IFM Banner

 

Home
About Tim
AMA
EAA
Plane Museums
What Motor?
FREE plans!
How to Fly RC
Lipo Battery
Ready to Fly
Park Flyer
Kits
Guillow Kits
Plans
Free Plans
CAD RC Plans
Tools
Yard Ace Plan
Chickadee Plan
Blackburn Plan
Spoked Wheels
Publish Plan
RC Flight Sim
E-Fest
Videos
Crashes!
Site Map
Privacy Info
Contact Us

 

 



Welcome to Indoor Flying Model!

My name is Tim and on the following pages I’ll discuss a wide range of topics relating to indoor radio control model airplane flight. These include ready to fly aircraft, airplanes made from a kit and plans built RC models. The site contains over 210 pages of original content reflecting my 40 years of flying, building and design experience.

Blackburn plane

Tim holding the Blackburn Monoplane built from plans

The goal of successful indoor radio control flight has been with pilots since the beginning of model aviation. Many of the first rubber band powered free flight models flew in large indoor venues in the 1920s.

The first RC model airplane flights took place in 1938 with the Good brothers. The control electronics were large and heavy, requiring gas powered aircraft. The idea of flying smaller models remained a distant dream.

The key enabling technology for indoor flight occurred with the miniaturization of consumer electronics around the year 2000. The widespread use of efficient lithium polymer (or lipo) batteries provided a lightweight power source. The combination of these advances set the stage for today’s incredible variety of miniature flying models.

Fokker Spin

My design of the 1911 Fokker Spin

As you read through the site you will gain an appreciation of the vast range of low price yet high quality RC models available. It really is amazing, with new variants coming out every week. It is not at all uncommon to see ready to fly three channel semi scale flyers weighing less than half an ounce.

 

The availability of miniature electronics allows virtually any free flight model to be a practical candidate for conversion to radio control flight. A great example of this is my adaptation of the Guillow Lancer to RC flight. You can follow this approach with any of the other Guillow kits or one of the hundreds of free flight plans published over the years.

There are thousands of RC model airplane construction plans available. Many modelers, used to purchasing ready to fly models, are not fully familiar with how to go about building a model from a set of plans. The process really could not be any easier. Build a few models from a kit with a good supply of parts and an illustrated construction manual. The skills gained with kit building translate directly to making a model from plans.

Robin RC plane

Robin RC model plane

Once you are at ease building from plans the next step is to draw up a set of plans for an original design of your own. This task is not hard. Start with “bashing,” or making small modifications of an existing design. Change something as minor as a wing tip shape or rudder outline. These actions show you just how simple the aircraft creation process can be.
To gain confidence with drawing a set of plan you will need to master basic drafting skills. Most folks start with hand drawn plans although it is perfectly acceptable to begin drawing a model with a computer drafting program like TurboCAD.

 

To learn how to prepare a set of plans I advocate copying an existing plan to get a feel how to draw up the various aircraft structures. Once this is accomplished, start with your own design. Closely follow an existing aircraft making minor changes such as with an outline. Expand your actions with such variations as moving a wing from a shoulder mount to a location on the fuselage underside. Before you know it a new design will be on your drawing board.

At some point you will need to learn a Computer Aided Design (CAD) program. There is a learning curve for any CAD program. I have used several of these revolutionary drafting programs and settled on TurboCAD.

Hummingbird RC plane

Stevens Aero Hummingbird from a laser cut kit

TurboCAD is mature, affordable and easy to use. I have a two hour and fifty minute CD for sale with twelve lessons on the use of TurboCAD. During these narrated videos I go from a clean sheet of paper to a completed RC model airplane design. These instructional videos will save you hours of time with understanding how this remarkable program is employed.

I have had six of my RC aircraft designs published in the modeling press. These plans are available for sale. The models range from sport flyers to indoor semi-scale projects. YouTube videos go into detail on specifics of each model. You may wish to publish your airplane design in one of the modeling magazines. I’ll show you how to do this as well.

Flying smaller radio control models is a great way to enjoy the hobby. Operating indoors offers the great advantage of not having to worry about the winds or weather. This is a great plus for colder areas of the world such as here in Chicago.

Take a look at the site and see what aspect of the micro RC model scene appeals to you. New models and technologies are coming out every week. Your imagination is the limit to enjoying this great hobby. Thanks for stopping by!

Chickadee RC plane

Chickadee three channel electric flyer

Author: Gordon McKay