Through a stroke of extremely good fortune, I was privileged to get to fly in a 1944 Stearman over Bozeman, Montana. It was my first time ever flying in a biplane, as well as first time in an open cockpit. The owner handled takeoff and landing but let me fly – from the front seat! – the rest of the time. What a great airplane! Easy to fly and a joy in the air. I loved it!
This is Cali Style VTPR aerobatics. It’s a style of R/C glider flying that is unique to California and specifically Ellwood Mesa. We fly very close to the ground in very light winds with gliders that fly the same upright as inverted and do all manner of wild tricks. Some of our favorites are extremely low passes where we frequently touch the belly, tail or wingtip to the ground.
This photo captures everything about what I’m trying to do with these gliders in a nutshell. The glider is my own design, called the Le Fish, which has been a commercially successful kit since 2006. Last year, my close friend “Swiss Peter” Richner perfected a means of building the Le Fish and other aerobatic gliders to previously unheard-of low weights, and the past 9 months have been a frenzy of experimentation and pushing forward of boundaries.
Today we can do things with our gliders that have literally never been done before in our sport / hobby, and it’s the greatest feeling in the world. I feel so lucky to be so deeply involved with the development and spread of this kind of flying. It is joy personified and taken wing.
Read more about the history and development of VTPR aerobatics.
The video above is by far and away my most successful to date. It even got featured on the TV show Right This Minute in their segment “All About Remote Control Gliders At the Beach”. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be on TV flying my Le Fish!!
Also, a couple weeks ago I was looking into domain names and saw that VTPR.info was available. Since I often get asked some variation on the theme of “What does VTPR stand for?” (answer: “voltige tres pres du relief” in French or ‘aerobatics very close to the ground”, i.e., the kind of flying I’m doing in that video), I figured I would throw a small page together to lay it all out, and I’ve pointed the VTPR.info domain name at it.
My first takeoff-to-landing FPV (first person view) flight at Ellwood Mesa. There is a Gopro camera on the airplane that sends a video signal to a pair of goggles that I wear, so that I see exactly what the Gopro sees, and use that image to fly the plane. It’s really cool!
It’s a first effort, mounted to the Depron tail of my 17oz Le Fish. The wind was blowing a 22-25mph which is quite a lot more than the 6-8mph this plane usually sees, but it did just fine and I had a bunch of fun.
The onboard camera is an 808 #16 HD keyfob camera, available here, and I’m quite pleased with its performance. Not bad for a $40, 1/2oz little thing!
Next I plan to mount it to the tail of my 2m Voltij aerobatics glider, which should prove a much more stable platform. More to come!
Watch in fullscreen HD with the lights off and the sound on for best results!
This is an amazing FPV (first person view) video from a multirotor flyer in Australia. So cool, it’s like being a bird!
I picked up a Blade mQX BNF quadcopter last week and I’ve been having a blast with it ever since. I’ve only got about a dozen flights on it, and very little previous helicopter experience, but it’s so easy and fun to fly that you pick it up really fast.