Luis Candelario, of Las Piedras, Puerto Rico, has shared his passion for building and flying RC planes with his daughter since she was a baby. Luis has been building and flying RC planes for 25 years and Zagis for 15.
“She loves to hang out with me whenever I’m at the slopes, flying club, thing or in my build room…anything that has to do with cars or planes will catch her attention,” he said.
Luis not only shares his hobby with his daughter. Building the planes is a form of therapy for Alanys, who has autism.
“Building the planes works as her occupational therapy,” he said. “I let her try to do her best and then I take her hands and show her step by step how to do things—priceless moments!”
Alanys has been at Luis’ side since she was little but was able to help more at around seven years old. He has a separate room dedicated in his home for building RC planes, and Alanys would watch him build. As his helper, she would pass him a tool or a part as he needed. As she grew older, she could help him screw in parts, such as the landing gear. Small tasks such as these help her develop her fine and gross motor skills, Luis explained.
“Her interest in the hobby and in flying grew since she has always been with me building,” he said.
Luis flies his planes off the slopes of Cubuy located in El Yunque rainforest where many pilots fly hang and paragliders.
“When there aren’t any clouds, you can see the islands of Vieques and Culebra,” he said.
Like many in Puerto Rico, Hurricane Maria wiped out his water and power. He said water was restored within a month of the storm, but electricity took nearly six months. For that time, he relied on gas-powered generator, which over time is costly in addition to having to buy ice and water bottled.
“But I thank God for my home and that everything is returning to normal,” he said.
Alanys is now 13 years old. Although at the moment her motor skills keep her from flying solo, Luis figured out a way for her to fly, even if she’s not at the controls.
“She cannot fly by herself yet because of her motor skills, but I have two transmitters that I connect in training mode, and we fly together,” he said.