in all facets of technology from Lithium batteries to spread
spectrum radios to tiny brushless motors, controllers, gyros,
and servos have all combined with new techniques like thrust
vectoring, coaxial blade rotation, plastic, carbon and foam
construction techniques to make an exciting new generation
of indoor flying models.
easy flying RTFs like the ParkZone Vapor or E-flite Blade
mCX to skillfully hand-built rubber-powered conversions and
precision flying 3D "mined" foamies, the culmination
of increasingly larger gatherings like the Great Planes E-Fest,
ETOC, and Heli Smackdown events all mean only one thing...that
Indoor Flying Rocks!
No Experience Needed
of the largest growth areas in R/C has been to utilize advances
in technology and construction techniques to attract new customers.
By creating inexpensive products that are Ready-To-Fly, include
everything you need to fly, and can be flown without any experience,
some manufacturers have expanded their target markets well
beyond the traditional R/Cer.
RTF is an exciting innovation from Horizon Hobby that
offers both convenience and ease of flight. It is truly an
ultra-micro flyer for everyone! The Vapor is small enough,
and slow enough to be flown in a basement, garage, living
room, or other indoor spaces as well as outdoors in low wind
charger and batteries are all included inside the box, making
it easy for anyone to get the Vapor off the ground. Its carbon
fiber composition represents the ultimate in lightweight design,
helping it deliver the best in flight quality, value and,
most importantly, fun.
mCX is an ultra micro-sized helicopter offering first-time
pilots the ability to learn how to fly with ease and experienced
heli pilots the ability to fly anytime, anywhere indoors.
The Blade mCX offers unsurpassed stability and incredible
control through the coaxial, counter-rotating head design
and Spektrum? 2.4GHz DSM2? control. With a rotor
span of just 7.5 inches and one-ounce flying weight, the Blade
mCX can be flown indoors almost anywhere?from an office
to a small bedroom or living room.
Lightning Fast 3D Flying
Foam Models Yak55M was designed by Champion Pilot Gernot
Bruckmann. This model finished 2nd at the 2007 E-TOC and Andrew
Jesky flew this plane for freestyle and won the 2008 E-TOC!
The kit is perfect for hardcore indoor 3D or just messing
around in the gym. It weighs only 5oz and has landing skids
(no wheels) so outdoor flying will be limited. The bright
graphics only add 9 grams to the weight of the plane. Build
and flown by Team JR's Devin
McGrath, this model sports the absolute fastest air radio
on the market with the most consistent response; the Spektrum
Edition radio system.
an 11msec frame rate, the DX7 SE provides unprecedented responsiveness.
The increased ultra-high 2048 resolution of the DX7se makes
the difference between standard control and gliding smoothness,
eliminating any notched feelings or hesitation. Watch Team
JR's Devin McGrath as he puts the DX7 SE to the test on his
Yak55M uses an AXI 2203/46, JR 188 servos, Spektrum AR9000
receiver, E-flite 10amp ESC, CC BEC at 7.5v, GWS 8x4.3 prop
and a ThunderPower 3-cell, 250mAh LiPo pack.
JR's Devin McGrath
3D Flying - Smackdown Style
of the wildest forms of indoor flying I have seen has been
watching the young 13 year old, Kyle
Stacy, perform unbelievable maneuvers to music with his
Furion 450 from Miniature
Aircraft USA. Kyle, and his Dad, Ray Stacy, live only
15 minutes from my house so I have seen him perform many demos
at the local shows in upstate NY. Ray is also an accomplished
heli pilot and I still remember the first time we were watching
a noontime demo five or six years ago when we realized that
it wasn't Ray flying but rather his three foot high son, Kyle.
off two back-to-back wins, the 2009 Great Planes E-fest
Indoor Heli Smackdown and the 2008 iHobby World Micro Heli
Championships, Kyle has been flying his Furion 450 for Team
Futaba with exceptional consistency. For more information,
you can visit Kyle's Web site here.
recently had an opportunity to speak with Kyle and see him
perform an amazing 3D demo at a local indoor flying event
in Rochester. I did my best to keep the camera on his Furion
450 during the routine, but as you'll see, it isn't always
Stacy 3D Heli Demo
Furion 450 uses the new Futaba GY520
Heading Hold Gyro due to be released this June. This ultra
small and light weight gyro is contained in one single unit
so there is no separate sensor and control unit.
GY520 features the latest MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems)
which allows complete control system on one chip. The gyro
delivers superior performance with analog servos and excels
with digital servos. The user can select either F3C or 3D
modes, and then program up to six parameters for unmatched
tail holding ability.
"Farming" for Foam
Depron foam is already very light in thin sheets, the technique
called foam "farming" has taken light weight planes
to a whole new level. For a great Do-It-Yourself article on
this technique, read Michael Ramsey's "Flat Foam Farming"
write-up in the AMA's March
edition of Model Aviation.
Fancy Foam Models - Osiris
Foam Models "Osiris" on the left was designed
by Andrew Jesky but build and flown by Team JR's Devin
McGrath. This model can be purchased with either standard
3mm foam or milled as a feather-light version for F3P competition.
Osiris comes with the wing mounted drag plates and multiple
side force generators for constant velocity in all attitudes.
