Winter got you down? Start your own Chicago Tech R/C Flight Club!

by John W Ostler
February 5, 2014

This weather sucks. Your team is ordering food delivered, taking Uber's, getting lost in snow banks, slipping on ice, getting towed and getting stuck in traffic. Without a legit spring break, we need an indoor sport to keep us all from going insane during this 6 month winter experience. As a result, last year Eight Bit Studios started our own indoor R/C flight club. It uses $20-25 Syma helicopters you can get from Amazon and it will change you (and your teams) life.

 

2014 Season

Welcome to this years Chicago Tech R/C Flight Club 2014. We have a very exciting year planned. This years season will run between Now-March 31st.

Games

Poll Race: In a round robin style tournament, players face off two at a time against one another to see who can take off, go around a series of obstacles and land the fastest. Those who collide or touch an object must return to the start position. A pilot who knocks out an opponent on purpose will be immediately disqualified from the tournament. When there is no fault by either party, both opponents must start at the beginning at the same time.

P.I.G.: Players perform skill and speed stunts in an attempt to outdo the rest of the competition. The first player verbally determines the stunt that must be performed. If performed successfully, each subsequent player must complete the stunt. If the player does not successfully perform their own stunt, the next pilot gets a chance to determine the stunt, and so on and so forth. Players who unsuccessfully perform the stunt get a letter. If any user receives 5 letters spelling the word PIG, that user is eliminated from play. To determine player turn, all players must land on a target. The distance from the target determines the player order. The last player with battery power and the least amount of letters wins. 

Wind Battle: In a round robin style tournament, players face off two at a time against one another to see who can keep their heli in the air the longest without hitting an object. Players can not collide their heli's, but they are allowed to effect the wind of their opponent. 

 

Choosing the right heli

There are several options, all with pros and cons for the various games. We decided to compile this list of helis we have experience with by Control: how adjustable they are in low, mid, and high flight situations, Speed: how fast they are in a complete forward motion, and Difficulty: how much training you'll need to get up and around doing stunts and landing in the office. Keep in mind that only 1 heli can be entered per game and that you should pick those that are meant for indoor use.

 

2013011017431894.jpg
Syma - S107G

Control: 6
Speed: 7
Difficulty: 5

This is the standard. The S107G, the heli that started it all. It's easy to learn to fly but a bit speedy, so you'll likely put it into the ceiling once or twice before you really get the hang of it. It comes in iCopter format for iOS devices (which aren't terribly responsive) and we have infrared controllers as well that will work on it. This model also comes in a lot of different colors: Blue, Red, Yellow, Gold/White, Black, and Lime Green.

2013011216372958.jpg
Syma - S107C

Control: 5
Speed: 6
Difficulty: 5

This is the standard. but WITH a camera that takes video and pics so you can record your great flights. The S107C is a S107G body with a camera underneath it. It's main benefits is that it's a bit slower and functions well in low flights near the ground because it has less powerful lift. 

2013011016571498.jpg
Syma - S800G

Control: 9
Speed: 8
Difficulty: 8

This is the first Syma heli that can go back, forth and side to side (yaw) while going straight. Great for advanced users as it is very agile and can perform some very intricate maneuvers. Just remember, with great power comes great crashability.

2013010917360340.jpg
Syma - S109G

Control: 8
Speed: 4
Difficulty: 5

This is one SMOOTH ride. Little lift and little speed but she purrs thru the air and is good as slower, small space maneuvers. It also has 2 front-facing LEDs which could be a factor if a P.I.G. challenge is done in the dark. 

2013011115065300.jpg
Syma - S026G

Control: 5
Speed: 9
Difficulty: 7

This baby is a racehorse. It tilts both rotors forward to get it moving. Because of it's power, it can prove to be hard to control in small spaces, but will dominate in speed challenges and poll races. Landing can be tricky and you can over-tilt it during turns in flight if you're going too fast. One additional benefit, it runs on a different frequency and will fly along side 2 other copters. The rest of the copters can only be on an A or B channel.

Repairs and 'The Garage'

The three parts that typically go are the drive shaft that connects the wings, the weight balancer, and some of gears that are attached to the electric motors. We recommend buy spare parts packages on Amazon. They range from $4-10.  In a bad crash, the plastic shaft attachment will break. Almost without fail. Here's how to replace it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XR9IMkmZvCw

Summary

Obviously, there are other copters in the product line and new ones just came out this year. So do some searching for Syma brand helicopters. We would not recommend the quadrocopters or any other that operate on radio frequencies, because typically in indoor use you'll lose control of them. But, that's up to you. We also haven't tried this first-hand, but the iCopters that are controlled with iOS devices typically have a little bit of latency. Just be aware that this may be a factor in the games.

 

Enjoy and let's have another great season in this endless winter!

 

Chicago startup guides

LOCAL GUIDE
Best Companies to Work for in Chicago
LOCAL GUIDE
Best Software Engineer Jobs in Chicago
LOCAL GUIDE
Coolest Offices in Chicago Tech
LOCAL GUIDE
Best Sales Jobs in Chicago
LOCAL GUIDE
Best Perks at Chicago Tech Companies
LOCAL GUIDE
Your Guide to Healthtech in Chicago
LOCAL GUIDE
Best Data Scientist Jobs in Chicago
LOCAL GUIDE
Best Marketing Jobs in Chicago