Flying 3D is flying an RC aircraft to its extreme limits. It is basically keeping a plane airborne by the thrust of its prop, not the lift from it’s wing. A 3D flyer keeps his aircraft at a near stall or “High Alpha” condition. To do this requires a plane with a very high thrust to weight ratio. A classic example is a “Hover”. This is basically hanging an aircraft from it’s nose and flying vertically, with no sideways, or lateral movement (like a helicopter).
3D flying takes a lot of practice and is generally considered “advanced” flying. It can be very unstable. It takes a mastery of all flight regimes and a keen ability of flight control skills. Getting an airplane to hover is a lot like trying to balance a pencil on the end of your finger. It takes constant power, rudder, elevator, and aileron corrections to keep it steady.
There are variety of 3D type aircraft on the market. Indoor/outdoor flyers, foamies, profiles, balsas etc. 3D can be done at the field, a local park, or even in a gymnasium. The internet is a major source of information. I have listed some of the more popular links below.
3D aerobatics is the new kid on the block. Rockwall RC flyers is blessed with several awesome 3D’ers. Come out to the field on any weekend and you will see their skills on display. And, please, don’t be afraid to ask questions.
http://www.rcgroups.com/3d-flying-188/ : Great information and plenty of skilled pilots to answer questions on all aspect of 3D flying. In fact many professional pilots lurk these forums.
http://www.wattflyer.com/forums/ : Great source for electric RC flying/3D.
http://www.3dhobbyshop.com/HowToFly3DVids.htm : Great videos of most 3D maneuvers.
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=904349&page=15 : BonDoc of rcgroups.com has made an excellent series of videos covering some of the most challenging 3D flying.
3D airplane suppliers:
http://www.3dhobbyshop.com/ : Maker of some of the best balsa 3D planes available. Also, lots of good information.
http://dwfoamies.com/ : Great foam built kits.
http://www.3dxhobbies.com/ : A great source for all types of 3D aircraft. They carry everything, from scale to indoor foamies.
Justin Chi – RC Expo Indoor Demo – This kid is 6 years old! Check him out:
3D Hobby Shop’s AJ Slick: