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How sophisticated are today's R/C scale-model airplanes and helicopters?

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How sophisticated are today's R/C scale-model airplanes and helicopters?

Old 04-25-2022, 07:10 PM
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Plumcrazy Preston
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Lightbulb How sophisticated are today's R/C scale-model airplanes and helicopters?

Do any have drone-like technology? Cameras for aerial photos? Camera in cockpit for pilot's view? Scale retractible landing gear with operating doors for all gear? Does gear open and close at real-world speeds instead of just snapping shut and open? Aircraft instrumentation on heads-up display goggles for the R/C operator on the ground?

1. fuel gauge

2. airspeed

3. relative ground speed

4. absolute altimeter

5. bank angle indicator

5. pitch indicator

7. navigation lights

8. landing lights

9. compass/magnitude indicator

10. auto-pilot/auto-altitude/auto-hover for helis

11. battery indicator

12. idiot lights for engine trouble and so forth

13. braking system in wheels

14. parking brake

15. variable flap settings

17. reverse thrust for jets

18. feathering for turbo props



Just think of a physical 3D scale model that flies like Microsoft Flight Simulator X Deluxe!

I can imagine with micro technology of today's cheap drones on the market today, fine-scale model RC aircraft has potential to get a lot of fancy "avionics" on board. It would be cool to be able to pilot a model plane or heli while getting the pilot's live view from the cockpit just you do while in a PC flight sim game. Flight sims generally don't mimic piloting model R/C planes, however. The Microsoft flight sim is great for mastering basic aircraft flying principles. You, for example, use your ailerons heavily to bank around turns and very little rudder input if at all for aircraft steering in the sky. It is much easier to control a plane while getting a cockpit view because you can feel what the airplane is actually doing. I tried piloting a heli in MS FSX with an external camera view and that is next to impossible. A fixed-wing plane is not quite as hard in this fashion. A PC-like/gaming-like joystick controller might even be great fo an R/C pilot especially one with sim flight experience.


An advanced HUD (heads-up display) for an R/C pilot should also in theory provide a stall warning as well. One might have a VR monocle goggle as a display for an R/C pilot. The R/C pilot could keep one naked eye directly on the aircraft and his controls while the other eye gets a cockpit view with a HUD instruments overlay. Virtually Reality (VR) visuals might someday be incorporated into RC models.

Last edited by Plumcrazy Preston; 04-25-2022 at 07:18 PM.
Old 04-26-2022, 05:23 AM
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"The Microsoft flight sim is great for mastering basic aircraft flying principles." True, but mastering only basic flying principles and not advanced flying principles may get you and others killed. Microsoft flight sim is often used in real flight training but only for ground school. Real world cockpit simulators are a lot more advanced than Microsoft. For one thing they give you a lot more view of the world that includes your peripheral vision.

It would be cool to be able to pilot a model plane or heli while getting the pilot's live view from the cockpit just you do while in a PC flight sim game. As one who has been involved in developing pilots' headsets, you can never get a real pilot's eye view from FPV goggles. First, you typically don't have binocular vision. You have one camera, not two. One of the key factors in a pilot's medical certification is eyesight. Second, you have a limited field of view. Your eyes can see a lot more than you think they can. Peripheral vision is critical for safety. Third, most RC FPV systems don't have head tracking and those that do are not that good at it. Real world pilots can be triggered by their peripheral vision to quickly turn their heads to see what it is - like a plane on a collision course with them.

FOV is a pariah. They are dangerous. Their manufactures care more about profit than human safety. AH-64 pilots take extensive training to be able to use their helmet mount display system. All you have to do is go to the hobby shop and fork over a bunch of money. At least now the AMA has woken up and requires a spotter to fill in the safety gaps. If only the pilots would comply.
Old 04-26-2022, 05:56 AM
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Plumcrazy Preston
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Please explain FOV and FPV. How come cheap drones can be flown so successfully with on-board visuals? Of course I'm only talking about model planes, not "real" ones.


For R/C planes and helis, they could also also have a display mounted on the hand-held controller drone style. A PC joystick for flight sim generally has a hat switch to move the in-cockpit camera around. Who said a camera in a model plane cockpit has to be stationary? A PC style joystick controller might be ideal for physical model aircraft. In-cockpit view is ideal for approaches and landings. You also don't have the confusion of left and right when a plane is flying directly toward you. It should certainly be better and feel more natural to steer your aircraft from the cockpit's point of view (as if you were seated in the plane) than looking at the plane at a distance standing on the ground.

Last edited by Plumcrazy Preston; 04-26-2022 at 06:07 AM.
Old 04-28-2022, 08:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Plumcrazy Preston View Post
Do any have drone-like technology? Cameras for aerial photos? Camera in cockpit for pilot's view? Scale retractible landing gear with operating doors for all gear? Does gear open and close at real-world speeds instead of just snapping shut and open? Aircraft instrumentation on heads-up display goggles for the R/C operator on the ground?

