Tuesday, January 24, 2017


IT'S AMAZING HOW MUCH enthusiasm there is for radio control (RC) in all its forms. Here's a great little vid showing what's claimed as the world's largest of the breed.

SMN report: A lot of hard work went into making the scale Eurocopter helo, and that care extends to every part of the machine. Just take note of the detail involved in making the fenestron tail rotor to see what we mean.

And of course, because RC is all about actual flight, it all has to work just like the real thing - in the air, as well as on the ground. Mind you, when a model helo gets this big, we can't help feeling it would be good to go the whole way and fly in a real one.

Still, you don't have to have one this big. Traditional-style ready-built RC helos are available at wallet-friendly prices. The Legend (below) is fairly typical of this kind of machine. The basic structure is made of lightweight aluminium, with a streamlined cockpit made of plastic. Power is provided by an electric motor, lift rotors being contra-rotating twin blade designs. A neat solution, though a model helo like this can still be pretty demanding to fly.  

Which brings us to the world of drones (below) which have seen a seemingly unstoppable rise in sales over the last few years. The secret of a drone is that it is super-easy to fly, being completely stable in mid-air. The onboard electronics are responsible for this, an operator's control inputs simply overriding the drone's computer-controlled flight stability.

And that brings a second reason for success, drones carrying onboard cameras. Combined with four or more rotors to bring amazing flight stability, drones make for smooth stills photography and video performance.

Mind you, there are enough stories of drones crashing into buildings and near-misses with airliners to make us think that official registration and licensing arrangements will be coming soon.