The Champ takes the stress out of teaching yourself to fly

 Champ RTF Ultra-Micro
Teach yourself to fly RC airplanes in style with this exciting recreation of Aeronca’s beloved tail wheel airplane. Its small size and lightweight, durable construction let you fly with confidence in spaces as small as your own backyard without having to worry too much about crash damage. And it’s so easy to control you could be flying it like a pro in no time even if you’ve never flown an RC airplane before.

The HobbyZone Champ is also equipped with the Spektrum 2.4GHz DSM2 advantage: The Champ’s radio system uses the same Spektrum 2.4GHz DSM2 technology that is trusted by experienced RC pilots all around the world. With DSM2 technology you will enjoy complete freedom from signal interference whenever you fly.

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Miss GEICO is the fastest catamaran in the world

Just like the Miss GEICO Victory Catamaran Full size Power Boat!
Miss GEICO 29 BL Cat 2.4 RTR V2 http://goo.gl/gLYi8u
Powered by twin Lycoming T-53 703 helicopter engines, Miss GEICO is the fastest catamaran in the world, capable of delivering speeds in excess of 200 mph. And now, you can take home all the excitement of this world-champion, extreme-class racer in an officially licensed Pro Boat RC, built to own the water.

Posted in Wake Zone (R/C Boats) | Leave a comment

Middle Tennessee R/C Club Swap Meet

On November, 2nd the Middle Tennessee R/C Clubs Association AMA Chapter #65 hosted their annual regional swap meet.
The doors opened at 8am on the dot!!
Shopper’s hurried in looking for just the right plane to add to their hangar.
Sellers and the club were both happy to see such a large turnout this year.
Hobby Lobby had 3 tables there and we brought several of our planes to sell… Happy to say we only brought back just a few.
Thank you Middle Tennessee R/C Club for hosting a great event.

Posted in Beginner R/C helicopter, Heli Haven (R/C Helicopters), R/C Model Airplane Events, R/C Models | Leave a comment

Come to Hobby Lobby to see the trains

At the Hobby Lobby Headquarters in Brentwood, Tennessee, we get to enjoy trains every day, several times a day… It’s the real thing – massive and long, typically CSX trains filled with freight bound for nearby Radner Yard that are rolling by.  It’s fun to imagine many of the containers they carry are bound for Hobby Lobby and filled with Telemasters we’ve designed.  There are two tracks running side by side and with an occasional blast from the train engineer pulling the horn, people watching get a thrill.

Come discover the original platform, a “train viewing station” here on the property that give customers a unique opportunity to observe this spectacle.   The thunder and majesty of a passing train is exciting.  I find it particularly heart warming when I see grandpa, or dad and the kids eating a packed lunch awaiting the rumble of that next train.  This is your invitation to come check it out.  It’s the best place in middle Tennessee to watch trains, and it is waiting for you to enjoy.

I just wish there was still a caboose to see.

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Celebrating Model Trains and Train History

I’ve always enjoyed model trains.   It started with the Lionel layout my grandpa set up at Christmas every year.  The big engine puffed smoke from the stack, and the detail of these models was amazing.  They are heavy, honest toys made with quality — and I still have them.

When the sixth annual Train History Festival came up on my calendar, you know I had to go.  The two day event is held at Montgomery Bell State Park Inn and Conference Center, it’s free and open to the public.  The event is usually held in the the third week of January at a facility that I had never seen before.  I plan to go back, because the food was great and the grounds, complete with a golf course, looked like the perfect vacation spot.  The poster promised an opportunity to see model trains, to learn about the history of trains and the impact of the train on our park system.  The festival delivered everything as promised.

Model train layouts were a highlight.  The meticulous preparation of the model operator and builder is evident.  Obviously, they invested countless hours building these scenes and designing a panorama that could communicate their vision.  More amazingly, they could be taken apart and transported for such a display.  Each builder injects a creativity and personality in their work that is unmistakable.  I love model trains.  I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

Also featured was a stack of historic maps from the Tennessee State Archive.  From the early to mid 1800’s you could see the impressive influence the train had on the development of towns, as well as the movement of troops and supplies during the Civil War.  You could touch and handle memorabilia from the era and study these maps, but the coolest part was the personal walk through history that Ranger Eric gave me.  He described how confederate troops disrupted Union troop movements by destroying track by heating the rail and bending it around a tree to form the “Southern Bow Tie”.  I learned about small gauge track that was discovered in state parks, used to move iron and other material, and which has been previously los to history.

