Test flights of the 2-foot-diameter Eyeball
included various maneuvers to refine
control-loop tuning. The Eyeball flies
well and created a media stir with many
believing this was a political statement.
Nope, the author was just having fun.
Left: This shows the nearly completed
Eyeball ready for its first flight. Note that
the upper and lower silhouettes have not
been attached for its initial flight testing.
points and ties the whole structure to the quadcopter frame.
To keep the cost of this build reasonable, I use 1/2-inch wood
dowels for the Doghouse skeleton. I get many strange looks
sitting on the floor at Home Depot, going through handfuls of
dowels and trying to find the straight ones.
The quadcopter cross frame takes some woodworking
skill. The frame is made of two square carbon-fiber tubes
with a four-layer plywood sandwich at
the center intersection for controller
mounting and three layers of plywood
sandwiched around the carbon tubes at
each motor-mount location.
For added rigidity, carbon tubes run
from motor mount to motor mount
around the quadcopter frame. The
quadcopter frame is epoxied with the
plywood gussets to the dowel skeleton at
the front edge of the Doghouse.
Snoopy’s 17-inch figure is hollow
and carved from the 1-pound foam
block. From the trailer, I took tracings
of Snoopy from the front and side and
cut the block of foam to conform to
the two silhouettes. I had to conjure
my inner artist and remove any foam
that was not a part of Snoopy.
After hollowing, my Snoopy weighed
in at 3. 5 ounces. To help him search for
the Red Baron, I animated his head to
turn left and right during flight. Carving
a 3-D Snoopy is the hardest task of this
build, but in 3-D he really looks great
on top of the Doghouse. If you try this, go slowly and have a
second block standing by just in case. When mistakes are made,
unlike stone, you can glue foam back in place.
Flying an IFO is where all the hours pay off. When I pull an
IFO from my car, the amazement and questions of curiosity
begin and are quickly followed by screams of joy at liftoff and
conclude at landing with infectious smiles from both kids and
adults. This seems to occur no matter how many times I bring
the same IFO to the field. Most children want to touch and
adults want selfies.
Snoopy, the Monster Can, R2-D2, the TARDIS, the Eyeball,
the Quadrocket, and the Christmas Tree are all gentle fliers. I
set mine up to fly as airplanes and the hover is similar to a 3-D
aircraft hover, but much easier. Transition to horizontal flight is
intuitive—add throttle and push over.
Cruise speed is generally at less than half throttle with
turns performed primarily with the rudder and some cross
controlling with the opposite aileron. Landings require a spotter
to keep the top-heavy IFO from falling over at touchdown or a
catcher to pluck the IFO from the air while it is hovering.
With IFOs, transport and storage are a challenge. Snoopy,
in particular, takes up much room and requires special
transportation. To transport him, I have to remove the seats in
To make transporting and storing Snoopy and his
Doghouse easier, I’ve designed a slightly smaller version
made from Depron foam. This smaller version, The Flying
Depron Doghouse, is described in detail with a build log and
instructions on RCGroups.
Additionally, the The Flying Depron Doghouse parts are
available from Hoosier Cutout Service. Although the Depron
shapes are easy to cut, the routing for the carbon skeleton is
difficult and time consuming. As a bonus, Hoosier Cutout
Service provides interlocking parts.
If you are interested in seeing videos and learning more
about my IFOs, go to my You Tube channel (search for Otto
Dieffenbach) or any of my build logs on RCGroups. You can
also contact me through my website: Flyguy Promotions.
I want to thank the many photographers and fellow modelers
who provided photos for this article: Walter Wallenborn for his
Snoopy, Eyeball, and Mini TARDIS pictures; and Ed Hanley
and Bill Paul for all of the others.
Now go out and shoot down the Red Baron, but you better
hurry. I may find him first!
(Editor’s note: We intend no infringement on any license or
copyright, and simply look to highlight what multirotor aircraft
and the technology behind them has made possible.)
Hoosier Cutout Service
45 Model Aviation DECEMBER 2015