Youth Ambassador- RJ Gritter

My name is RJ Gritter. I live near Manassas, Virginia. I recently graduated from North Carolina State University where I studied Aerospace Engineering, learning about what makes airplanes fly and figuring out how to design the next cool RC airplane! I also have my private pilot's license and have flown "full scale" airplanes all my life. Growing up, I built gliders out of foam and cardboard and eventually strapped servos to them and flew these around my backyard. Then, when I was 12, I officially learned to fly RC airplanes at the Greensboro Radio Aeromodelers (GRAMS) club in North Carolina. My mom, a full-scale flight instructor, had a flight student who flew RC airplanes. She taught him to fly big airplanes and he gave me my first real model, a 40-size glow Flightstar trainer, and taught me to fly it. RC flying has been a huge part of my life ever since!

I was inspired by watching the 2006 Electric Tournament of Champions ETOC and dedicated myself to practice and learn 3D and precision flying over the next year, vowing to compete there in 2007. I learned a lot that year and flew my first competition when I was 16, first at a small indoor contest and next in the (ETOC). Since then, I've competed in 7 ETOC's, 5 XFC's, numerous IMAC, pattern, and F3P contests, the 2015 F3P World Championships, and the 2015 World Air Games. I've also had the pleasure of flying with some of the best young pilots in the hoby at Camp AMA several years. When not flying R/C, I enjoy designing my own models, as well as flying "full-scale" aerobatics.

I enjoy all aspects of the hobby, from micro models to Giant Scale, gas- and electric-powered aircraft, jets, and helicopters. At school, I was the president and "safety pilot" for the NCSU Aerial Robotics Club. This is a student club that is open to any students at the university who compete in international UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) contests. Much like RC models, these airplanes include payloads, such as cameras, and can have autopilots to fly and accomplish missions by themselves. These are becoming a big deal in both military and civilian use these days and my RC background has taught me a lot of the things needed to work with these systems.

Another aspect of the hobby I really enjoy is designing airplanes. The very common Almost-Ready-to-Fly and Ready-To-Fly airplanes these days are great! However, it's also very rewarding and educational to design and develop your own airplanes. I enjoy pushing the boundaries of what is possible with aerodynamics through RC models. A great way to get started with this is with foamiesthey're cheap and easy to build and make it easy to experiment a lot!

I hope to see you around the flying field or at flying events!