Toledo Show 2009 Report Part One

The 2009 Weak Signals Toledo Show was held April 3rd-5th in Toledo, Ohio. This event is a hallmark of the RC industry and attracts the full range of manufacturers, distributors, and vendors from all over.

The main show floor is quite large. I’d guess it’s about four times the size of the WRAM Show in New York. There is also a substantial swap meet upstairs plus some additional vendors, and a series of lectures on Friday and Saturday.

If that’s not enough, the Electric Tournament Of Champions (ETOC) competition is held in the evenings about two miles away. Check out our coverage with over 100 photos of the competition.


Mark and Trish from Phlatboyz were showing off two versions of their low-cost foam-cutting CNC machines. The new Mark II is still being finalized, but early tests show it can cut around ten times as fast as the original. They had a huge range of planes and other objects which their machines had produced, including a full-fuselage Corsair. Their software is open source and they have an active community of users creating models and modifying the hardware.

The Phlatboyz booth.
The Phlatprinter Mark II.
The controller board on the Mark II.
One of the wilder foam creations from Phlatboyz.

Hobby Lobby

After taking a break from the WRAM Show this year, Hobby Lobby was back with a large booth, and seemed to be selling well. I happened to be in the booth when Jason Cole climbed up on the counter and yelled "Free Hats!" He immediately got mobbed as you might expect. He also showed me the FlyCamOne2 and mentioned that a version 3 was on the way. We’ll try to bring you a review in the coming months.

The Hobby Lobby booth.
Jason Cole tossing out Hobby Lobby hats.
The Hobby Lobby booth continued.


I spent some time at the MRC booth looking at the Hirobo line. They were showing the new SDX .50 size nitro heli, along with the micro electric Quark. This fixed-pitch single rotor design was almost as stable as a coaxial helicopter, which is impressive. I also looked at the 425 mm blade electric Lepton EX heli, although I didn’t care for the frame design.

The Hirobo SDK.
A view of the Hirobo lineup.
The Hirobo Quark.
Hovering the Quark hands-off.
Some of the Hirobo scale fuselages.


Hobbico had one of the largest booths, as expected, and was showing a number of upcoming products. Futaba had a new 8 channel FASST receiver called the R6008HS. It is designed specifically for digital servos, and they claim it has a latency of 7 milliseconds, down from 14 ms on the current R608FS model. They also had the new GY520 gyro, which is even smaller in person than it looks in photos, and will be shipping soon.

The huge Hobbico booth.
The new Futaba R6008HS receiver.
The tiny Futaba GY520 gyro.

Lastly, Futaba has listened to their customers and created the T10CHG transmitter, which integrates the 2.4 GHz radio board into the body and eliminates the module system. It also places the antenna on top, which not only looks better, it also puts the weight of the transmitter on the carrying handle when laid down. Tower Hobbies is listing these already at a $ 50 premium, which seems a bit outrageous. If anything, the integrated system should be cheaper, as it’s less flexible.

The full line of Futaba air radios (surface radios were on the other side).
The integrated version of the 10C 2.4 transmitter.
Another view of the 10C antenna.

Great Planes had a new electric pattern plane called the Sequence in the booth which was very attractive. This ARF will have a MAP of $ 199. They also had a new foamie called the Silhouette, a full-fuselage Depron acrobat with an airfoil wing.

The Matt Chapman Eagle 580.
The new Sequence pattern plane.
The new Silhouette foamie.

Heli-Max has three new super-micro helicopters on the way: a coax, a fixed pitch, and a collective pitch model. According to the rep they are based on Walkera designs but have been modified and styled to Hobbico’s specs. All three will be sold in ready-to-fly configurations only, with an included 2.4 GHz transmitter. Bizarrely, this system is not compatible with Futaba’s own FASST protocol, which precludes selling a receiver-ready version to existing Futaba owners.

The new Heli-Max micro lineup.
The coaxial version.
The collective pitch version – looks good.