The train track was the super highway of it’s era, the arteries of progress and growth in America.  Where the track went, prosperity followed.  While passenger trains are pretty much “history” today, the freight train still moves an astounding amount of products, materials and resources around the country.  The train offers the most fuel efficient form of transportation on land, and connects our ports, states and cities with the world.

The train is not history, it is history, which at the same time plays a critical role in the future.  Big trains and model trains still capture the imagination.  No wonder a train set is still one of the most popular gift items for birthdays and Christmas.

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Filming a World Class Motocross Event from the Air

Once a year the quaint little town of Hurricane Mills TN explodes with excitement and thunder as the top amateur motocross riders from across the country converge at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch. It is the 31st Annual Red Bull AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship. That’s a lot a words to say that this is the premier event for this class and where the racers let it all hang out in the hopes of becoming a future racing star.

Hobby Lobby is just about an hour and half away from this epic event and I just had to see it in person. Of course I brought my camera as well as my trusty custom hexacopter with the hopes to be allowed to fly and capture some footage from the unique vantage point that only a copter can provide.

When I showed up, I was blown away. This event is huge!!! There were people everywhere and a sea of campers and bikes. All the big name sponsors were there too like Red Bull, GoPro, Honda, Yamaha, Traxxas, and many others. Parking was insane and I ended up having to walk quite a ways. I was prepared for this and had all my gear packed concisely so I didn’t need a 3rd or 4th hand to carry everything.

This first thing I noticed was that these copters look cool whether you know what it is or not. I could barely walk a few feet before someone was stopping to ask what it was. I got to introduce a lot of people to the hobby this day. I scoped out some places to take off from and my concerns here were threefold. One, I didn’t want to take off on the dusty roads and get dirt all over my camera and copter. Two, I wanted to be well clear of bystanders for safety and three, there were cables and lines running along the perimeter that I needed to avoid. There seemed to be a golf cart for every person in attendance, so that solved a couple of problems right there. It was easy to find an unattended cart and use its roof to take off from avoiding both people and the dust. Avoiding the lines came down to sheer pilot ability and depth perception.

It took a couple of passes to get used to how fast the guys were moving and the first flight I just worked on a couple of pans and angles at different altitudes. I made four flights in all for a little over 20 minutes worth of filming from various locations around the track. Everyone who saw it fly was amazed and wanted to know more about it. I gave them the HobbyLobbyRC YouTube channel name and told them I would be posting the video within a week.

It’s not often you get the chance to capture footage for an event like this. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and am looking forward to another awesome filming adventure coming soon. I hope you enjoy the video below mixed in with some ground footage I shot as well.

Have Fun!
Jason Cole
Hobby Lobby

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How I almost cut my thumb off – Safety Notice – Warning: Graphic Photos

I’ve been in the radio controlled hobby for almost 15 years now. Aside from the occasional minor hobby knife cut, I haven’t had any major accidents. I even prided myself on my safety record. I’m usually very careful when dealing with dangerous items. On Thursday January 5th, my safety record came to an end.

I was helping a buddy setup his new quad rotor helicopter. He was having some issues with it and asked me to take a look and try to figure it out. To work on these, you tweak the software for the flight board from a computer. The motors are normally disarmed when making changes. Even so, it is always recommended to either disconnect the motors from the ESC’s or to take the props off. I was lazy and didn’t do either. This particular problem was that some of the controls were functioning backwards and to trouble shoot it, I was reversing some settings in the software.

We were making headway and almost had it sorted out, when I hit a wrong button. This button caused the two motors on the far side of the copter to go to full throttle. In an instant the copter lifted that side and tilted right at me. I had no time to think and instinctively threw my hands up to stop it. My buddy grabbed the copter from the back and got it shut down. This likely kept the copter from continuing towards me and eating me alive. I looked down and saw blood and knew I had cut my hand. I went into another room to get some paper towels. I thought it was just a minor scrape as I had no pain. When I stopped to actually look my hand, I saw a huge gash down my left thumb right through the thumbnail. Part of my thumb was laying over, I yelled for help and applied pressure to stop the bleeding.

I was going into shock as I started to realize how serious this was. “I almost cut my thumb off” I said as people started to gather. I looked and saw the trail of blood I left, it was a lot of blood. We hopped in a car and headed for the emergency room. On that trip the pain started to set in. It hurt, a lot! When we got to the ER and I was taken to the triage room, between the pain and my imagination running wild with what was going to happen, I started hyperventilating. My ears, legs and hands were tingling, I almost passed out. I had to control my breathing and eventually came out of it.

