Published by Andrea Hartstein The Indoor Aeroplane The Indoor Aeroplane

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Welcome to the Indoor Aeroplane pages!
This site is focused on the Swedish indoor free flight flying scene, although there will be some outdoor freeflight, and possibly some international content too. The site is designed to work well in any browser (i.e basic HTML, no javascript), but with the advent of personal high speed internet connections, I have taken the opportunity to include photos of quite high resolution in the photo gallery.

What is indoor free flight?
Most of the visitors here are probably already active indoor flyers themselves, but for those of you who are not, here's a short "what's it all about"-section.
By flying indoors it is possible to build smaller and more fragile models than can be used outdoors. The absence of wind and turbulence make flight patterns more predictable, and allows scale models with marginal stability to fly successfully. In addition, models won't fly away, as sometimes happen with outdoor free flight models. On the other hand, the space available puts an upper limit on model size and weight. The smallest models can be flown in an ordinary living room, but most models will require more space, such as an indoor sports centre.
Until a few years ago, indoor flying generally meant only free flight (unsteered) models, but nowadays the availability of ultralight radio control (RC) units have made indoor RC-models very popular. The freeflight models are often rubber powered, while small electric motors are the common choice for the RC-planes. Another power source is CO2-engines: engines powered by compressed carbon dioxide. There are also gliders, launched either by hand or by using a rubber catapult.

When it comes to free flight models there are two basic types, duration models and scale models. The duration models are built for the sole purpose of flying as long as possible, and are typically extremely lightweight constructions covered with transparent mylar film. Such models can weigh less than a gram, and can fly for over half an hour on the power of a twisted rubber band (the world record is actually over 60 minutes). The scale models are miniatures of full size aeroplanes, and are heavier and do not fly for as long time as the duration models. A popular type is the peanut class: rubber powered models where the wingspan must not exceed 33 cm. Such a model will typically fly for about a minute.

A common question about indoor free flight models is "Don't they just fly straight into the wall and crash?". The answer is that they are trimmed to fly in circles, and if they do happen to hit a wall, they (at least the duration models) are light and slow enough to avoid damage. In addition, it is actually possible to steer even a free-flying model if it flies slow enough. By touching a wingtip with either a long pole, or a string held aloft by a balloon, lightweight duration models can be made to change direction if they are heading towards a wall or some other danger. Scale models can not be steered in this fashion, they fly much too fast.
Free flight models offer interesting challenges in both building and trimming. I hope these pages may interest you enough to try it yourself!

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