Indoor Flying

A Pennyplane on its way in the Tustin Blimp Hangar, June 11, 2011. Photo courtesy Brian Furitani. More on Flickr

A Pennyplane on its way in the Tustin Blimp Hangar, June 11, 2011.
Photo courtesy Brian Furitani. More on Flickr

Indoor Free Flight is the Zen of model aviation The ethereal models are simple in terms of parts count, but challengingly delicate with a large number of variables and nuances that provide endless options in the quest for performance.

The minimalist design of indoor models require that every component does just what is required, and not much more, working in balanced harmony with the rest of the model.  Subtle changes affect the flight profile, efficiency in extracting energy from the rubber motor, and ultimately the time on the stopwatch.

Spectators are often surprised to hear the amount of control we have over our models. It’s just that the control is pre-programmed into the airplane before it is launched – from surface adjustments, to planned component flex, to tiny intricate mechanisms.

The challenge isn’t over once the model is in the air.  Feedback from careful observation, and data collected before, during, and after the flight are all used to decide what changes may be made for the next attempt.  We can even steer the models with poles or helium filled balloons if they are in danger of drifting into obstacles.

Many people fly Indoor purely for the beauty, grace, and enjoyment it provides. Most fly for the challenges of competition or record attempts.

Either way, Indoor is easy to start, with simple inexpensive designs, and can challenge you as far as you want to take it.  Give it a try!

Trailer for “Float,” a beautiful new video on Indoor Flying by Phil Kibbe and Ben Saks.