I was taken back to a room and had the paper towel removed. The blood was soaked and dry now and it hurt like crazy as they peeled it off my thumb. I looked down and by now, the blood had clotted and filled the gap where the cut was. They took an X-Ray to see if I cut through the bone and we found out that it did take the tip of the bone off, but not enough to worry about. They had me soak my hand for while in some soapy water to clean it out some. Then they gave me three shots at the base of my thumb to numb it. The shots hurt almost as much as the cut as the stinging fiery pain went up my thumb. Then everything felt a lot better. My thumb went numb and the pain went away. The doc came in, cleaned out the wound and started stitching me up. It took nine stitches in all and then they wrapped me up.

Two weeks later, I’m still healing but have some feeling in my thumb and I can bend it and use it for some tasks now. I expect a full recovery and it will take some time for the nail to grow back, but all in all I feel very lucky. It could have been so much worse. The copter could gone right past my hands and into my face. I feel blessed that nothing worse happened and really wanted to tell this story to help remind us all to be careful.

This story should serve as a reminder to be diligent, to not get complacent and lazy, to always think about what you are doing. It would have taken me less than a minute to take the props off and that would have saved me days of pain, frustration, and money. Don’t let this happen to you. Stay safe and have fun.

Jason Cole

 

Posted in Wing World (R/C Model Airplanes) | 3 Comments

Micro Heli Fever

We got this review/tip letter from a customer and we just had to share it on the blog. It’s tailored to the Shark helicopter, but the information is suitable for just about every micro helicopter out there.

“I’ve flown RC planes for 40 years but had not tried helicopters until Santa
brought this one for my 9 year old. Note that the packaging indicates that this
model is for ages 14+, and that is probably right unless your kid is going to
have lots of help and supervision to get this little model flying well. We live
at high altitude (8000 feet), and were already aware that model helicopters are
marginal performers at this altitude.

We initially tried to fly this in the living room and quickly smashed it into
the furniture. Fortunately it survived, but until you learn to fly it well, you
need a much larger space. We were able to gain access to a school cafeteria this
morning and found that the large, open area of the cafeteria gave us plenty of
room to trim it out and learn to keep it under control. After 3 flights in the
cafeteria, my kid is ready to try it in the smaller space of the school hall
way, and then we will take it home and take on the challenge of the living
room.

Be aware that if you live at high altitude, you may not be satisfied with the
performance. We can maintain an altitude of about 5 feet for the first 3 or 4
minutes of flight time, but after that, as the battery discharges, we can only
fly in ground effect, less then 5 inches AGL. It requires about 3/4 throttle to
hover and nearly full throttle to climb out to shoulder height.

Flying tips:
Find a large, indoor, open space for your first few flights. A school gymnasium
or cafeteria is ideal, but a two car garage or other open space will work. A
place with a smooth floor is really helpful because the landing skids tend to
snag on carpet, causing the bird to flip onto its side.

You can charge from the transmitter, but this rapidly drains the transmitter
batteries. I strongly recommend that you use the USB charging cord instead. We
plugged this into the USB power adapter that came with our Kindle. The charger’s
housing glows red when the chopper is fully charged.

Set up the helicopter so that you are standing directly behind it. Keep
yourself lined up with the tail boom so that the transmitter and the helicopter
are both facing the same direction.

Set the transmitter to the desired channel (A, B, or C) and pull the throttle
(left control stick) stick all the way back, turn on the transmitter and
receiver. Advance the throttle to full and then pull it all the way back again.
This allows the helicopter to recognize the transmitter.

Notice that all of the LEDS are flashing brightly. Use the two blue buttons on
the top of the transmitter to shut these off. You have a really limited power
supply, and the LEDS suck up a lot of juice. At high altitude, we cannot get the
helicopter off the ground if the LEDs are flashing. I’m thinking of removing
them to save the weight and permanently eliminate the power drain.

Gentle Gentle Gentle on the controls. For your first few flights, advance the
throttle carefully and deliberately. Feel the detent notches in the throttle
stick, and practice advancing the throttle one notch at a time until the
helicopter begins to skitter. If you are flying over carpet, you need to quickly
lift off so that the skids dont drag, but this is really tricky, it is easy to
advance the throttle too far, slam the copter against the ceiling and then send
it crashing to the floor.