Check out the amazing slow flying characteristics of this
world class mono-plane as Devin and Ashley prepare it for
a round of test flying.
Osiris is powered by an E-flite Park
250 brushless outrunner motor, E-flite 10-amp
Pro Brushless ESC, and a ThunderPower Pro Lite V2 20C 2-cell
250mAh LiPo pack.
many R/Cers, there is a real passion to only fly scale or
semi-scale models. This is also the case when flying indoors.
An indoor flying model is not necessarily a micro-flyer, which
in turn is not necessarily a scale model. In the last decade,
the scope of indoor flying has expanded so much that we are
no longer limited to just free-flight or rubber-powered models.
In fact, we have many different categories of indoor electric-powered
R/C models that must sometimes be protected from larger or
faster indoor models. Even the term "Microflight"
can have a different meaning between groups of flyers. In
this manner, the term "Indoor Flyer" can be as elusive
to define as the "Parkflyer". In any case, we are
no longer limited to flying sticks with a profile fuselage.
example of a scale indoor flying model is this Bede Jodel. Originally
a rubber-powered kit from Micro-X Products, it was recovered
with Solite and converted to electric-powered R/C by Jim DeTar
of Rochester, NY.
Bede Jodel has gone through several evolutions of conversion
and still uses the original GWS geared LPS B2C brushed
motor and 7x6 prop.
receiver has been upgraded to a Spektrum AR6100 and
the model is powered by a 2-cell ThunderPower 250mAh
can see the Bede Jodel fly in my video collage below.
Indoor Electric Fly
Keystone Indoor Electric Fly (or KIEF) was hosted in October,
2008 by the members of the Muncy Indoor Flyers Club as they
were able to obtain the use of a new sports dome located in
the town of Muncy, PA. For an excellent example of the wide
range of indoor flying models, read Bob Aberle's KIEF
Report hosted by RC Micro World.
World of Indoor/Micro Radio Controlled Model Aircraft
happens when you team two AMA "Hall of Famers" together,
with a combined experience of over a century? You get the
most comprehensive write-up on Indoor/Microflight ever seen!
Aberle's latest book is published on CD by John Worth's Cloud
9 RC Micro World. The CD contains 118 pages of text with 138
color photos. It is the latest and most complete document
detailing the world of micro flight as we know it. The CD
is full of single-click access to dozens of other Web sites
or sources of further information. A "must have"
for all micro flight enthusiasts!
Indoor Flying for Fun
Most of us did not enter the R/C hobby to compete in skilled
flying or scale accuracy...we simply fly for fun! Even if
you fly giant-scale models, there are always times when having
a smaller plane or heli comes in handy. We often bring out
the smaller models, meant for indoors, on a calm summer evening
after dinner. It is a great way to relax and enjoy some stress-free
group flying. The advancement of Spread Spectrum radio systems
has made this group flying experience even more enjoyable!
We sometimes have 6 to 10 ParkZone Vapors flying around in
a "swarm" where the main concern is to keep track
of your own model. The point here is that you can have plenty
of fun with an indoor model in calm conditions outside.
your own designs can be a great deal of fun. This 3D model
on the right was designed and flown by Charlie Scholeno. Charlie
was recently presented with an AMA District II Service Award
and has been president of the Flying Aces in Jamestown, NY
for over 30 years. You can see his slow-flying 3D design fly
in my video collage. It uses an IMAX 2212 motor, MPI 72MHz
receiver, and a 3-cell ElectriFly 350mAh LiPo pack.
Flying Collage (27meg)
tiny 1/48th Semi-Scale profile Zero A6M2 on the right, held
by William "Billy" Stauber, is one of the many new
"Classroom Fighters" from Plantraco.
These semi-scale profile models look incredible in the air
and come with everything installed, trimmed and tested at
Plantraco. They are easy to fly and are great for beginners!
evolution of electric flight has allowed for anyone to fly
with friends in the gym or outside on calm days. Indoor
and micro flight allows you to discover the wonder of precision
R/C flight on a small scale and a small budget. Models like
these weigh only 4 grams, or about 1/8 of an ounce! They
are so little that you don't have to worry much about crashing
advances in Lithium batteries, spread spectrum radios, and
tiny brushless motors have created an exciting new generation
of indoor flying models. From beginners to competitors,
everyone has enjoyed the lighter, more powerful, and less
expensive products that hit the market. Perhaps most of
the benefit has gone to our hobby itself by once again expanding
the scope of R/C through electric flight.
you fly electric, fly clean, fly quiet, and fly safe!
Special thanks for contributions
"Papa Jeff" Ring
section of AMP'D covers some of the questions that our
readers have sent in and I thought would be interesting
There were many questions about my Byron A-4 conversion
to electric power revealed in the last issue of
AMP'D. EDF is a hot topic and converting the old
glow-powered Byron models has caught the attention
of many readers. Instead of answering the questions
individually, I plan to have a future issue of
AMP'D devoted to EDF conversions.
of new chemistry Lithium packs now available on
the market is the FlightPower
EON series. These packs offer a higher discharge
rate and a longer cycle life so they are perfect
for high-performance EDF applications.