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F2D News – 12 February 2005
Mark Rudner

Hey everybody, Happy Valentine’s Day. Unfortunately this column won’t reach most of you in time, but I wanted to try to get the word out with my special holiday tip for all the guys out there: women love props. Now I know what you’re thinking, “no way, women love roses and diamonds!” But those gifts are so impractical… When’s the last time you spun a rose stem at 30,000 rpm and got it to propel a vase across the room at 100 mph? Guys, if you really want to show your significant other how much you care this Valentine’s Day, buy her a dozen props instead of those roses she could find along any old street. It’ll be a Valentine’s Day you and she will never forget. (Note: This is a combat news column. Following its love advice may be hazardous to your health).

The days are starting to get longer again and we’ve even seen the sun on a few occasions in recent weeks here in New England. If you have the chance, don’t let these days pass you by without putting up a flight or two to keep out the cobwebs. Encouraging as these days are, the flying season is still a ways off. In the meantime, it’s good to find other ways of keeping the combat centers in your brain sharp. One way to do this is to fly mental matches while you’re doing other non-intellectually intense activities such as taking a shower, eating, or talking with your boss. Please exercise caution when using this training technique – it is not approved for use in the car.

If your imaginative powers are fading or if you get tired of staring blankly into space while thinking about flying combat, another way to flex your mental muscle is to watch videos of old combat matches. The best would be if you have videos of yourself flying/pitting from last season that you can watch and review, and use these to pinpoint problem areas of your flying. This is actually a good training technique for any time of year. If you have access to a video camera, try to get someone to tape your matches so that you can replay them later on. From an instructional point of view, it’s most helpful if the camera zooms in on the pilots rather than trying to show the airplanes (which rarely works well).

It’s also helpful and interesting to watch other pilots as they go about their combat business. Mike Willcox of Kingwood, Texas recently finished editing some wonderful footage of the 2004 World Championships in Muncie, Indiana and has made his production available on DVD. Mike has been in the combat filming business since the mid 1980s, and eventually made film editing his occupation as well. In addition to the great combat footage in the video, Mike has added a lot of other great features and has set the whole thing to music to make it a great watch. He also has a video of the 2003 World Cup event that he attended in Ukraine available. The videos are $22 each, or $35 for both. To obtain copies, email Mike at emowillcox@aol.com or write to him at

Mike Willcox
1927 Running Springs
Kingwood, TX 77339

That’s all I have for this month. Until next time…

If you have any questions or comments, please email Mark at rudner@mit.edu