Archive Nov 2014

IS R/C ABOUT TO GO THE WAY OF BARNSTORMING?

 

In the 1920’s Barnstorming was all the rage. Aviation had grown as a result of WWI. A lot of pilots found themselves out of work when the war ended and the government had a lot of obsolete planes that it was selling cheap. 

Most people didn’t see airplanes regularly and were excited when they could witness a flying machine. Enterprising young and sometimes wild pilots saw a way to make money while doing what they loved. They would arrive over towns and draw people out to watch the show. The pilots would offer rides to people so they could experience flight themselves.

Eventually this business became more organized. Traveling air circus’s grew in popularity and as in any business venture competition eventually grew. The outcome was more and more risk taking to try and one up the competition and to draw bigger crowds. As the crowds got used to seeing loops and rolls, the pilots needed to do more to draw crowds. Wing walking and other tricks got more elaborate and dangerous.

This was the wild west of aviation and there were either no regulations or very minimal ones. Kind of like we have in modeling right now. Somewhere during the late ‘20s somebody thought that this kind of flying was hurting the fledgling aviation business. As accidents increased the talk of needing to regulate flying started to reach the ears of government. Eventually the FAA was formed. It led to the tight regulations and aviation industry we have now.

Jump forward to modeling today. We have been flying radio controlled models for many decades and the public had minimal exposure. They saw them at the occasional airshow or at a hobby shop. Generally it took a significant investment of time and money to get involved in R/C. Even if you spent a lot of money to get involved you also had to develop the skill set needed to successfully take to the air and get your model back in more or less one piece. These demands generally limited the sport to a relatively small group of dedicated hobbyists.

Somewhere around 10 years ago things started to change. You didn’t have to be a carpenter to build airplanes anymore. You could buy an aircraft almost ready to fly (ARF). They still required a hefty investment to get started and required skills to install an engine, radio system and operate it. Clearly this did open the modeling hobby to more people. Next came the ready to fly (RTF) kits and soon thereafter the electric revolution happened. It took the need to understand engines and radios out of the picture. Still, you had to have skills to fly these aircraft if you wanted to do it more than once.

In the past 3 years things have changed. The word ‘drone’ was capitalized on by the press and the public soon associated anything that flies without a pilot as a surveillance or attack platform. The press made sure to repeat the D word every chance it got. This was when ‘drone’ generally meant a Predator or some other military aircraft. 

Lets start connecting the dots to how models became drones. Model flying generally meant flying within sight of your model at all times. That has changed. Up until two years ago FPV(First Person View) was something only a very few dedicated R/C hobbyists dabbled in. With it you could fly out of line of sight by using a camera mounted to an aircraft and have the video transmitted back to the pilot via a set of video goggles or laptop type display. Because it requires pretty decent power for a transmitter to send video it generally requires a HAM radio license to do it legally. 

Enterprising individuals saw an opportunity to make money by using FPV equipped aircraft in business applications. Pretty soon others saw potential to make money selling ready to fly FBV rigs. These soon led to manufacturers creating sub $2000 ready to fly FBV platforms that required no skill to operate or knowledge to setup. These have only hit the mainstream in the past couple of years.

The problem is many users of this equipment don’t know a thing about safe operation of aircraft, AMA rules governing model aircraft or the potential hazard they represent to people and full size aircraft. I’d be willing to bet that most don’t know that the video transmitter on their aircraft requires a license to operate (FCC fines up to $15,000 for unlicensed use). Add on the popularity of YouTube plus the desire for these individuals to brag about their exploits and we started to see a sudden huge influx of new FPV flyers. Videos documenting the unsafe acts that can be performed with this kind of equipment are available to the public at large. The press sniffs out a means to get viewers so popularizes the reporting of sightings as well as incidents involving drones…err sorry I mean FPV aircraft. 

The government was already working on regulations to govern professional use of FPV’s. Recent media reports undoubtably also drove more pilot reports. This along with a black eye the FAA got with one court case involving an individual who was fined for flying FPV for money has steered the FAA to more stringent definitions of what an aircraft is and what authority the FAA has all the way down to ground level.

I’m sure there were barnstormers that said the government would never regulate them or kill their business. They probably said things like ‘How are they going to know and how are they going to be able to catch me’. If you take a look around you will see the only barnstorming is generally done at airshows with very strict rules in place for aircraft operations. Aerobatics are restricted along with aircraft themselves in any other environment.

Is radio control modeling going to follow the same path as barnstorming? Safety was a key aspect of flight that drove full scale regulation. The day may come when the only modelers flying are those that are licensed contractors and those that choose to do it illegally risking fines and or jail.

If you would like to read up on barnstorming check out the article on Wikipedia.


NOV 2014 CRCS CLUB NEWSLETTER

 

The November 2014 Club newsletter was sent to the club membership this morning. Click the picture above to view it in its entirety.


AMA sUAS/DRONE BROADCAST

On Nov 25 2014 the AMA published a video on YouTube that discusses recent FAA activities, reports of drones in the press, AMA interpretation of court cases and FAA regulations that impact our hobby. It includes a Q&A that helps spell out the AMA’s interpretation of the rules in place and expections moving forward. Its 53 minutes long, but if you are in the radio control community you should watch it.


IS THE FAA ABOUT TO PLAY A BIGGER ROLE IN OUR HOBBY?

Last week the FAA appealed and won a case against a drone operator. The case is the same one that originally caused the sudden attention by the FAA in defining models and flight restrictions. The issue it creates for us is that the appeals court decision gives the FAA a very wide latitude toward controlling the airspace all the way down to just above ground level and its authority to regulate things that occupy this space.

