With the weather outside turning frightful (at least for us in the Northern Hemisphere), here's how to keep the flying delightful.
During past winters, I distinctly remember thinking "you know what, it's just too cold for this". Gone with the hot summer days of Flite Test flying until dusk, winter flying can sometimes be a little difficult no matter how enthusiastic you are to get some planes in the air! For that reason, we've come up with a few tips to help.
1. Use Transmitter Gloves
The first thing you notice when flying in the cold is that your hands are the first thing to freeze up. One thing you could do to help with this is to try using transmitter gloves. Sure, normal fingerless gloves (fingerless so you can feel the sticks) might be a good option, but a full pouch to hold your transmitter in really helps you to keep your fingers warm and sensitive.
2. Spend Less Time Outside
It might be a bit of a counterproductive point, but you should definitely try and limit the time you're outside. Especially, make sure you're not standing around for ages before you first takeoff. Unlike some sports or activities you can do during the winter, RC involves a lot of standing still in one place. This can allow your body temperature to drop which really isn't ideal for flying: physically and mentally, the cold can affect your reactions and ability to control the plane. So, get out there, take a plane up, and then get back to the warmth of the indoors.
3. Fly with Friends
It's always more fun to fly with others. To keep your spirit up, you can complain about how chilly it is together!
4. Fly Indoors
An option which doesn't even involve stepping out into the elements is to fly indoors. Build one of our Mini DIY Airplanes and get permission to fly at a local gymnasium. Here's a video of Andres Lu's magnificent flying machine - the BF 109 E - flying at an indoor event a few years back. This shows you can still fly larger models in smaller spaces if you build them light enough!
5. Fly Seaplanes
Although it may seem a little strange at first, seaplanes also make great snowplanes. Their floats and wide bottomed fuselages are perfect for taking-off and landing on snow. Build one out of our water-resistant foam board to take on the powder! Here's a video of Josh Bixler's pontoon-equipped FT Simple Scout. You can download the free plans to build both the airplane and the floats right here.
6. FPV From The Comfort of Indoors
Why not try flying some Gremlins around your house? FPV can even allow you to pilot quads outside whilst you remain warm (although you may need turtle mode). Despite not strictly 'flying', here's Austin and Alex with some Drive On action to show you how to do winter RC the right way.
Favorite Flite Test Planes for Snow
FT Simple Scout (with floats)
Great flying all-rounder. Perfect airplane for beginners.
A classic design that's equally capable of flying off water, grass or snow.
A uniquely configured flying boat that can also be flown from snow-covered fields.
Simpler than the Sea Angel, but just as much fun. This plane is great for flying anywhere, anytime.
What is it like flying in the winter months for you? Are you able to fly all year round?
Let us know in the comments below!
Article by James Whomsley
Editor of FliteTest.com
YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/projectairaviation