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Arizona Electric Festival 2010

Michael Heer shares some of the fun and some of the planes from this year's Arizona Electric Festival!



The sixth annual Arizona Electric Festival was hosted by the Arizona Model Aviators and held at the Superstition R/C airfield in Mesa near Apache Junction Arizona from Thursday, January 28, through Sunday the 31st. This is the third time I have attended, and I hope to go again in 2011. I have put together a mix of a few still pictures and lots of videotape clips to try and share a bit of the feeling of the event. While I can show you the site and some of the people, planes and helicopters, I can't really convey to you how warm and friendly the hosts and fellow contestants are at this Fun Fly event. It is a well run event, with a nice pit area with electricity to charge batteries, good food onsite, a nice long runway, you get to fly in front of the beautiful Superstition Mountains, and there are nice vendors with interesting products and pretty good prices.

Thursday started a little slowly. Friday afternoon late there were speed and then night flying Friday night. Saturday they had a great raffle and demo flights during the lunch hour. On Sunday, the event winds down as people head for home. All of that and great people to meet as well. I hope you enjoy this little taste of the 2010 festival.


This year I again went with my good friend and flying buddy Dick Andersen. It was Dick's fourth AEF, and we planned for this event in advance. We decided after the 2009 AEF to jointly make a Wow B-17 to fly at this year's event. We then procrastinated until we were working nightly on it through most of January to get the plane done. We looked at how much room we had in the van and what planes we wanted to bring. Almost all of January was foggy and/or rainy where we live, and I had several reviews that were complete except for some pictures and video which had a lot to do with my decision making process. We made our motel reservations and then set our departure time from Stockton so we would have time to visit the Commemorative Air Force Museum in Mesa on Wednesday.

Road Trip

We were planning on making the drive as quickly as possible with most of it at night on the trip there. We didn't plan to stop and smell any roses until we got to the Commemorative Air Force Museum in Mesa. I was planning on sharing the driving since I am only able to catch short naps in a car, but I also did something different on the ride down: I did most of the assembly of a Multiplex Merlin electric sailplane. The full story is covered in my review of the Multiplex Merlin. I finished the plane during the drive, and we did make it to the museum and saw Sentimental Journey, the full size B-17 we had modeled our Wow B-17 after.

Thursday at the Arizona Electric Festival

The sky remained gray, and while it didn't really rain, it kept spitting most of the day. There was lots of flying but poor lighting for videos and still pictures so I only took a few videos and no stills on Thursday.


Thursday Night Dinner at the Heart Attack Grill

A few of us gathered for dinner Thursday night at the Heart Attack Grill for great food and good company in a politically incorrect restaurant.


Friday Flights




Speed Runs

Jim Drew of Xtreme Power Systems offered to use the radar gun on planes on Friday afternoon. My camera batteries need a recharge so I shot no pictures but instead relaxed and watched. Here are the results Jim posted here in E-Zone.

Here are the MPH results (in order of competing) for each of the 3 passes:

  • 1 - Brad, F16 - 89.0 / 92.9 / 89.8
  • 2 - Clay, V-tailed T-jet - 92.6 / DNF / DNF
  • 3 - Paul, Twister - 99.9 / 105.4 / 112.5
  • 4 - Mike, Starfire - 106.6 / 106.7 / 108.6
  • 5 - Joshua, Charger - 161.5, 154.7, 152.8
  • 6 - Matt, P-51 - 108.7 / 101.5 / 106.2
  • 7 - Roy, F16 - 105.3 / 109.0 / 115.9
  • 8 - Brad, Bearcat - 112.1 / DNF / DNF
  • 9 - Chad, Kelly - 117.1 / 118.5 / 104.4
  • 10 - Jim, Deuces Wild - 113.8 / 113.1 / 110.2

One of the main rules for this event is that you are not allowed to go full throttle until after you have turned down the straight and are level. Brad's Bearcat had severe flutter and impacted dead center of the runway and skidded 168 feet before coming to a stop. Had this flutter occurred during the turn, there is no doubt that this plane could have been in the pits.