1. fuel gauge

2. airspeed

3. relative ground speed

4. absolute altimeter

5. bank angle indicator

5. pitch indicator

7. navigation lights

8. landing lights

9. compass/magnitude indicator

10. auto-pilot/auto-altitude/auto-hover for helis

11. battery indicator

12. idiot lights for engine trouble and so forth

13. braking system in wheels

14. parking brake

15. variable flap settings

17. reverse thrust for jets

18. feathering for turbo props



Just think of a physical 3D scale model that flies like Microsoft Flight Simulator X Deluxe!

I can imagine with micro technology of today's cheap drones on the market today, fine-scale model RC aircraft has potential to get a lot of fancy "avionics" on board. It would be cool to be able to pilot a model plane or heli while getting the pilot's live view from the cockpit just you do while in a PC flight sim game. Flight sims generally don't mimic piloting model R/C planes, however. The Microsoft flight sim is great for mastering basic aircraft flying principles. You, for example, use your ailerons heavily to bank around turns and very little rudder input if at all for aircraft steering in the sky. It is much easier to control a plane while getting a cockpit view because you can feel what the airplane is actually doing. I tried piloting a heli in MS FSX with an external camera view and that is next to impossible. A fixed-wing plane is not quite as hard in this fashion. A PC-like/gaming-like joystick controller might even be great fo an R/C pilot especially one with sim flight experience.


An advanced HUD (heads-up display) for an R/C pilot should also in theory provide a stall warning as well. One might have a VR monocle goggle as a display for an R/C pilot. The R/C pilot could keep one naked eye directly on the aircraft and his controls while the other eye gets a cockpit view with a HUD instruments overlay. Virtually Reality (VR) visuals might someday be incorporated into RC models.

A lot of those things are available to the scale RC flier. Or any other flier for that matter. Navigation and landing lights are a pretty common feature, even on ARFs. The turbine guys often have brakes to allow then to land on smaller runways. The nicer radios often have telemetry that can report battery level or engine/motor rpms and so on. The autopilot for helis and planes is also a thing. Just speaking for myself, I don't think the FPV will get a lot of traction amongst the scale modelers. The main reason being that we, or at least I, enjoy watching the airplane. FPV is a part of the hobby and can be a lot of fun but for the most part it is a different game.
Old 04-28-2022, 06:04 PM
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Plumcrazy Preston
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FPV = first-person view, in a PC sim like Trainz we call it "in cab view". We are seeing the world as if we were seated inside the vehicle we are controlling. This might make R/C airplanes and other vehicles easier to control and control with much greater precision if we can virtually get right inside of them. If we have a display device on our radio controller like a phone, we have the ability to get both a FPV and a lineside view (standing on the ground watching the vehicle we are controlling externally). The telemetry can give data about airspeed, altitude, pitch, bank angle and etc. Knowing precise aircraft speed and being warned of a possible stall electronically can facilitate a precise beautiful landing and avert a crash. Even in PC simulators, including truck driving simulators, like American Trucks Driver on Steam, it's tough to control vehicles looking at them externally. When you drive a real automobile, you are essentially getting a FPV sitting in the physical driver seat. There is also the problem of getting right and left confused on the controls when the vehicle is moving toward you. FPV eliminated right-left confusion because you always face forward.
Old 05-04-2022, 10:18 PM
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Too 'sofistikated', you hardly need a skills to fly some of them.
Old 05-04-2022, 10:42 PM
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I have a NV3 Games/Auran Trainz PC sim layout that is a fantasy 1/10th scale outdoor model railroad layout there are the following vehicles on the "virtual" layout that are fantasied to be fine-scale working models capable of fully autonomous operation as in the Westworld film of 1973.


virtual operating model vehicles include:

-trains and locomotives
-speeder railroad maintenance vehicles
-operating handcar with human figure
-MOW road/rail trucks
-diesel Kenworth trailer trucks
-horse-drawn carriages
-power boats
-Bell Huey army helicopter
-Greyhound bus
-automobiles from the 1950's on up (static only on my layout, they are imagined to be operational even with functional windshield wipers)
-motorcycles (static only on my layout, could not feasibly be made to operate as physical scale models)
-operational fixed wing airplanes including jets are available but they still would not be practical flying over a 1/10th scale outdoor railroad layout occupying 422 acres of actual land




Old 05-09-2022, 08:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Plumcrazy Preston View Post
Please explain FOV and FPV. How come cheap drones can be flown so successfully with on-board visuals? Of course I'm only talking about model planes, not "real" ones.

...
FPV was explained well above. FOV is field-of-view - how much you can "see". "see" is quoted because "seeing" is far more than what is in front of you. You eyes have large peripheral vision, even though your subconscious processes a lot of it. For example, the car coming from the left at an intersection - your subconscious tells you to look at it so you don't get hit. You also have binocular vision with two eyes. That means your left eye can see that car before your right eye. Your field-of-view is actually more than 180 degrees, left-to-right. Binocular vision also gives you depth perception, something not possible with monocular vision.

Simply put, FOV provides flight safety you cannot get with hobby FPV equipment, and even the AH-64 helmet mounted display. (I spent a lot of time trying to figure out that one.) Of course if you fly by the AMA safety code you will have a spotter and not fly beyond visual line of sight.

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