RCU Review: AeroFlakes Indoor Fun-fly event


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    Contributed by: Greg Covey | Published: December 2003 | Views: 26734 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
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    Article by: Greg Covey

    Meet the AeroFlakes

    The first of the seasonal Western NY Indoor Fun-fly events was held on January 19, 2003 in Rochester, NY. The local ?Aero Flakes? club hosts the events, and, since they are sponsored entirely by Dynamic Web Enterprises (DWE), there is no fee for admission or flying.

    Club "Aero Flakes" is a group of R/Cers that need a good flying fix in the long Winter months of Western and Upstate NY so we fly together indoors when the snowflakes fall. We also welcome free-flight enthusiasts and allow flights in their own time slots without any faster or heavier R/C planes.

    The AeroFlakes club uses several flying ?classes? to help promote both fun and safety. Typically, there are three classes that are cycled every 15 to 20 minutes. There is a free-flight class, an R/C class up to 3oz, and another R/C class up to 10oz. An optional ?Open? class can also run for larger planes like the 14oz GWS Slow Stik or for demonstration purposes like fast moving aerobats or delicate scratch-built designs like the 43? Wright Flyer. Everyone flies in a left-to-right pattern so that there are no head-on collisions.

    The club requires an AMA license to participate in the R/C events but an AMA license is not required for free-flight.

    The flying is broken up into weight class categories with about a 15 minute time slot between changes.

    1) free flight
    2) R/C up to 3oz
    3) R/C up to 10oz

    Optionally, other classes are invoked to suit the "on-the-fly" participation. These can be a one-time slot or added to the event cycle. Other classes may be an "Open" class for experimental testing, demonstrations, or for many micro-helis. There are sometimes special classes for National Science Contest testing.

    The AeroFlakes committee can tailor the flying classes and rules to promote both fun and safety. We have numbered clothespins for frequency management in the 72MHz. band and a multi-ring stove timer to denote the end of a class period. Other frequency bands like 27MHz, 50MHz, and 75MHz are also welcome. Flying is in one direction at a time only and typically left-to-right when passing closest to you.

    For more club information, go here.

    We are currently sponsored by Dynamic Web Enterprises so there is no fee for the events. Please stop by to say "hi" to Dan and Joanne Hurd and browse the latest technology in micro flight!


    A Very Diverse Indoor Fun-Fly

    These indoor events always amaze me by the diversity of the models that can be seen. The designs range from out-of-the-box ARFs to unique scratch-built models. Many are modified to fly better indoors and the power systems are always interesting. This season, I have seen a dramatic increase in the use of Lithium Polymer cells to power the planes. It is a sure indication of the benefit that this technology has made on the world of micro-flight.

    Our sponsor, DWE, brought some very interesting models to fly. The ?Widget? from Mark Kummerow Models looks like a micro-sized 21.5? span version of the Kavan Wingo. It was fitted with an RFFS100 module and powered by a KP-00 motor with a single 230mAh lithium cell. We were all amazed when it floated around the gym on its maiden voyage like a proven design. The docile turning and slow flying characteristics will make it an excellent trainer. The ?Widget comes in several different colors.

    Mike Cross from Pennsylvania sent in his own 14 gram design called a ?Minnow?. It flew great right from the box! The airframe is a laser cut rubber powered free-flight kit that has been converted to use a 27MHz. Motor Works mini R/C car radio system. The 9.7:1 gearbox uses an Ikara Butterfly prop.

    It wouldn?t be an official indoor event without an original ?Skeeter? from DWE. The new laser-cut kit assembles even faster than before. It is a perfect mate for the RFFS100 module and a KP-00 motor.


    First Event- January 19th, 2003

    The turn out was excellent and the event appeared well organized. Everyone loved our "class" system of flying slots and a good time was had by all the pilots and spectators.

    The Potensky Cobra performs its maiden voyage indoors.
    The Fantastic Model's Rare Bear rounds the corner with the EAM PopFly right on its tail!

    The large GWS Slow Stik flies very well indoors...as long as you keep it away from the rafters.

    Although the GWS Slow Stik has a large 46? wingspan and weighs about 14oz, it can gracefully fly indoors with little piloting skills. A collision, however, with a 1oz micro-flyer would be disastrous for the smaller plane due to the 14:1 ratio weight difference. This is a good reason to split the flying time into several weight classes. The AeroFlakes use a 3:1 weight ratio for their different class sizes of planes.

    Many of the indoor flyers used GWS components and several of these designs were under 3oz so that they could fly in the lightest R/C class. A modified Dumas Kestral made by Larry Federman weighed in at 2.5oz without batteries. A 2-cell Lithium pack added only a few tenths of an ounce to the flying weight. The geared 6:1, N20 motor with a Peck Polymers free-flight prop provided plenty of power for slow cruising around the gym.