The aftermath of Brad's Bearcat's flutter captured by RCGroups member Xpress, AKA Tanner Curtis, who has given permission to share his pictures.

My thanks to Jim Drew for adding to the fun.

[tongue in cheek]Jim, next time dig a slit trench at the end of the runway center line. Then you can get the planes as they come directly at you. No more angle issue! Take safety precautions if you feel the need. Be sure to return the end of runway to pristine condition when you are finished.[/tongue in cheek]

Friday Night Flying


Saturday Flying

Saturday is always the biggest day at the festival, and this year was no exception with 200 pilots and about 800 aircraft. With seven pilot stations, there were always aircraft in the air. They had their demonstration flights at noon and a wonderful raffle, and I once again cleverly drew a nice small prize of some excellent Hitec metal geared servos. No big bulky plane kit for me to have to pack in the van... maybe next year. The vendors and manufacturers were once again very generous, and everyone got a prize worth at least the admission charge. I am listing the reported vendors. My friend Dick and I came home with things from 9 of the vendors. I especially love the night lights I bought from Gorilla Bob's RC.

The List of Vendors Attending the Event:

  • ADC Hobbystore
  • Aero-Model
  • Airshow RC
  • Airtronics/Hobby People
  • All E RC LLC
  • BMK Designs
  • Cermark
  • DW Foamies
  • Electric Jet Factory
  • EMS (Electronic Model System)
  • E-Power RC/DC Power Products
  • Fusion Packs
  • Golden Skies RC
  • Gorilla Bobs RC
  • Hitec RCD USA Inc
  • Hacker Brushless USA
  • Innov8tive Designs
  • Jtech Laser
  • Lee Ulinger Models
  • Little Screamers
  • Mountain Models
  • Pure-Tech Products
  • Peak Electronics
  • RCHotDeals
  • RxForFun
  • Select Hobbies
  • Stevens Aero Model
  • Tuff Shed
  • Viper Hobbies
  • Vision Hobbies
  • Xtreme Power Systems

Saturday's First and Last Flights, On and Off Tape

There were, by my count, nine E-flite Eratix 3D planes at the event, and I think five or more of them came down from Colorado where I think it is a law that you must have an Eratix if you fly 3D. They were nice guys, and I hope I IDíd my videos of them correctly. My first video on Saturday was of an Eratix, and you can see the effect and hear the wind we had early Saturday. The second video was of a giant ASM Cessna 182 with a 10 foot wing span. I didn't realize this sequence until I was editing my video. Saturday afternoon late I had put my cameras away, and there were only two planes in the sky, an Eratix and the Cessna 182. I looked up to see the Cessna smack into the Eratix. Scratch one Eratix! The Cessna didn't come out unscathed but it was repairable. The Eratix went into the circular file. I have no pilot information for either plane.



The new Multiplex Merlin

On Friday, I had tried to videotape the Multiplex pilot flying this new little pocket rocket. In Fridayís skies, which were cloudy when he flew, I was unsuccessful for three reasons: 1) It was a fast little bugger and hard to track when I zoomed in. 2) It was very small in my camera's eye monitor when I didn't zoom in. 3) The camera's focus would search and move with the clouds in the background. On Saturday I tried again and videotaped two flights of their hopped up Merlin with the 22mm brushless motor recommended in Germany for the Merlin. It was using a 3-cell, 850 mAh 45C battery pack. Their hopped up Merlin had about twice the amp draw of my Merlin with the USA recommended Himax motor and a 3-cell 430 mAh battery pack. Video of mine can be seen in Sunday's video with a zoom and a long glide. This video is a collection of the brief clips I was able to capture of the hopped up Merlin.


E-flite's electronic retracts

ParkZone has the new Habu jet, and E-flite has come out with new electronic retracts. Scott Todd added the electronic retracts to his Habu which comes with fixed landing gear. The retracts made a very nice plane look great in the air.

