Mason Hutchison

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Written by Mark Benson Design engineer at Scaled Composites I Am the AMA As seen in the June 2019 issue of Model Aviation.

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Mark Benson: How did you get involved in model aviation?

Mason Hutchison: I got involved with model aviation with my dad when I was 8 years old. We were looking for a hobby in which we could build airplanes and enjoy the building and flying process together. We were completely new [to model aviation] when we started. We went down this adventure together and it’s been many decades since.

MB: How has model aviation impacted your life and/or career?

MH: I would say that model aviation has been the foundation upon which I’ve built a career. It started off as a love of, and a passion for, a hobby and it was so enjoyable to me that I felt that I could be effective in learning how to build full-scale airplanes. Things that I learned in model airplanes and model aviation directly affect my career every single day.

MB: What disciplines of modeling do you currently participate in?

MH: I like sport scale, I like helicopters, and I’m into electric, gas, and nitro-powered just about anything. My philosophy on picking model airplanes is covering weather conditions. I’ve very carefully selected different aircraft for flying in wind, flying at night, flying on water, or even flying in a room versus outdoors. I’ve tried to cover every side of the weather and environment that I can with my selection of airplanes.

MB: What other hobbies do you have?

MH: I love photography and full-scale flying. Model aviation took me down a path where I got interested in flying full-scale airplanes. My other hobbies tend to be on the technical side, but I also have an artistic side. I really enjoy creating things that are artistically beautiful such as photography and drawing and, of course, I love to design, so design is a passion of mine.

MB: Who or what has influenced you the most?

MH: I would say my biggest influence is watching others perform their jobs well and seeing what passion can do for other people. It makes me want to be better at my job. For example, when I see someone flying [something] as well as it can possibly be flown, it makes me want to be better at it and so I find the pathway. The journey toward perfection is the enjoyable part for me and I never master anything. I just want to experience what that path to mastery might be, so I like to watch the experts in every field.

MB: How has modeling contributed the most to your daily life as design engineer?

MH: I would say basic judgment calls in terms of what works and what doesn’t work and historical information have been the most useful things. Knowing some history about the aircraft that you pick up in the pursuit of model aviation has contributed toward me making a better product as a full-scale designer.

I design airplane systems and I’m not so much a structure designer, so I design the things that work inside the airplane, such as landing gear, flight controls, and mechanisms of various kinds, and a lot of bracketry. Knowing where to start was taught to me by model aviation.

One beautiful thing that model aviation has taught me is how I’m going to test each and everything I’m going to build from the beginning, so at least I have an idea when I start a project of how I’m going to finish it. I credit all of that to model aviation. That has made part of the process easy for me and allowed me to learn in other ways of the engineering business so I definitely credit model aviation for advancing my career every single day. I think about it every day, without a doubt.

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