RC Jets Revisited

Getting out in the field and making recordings brings many joyful moments and surprises. I’m sure most would assume it is the wonderful sound I get to record that brings the most joy, but there are many other factors at play. It might seem odd, but I love research. I love searching for interesting sources to record, and digging for “unfound sounds.” I also tend to meet rather special people when I’m on the hunt for unusual material.[1]

REA_011 introduced me to a group of truly wonderful people: Soviet aircraft collectors, jet power enthusiasts, and radio controlled plane hobbyists. One of the most generous people I met while recording for the library was Roxbury Model Airplane Club’s Bob Karasiewicz.

My prior field sessions (San Diego, Brooklyn) were not only fun, they were also useful learning experiences. I was able to gather a tremendous amount of background about the variety of RC jets’ turbines and how the planes’ body types changed the pitch of the pass bys. Despite this wealth of new information and audio samples, I wanted to expand those sound files with additional material.

When I reached out to Bob, he had the turbine I was looking for and his plane had a different body type than the others I’d recorded, so I was really curious to hear what it sounded like. When I arrived Bob was all set up and ready to go.

Bob was incredibly generous with his time and explained every step of the flight process and which parts of the plane generate the most interesting sound. Because of his plane’s unusual shape, the pitches of the pass bys shifted dramatically during turns:

The straight pass bys were also quite nice:

As well as the take off:

So much of what I do relies on the generosity of others and their willingness to share what they love. I’ve learned that passion is driven by special people and their dedication is to be respected. My best moments on gigs are when an individual realizes I’m just as passionate about recording sound as they are about their obsession. Not only have I walked away from these experiences with wonderful recordings, but I’ve also learned a vast amount as well.

  1. Some of my recent favorites: Cambridge Typewriter, Jet Bike, New Years Steam  ↩

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  1. Nice! First time I ever heard RC jets, so definitely novel sounds to my ears. Kinda like jet-powered vaccum-cleaners, sound-wise! None of the low-end normally associated with life-sized jet engines.

Michael Raphael October 20, 2012