Sunday Morning




That concludes this years effort to share the AEF experience. Even with over 1.2 gigs of media I missed more than I didnít. My thanks to the Arizona Model Aviators for hosting another great event.

My thanks to Dick Andersen for his help videotaping my Merlin, to pilots for sharing their information., and to RCGroups and our editor Angela for letting me do this article. There are lots more pictures and some great videos over in the events section under the Arizona Electric Festival thread.

**Author is not responsible for airplane data provided with the videos as the pilot's supplied the information. There must have been a bunch of doctors flying at the event judging by the handwriting.

Last edited by Angela H; Feb 10, 2010 at 03:40 PM..
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Feb 11, 2010, 03:02 PM
Foam abuser!
crxmanpat's Avatar
Excellent write up this year Mike. You've really outdone yourself this time with all the video and pics!

It was good seeing you again. Already looking forward to next year!

Feb 11, 2010, 03:04 PM
Registered User
pda4you's Avatar
Wow that is a bunch of coverage. My DSL is screaming for mercy.

Great job Mike
Feb 11, 2010, 03:34 PM
Xpress..'s Avatar
Great review Mike!
Feb 11, 2010, 05:32 PM
EDF all the way!
bruff's Avatar
Well done!
Feb 12, 2010, 10:15 PM
AMA 670207
Rudderman98's Avatar

Love that B-17!
Feb 12, 2010, 11:19 PM
Warbird crazy!
new2rc's Avatar
Great coverage Mike thanks for sharing!

That SBD is way cool.

Feb 14, 2010, 12:07 AM
badpilotto's Avatar
Wonderful coverage!!! I laughed for 10 minutes after reading your disclaimer at the end.

Thank you for all of the pics and vid.

Feb 15, 2010, 08:03 PM
Registered User
Michael Heer's Avatar

Update on four of the planes in the videos. Mike Heer

Some updated information on four of the most popular planes shown in my article. ASM Cessna 182 is available now. The B-17 should be available this summer and the SBD5 should be available 4th quarter. The Habu is available now.

1. B-17 that Larry Wolfe was flying from Jet Hangar is an ASM (Advanced
Scale Models) B-17. 120 inch wingspan, 4 KMS 4120/05 motors on 12x8 3 blade props. ESC's are castle. Each motor has its own 4000mAh Li-Po. This is a new ARF from ASM that will be available in the Summer

2. The big Cessna 182 is also from ASM. It is a 10ft wingspan. It is owned by John Bayshore from Costa Mesa CA. It has one of the bigger Axi motor power systems. This is a plane that is available now.

3. The SBD5 Dauntless is a prototype from Model Tech. It has a KMS 5321 motor and Castle ESC and is flying on 12 cells. It is a little under-propped but flies well. They will be propping up for more horsepower. This prototype is still in the works, They expect it to be updated and released 4th quarter of this year.

The reason that Larry Wolfe has been flying some of these new planes (ASM B17 and Model Tech Dauntless at this event) is because Jet Hangar hobbies is a Global/Airtronics Dealer and has been participating on some of the development of these new scale projects.

4. ParkZone Habu review is up live on E-Zone for more information on the plane.
Last edited by Michael Heer; Feb 15, 2010 at 08:58 PM.
Mar 09, 2010, 12:11 PM
I tell her RC is cheap !
carguy1994ca's Avatar
Didn't look at all your videos, but I wonder how they land the planes that have no landing gear. With that hard runway and sand everywhere else, must be hard on the belly.

Nice coverage of the event. Saw any cowboys and Indians in the mountains ?
Mar 09, 2010, 12:20 PM
Foam abuser!
crxmanpat's Avatar
Most of my planes are belly floppers. I use a product called 3M Anti Slip Tape to protect the bottoms of my planes (or zip ties hot glued to the foam if applicable). This stuff works great and the asphalt won't wear it down.


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