so often, something comes along which makes you think
"why didn't I think of that?". RC Pilot Magazine
easily falls in this category. RC Pilot Magazine is
a novel twist on the delivery method of a magazine.
Originally built to run only on tablet devices RC Pilot
recently introduced a web version to accommodate users
you can read the magazine on a tablet or any computer,
for the best experience, we recommended an iPad tablet.
According to Michael Kranitz, CEO of RC Pilot, the magazine is available on all versions of the iPad, Android tablets, Amazon's Kindle Fire and through any computer connected to the Web.
A quick visit to their website (www.rcpilot.com) reveals
that they are working to serve as many different platforms as possible. The Web version
is a Flash-based application that can be viewed from
within a browser.
can purchase the tablet version through the Apple
App Store, Android Market and Amazon's Android Market and they can get the web version directly on the RC Pilot
website. You can purchase the magazine per issue or
subscribe for a year.
magazines are known to spend a good amount of resources
on their layout and presentation but lack the ability
to provide a multitude of photos, audio, animation
or video within the articles. On the other hand, online
magazines can provide an endless content of pictures,
audio and video but are usually restricted by html
delivery systems. This is where RC pilot magazine
really shines. Once the user downloads the magazine
to a tablet, the content is always there, whether
the reader is on a plane or at the field. RC Pilot
magazine takes the best of both printed and online
magazines and delivers content in a very engaging manner.
addition to a new approach for content delivery, RC
Pilot magazine also aims to provide articles that
are less about products and more focused on pilots, techniques, companies, clubs and the people who are actively involved in our great
hobby. When RC Pilot does cover products, they pull no punches. In the May 2012 issue, for example, RC Pilot took a very candid look at a Banana Hobby F/A-18 in a story entitled "Outstanding Looks, Mediocre Performance." According to the advertising, each issue will
also provide a %100 scale article that will deal with
full sized airplanes.
of a kind delivery system
on tablets and online
advertisements and reviews
first order of business is to actually get the magazine
downloaded to the tablet. I use the iPad2 and was able
to simply download the free reader application from the
App store. The main rcpilot.com website has direct links
which will take you to the appropriate store if navigated
from the tablet it self. A search for RC Pilot also yields
the same results from the App store. Once the reader application
is installed, each available issue is listed along with
the option to purchase the issue. A subscription option
is also available. After subscribing or purchasing the
magazine, the issue is then downloaded to the tablet.
Each issue was around 450MB which made for a manageable
download although I can see the 16GB memory of my already
full iPad2 exhausting pretty quickly with files this large, but if things get too crowded, you can archive any of the RC Pilot issues and restore them at any time if you feel the urge.
selecting which issue you want to browse, the application
launches the magazine and you are greeted with a small
video of the cover that transitions to the cover image
which is pretty neat.
RC Pilot Magazine in action on the iPad2
an RC magazine as exciting as the sport!
The hobby's best video plays inside the
Compelling photography in vivid high resolution
Engaging, professionally written stories
Audio, 360-degree panoramas and more
second page of the issues (so far) have contained small
informational videos on how to actually browse the magazine.
The idea is simple and very intuitive where each article
occupies a full screen of the tablet when held in portrait
orientation. To read further in the article, you simply
swipe down. To move to the next (or previous) article,
swipe right or left. Small arrow icons indicate that there
is more content along with page numbers on the lower left
hand corner of the article.
addition to swiping to move from article to article, tapping
on the screen will bring up the contents to the left of
the page. Clicking on the upper right top icon will bring
up a scrubber which will allow you to jump quickly to
the article you are interested in. The whole concept is
mentioned before, the Tablet based delivery system really
allows for the authors/editors to create some very attractive
content. Having larger text callouts or images that are
wrapped by the article text is common place in printed
magazines but harder to achieve with online magazines.
RC Pilot Magazine looks like a professional printed magazine
but provides capabilities that the printed magazines cannot
offer such as video and photos that are embedded right
in the article.
