Frank Noll (L),
of Hobbico, has
jumped on the
Frank and the
author are flying
a small aerobatic
with simple FPV
gear. Jason Cole
(out of the frame) is
spotting for them.
This is the new Spektrum VA2510 micro FPV
camera from Horizon Hobby. It cannot get any
easier than this one.
The next big thing in RC
Ihave been in the RC industry for a while. Even back in the early days, I was always asked the same question by magazines and RC companies: “What do you think the next big thing is?” When I entered RC, 3-D was not only new—it
was scary to many of the older hobbyists. At that time, the chant was that 3-D
would ruin the hobby.
When I worked at Hobby Lobby (the retailer that changed the RC industry),
even that company didn’t trust 3-D. It took me six months to talk the business
into carrying one 3-D airplane. After it went to number one in sales, 3-D airplanes
were a big part of what Hobby Lobby sold.
The more recent “next big thing” was quadcopters. The whole concept was such
a departure from winged flight that I think it took many by surprise, but there is
no denying that quadcopters have dominated the market.
Last year I was again asked, “What’s
next, Jim T.?” Let me preface this by
saying that the answer to that question
is relative. What’s next for me might
not be what’s next for you, but if you
fall squarely in the RC demographic,
you could be able to predict what
other like-minded RC pilots might also
like and move to.
Last year, my answer was FPV
racing—things have certainly moved
that way. I think we still have a way to
go before we see FPV racing at every
field, but it certainly hasn’t let up.
That brings us to now. I was out on
the road meeting with companies and,
interestingly, no one asked me what
the next big
I think it is
trying to catch
up to what
is hot at this
I do have an opinion about what this
year might have in store for today’s
RC pilots. Although the market has
responded to the multirotor demand
with a slew of options, I think there
are many RC modelers who are simply
more comfortable with winged flight.
I have a cornucopia of FPV-capable
250- to 550-size quadcopters. I’m now
looking into the 150- and 180-size
quadcopters, but multirotors are not
what I’m excited about this year.
If you were to ask me today what
the next big thing will be, I would say,
without a doubt, winged FPV aircraft.
The whole concept of learning FPV
was a huge thing in itself. Then we had
to figure out what aircraft to put our
FPV rigs on.
I started out flying FPV with large
quadcopters, but I gradually realized
that I wanted to fly FPV with my
airplanes. That led to mounting full-house FPV/GPS rigs to large, intricate
airplanes made for FPV. Then I
wanted to go smaller, and started
mounting lighter FPV equipment to
EasyStar-type airplanes. My current
favorite is the Ready Made RC Surfer
85 Model Aviation MAY 2016
BORN TO FLY