I'm getting spring fever and itchy thumbs here in upstate NY waiting for
winter to fade out. Our R/C club had an indoor flying session at a local
armory this Saturday and I jumped right in, buying an Electrifly Yak54 foamy
for the occasion.
Over the course of my shopping, I watched lots of great product videos of
indoor micro-flyers and foamy models, and really got excited about trying
Well, all I can say is rusty thumbs, tight quarters, huge control surfaces
and foam that breaks if you look at it wrong don't mix. I think I'll get a
nice indoor slow-flyer for the next session and save the Yak any further
damage for now.... :-)
Funny you mentioned that, Vance. One of the better flyers in the club who
was also flying an ElectriFly Yak54 quickly found that lots of rudder was
very helpful to him. He told me he had an easier time trying to do sort of
a "flat" turn instead of the usual.
I also now remember noticing that as one of the guys, flying an E-Flite
ultra-micro Sukhoi, was making his turns in front of me at my end of the
gym, he was using lots of rudder; I could plainly see the rudder deflection
on the tiny model. Thanks for the valuable tip! I wished I had asked about
indoor flying BEFORE I tried it! :-)
I now am under the impression that indoor flying is a full-contact sport and
the models should be built with that in mind. My next indoor model with
have serrated edges on the prop. Maybe I'll call it "The Ginsu" or
something like that. Or maybe I'll build one that trails a long piece of
detachable wire to foul those damn indoor helis.... :-)
In hindsight, it's kind of funny to look back on last week's indoor flight
fantasies of the model floating around in near-slience, doing graceful
hi-alpha rolling circles (which I can't begin to do outdoors) in the
dead-still air of the quiet and peaceful armory gymnasium.
In reality, it turned out to be more of a scene of chaos and mayhem, with
echoing sounds of planes banging off the walls and floor, machine gun bursts
of foam being beaten and chewed loudly by spinning propellers and the sounds
of moans, groans and laughter interspersed.
I have been flying indoor R/C since 1997, and I can promise you that
there are few challenges like it!
Few things can keep your skills as sharp as that will .... NO CHANCE
you will get to your regular fields in spring with "rusty" thumbs!
As a group, the guys that duke it out with the 4 walls and ceiling
during winter are the bettter pilots.
And , yes, you will have a new appreciaton for what ALL the controls
are for! Including, and especially, the rudder and throttle.
The dudes that jam the throttle to full and fly only with the right
stick are in for a sudden flying lesson indoors. :)
Dave and Vance,
I agree about the rudder and throttle skill being important. I start each
season by trying to "re-teach" my left thumb by flying a big high-wing Super
Frontier Sr. for a few days using only the rudder for turning. I'm
right-handed and I find that it takes several sessions before I can get my
left thumb doing things somewhat properly. I think it's very similar to the
old "pat your head with one hand while you rub your stomach with the other"
trick. With a little practice, it's very easy. But the first time you try
it, you might not be successful....
In hindsight, my indoor flying had good reason to be as awful as it was. I
only made it to the field twice last season to fly, and only flew a few
times each visit. My left hand was WAY out of practice, and my right wasn't
doing much better!
I got out to the club field on Monday (just in time; we got more snow on
Tuesday) and got in a good hour of flying. I brought a cheap Vietnamese ARF
trainer I bought a few years ago for $49. I think it's made of oak or
ironwood. :-) (I think it's Obechi, actually. Heavy.) Anyway, I spent
the whole time flying with the rudder, and kind of enjoying the 5-10MPH
direct cross-runway wind. Maybe I'll have more fun at the next indoor
You are correct about the high wing planes..
I have an old Sig Citabria that will teach you VERY quickly what the
rudder is for, and when not to use it!
Anctually, most any taildragger wil serve as the "rudder lesson", but
the "over square" Aeroncas and Cubs are some of the best "instructors"