A Visit to the AMA Expo 2012 in Ontario California - RC Groups
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A Visit to the AMA Expo 2012 in Ontario California

I had a lot fun and got to see and shoot pictures and video of a number of interesting products. I found a lot of things I want in 2012. There was something for everyone.


Something for Everyone

I have been going to the AMA Expo for a number of years, and sometimes the trip there has been as memorable as the Expo. But fog, snow and sand storm have not yet stopped me from visiting the Expo. This year, the trip was easy as my friend Dick Andersen and I flew down from northern CA for the day and then flew home. We were both glad to have made the trip. In fact, the Expo itself was probably the most enjoyable one for me to date. I was able to see the new "Coming Soon" products I had on my list of items I hoped to see. I also saw many planes just released that interested me as well. I saw some great flying indoors and got some of it on videotape and ran into some friends I hadn't seen in years. But rather than talk about what I saw, let me show you some of what there was to see at this year's Expo. Per previous requests, I have posted some links for those interested to learn more about the products I saw at the Expo.

RCGroups Authors

Shortly after arriving at the Ontario Convention Center at about 8:40 in the morning I ran into fellow author, Don Shields. Next I ran into fellow author Dr Who, AKA Jay Smith. Jay doesn't have much time to review for RCGroups as he is now the editor of Model Aviation Magazine. It is nice to see my fellow RCGroups reviewers doing so well.

Hobby People

Hobby People was present at the Expo, and they had their traditional end of the aisle booth from which they were selling a variety of goodies with some nice AMA Expo Specials. One of the nice things about Hobby People is the specials are also available on theirwebsite website and at their stores in Southern CA and Nevada.

Rotor Concepts HPQ1 Quad Car

Rotor Concepts put on two very nice demonstration sessions at the show with Patrick Le flying. When not flying he was selling the HPQ1 RTF with 2.4 GHz radio in a nice aluminum travel case. A minimal amount of labor is needed for final set-up at the field. They sell two optional light sets, a camera mount and several different color car bodies for the HPQ1. Patrick was doing his demo flights with the option car body with lights which requires inverting the motors to make the pusher powered rather than tractor powered as sold. I was impressed by the vehicle and the price, and I got one to review. I later learned that two of my fellow club members in Stockton also bought them. I have followed up and checked out their Website and learned that they have a number of videos to take me through assembly, conversion to the car body, adding lights and much more. They have a larger model- the HPQ2, but that model was not being demonstrated at the show. If you are interested in learning more about quads I recommend you check out their website and see the multiple instructional videos and pictures there. Look for my review of the HPQ1 coming soon to E-Zone.


Banana Hobbies

Banana Hobbies had a nice display of planes at their booth area and two planes in particular caught my attention. They have a very nice B-17 selling for just under $300.00 that has about an 80" wingspan, four brushless motors, flaps and working retracts. They are getting a very large B-25 Douglas in February that will sell for about $400.00 but I couldn't find it on their website. In the flying area they were demonstrating their UFO which is coaxial powered and features different colored LEDs that look pretty cool in flight. It is coming in March and is scheduled to sell for just under $130.00. They were also flying a new fixed pitch helicopter, the Razor 200, that is coming this month and will be just under $130.00 complete and comes in two colors, red and green.

While Banana Hobbies flew demonstration flights of the UFO and the Razor 200 the most interesting flights were with this little F-16 pocket rocket. (Kids, don't try this at home!)


Some of the Many Vendors and Tables at the 2012 Expo


Hobbico was present at the Expo with a nice display and informative representatives to answer questions. I got to see several products that are scheduled for upcoming reviews here in RC Groups. They had the Mr. Mulligan on display, which Don Shields is in the process of reviewing. I was much more impressed with the plane seeing it in person than I had been from the previous pictures I had seen in ads. I look forward to hearing what Don has to say about it and seeing the pictures he, Terry and Jon come up with for his review. I got my first good look at their new 38.5" wingspan, Receiver Ready, Gee Bee Racer. It looked very nice, and I am very happy to say I will be reviewing it in the near future. It has some interesting features that I will cover in the review.

