Electric Model Planes and Helicopters
Combining an interest in flying plus radio one arrives at electric radio controlled flying models as a solution to satisfying both.
With the advent of good electric motors both brushed and brushless, plus the advancements in battery technology electric flight of quite long duration is now possible. No more messy diesel or glo-plug fuel!
The Formosa plane shown on the left uses a 11.1volt Lithium Polymer battery (LiPo) with a capacity of 1500mAhr, giving a flight time on moderate throttle of 20-30minutes. It uses a brushless motor with an electronic speed controller, which also doubles as a means of powering the receiver and 3 servos. It has elevator, rudder and aileron control, as well as throttle, thus was fitted with 4 channel 35Mhz radio, but like all my models has now been upgraded to a 2.4Ghz radio. The plane itself is made of expanded polystyrene foam and is very light but tough as a result.
The Air Blaster shown left uses similar electronics to the Formosa but flies with a slightly larger prop and larger control surfaces, which makes the performance "interesting" giving near vertical climb from a hand launch, together with fast aerobatic performance. This can sometimes catch one out as shown below! However everything is repairable and its flying again!
I thought I would give a ducted fan model a try so put together this "foamy" called the Panther by Wings Maker. It flies very well and FAST too!
Then of course there is the Trex 450 helicopter shown above, to try and master.Although if you click here you can see what can be done flying off Barton Cliff top at dusk IF your a good flier! Or of course if you become really expert you can fly like this, but its not for the faint hearted! This has now been joined by a bigger heli., the Trex 500 fitted with a Cobra scale fuselage, shown right. It can be seen flying here.
A FlyCamOne miniature camera which can be attached to the plane is also interesting. This takes standard SD memory cards and has its own internal LithiumIon rechargeable cell which is charged via the USB connection to the PC. This can produce up to 30 minute long, 200Mb movies of ones exploits for downloading later into a PC via the USB port.
The result is some still shots from a 20 minute movie taken over the New Forest / A35 from a glider at about 500 feet altitude, with the Isle of Wight on the horizon. One shot shows the "pilot" gazing skyward to ensure all is under control, while another shows the shadow of the plane on the landing approach. View the full video here.
Being a member of the Christchurch and District Model Flying Club I now often fly at one of their public sites, the local playing fields shown at the right.
Of course one CAN fly in the real thing! A "freebee" flight in a Pitts special with Brian Lecomber could not be turned down. Is it a grin of excitement or a look of trepidation ....?
The latest acquisition is the DJI Phantom Quadcopter shown left here which can be equipped with a Hero 2 GoPro camera to take stills like that below or you can set it up to take a movie like this here.
I'm moving on now to larger heli's which tend to be more stable to fly once one gets over the "fear factor" of flying something larger. This one shown right is an HK500GT TT. Its a cheap clone of an Align Trex 500 and was assembled from scratch. The TT means the tail rotor is driven by a torque tube which passes down the boom and ensures a safer flight (in theory) than the more conventional belt drive which can snap in flight leading to an "exciting" descent. Time alone will tell!
This is powered by a 22.2V LiPo battery whereas the smaller Trex 450 uses a 11.1v LiPo. Flight time is around 8 minutes, by which time you've had enough anyway!!!