Its much better on a smooth floor. When it starts to skitter, about 2 more
notches of throttle will take it to an altitude of about 3 inches. Once the
helicopter is airborne, it will hover, more or less in the same place, probably
yawing slowly in one direction or another. Make very small adjustments to the
trim knob between the two control sticks to straighten out any yaw tendency.

Be ready to chop the throttle when the helicopter gets out of control.

You have NO roll control, only pitch and yaw, so you have to fly purely by
attitude adjustment. Right stick controls your pitch and yaw. Pushing the stick
forward causes the helicopter to pitch forward and then begin to fly forward.
Neutralizing the stick returns to hover. Moving the stick from side to side
causes the helicopter to yaw left or right respectively.

Practice yawing the helicopter to the heading you want and stopping the yaw
when it is pointing in exactly the direction you want. Try to yaw it around the
compass, stopping at each of the compass points.

Once we mastered this, we taped four sheets of typing paper to the floor and
practiced flying from point to point, landing on each sheet of paper.

Downside is that the helicopter takes 30 minutes to charge for every ten
minutes of flight time, but this is simply a limitation of the current
technology. A spare battery pack that can be removed for charging would be a
nice upgrade, but overall, I feel that this is a nice little helicopter, and
probably about as good as anyone has the right to expect at this price.

Experiments we are planning to try: We are going to try removing the body shell
and the decorative tail skid. I don’t think either one has any aerodynamic
purpose, they are just for pretty, and if we can remove a few grams of mass, we
think we can get better flight performance.”

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Zooming with the Zoomer


The Zoomerfree flight glider. Kids love them, adults love them, r/c pilots love them. As a free flight glider, it’s easy to throw and it glides a long ways. Any kid would love to chase after this thing. Check out Nickolas chucking one around in this video.

There’s more to it than just free flight though. People have been hacking them and adding in R/C gear to make them controlled. It all started with our eRC Micro Stik receiver board. It’s a super small and light receiver that has two servos built into it and also a brushed motor esc. The first generation R/C Zoomer was a pure controlled glider. We cut in an elevator and rudder and attached pushrods them from the servos. We would launch the Zoomer as hard as we could and were able to control it around and catch a few thermals. It was fun, but we wanted some propulsion. The next step was to add in the motor system from the Micro stik. You had to be creative and carve out foam for the power system and battery. Now we had a fully function r/c model and the airframes only cost $9.99!

The next step for me is to add in twin 40mm ducted fan units! I’ve started the project and hope to finish this winter. Can you image a twin ducted fan EDF Zoomer zipping around the sky? It will be crazy! I can’t wait. These are just some of crazy things we come up. What have you created lately. I’d love to see some of your hacked up planes. Go to our forum page here and post your mods.

Jason Cole

 

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Night Flying Fun!

One of the first things I remember our owner Mark Cleveland wanting to do when he first came on board was fly at night. He dubbed us the Midnight Flyers and even bought us really cool jackets with a Midnight Flyers logo on it. I’ve been night flying myself for many many years now. It all started with the SPAD Pizza Box airplane. I wrapped it in glow wire and you could easily see it and fly at night. I wasn’t going to let the sun tell me I couldn’t fly any longer. Fast forward a few years and I’m at my fist SEFF show for Hobby Lobby. David Payne was doing all the flying us back then and he put some glow wire on an Alfa Models Mig-15. It was the first electric EDF jet I’d seen flying at night. The cool thing about the Mig was that it could slide along its belly to take off and David was doing touch n’ goes at night. That got as big a reaction as any of the noon time demos!

Lighting has come a long way since those early years and we now have super bright LED Light Strips.  These things are priced well, come in many colors, are easy to install and INCREDIBLY BRIGHT.  You can put them on planes, helicopters, Multi Rotor Copters, or anything you like. I have a hard time finding anything better to light up my models.

The key to lighting your aircraft is color. You’ll want to use several colors and apply them so that you can maintain orientation in any attitude. You are, after all flying in the dark, so you’ll want to be able to see an outline of your plane or at least know where the front, back, and sides are. Use contrasting colors for left and right and front and back to help with that. Another tip is to never look away. That can be hard at a show with many night flying models in the air, but keep you eyes on your plane, lest you lose it. My favorite night flying object right now is my Quad Rotor copter. It just looks so cool in the air. It’s easy to see and fly and people love seeing this little UFO flying in the sky.

If you’d like to give it a shot, go ahead and get some LED Lights and apply them to your favorite airplane. Don’t let the sun tell you when to stop flying. Night flying is so much fun and the best part is, you can fly anytime , no matter what.

 

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