Report from the Toledo RC Expo

Report from the Toledo RC Expo

A few guys from the Louisville Soaring crew made it up there as well. It was me, Ed Wilson, Dave Flanigan, Brian Kopke and nine-year-old prodigy Lee. It was my first time, so whereas I left Louisville a “hobby boy”, I am now a “hobby man”, having been to my first Toledo show! Right? Sure! Read on for the report!

As Ed Wilson put it – this is the “world’s biggest hobby shop”, which I initially took as an overstatement. Man, was I wrong! Just about every vendor I’d ever heard of was there and I’d been saving up my dough for just such an occasion. Careful planning is required in such situations, so LASS-mate Brian Kopke and I scoped out what could be had before making our purchasing run.

Of course, our planning run was met at every turn with some sort of new, shiny gadget or extremely well-finished model. Topping the list is a lot of new synthesized stuff! That Hitec Fusion 9S nine channel synth RX looks neat. 9 channels stacked in two rows of five and it’s about the size of a lipstick tube. They’ve also come out with the Mini 6S and Supreme IIS 8 channel RXs that are both auto-shifting. Didn’t really see much in the way of whiz-bang new TXs, save for the not-brand-new-but-new-enough Spektrum spread-spectrum 2.4ghz systems.
Their stock response to the question of “When will you have it ready for big planes?” was “We’re WORKING ON IT!” Brushless systems and LiPo remain hot, as well as micro stuff. I personally made the leap to brushless and picked up a Himax brushless and 3 cell LiPo from the dudes at RadicalRC. Gotta get ready for F5J that is popping up all over!

Sombra Labs also unveiled it’s 4-channel “Lepton” that is crystal-controlled and super-tiny. With the new Berg 4s and the Mikro SPF-5’s, there are more options than ever for lightweight, “full-range” (your mileage may vary) RX’s. While Castle still hasn’t released the Berg 7, the Berg 4 series were in plentiful supply throughout the show.

Big crowd draws were any one of the 3 RC simulators. Great Planes Realflight was cool, but the big news was the “FS One” sim from Hangar
9. It was announced on the 5th of April – and it’s only in BETA, with a Mid-July sell date. It’s got a bunch of wicked sailplane feature
including Handlaunch, Histart, Winch, Tow plane, vario support, thermal and slope soaring AND DS! Steve Siebenaler said the DS groove was pretty tough!

www.realflight.com
http://www.fsone.com/

Hitec had their booth set up with all their new synth stuff – but the big crowd draw there was their RC robot they had on demo. It could do
headstands, cartwheels and one-handed pushups! Amazing balance out of this little guy! That stuff is big in Japan. A very similar model won
the Robo-One competition in Japan last month:
http://www.makezine.com/blog/archive/2006/03/robot_fighting.html

The Kennedy Composites booth was one of the few soaring-related booths at the show, and they had the Supra out (purdy!) and their new electric
sailplane the “Electron” (I think that was the name). Looks good. F5J is starting to blow up all over the country – it’ll be campaigned out
there for sure. Brian K. picked up a Photon DLG – one of the prettiest and well-built models I’ve ever seen. The fit and finish on it is top
notch. I think in a pinch you could throw it together with some CA in under and hour :) It packs up nicely, too – Brian was toting the whole
thing around in a grocery sack!

One thing I picked up there (in the swap meet) was a neat little $35 altimeter doohickey that weighs 2.2g! From Winged Shadow, called the
“How High”, it’s a relative altimeter that reports the altitude in a fairly novel manner. It’s got a little LED on it that when you wave
your finger over the LED, it will flash out your highest altitude. Nothing a RAM or a Lolo can’t do, but it’s small, lightweight and stupid
simple to use. DLG pilots always want to know “how high am I launching?” and with this thing, it’s a snap. Launch, land, wave, repeat. Tested it out on Sunday in my XP3 DLG. Activating the sensor takes a little getting used to, but it worked well for me.

www.WingedShadow.com

An excellent show, and I’ll certainly be back next year!

Want some photos and videos? I got ’em here:
http://thelocust.org/gallery/v/soaring/20060408toledo/

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