Forbes magazine recently published an article that may give some insight into what the FAA has planned. According to the article the White House is reviewing the proposed changes that govern small unmanned aircraft. The Forbes article indicates licensing of operators may be required along with a maximum altitude of 400’ and line of sight control.

For more information take a look at this thread on RCUniverse


GOT A ITCH FOR A FOAM WARBIRD OR EDF?

 

While surfing around the other day looking for FMS warbirds and FreeWing EDF ARF's I came across MotionRC. They had a number of the planes I was looking for in-stock when everyone else was out. They carry some pretty darn large (and pricey) foam planes. They are based in Illinois so you are dealing with a US company.

One of the models I was looking for was this FreeWing ME-262. Way, way better than the Dynam version

They are also one of the few to have the well reviewed FreeWing F/A-18 EDF in-stock.

The collection of multi-engine WWII warbirds is pretty good too. 


B-17 AND P-51 FLIGHT AT CRCS

Here’s a formation flight by Wayne and Ed this Saturday. The B-17 was from Troy Built Models. Its no longer available there, but HobbyKing has the same PNP ARF in Green or Silver. General Hobby also has the silver version. The P-51 is from FMS. The really amazing thing about the B-17 aside from its obvious detail are the small LiPo packs needed to get over 10 minutes of flight time. 


CHILI CHEESE DOG SATURDAY WAS AWESOME

Bob the Chili masterChilidog Saturday chow lineChilidog Saturday feeding frenzyChilidog saturday lunchlineChilidog saturday parking lotChilidog saturday


Nov 2014 - We’d like to thank everyone that came out for and contributed to the 2nd annual Impromtu Chili Cheese Dog Saturday at CRCS. Lots of great camaraderie, plenty of flying and good food. Thanks to Cranky Bob for making plenty of his Chili that sucks!

The winner of the Chili Bowl Spot Landing contest was Bud G who took a dozen or so stabs at the bowl of chili with his T-Rex 550 helicopter before finally flipping it into submission.

We were treated to a formation flight by Wayne and Ed with their B-17 and P-51. Dave B and Eddie R tied for crash of the day. Eddie took the nose off his Apprentice during a bumpy landing and Daves small heli fell out of the sky and ejected its landing gear.


PILOT OR BUST?

 

Nov 2014 - Everybody has been there. Your latest plane is almost complete and you find yourself staring at an empty cockpit. Are you one of those that heads to Toys R Us and looks for a doll or stuffed animal of the right size? Considered putting in a profile picture of yourself or favorite actor? Well how about if you could put a three dimentional figure of yourself in the seat?

Check out Pilot Portraits. They are not cheap, but they are pretty darn good.


DO YOU LISTEN TO PODCASTS?

 

Nov 2014 - Did you ever wish there was a radio station that talked about radio control, airplanes, cars, quads or helicopters? Have you ever been on the road and wished there was something better to listen to than the usual music and talking heads radio?

Well your prayers have been answered. Podcasts exist for virtually all segments of the hobby. The shows can be hours long and the better ones have a regular weekly schedule so you can always get your RC fix. Here are some of the best:

RC Heli Nation

RC Radio Network

RC Today Show

The CrashCast

The shows above have high quality production standards, excellent audio and some do video shows too. The trend recently with some of them is to cover RC events onsite and upload the latest days coverage of the event that day. Some have live broadcasts as well.

You can download the shows and play them back on your phone, computer or tablet. They are usually in MP3 format so will play back on virtually any device. Most Podcasters maintain an archive of their old shows so there are hours and hours of entertainment and information at your fingertips. Best of all? They are FREE.

 

SAB RELEASES THE GOBLIN 380 FOR SALE

 

Nov 2014 - This one has been a long tease, but the Goblin 380 is now for sale. The price is surprisingly low for a Goblin at $395 for the airframe. Of course by the time you add all the electronics it will be about thousand dollars worth of helicopter.


R\C SEARCH MADE EASY

 

Nov 2014 - How many times have you used Google to search for RC related information only to have the results peppered with a LOT of unrelated results. A fellow RCer decided to do something about it. His search tool queries only RC related sites. Give it s shot. Go to EverythingCPO.com enter a search term and click SearchRC. 

Here are the forums currently included in CPO's SearchRC: 3DRCForums, Flite Test, Flying Giants, Heli Gods, Heli Guy, Helifreak, RC Groups, RC Heli Addicts, RC Heli Nation, RC Help, RC Tech, RC Today Show, RC Universe, Run Ryder and Watt Flyer

BTW, don’t just check out the search tool. CPO has a bunch of info, how-to’s and a regular Google Hangouts live video that can be found on YouTube.


POCKET SIZED B-17? SURELY YOU JEST!

 

Nov - 2014 Eflite has announced a ultra micro sized B-17. Comes with AS3X stabilization. No it does not include retracts or flaps but it does have removable gear. Wing span is 26”. It takes a 1 cell 250mAH battery. 

The B-17 is available for purchase now.


SAFETY 

 

Nov 2014 - Colder weather is coming. Be aware of the subtle effects it has on your flying. Cold fingers and the shivers can make precision a little harder. 

- Plastic is more fragile. Plastic props are more prone to break. 

- LiPO batteries lose capacity when its cold. Depending on the temperature you could lose minutes of flying time as compared to warm weather flying.

- Helicopter drive belts and gear mesh can change.

- Reaction time is slower.

- Air is denser and may cause a lean condition on Gas/Glow engines.


FIELD MAINTENANCE

 

Nov 2014 - The field is looking good and it appears the grass will not require cutting for the rest of the year so unless otherwise noted Thursdays are fly days!

Some of the pilot station barriers were getting a little hagardly. The Field Marshall did a great job repairing the barriers this past week. They are all looking good now! 

© Charleston RC Society 2017