See the World of Indoor Flying at E-Fest 2014

  • Feb 23, 2014 10:50am GMT

E-Fest is an annual indoor R/C event held every February at the University of Illinois Track and Field Armory. Hundreds of pilots from all around the country make the trek to Champaign, IL to take their flying indoors.

A wide varity of aircraft and flying styles could be seen all weekend long. The main flying area held general flying for much of the day. There you could see everything from your basic foam airplane to micro scale jets to super-scale airliners. Even Iron Man was seen flying around the fieldhouse.

On the west end of the arena was an area set aside for the 3D pilots who take their flying to whole new dimension. These aircraft rarely stay still as they're constantly flipped, rolled, and spun on their sides. The helicopter and multirotor pilots also used this area to spool up the air.

This was my first time attending this event after years of trying and it definitely did not disapoint. There were some great flying and fantastic airplanes to be seen. I was also suprised to catch up with some old friends and meet some new ones.

Most of my R/C flying is done in the outdoors, but I do have some smaller models that can be flown inside. There are a couple places in the Chicago area that allow aeromodelers to fly their aircraft during the winter months. This event, however, was so much different than the other indoor flying I have experienced. I have never before seen so many airplanes in the air at the same time sharing the same small space. Sometimes there were more than two dozen airplanes flying at once. It was organized chaos and I loved it! While watching it you would expect crashes and mid-air collisions left and right. But most of the flying was clean and uneventful. The pilots were quite good at respecting the other flyers and following the safety guidelines.

Now this is not saying that there weren't any crashes because there were. A lot. But any good modeller knows that crashes happen and it usually only takes a quick fix to get your aircraft back in the air.

Attached are some of my photos of the action and a couple videos. The first video is a highlight reel to give you a taste of what was there. Besides the general flying you can see bits of the Real Flight Air Race, the Gauntlet, combat, freestyle airshow, and the super crazy balloon burst contests. The second video is the full routine of one of the freestyle airshow routines. This aircraft is equipped with a variable-pitch propeller which allows for some very bizzare looking manuvers. Enjoy!