve this?
There is no way to anticipate this kind of failure no matter how much preparation
or checking you do. About 1 week later I had servo fail on another machine and
it too caused a crash. When these things happen you wonder if there is a way
to eliminate it from happening again.
15. What would you describe as some of the highlights
of your flying career?
The major highlight of my flying career was making the US Team in 1995 and finishing
5th at my first World Championships. It just proved that all the hard work would
eventually pay off.
16. What are some of your short term, and long term goals
for your flying?
My current short term goal is to finish in the top 10 at the 2003 Worlds. Long
term it would be nice to make the team again in 2005.
17. Any closing comments?
I would like to encourage new people to try competition flying as it will teach
them volumes about setting up helicopters that will be relatable to sport flying.