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Nov 11, 2014, 10:37 AM
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Larry Jolly's Avatar

If You Saw Interstellar......

If you happen to catch Interstellar the opening drone sequence was acomplished with an approximate 33% scale Predatorish miniature completed by a group of So Cal RC Soaring Modelers.
The Miniatures were constructed last Summer, and were shipped to Canada for filming.
I would like thank my team for all their hard work that made this project possible...
Ben Clerx, James Turner, Dennis Brandt, Dean McCoy, Chris Jolly, and Anya Ellis all pitched in, and helped get things done in time..
I am gratefull that Ben took over the lead when I was stricken with a serious medical issue half way through the project.
Besides his day job sitting up front in a Boeing 777, he is also an excellent engineer and is the one that tackled that darn spindly landing gear..
The platform is a very good flyer, and the designs were a delight to fly. The team faced some serious challenges on set, including flying the miniature from the back seat of a filiming helicopter, taking off from remote locations from a road and then flying several minutes to the filming location, and taking off and immediately being hammered by 50 mph winds as a gust front came down right on top of us.. But then what would life be without a few challenges...
Last edited by Larry Jolly; Nov 11, 2014 at 08:53 PM.
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Nov 11, 2014, 11:07 AM
Registered User
Very cool Larry. Thanks for sharing. Good to know not everything is computer animation.

Nov 11, 2014, 12:15 PM
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R2R's Avatar
It's super-inspiring to see the skill and talents we use in our hobby applied to something very visible (and impressive) in mainstream culture. Kudos to you and your team, Larry!

Nov 11, 2014, 12:24 PM
Detail Freak
target's Avatar
Nov 11, 2014, 01:11 PM
May the Wind Always be Good


Thanks for Sharing Real Modeling is not dead.....Mr. Kite .....
Nov 11, 2014, 03:39 PM
Registered User
Yep....saw the film last night.....I did think it could of been your work(and team)...excellent..and good film
Nov 11, 2014, 03:55 PM
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prondel's Avatar
Congratulations Larry and the team !

I saw Interstellar on Sunday.

2h49 long , but it is so good that you don't see the time passing !

About the sequence with the drone, I thought it was filmed in Los Banos

The movie is truly excellent !


Nov 11, 2014, 04:16 PM
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Lenny970's Avatar
A cool project Larry!
Can you tell us a little about the radio setup and power system?

Nov 11, 2014, 04:25 PM
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R.M. Gellart's Avatar
Like Lenny, what is in it, I am guessing electric power and relatively light for something that big?

Great job guys!
Nov 11, 2014, 08:37 PM
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Avaldes's Avatar
VERY cool guys!
Nov 11, 2014, 09:15 PM
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Larry Jolly's Avatar
The Drones were approximate 33% scale, netting an 18ft wingspan. They were Electric powered using Neu propulsion sytems. The landing gear was modified Robarts intially electric but changed to pneumatics on set. The construction was bagged blue foam wings and tails carbon skinned. James led this effort and did a wonderful job. I did the fuselage plug, molds , and parts. Ben did virtually everything else. The aircraft was flown with a JR 11X on V tail, ailerons, flaps, throttle, and nose gear steering. Ben used a 12X for the landing gear and all the doors. We programmed it, so that fail safe was with everything up. I was too busy getting the things airborne and in orbit as I climbed in the back of the helicopter to give chase, to actuate the gear in the proper sequence.
All filming was done in Calgary.. Intially we promised 15 minutes duration but on the last day of filming we had to triple the battery load as I had to fly 9 miles to set, spend 15 minutes flying in front of the actors at the reservoir site then get back in the helicopter to fly back. The aicraft were 22 pounds in the intial configuration, but on the last day it was pushing 45 pounds.
From day one we told them that the landing gear was going to be a problem. It was strictly a runway operation.. In this case we flew off farm roads in the Calgary area. The last take off was on a 2 lane road with snowplow stakes 22 ft apart,and only one side of the street suitable for a departure or approach.. The span was 18feet and with a very high 45 pound gross the landing gear was taxed and the 16" prop gave anemeic acceleration. It got off just before a bridge that narrowed, and Iwas very happy to see a positive climb rate. Looking back if I knew what I was up against I would have opted for a gas motor. LJ
Last edited by Larry Jolly; Nov 12, 2014 at 08:51 AM.
Nov 11, 2014, 09:52 PM
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R.M. Gellart's Avatar
What a cool project, and those tires are really small.

Nov 11, 2014, 11:47 PM
Registered User
Nice to get this movie in the can, and nice to know that Larrys last movie won't be Stuart Little! And also nice to show there are still movie models that aren't computer generated. If Larry keeps showing he can make fuselage plugs this well, we'll have to transfer the nickname "The Shaper" to Larry! And I can completely retire!
Last edited by s2000; Nov 12, 2014 at 12:04 AM.
Nov 12, 2014, 04:06 AM
Registered User
Larry, do you happen to remember the name of the reservoir that the drone flew over? I live in the area and think it was the Old Man Dam, but I can't be sure.

I can appreciate your description of the winds. The area is famous for it. Here's an article on the Cowley Wave: which is a unique weather/wind phenomena that glider's have come from all over the world to experience. There is a rich history of non-conventional flight in this area that your drone flight will definately add too.
Last edited by swade; Nov 12, 2014 at 04:12 AM.
Nov 12, 2014, 07:06 AM
David Olson's Avatar
Now I have to see the movie! Thanks for the backstory, very interesting.

Hope your team's creation ends up in a proper aviation museum.

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