    Proven indoor fliers like the GWS Slow Stik and cutting edge micro flight designs like DWE's Widget made lasting impressions on the crowd. The 21? span ?Widget? has a strong resemblance to the Kavan Wingo. It is fitted with 2 DWE actuators for elevator and rudder control using the RFFS100 module. The ?Widget? is made from blue foam and a carbon fiber fuselage by Mark Kummerow Models. It comes in several colors. The slow and stabile flying characteristics of the ?Widget? make it a great trainer for indoor micro-flight. It is powered by a KP-00 motor.

    From Free-Flight to Frog-Bipes, we had a diverse assortment of aero-models.

    During the free-flight class, we witnessed several designs that seemed to float in a way that appeared to defy gravity. They were fun to watch and made it easy for me to photograph their tranquil flight.

    The 14 gram Minnow and the 23 gram Skeeter were perhaps our smallest R/C planes.

    Many of the models used Lithium Polymer (LiPoly) cells for power.


    Second Event: February 15th, 2003:

    The turn out was great and the event went very smoothly. This time we shared the free-flight class time with the 3oz and under class.

    The DWE Lightning flies easily around the court-sized gym.
    John Gardner launches his unique blue-core foam design called a "Tadpole".

    John Gardner arrived with an fleet of biplanes made entirely from blue-core F3 foam. The series of planes called ?FrogBipes? use standard GWS components and range from 3oz to 5oz in flying weight. John hand-crafted these designs for durability using protected pusher power systems and to fly very slowly indoors. All the ?FrogBipes? were powered by Kokam Lithium cells.

    Here are some of John's other blur-core designs.

    Window Media Player Video

    Super Flea in Flight #1
    Super Flea in Flight #2
    Foamy Ultimate

    Unidentified Flying Object

    Here is a video of my friend, Paul Weigand, flying his kit-built Dare 1903 Wright Flyer indoors. Due to the amount of effort required to build this model, it should not normally be flown in a gym size area unless you are a highly skilled and confident pilot.
    Window Media Player Video
    3.03 MB

    The Potensky Eagle was demo-piloted by RCU's own Matt Kirsh.

    The modified Wattage Lightning uses an Astro Flight 4:1 FireFly motor and Gunther prop.

    The RFFS100 conversion of the Harbor Freight SkyRunner uses
    dual magnetic actuators for ailerons.

    The Astro Flight FireFly-powered Tiny uses a 2s2p, 145mAh LiPoly pack.
    It can loop, roll, and fly inverted.


    Third Event: April 12, 2003:

    The turn out was smaller for this event due to the nice weather outside. We shared the free-flight class time with the 3oz and under class. The only other class was the 10oz planes. We still had several new designs seen at this event.

    Alex brought a 1 gram free-flight plane and his thrust gauges.

    This model was built and flown by Jim Detar. The following information was provided by Jim.

    The model is based on an old Walt Mooney peanut scale plan obtained from Peck Polymers.
    Span: 13"
    Weight: 6 grams
    Power: 1 loop of Tan II rubber, .065" wide, 15" long

    Some info about the full size Found Brothers "Centennial 100" aircraft can be found here.

    Jim also mentioned that the model is "traditional" balsa frame construction with Japanese tissue covering. The prop is hand carved balsa wood (not as hard to do as it sounds!!). Trim is strips of Japanese tissue. Number s are dry transfer "rub on". Finish is a very light coat of Krylon Crystal Clear acrylic spray.

    I had my usual fleet with my new bit-charger conversion on the top of the heap.

    Andy (the Fireman) watches the Hangar Rat's maiden voyage with his daughter.
    An N20 Twin was noisy but flew very well.

    One of John Gardner's latest bluecore designs is intended to be a "plug-n-play" ARF for the RFFS100 module.

    Here is what John writes about it:

    Shoe Box Flyer
    WS 8"
    Chord 3"
    Weight 21 g
    Motor N20
    Prop U80 in pic, but I think the final version will be 2.5X1 GWS
    K145
    Actuators 2@ 50 ohlms, .5 g
    Material: Split F3, 2 and 3 mm thick, with skin on.

    That was the concept. A tiny, easy-to-transport, tough little bird. So far it looks good. The actuators did not have enough umph on the 12th. I only used one magnet in each actuator. Since then the magnets have been doubled up and seem quite effective now.

    The plane flew fine in terms of power and stability. As soon as we have real flight reports I will post a new thread.

    My son is considering building them as ARF's with actuators and motor/prop installed. Just add RFFS and K145 and go.

    Since this was only the first indoor fun-fly Winter season for the AeroFlakes club, I am already anticipating further reporting on the upcoming events for 2003-2004. The diversity of the model designs and power system setups reveal the ingenuity of the R/C micro-flight enthusiast. All the designs were fun to look at on display and down right exciting to watch fly!

    Next time I'll report on some of the latest micro-flight servo and magnetic actuator technology from this season's 2004 events. Happy flying!


    You can contact Dynamic Web Enterprises at:

    Dynamic Web Enterprises
    159 Little Robin Road
    Amherst, NY 14228
    Phone: 866.Fly Micro (1.866.359.6427)
    Fax: 775.295.1552
    Web: www.smallrc.com

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