Horizon Indoor 2013
In the Midwest, we have now entered indoor and building season. Each year it kicks off with the Horizon Indoor Electric Festival, formerly known as the JR Indoor, which takes place inside the Four Seasons Golf Dome in Columbus, Ohio. The 2013 dates were November 1-3.
This festival has been ongoing for 10 years, and consistently draws more than 200 pilots flying models inside the golf dome and making good use of the indoor waterway, Spektrum Lake.
Horizon Hobby, Hobbico, Luke’s RC Planes, Retro RC, Radical RC and several other vendors are on hand to show off their aircraft and aeromodeling accessories.
Although many of us enjoy indoor flying to remain active throughout the winter months, a few of the attendees pointed out that indoor season is their favorite time of year.
It is certainly enjoyable to attend indoor events and fly within large spaces, but thankfully, you can enjoy the thrill of indoor flight in your own home. Advances in the hobby have provided micro aircraft, helicopters and quadcopters that can operate in a large living room.
One of the products that caught my attention at the Horizon Indoor was the Estes Proto X, which I have since added to my micro air force. At a scant 0.4 ounces and 1.8 x 1.8 inches, it’s the smallest quadcopter I’ve ever flown.
Don’t let its size fool you into thinking that the Proto X is difficult to see and fly indoors. It isn’t. The tiny quadcopter is equipped with highly visible LEDs that aid in orientation. The Proto X is extremely stable, and it provided a lot of enjoyment to eager pilots of varying skill levels who lined up in the office to give it a try.
The Proto X comes with a small 2.4GHz radio, a USB charge cable and four extra propellers, two gray and two black. Not included are the two AAA batteries required to power the tiny transmitter.
In flight, our Proto X only required two clicks of trim and it was hovering with minimal drift. Although it is tame enough to easily fly in a small space, it is also an agile machine that can be zipped around larger, open spaces.
The Proto X provides enough enjoyment to make you wonder where the 5 minutes you’ve been flying it went in such a hurry. The Proto X lets you know it’s time to land when the LEDs begin to flash. This handy warning allows the pilot enough time to maneuver the model into a final landing without the immediate loss in power that is common among so many other micro quadcopters. At $39.99 and a couple of batteries, it is the most economical quadcopter I own.