AMA Convention Show 2005 - RC Groups

AMA Convention Show 2005

Michael Heer covers this exciting annual show, focusing primarily on electrics...including lots of images, such as the protype of the GWS 3D Zero coming this spring being displayed by Nathia, a college student.

Article Thumbnail


I'm told the 2005 AMA Convention was a financial success despite the rainy weather at the convention all three days. It wasn't just the rain at the convention area that affected attendance, though....My friend Dick Andersen and I planned to arrive before the convention opened but that plan was crushed when we arrived at the Grapevine (a stretch of I-5 connecting California's central valley with LA) and found Highway Patrol closing it because of snow. The CHP radio advised us to go back to Bakersfield and take 58 east and then 14 south. We found the road to Bakersfield closed due to accidents and a blinding sand storm. With East and South closed we headed west and then took highway 33 to Ventura as it was marked open. The closed pass on the Grapevine is at about 4100 feet; the pass on 33 turned out to be at over 5100 feet. We drove 20 plus miles through the snow and made it past one pickup truck that slid off the road and several rock slides. From Ventura to Ontario we had some very wet freeways but we made it -- three hours behind schedule. With warnings of flash floods many smart modelers stayed home on Friday. Saturday the rain was lighter and attendance seemed pretty good until late afternoon. Sunday seemed light and it was a downpour when it was time to leave.

Sadly, weather wasn't my only problem. When I got home and started to write this report and edit a special video report on the Dragonflyfor the GWS Forum here in E Zone I opened up the zipper pouch on my camera bag and found some fliers where on Sunday afternoon I had two digital video tapes and a container with two 128MB Sony memory sticks. While one video tape was new and unused the other had about 40 minutes of helicopters and 3d planes in the Activity Center, a cute video of kids and dads making and flying stick and tissue planes, and part of an interview. One memory stick had pictures of every different brushless motor I saw at the show along with stills from a number of booths including GWS, Hitec/Multiplex, SoaringUSA, Airtronics, the swap shop and more. But fortunately, I still had lots of pictures and videos to share so hopefully you won't be too disappointed with what I have to share, even without the lost material.

The AMA show is the same format every year and it amazes me how much of the show people miss out on when I talk to them about the show. Everyone was aware of the Vendor booths where manufacturers mostly displayed but some sold as did the store booths. Across the hall was the swap meet on Friday and Saturday and in the main hall there was the static model display. Many missed seeing the Activity Center where at one end there was stick and tissue planes and on the other end there was RC flying of helicopters and 3D planes. In the middle was a car track but a lot of flying took place over it. Additionally, there was a series of seminars at the convention.


Saturday morning at 10:00 there was a speaker on the planes, real and model, used in the making of the movie "The Aviator." He spoke for his allotted hour and went twenty minutes over...those who attended had a great time. For example the Spruce Goose model was built in 60 days and weighed approximately 900 pounds. It had 8 special built electric motors to power it and it leaked badly. During the shoot it took on 30 gallons of water (about 240 pounds) that ran back and forth in the fuselage. The scene was shot in the harbor where the real plane flew and they waited for a day when the waves were scale for the model to what the actual waves were for the plane. The cost of that scene was $2,000,000.00 not counting the cost of the model. Those are just the facts I remember Sandy Frank sharing at dinner on Saturday night!

Another seminar was by Fred Marks from FMA and EP Kokum and was on the subject of Lipoly batteries and covered aspects of past, present and future expectations for these batteries. Those were just two of the many seminars available during Saturday.

Activity Center, stick and tissue

Besides the numerous stick and tissue planes on display this was the perfect place for a dad to take his children and they got to build a free plane and then they could fly it in the room. While I have some still pictures of the display table my video of the kids and dads build and flying is gone. Fortunately my earlier video of Matt Keennon flying his 4 foot wing was safely locked in my car. Several E Zone'rs requested to see this plane and so here it is in action.




I saw quite a few people buying the Lil Banchee. Fred Bronk bought one and got a Hacker motor for it as well from the Hacker booth. Note the different motors on two of the planes. I thought I may as well show all three colors; transparent red, purple and green.


The Space Scooter is an improved version of the Sky Scooter. The Magister is sold as both a lit and ready to fly plane complete with everything you need. Wingspan is 64 inches and the RTF is electric but it can be glow powered. Besides the planes their servos and their transmitters were getting a lot of attention. My transmitter pictures were lost but you can find information lots of places on the Hitec Optic 6 (review by Jim Bourke for RC Groups is already in process) and the Multiplex Evo 9 (Review by Andy Willitts is in process).

Castle Creations

Castle Creations, known for their high quality speed controllers and support and more recently the Mamba motor and speed controller for RC cars had a large banner as part of their booth announcing something new. But rather then me tell you, Patrick thought it would be best to have Shawn tell you the news!



