Do you ever wonder about that pilot, who is always at the field; the one who seems to be progressing more and more each day? This person helped you on numerous occasions and contributes massive amounts of advice on the internet forums. Jan Matros is one such a pilot from the heart of Brooklyn, NY who is passionate about flying and helping others despite maintaining a very busy schedule. He is also fortunate enough to have been sponsored by Team Mikado for his efforts, but he didn’t start out that way. Far from it! He started out with a homemade RC car that he raced during the early 1990’s and then, much later when he first laid eyes on a RC helicopter, there was no looking back! I had a chance to interview Jan and learn about his story and how he keeps up his chops while living a grown-up life.
“RC helicopters are challenging! Every time you go to the field you learn something new. There is no limit! There is what seems like a trillion maneuvers ahead of me to learn.”
RC HELI PILOT: How did you get involved in the hobby?
JAN MATROS: I have been into the RC hobby
from an early age. When I was 11 I started with RC cars. After 10 years of racing I got a little tired and had to take a little break. Seven years ago I got an itch (I am now 32); I needed to get that radio back into my hands. I wanted to try something different, something with more adrenalin. Helis! So I went to the closest field here in Brooklyn and there was actually a guy flying a Raptor 30 nitro. I was all hooked up. “Yes!” I said to myself, this is what I like. And it all started from that point.
RCHP: What were some of the major milestones in your learning that you feel contributed to your style of flying?
JM: I had to learn not to go to the field when something in your mind is telling you “stay home today”.
RCHP: How do you fit in practice to your daily routine?
JM: It is a great hobby! It can be expensive, but it’s great! There is always a way to find time for it. I am hooked, totally.
RCHP: What have been some of the most challenging maneuvers to learn and why?
JM: Right now it’s all pirouetting maneuvers; piro snake, piro-8, piro loop, basically everything “piro”. Why? Because getting the timing right is just hard to do.
RCHP: Do you have any tips on how to best use practice time?
JM: I am not sure there are really ‘tips’ for that. Every five minutes that you spend on the sticks helps you to fly better, even when you are at home on a simulator. Whenever I can, I practice. Even if just five minutes, then I take a break (kids, TV, computer) and then fly another ten minutes before taking another break (dinner, shower, etc.) and so on.
RCHP: What maneuvers are you working on now?
JM: Again, I am really working hard on all piro maneuvers. I need to get them down, work on my timing and get more comfortable with them.
RCHP: What do you enjoy most about RC helicopters?
JM: They are challenging! Every time you go to the field you learn something new. There is no limit! There is what seems like a trillion maneuvers ahead of me to learn. That’s the part I like most. With RC cars, it was mainly front, back, left and right.
RCHP: If you could take lessons with another professional pilot who would it be and why?
JM: Kyle Dahl, definitely. In my opinion he is one of the most precise and technical pilots out there. Not only that, but he is my team mate (smile).
RCHP: How do you feel the hobby has evolved over the time that you’ve been involved in it?
JM: The hobby changed for me about three years ago when I switched to all electrics. Everyone makes electric helis now. The main components for electric helis have gotten better and less expensive. Components like LiPos, motors, ESC’s, chargers, generators, power supplies, etc. have all improved and the pricing has reduced significantly over time. It’s all different today. Flybarless is taking over too. There are so many new products coming out every day.
RCHP: Where do you hope to be with regard to this hobby five years from now?
JM: I would like to improve my flying a lot and be able to fly more often, but being here in New York can make it difficult, especially with four seasons, where in winter there can be hardly any flying at all. It’s been very difficult to make the time that will allow me to get to the level where Kyle Dahl is. I have a family which I need to spend time with, plus my job, etc. The hours are precious, but I still try to fly as much as possible so my skills can improve. Too bad I am 32 already! Five years from now? I don’t think there will be much difference, but I would like to compete in XFC or 3D Masters one day. I still have a long way to go.
I would like to thank Jan for taking the time to talk to me about his experiences. I’ve watched Jan fly and he’s a very smooth and purposeful pilot. His technique shows that he’s well practiced and always in control of his model. You can find Jan online on the many heli-related forums, see his videos on YouTube or see him in person at one of several local events or maybe someday soon at the XFC or 3D Masters. I wish you luck Jan and happy flying!
Author: Dan Goldstein