I saw the Flyzone Fokker Dr-1 with its 14" wingspan flown by four excellent pilots in the flight center! This was very special for me as I am just finishing up my review of this plane. Seeing two of them being flown together was great. and I got some video of them that I will use in my review. Then two of the pilots started to do some Dog Fighting against each other the Dr-1s. I kept shooting video and want to share the video showing "combat." I was focused on the planes but I saw Hoot Gibson flying with/against another speaker for the show and was told it was Dan Landis. After the flights were over I asked Hoot Gibson what he thought of the plane and he answered: "This is the first time I have flown one of these. It turns on a dime! Its terrific!" He was nice enough to let me quote him. I didn't catch all of the dog fight on video but I hope you enjoy the video of this "terrific" plane. Look for my review of it in E-Zone very soon.


While at the Hobbico booth I got my first look at the new Helimax Novus Fixed Pitch N200 helicopter. It is scheduled for a February release and will be the largest helicopter to date in the Novus line-up. It will be reviewed here in E-Zone. It comes with a 2.4GHz radio system, a 45 degree offset flybar control system and of special interest to me the tail rotor motor is mounted on the main frame under the helicopter's canopy and the power is transferred via a ball bearing-supported tail drive shaft. A very large cooling fin is on this tail rotor motor so that should help it function properly.


A major component of the AMA convention is the speakers they bring to share their experiences and explain aspects of our hobby. In past years Futaba supplied a speaker who explained the workings of the different 2.4 GHz systems with emphasis on their FASST system. Hobby Lobby had Jason explain how to select the correct size brushless motor for your planes. This year Lesli Monforton, chief pilot for NASA DFRC Droid was one of the speakers as was Dan Landis who spoke about his flying experiences including flying UAVs. Other speakers this year talked about model building to aerobatic show pilot, flying the H-1 and the The RC Flight Source App for the iPhone. When you come to the Expo, I strongly recommend you pick at least one presentation at a minimum. I have always found them interesting.


The Cermark booth was pretty busy on Saturday. They had some terrific bargains on a couple of jets and some other planes and Expo discounts on several of their newer products. I was drawn to two twin engine planes they had on display and for sale. They had a good size Cessna 421 with electric retracts and a large DC-3 with a 73" wingspan. ((Click on "Vehicles" and then on the picture of the DC_3.)) It had mechanical retracts and both came with brushless motors and were receiver ready so they would be quick to get in the air. I understand the DC-3 is a very nice flyer and I look forward to seeing it flying at the Arizona Electric Festival where they hope to have three flying together in formation. If they do I will get some video of it in my annual AEF article. For now here are some still pictures of the planes.

Innov8tive Designs Inc.

Lucian was at the Expo and had his wonderful line of brushless motors and controllers available for purchase but he also had a new product line that was being demonstrated in the flight center by Darren Hauptman. It is "Next Level Multi-Rotors" and they currently have two models with a 500 mm model and a 650mm model. They shot their own video at the Expo but posted below is some video I shot of the Next Level Quad-Copter.


Swap Shop

The AMA sold all the spaces they had for the swap shop, and one of my friends found some little pieces he was delighted to find and buy. I was so busy with everything else I didn't make it in there but I saw people with some old kits and stuff which I assumed they bought at the swap meet.

Xtreme Power Systems

My friends from Xtreme Power Systems were at the Expo. I will see them in action later this month at the Arizona electric Festival where they fly some nicely powered planes and run an informal speed contest on Friday afternoon. They brought a very nice jet to this year's show that has three working monitors in the cockpit. I will discuss them more in my Arizona Electric Festival article in about a month.


Horizon Hobby

Horizon Hobby had their normal large display of products in the convention center with an informative staff to answer questions and they had a very large Demonstration Flight Team that put on excellent flight demonstrations that were well planned to get in as much flying as they could during their flight demonstration times. It was nice to get a first look in person of many of their new products that are coming soon. Rather then try and describe them in detail I have spent my time editing my photos and videos of their products.

Blade mQX Micro Quad Copter

My special thanks to Jeff from the Horizon Hobby demo flight team for demonstrating for me the recently announced Blade mQX micro Quad-Copter with AS3X that is currently scheduled to be released in February. The mQX can be set-up and flown in two configurations. One where the body is facing forward between two props and the + configuration where the body faces right down one of the motors. It will take me some stick time to figure out the difference even though I got to see both set-ups fly at the Expo.