GWS was running seminars for owners of their Mini Dragonfly helicopters at the show. Owners brought in their Dragonflys and Steve Lo adjusted them so they ran smoothly without over-heating the mixer. A video on this seminar is posted in the GWS Forum for Dragonfly owners. Demonstrations of the Dragonfly were being flown almost continuously during the show. Also on display in their booth were two Cargotran Quads (already reviewed by Andrew Willetts) in Coast Guard and Fat Albert paint schemes. This model will be available February with a recommended price of only $101.50 for the kit complete with four motors and props.

Also on display were a number of prototypes of the GWS 3D planes that are coming this year. The 3D Formosa will be available in February followed quickly by a variety of 3D warbirds starting with the Mustang. A FW 190 can be seen on the 3D video in the activity section below.

WARNING: Use GWS crystals in your GWS receivers. Some "bargain" crystals (not made by GWS) have been failing and people have been sending their receivers with these crystals to GWS USA. When checked the receiver has been fine but these crystals haven't been working. Thought i should pass on this information.

They say a picture is worth 10,000 words so I'll stop typing and post pictures of the Vendor area instead so you can see for yourself what was on display.

Inland Slope Racers ISR

Horizon Hobby

Besides the above photos look for the Tensor 4D biplane in the 3D video below and a future E Zone review. Horizon Hobby was not selling, just displaying, but they could have sold a hundred Tensor 4Ds at the show. It is a real eye-catcher and was a very popular flying model at the show. I also like their JR 9303 transmitter. George Voss will be doing a review of this outstanding new transmitter for LiftZone. I was so impressed with it, especially the mixes for sailplanes, that I bought one for myself.

(Pictures of JR 9303, Airtronics transmitters and Futaba transmitters, including the new 14 channel model, were on a memory stick that was stolen. I apologize for not having those pictures.)


I purchased a Sunracer for myself and they are shipping it to me. With the right motor combo it can do over 160 mph in level flight. That might be a little too much speed for me (maybe a lot too much speed for me) but I do plan to review my plane this year. They also sell a foam 3D plane called the Blade. Look for two of them in the 3D video below. They are white and one has red and the other yellow rip saw blades printed on them.

And More Vendors!

Sureflight asked to announce that Ron Smith of Marysville, CA won the drawing for the free Me-109. You have ten minutes to claim your prize...They were selling a little Lipoly charger called the Aurora. It will be the subject of a future review here in Ezone.

Favorite show story: MTA hobbies of Torrance, CA (nice people) had a booth right behind GWS USA. They had lots of Honey Bee 2 helicopters with collective pitch stacked in plain view. These copters were about the same size as the GWS Dragonfly that was being demonstrated in flight throughout the show. MTA asked for more demos on Saturday afternoon because after every demo they said they sold a Honey Bee 2 to people who had been watching the demo flights of the Dragonfly. The Dragonfly demos were great and in many cases I don't think the buyers knew the difference between what they watched with fixed pitch and what they were buying with collective pitch. (The GWS vendors seemed to be selling quite a few Dragonflys as well.)

Display Models

People are encouraged to drop off their models on Friday morning for display during the show. Trophies and cash prizes are awarded to the winners. Here are pictures of some of the models on display. I dictated my notes onto one of the videos that was stolen so I apologize for planes without captions. So many planes so little memory!

Activity Center for RC Flying

A funny thing happened to Moderator Mark Wood on his way into the AMA Convention...he was drafted to run the activity center and moderate frequencies and activities. Mark took charge and did a good job running the chaos that is the activity center. The second good news was they had more than double the flying space they had last year and the best news is that the space reportedly will double again next year. I shot a lot of video there and some of that video made it home and has been edited into several short videos to give you a feel of some of the things flown at the show and the chaos of flying indoors.

Most of you have heard the old line that: "When you hear a bell ring an angel gets his wings." I thought of that line on Saturday because it seemed ever time I turned off my camera I heard a plane crash. There were a bunch of foamy crashes that I just missed catching on tape. For you crash lovers I apologize for missing them. I heard that an inverted helicopter tried to "land" on the ceiling and crashed twice. Once into the ceiling and then into the floor below...ouch!

This first video started at the GWS booth where Jarhead by his count had 10 motors on his highly modified Slow Stick (he included the four servo motors in his count). but I'll let him tell you the rest.


Fred Bronk brought a Mr. Lin Magician intended for outdoor flight and flew it indoors.


Here is a variety of assorted video clips of choppers flying in the activity center. I was told the channel 7 chopper began as a Shogun helicopter.


The last video is some of the 3D flying I videotaped. Clips include a Shockflyer, a couple of Blades, a FW 190 from GWS and a couple planes from Horizon.



