What it's all about
Previously, all remote control flying was done at our club's air strip during the summer. Pilots would retreat to their heated shops to build and repair aircraft when the cold winds of winter started blowing, and snow built up on the ground. New technology and materials have resulted in the availability of smaller and lighter components and aircraft which are perfect for flying in small indoor spaces. Battery technology for these aircraft is leaping forward exponentially. Aero modelers now have the option of adding indoor flying to their former winter pastimes of ski flying or aircraft building.
The attraction of indoor flying is readily evident. There is little better in life, than flying in a warm, climate controlled venue with people who have the same passion for flight that you do. This is a great opportunity for experienced pilots to maintain their skills and to teach new pilots to learn to fly. Many clubs (check the contact us section on this website to find a club) fly in the gymnasiums of local schools and Golf Domes. Although the size of the gym may appear to be small they are more than adequate for the slow flyers. A gym with an area of 75' by 100' and a ceiling height of at least 25' is all you require. Unlimited aerobatics can be done in Golf Domes. The golf dome can be as large as four or more regulation size soccer fields.
Indoor remote control aircraft include helicopters, blimps or fixed wing aircraft or rubber powered free flight aircraft. Aircraft can be purchased as ready to fly (RTF) or almost ready to fly (ARF). RTFs are ready to go right out of the box. ARFs require some assembly. Of course there is the option of building an aircraft from scratch. The Vapour aircraft shown below is an extremely poplar aircraft in 2008-09.
The least expensive aircraft are the Havoc helicopter by AirHogs, and the X-Twin plane, by Silverlit toys. New aircraft are brought to the market every month. The helicopter has a transmitter and complete flying package guided by the infrared system. The transmitter must be constantly pointed at the helicopter all the time to maintain control. The plane is on one of three different frequencies in the 27 MHz band. This one is little easier to fly, as you don't have to remember to "Point" the transmitter at the model all the time. Both these models can be purchased at your local Wal-Mart, ranging in the $25.00 to $30.00 range.
Many indoor model flyers build their own designs using a product called "Foam Board". There are several types of "Foam Board" on the market. EPP is a very light but durable type board, easily cut with a sharp knife. Gluing requires the use of a "Hot Melt Glue Gun". (Careful! these are HOT!). Plans for these indoor and outdoor foam fliers can be found on the RCGroups.com web site. Look under "Scratch Built, Foamies, Darts" to get a better idea of what can be done. Motors can be anything from the old "Can" (Brushed type), or the new brushless motors, either outrunners or inrunners.
There are several suppliers of the required parts. Check the advertisements in the MAAC magazines in the library section of this website for suppliers. They can be very helpful in suggesting what size you need for your particular aircraft. If you're not into the building yet, then look at what's available, again, at your local hobby shop. These include "Profile" flyers. Looks like an aircraft from the side, but is flat, usually made from the 6mm foam board.
Lots of fun can be had flying a rubber powered free flight aircraft.
The MAAC Safety Code outlines the basics safety information for Indoor RC flying. Its all about common sense. Flying is a very social activity. It is a sport where everyone wants to see others succeed. Join the local club. The members are a great source of information. They will help you to build and learn to fly if necessary. Indoor Flying is a whole new world. It's there just waiting for you.