By Barbara A. Schmitz and Abigail Oleniczak
How does he do that?
Jase Dussia can make remote-controlled airplanes snap, roll, loop, spin, tumble, and more. Much, much more.
At age 6, Jase started practicing his RC skills on a flight simulator, and by the time he turned 7 he was flying the real thing. By age 10 he was competing, gradually gaining skills and accolades. Now at 17, he’s one of the top 3-D RC pilots in the world. He has won myriad competitions in the United States and flown demonstrations in Australia, Brazil, India, and the United Kingdom.
Jase and Colton Clark will be giving RC flying demonstrations during tonight’s Twilight Flight Fest at the Fun Fly Zone. The event runs from about 8-9:30 p.m. in the Ultralights area.
Jase admits it takes practice to keep his skills honed. In winter and in poor weather, he’ll fly indoors or on simulators. But when the weather is nice, he’s outside practicing the extreme aerobatics that make viewers wonder how an RC plane can do that.
He said he uses flight simulators to learn all the basic moves so he doesn’t crash or destroy his planes when he first tries the real thing. He also credits his success to his sponsors and other RC pilots who came before him.
Jase owns 15 planes, but the one he’s flying at Oshkosh is based on the Edge 540. Manufactured by Extreme Flight, one of his sponsors, the 28-pound plane is a gas model with nine servos to provide control; 120-cc, two-cylinder engines; and a 106-inch wingspan. He adds lights and a smoke system for night flying.
Jase said he doesn’t really follow a routine for his demonstrations because the wind is different each day. Competitions are a different story, though. He will practice his four-minute freestyle routine with music “a couple times a week” in the weeks leading up to an event.
Colton, on the other hand, says he flies with a more “old-school” approach. “My style is very slow, precise, and graceful,” he said. “Our styles are completely different. Jase invented extreme aerobatics; it’s very technical and hard to do.”
Both became interested in flying RC planes through their fathers, and Colton now shares his hobby with his 2-year-old daughter. “She absolutely loves the sound of any kind of engine and yells ‘airplane!’ all the time out of the window,” he said, laughing.
Jase said one of the most interesting things he’s done was work with Extreme Flight to help design the new Slick 580 RC plane. Not surprisingly, much of his life revolves around RC flying. When he’s not flying, Jase works on RC videos. “In my free time, I like to eat and sleep,” he said with a grin. “I really don’t do a lot because the RC stuff and school takes up so much time.” He’ll be a senior at West Michigan Aviation Academy in Grand Rapids, Michigan, this fall.
Jase and Colton hope people enjoy their demonstrations at AirVenture enough to consider joining the RC community.
“I really hope people check it out and see if it is something they would like to do,” Colton said. “It’s a cheap and safe way to get into aviation, and there are a lot of great people in this hobby who like to have fun. Plus, there is an adrenaline rush when you fly. It really is an addiction.”