Just like a circus or play when the show is over everyone strikes their sets and packs up to leave. This year we left in a driving rain storm that soaked everyone on their way to their car. But it was a warmer storm than Friday and we drove home without any snow on the Grapevine and got home about 1:00 Monday morning. I hope you enjoyed a glimpse of the show. The previous three years the weather was very nice in Pasadena and Ontario so don't let that scare you away from coming in 2006. With another doubling of the flying area they will be able to have limbo contests and lots more flying.

Thread Tools
Jan 15, 2005, 04:38 AM
Blew out my flip flop
David Hogue's Avatar
Thanks Mike,

Even though you were missing a lot of your material, it was almost like I was there...

Jan 15, 2005, 10:23 AM
Registered User
Michael Heer's Avatar
CORRECTION! The picture marked neumotors was actually the booth for a new company: AON Electric which has their own line of brushless motors called: Thrust Series Brushless Motors.
Last edited by Michael Heer; Jan 15, 2005 at 10:26 AM.
Jan 15, 2005, 10:48 AM
Registered User
Funny no mention of us being there?
We had pilots flying our motors non stop all weekend?
No pic no nothing?
Jan 15, 2005, 11:18 AM
Registered User
Michael Heer's Avatar
Sorry Scott:
As mentioned in the article I had two memory sticks of pictures stolen from my camera bag along with an hour of digital video tape that had 40 minutes of 3D flying. I know I had pictures of the Little Screamers motor and video of one in use but I simply couldn't show what was stolen. I found nothing funny about it. Again I apologize to you, Little Screamers, Hacker, Cermark, Neumotors, AON electric and the others whose motors I didn't show. I know I had 40 plus pictures of motors and I planned to make a video from the still pictures with a label on each picture. Again my apology. Michael Heer
Jan 15, 2005, 12:00 PM
Registered User
I can't argue with that! Sorry for the loss as it hurt us all,
I knew there was pics and video just did not know who had them, I think there are others that had taken vids maybe they will show up?
Thanks for all the hard work at the show.
We will just have to try agian at the NWHobby show
Jan 17, 2005, 10:56 AM
Registered User
Michael Heer's Avatar
I had two seperate e-mails on the T-6 Electric Racer requesting more information. one request from each coast so I felt I should post some more information here. The plane is a House of Balsa kit that sells for under $70.00. If you Google "House of Balsa" you will get a listing that mentions the Electric T-6 Racer kit. It is a very nice model as you can tell from the picture. Mike
Jan 18, 2005, 07:07 PM
Registered User
Fine job Mike, especially under the circumstances with the "lost" items ....(someone deserves to be "stumphung" over that ..)
You provided a nice hour of entertainment on a frosty Nova Scotia evening and I thank you..! (Love that 3D stuff..!)

Jan 18, 2005, 11:58 PM
Suspended Account



That video with the really slow flying wing; how slow was that? Was it a homebuilt? What power system?
Jan 19, 2005, 01:20 AM
Registered User
Michael Heer's Avatar
The wing was built by Matt Keennon. It can fly as slow as 4 miles per hour according to a previous post but looked to be flying faster then that in the video I shot. I have no idea on the motors. Mike
Indoor and Micro Forum is where you are most likely to find more information.
Jan 19, 2005, 01:18 PM
UAV Driver
IAD's Avatar
The power system was (from what I could make out in the video) designed for the Black Widow micro-UAV. (A DARPA project, as I recall.)

Jan 21, 2005, 12:31 PM
Al the Alien's Keeper
Kimmers4Ever's Avatar
LOL! I didn't see anyone there.. But then.. maybe I shoulda worn my Al the Alien shirt rather then the trial airplane logo sweat shirt. And I saw the guy running back and forth with a Frequency thing.. Never thought it was one of the Mods.

We had a GREAT time. I absolutly LOVED "The Aviator" seminar and could have spent ALOT more time listening to what they did. What a dream job!

It would be cool if AMA could do more seminars about RC and the Movie industry. Or even how it impacts development. It's kinda a hidden and mistreated aspect. Kinda like the cousin we never talk about.
Last edited by Kimmers4Ever; Jan 21, 2005 at 12:37 PM.

Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Category Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Trade Show Who is going to the AMA Convention/Trade Show in Ontario, Ca Jan 13-15? Thomas B RC Flight Events 40 Jan 25, 2006 02:15 AM
AMA Convention 2005 Ontario, California mdttb Micro Helis 1 Dec 29, 2004 03:32 AM
Micro helis flying-in, in the AMA convention Show genovia Micro Helis 0 Dec 17, 2004 02:45 AM
Discussion See GWS in AMA Convention 2005 in Ontario, California on Jan. 7th to 9th, 2005 GWS4CEO GWS (Grand Wing Servo) 10 Dec 14, 2004 02:12 PM
AMA Convention 2005, Ontario CA. MT4 Display Only RC Flight Events 0 Dec 12, 2004 12:16 AM