Additional features include thumbnail image viewers, 360 degree
rotating images and slide out informational widgets which make
reading the article an interactive process. On occasion, a small
icon next to an image or video indicates that more content is
available if the tablet is rotated. This is a very nice feature
especially when you want to watch a video or look at the available
photos in landscape orientation utilizing the whole screen of
from the unique delivery content and visuals, RC Pilot
Magazine delivers engaging content that is not just about
product advertisement. From what I have seen so far, each
issue contains articles about professional, up and coming
pilots, "every day" pilots. Articles about flying fields
and the people who fly there are interesting to read through.
I was particularly interested in the "%100 Scale"
articles that focus on full scale airplanes and the pilots
that fly them.
seem to have been kept to a minimum and the few ads that
exist are presented in an interactive manner where additional
video content is used to spice up the ad. A ?buy
now? button can be found in certain ads which will
directly link you to the manufacturers web site for that
item you just have to purchase immediately.
Although RC Pilot Magazine is not mainly focused on products,
the reviews that exist are presented in a thoughtful, summarized
format, leaving out instruction re-hashes and assembly photos unless absolutely critical. The reviews are further enhanced with interactive charts, image carousels,
text boxes with scroll bars and embedded video and photos
of the product that is under review.
Beginning with the February issue, RC Pilot began offering a web version of the magazine for those without tablet computers. The online version gives
you three different size options after you have purchased
the magazine to view it on your favorite browser. I used
Chrome without any issues to browse the free Jan 2012 issue.
I did not however find a way to transfer my purchases on
the iPad to the web browser and had to purchase the Feb
and March issues twice. According to the company, the purchase of issues on the iPad, Kindle and Android markets is controlled by those companies. RC Pilot controls the web purchases. If someone buys on the web and then wants to transfer to a tablet, they will give you a pro-rated refund.
of the original goals of RC Pilot Magazine was to provide
a unique delivery method along with engaging articles
and a novel presentation method. While the magazine certainly
achieved that on the tablet versions, there was cause
for concern when it was available only on the tablet.
I remember thinking to myself that this is great but I
dont see how this can be achieved via a web browser. Well
I was very wrong when I saw the first web edition of the
magazine which seems to contain a great amount of the
novel delivery method in the web edition as well. While
the touch screen concept cannot be replicated with the
online version, a significant amount of the funtionality
is present in the web edition. The swiping of the pages
is replaced with a small navigator on the bottom right
of the page and the table of contents can be pulled out
from the upper right of the page. I really like how the
table of contents is easily accessible and allows you
to quickly navigate the magazine.
was particluarly suprised to see that most, if not all,
of the small widgets such as the pull out specs tabs and
the image carousels were present in the web version as
seems the only thing that is missing seems is rotation
feature which can only be provided with a tablet
RC Pilot Magazine is not your regular run-of-the-mill, advertising
oriented RC magazine. The unique content and presentation
method allows for an engaging and interesting read. To get
further feedback on the magazine, I took my iPad out to the
field and showed some of the regulars at the field what the
magazine was all about. The feedback I received was mostly
positive with the most interesting comment being that the
magazine read like a Harry Potter newspaper with animated
people commented positively on the embedded video content
along with the image carousel capability. The ability to have
all the articles handy in the tablet which would also reduce
clutter on the coffee table was an interesting comment I received.
As an avid RC enthusiast, I was very pleased with the first
three issues of the magazine and have heard that the May issue is especially good. Both the tablet and web version
really makes a magazine come to life. Add to that a very unique
table of contents that provides interesting and engaging articles
and you have a winner. I congratulate Michael and team
and look forward to my next issue every month!
The comments, observations and conclusions made in this review are solely with respect to the particular item the editor reviewed and may not apply generally to similar products by the manufacturer. We cannot be responsible for any manufacturer defects in workmanship or other deficiencies in products like the one featured in the review.