UMX Hyper Taxi with AS3X Technology

It was nice to get to see the UMX Hyper Taxi in person on display at the Horizon Hobby display booth. Listening to the comments of fellow flyers the jury is still out on this one with some pilots because it looks so different. I was on the fence myself until I saw it flown by Jeff of the Horizon Hobby Flight Demonstration Team. I have flown and owned the Atmopod an earlier and larger design by another company that was somewhat similar to the Hyper Taxi but the flight characteristics of the Hyper Taxi are very different. The Hyper Taxi is much lighter and quicker and the AS3X appeared to keep everything very smooth in actual operation. A friend at Horizon said I would be impressed when I saw it in action and she was right. I will have to wait until February when they become available to get my hands on one.


The New AS3X Helicopters: mCP X v2 and mSR X

I have already purchased both of these new helicopters as I am not involved with any reviews for them so this is my chance to share my two cents. If you are looking for a helicopter that will hover pretty much on its own then get the original mSR. If you want to be hands on in flying get the new mSR X. I think it is a tremendous helicopter but requires more attention from the pilot and is more hands on flying and improves my skill more than the original mSR. With the mCP X v2 I want to say mine has never been flown like the one in the demo video below. I am working my way up with my skill and thumb response but the Horizon demonstration pilot flies in a way entirely foreign to me. It is nice to see what a good pilot can do with the mCP X v2. I just want to let less experienced intermediate pilots know it can be flown and enjoyed with less skill and more smoothly than shown in the video if that is desired or like me if that is all that is presently possible for the pilot. Watch the video and follow the jumping helicopter.


UMX Gee Bee R2 BNF

The new UMX Gee Bee R2 UMX Gee Bee R2 captured a lot of attention on display at the Horizon Hobby booth and when being flown at the flight center. It really needs more space to fly making this more of an outdoor plane than an indoor plane. That said we spectators were very happy to get to see it fly in person. I over heard several people discussing whether they were going to get this plane or the new larger Gee Bee coming from Great Planes ElectriFly later this month and discussed above. Great to have such choices in our hobby! Several Gee Bee lovers said they plane to get both. I think that is an excellent solution.


Air Shark and a Separate Foamie Plane Crash

An Air Swimmer Shark showed up at the flight center and I caught a little footage of it flying at the far end of the room and then caught a small crash of a 3D foam plane. Sorry, no other info on these.


My thanks to Dick Andersen for his help in staging planes for pictures and helping with equipment for this review.

Last edited by Angela H; Jan 18, 2012 at 04:55 PM..
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Jan 18, 2012, 07:04 AM
Registered User
Michael Heer's Avatar
Horizon Hobby released the mQX yesterday. This is well ahead of the 4 weeks mentioned to me at the AMA show. The sooner the better and the models I saw looked great in the air at the Expo. Mike Heer
Jan 18, 2012, 11:16 AM
wrong descision, wrong time
I'm only seeing markup in this article, not any pictures or videos. I'm running chrome on Linux (fedora 15).

Jan 18, 2012, 11:28 AM
Registered User
Michael Heer's Avatar
It is showing fine on Mozilla Firefox here at work and was fine on Google Chrome at home. Mike H
Jan 18, 2012, 02:08 PM
Fill'er Up!
mattyhawk's Avatar
No good on IE
Jan 18, 2012, 02:27 PM
Registered User
Michael Heer's Avatar
I have received notice that they were working on the system this past weekend. They are aware there are some problems and they are working on them. That is for our tech wizards which excludes me. Mike H
Jan 18, 2012, 02:31 PM
I hate waiting for parts
Mike_Then's Avatar
It's working fine for me and I'm on IE7 behind a corporate firewall. It's been displaying correctly for me the entire time. Try clearing your cache and reload the page.
Jan 18, 2012, 02:39 PM
wrong descision, wrong time
Cleared cache and tested in firefox 8, still just see markup.
Jan 18, 2012, 03:42 PM
Registered User
rpstar's Avatar
Just seing markup on Google Chrome on Mac.
Jan 18, 2012, 04:40 PM
Angela H's Avatar
Just double checking that everyone is seeing this OK now!
Jan 18, 2012, 04:46 PM
wrong descision, wrong time
I still seeing markup code on chrome and firefox.

Jan 18, 2012, 04:58 PM
Angela H's Avatar
Refresh your page for me and let me know what you see...
Jan 18, 2012, 05:08 PM
wrong descision, wrong time
There we go, it seems fixed now. Thanks for your work.

Jan 18, 2012, 05:14 PM
Angela H's Avatar
Woo hoo!
Jan 18, 2012, 10:19 PM
Just fly,its just money.
Anyone know or have anymore pictures of the plane under "aircraft" next to the transmitter picture?

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