Monday, April 22, 2013

My Start in Indoor Radio Control Airplanes


Amazing how one article in a magazine can spark so many ideas.  In the March 1997 issue of Model Aviation Magazine was an article by Dave Robelen for a model known as the “Turbo Sport”.  What was so special about this airplane was it was an inexpensive method to build a radio control airplane that could be flown indoors in a gym.  It utilized an inexpensive radio control unit that was sold for use in a small helium-filled blimp, we (my flying buddies) always called the radio Twin Turbo. 

Extended Wing Version of Floyd's Design


After reading this article my friend Floyd decided to design his own airplane that had similar specs to the Turbo Sport and friend Leon built the Turbo Sport.  After seeing those planes fly, I used Floyd’s plans and added to the wingspan for lighter wing loading. At this time we had to use small nicad batteries which were much heavier than the current lithium battery technology.

Side View



Controlling these planes was a little awkward also, there were two sticks on the transmitter that controlled the speed of two motors that have small propellers.  To fly the plane straight you pushed both sticks ahead an even amount, to turn you pulled back on one stick and the plane turned towards the side with the lesser amount of thrust.  Not real precise but we thought it was great we could finally fly a radio control plane indoors. 

Easy to Fly Indoor RC with Conventional Control

Floyd decided he would design a more conventional type of indoor airplane with lightweight radio control equipment that controlled the rudder, elevator, and motor speed.  The first flight of this plane looked promising but the motor burned up on the first flight.  Floyd found a better electric motor for this plane, HY50B and that has worked perfectly. He would later sell the plane to me and I would teach people to fly radio control outdoors with it when it was really calm. It flew so slow and was so stable that some people could solo on the first flight.

Converted to use Air Hog Aero Ace Equipment


Another plane that Floyd designed for Twin Turbo radio to fly outdoors he gave to me before he moved from Winona. I put the radio system from an Air Hog Aero Ace plane and it flew wonderful even though it was much bigger than the Air Hog plane.

Video of some out first indoor RC flying - no sound and quality poor but interesting:


Links: 
Autobiography of DAVID B - Academy of Model Aeronautics
https://www.modelaircraft.org/files/RobelenDavidB.pdf
http://www.modelaircraft.org/plans/images/1997/828.jpg   picture of the Turbo Sport

Bill Kuhl
http://www.ideas-inspire.com

 

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