Micro Wingboard Flies High at AirVenture 2016
To say the Wingboard is a unique new invention is an understatement. Inventor Aaron Wypyszynski got the idea from Kit Cloudkicker on the Disney TV cartoon TaleSpin. Kit would fly behind Baloo's airplane on what was essentially a wakeboard in the sky, and Aaron thought why can't we do that in real life?
After a few years of design and testing using various size R/C models, Aaron and his company, Wyp Aviation, successfully tested their full-size Wingboard prototype with a human pilot at the ACE Wind Tunnel near Toronto, ON. The reality of a Wingboard as a new aviation sport is rapidly approaching.
When Aaron found out that I was bringing a few of my R/C airplanes to fly at the model airplane field at Oshkosh we started brainstorming the idea of flying a small model of the Wingboard at the show. My E-Flite UMX Carbon Cub was made to tow gliders, so it fit perfectly in our idea. He 3D printed a small version of the Wingboard pilot and constructed the micro model out of foamboard on the drive up from Alabama. And after a few "run tests" down the grass we attached the tow line (sewing thread) to my Carbon Cub and gave it a toss. You can see the resulting first flight in the video below.
Ignoring the micro Wingboard bouncing off my head on the launch, the flight was a tremendous success. The micro Wingboard held a stable position perfectly behind the tow airplane and was even able to ride along on a few loops and rolls on later flights. This micro model was entirely passive and had no flight controls, so to see the inherent stability on such a small model was amazing to watch.
You can see Aaron and Wyp Aviation in the Innovations Pavilion at AirVenture 2016. At his booth you can see their full-size prototype as well as the two smaller R/C models he used for testing. Stop by and say hi and ask him your questions (I know you have lots!). I'm certain that you will be pleasantly surprised by the details and forethought put it to the design, control, and safety of the new aircraft.