I also spent some time looking at the X-Cell Furion 450 helicopter, made by Miniature Aircraft. The quality seemed very good, and in particular I liked the geometry of the swash servos, which all use direct links without bellcranks. The recommended power system includes a rebranded Scorpion motor and ESC, although the motor bearings have been upgraded.

The Furion 450 frame.
The Furion power system.

Kondor Model Products (KMP)

Kondor was showing the Iconic EP, a 51" wingspan pattern plane, with a composite fuselage and built-up wing. It is 53" long, has an AUW of 4.2 pounds, and is meant for a 4S LiPo power system. It was very attractive, but I was a little concerned about the quality of the manual. They also had a large selection of warbirds in the booth.

The KMP Iconic EP.
A KMP warbird.
A Douglas Dauntless.
A KMP Corsair.

Millennium RC

I was happy to see James and Karen again from Millennium RC. James has completed the Micro-3D, which is available now as a kit. This 22" acrobat weights less than 7 ounces ready-to-fly, and has a removable cockpit which gives access to the battery and receiver. They are currently working on producing ARF versions of the Micro-3D and the existing Micro-SS Biplane.

Millennium’s upgraded Slow Stick landing gear.
The new Micro-3D.
Another view of the Micro-3D.


Aeroworks added several new planes to their huge lineup. There is an Ultimate 20-300 in 50cc size, a 100cc Extra 300, and a .60-.90 size Yak 54. All three are part of the Quick Build series, which feature as much work done at the factory as possible.

The 50cc Ultimate 20-300.
The 100cc Extra 300.
A huge Aeroworks biplane.
The new Yak 54.

Extreme Flight

The first thing I noticed when walking into the Extreme Flight booth was the enormous, 123" Extra 300. This monster is design for the Desert Aircraft 170cc gas engine. At the other end of the spectrum was the Extra 300 EXP. This 48" electric plane has an airfoil tail and replaces the current Extra. It will be available in blue and red color schemes and looked sharp.

The Extreme Flight booth, with the massive Extra at left.
The new Extra EXPs.
The interior of the Extra EXP.

3D Hobby Shop

3D Hobby Shop came ready to sell, with a huge stack of boxes in their booth. They were showing the new 42" AJ Slick in a yellow trim scheme. It features the same top-loading battery via the removable canopy, and plug-in wings, as the 51" version. They also had a preview of the 46" Vyper designed by Scott Stoops, an electric pattern plane due this summer.

The 3D Hobby Shop booth.
The interior of the 42″ AJ Slick.
The new 42″ AJ Slick.
The 3D Hobby Shop range, with the Vyper in green.
The largest AJ Slick and the Extra 330.


The Raptor GS, distributed by 2DogRC, has opened up an entirely new category of flying. This incredibly small 3D plane can be hovered in a kitchen, and is made of EPP and carbon fiber. 2DogRC also had the smallest brushless outrunner I saw at the show, as well as Dualsky motors up to 900 watts and beyond. I also got to see the new 3-planes-in-1 Snap and Fly kit. This clever product uses a removable power pod containing the motor, ESC, battery, receiver, and servos. You just snap it into whichever plane you want to fly, and the tail servos connect to their linkages magnetically. Very cool.

The popular Raptor GS 3D foamie.
Now that’s a small outrunner!
A 900 watt Dualsky 4250 outrunner.

FMA Direct

Following on the success of the Cellpro 4, FMA Direct recently introduced the Cellpro Multi4. It includes a backlit LCD, user-upgradeable firmware, and more. They also had a working demonstration of the upcoming CoPilot-II stabilization system. This new version can stabilize planes and helicopters, using a variety of sensors. My understanding is that it allows you to fly without interference, but if you get in trouble, you just release the sticks and let the system take over. The system will likely pay for itself in crashes avoided, particular for beginners.

The Cellpro Multi4 charger.
A demonstration of the CoPilot-II system.
A Yellow Aircraft composite F-22 Raptor.

Heli Wholesaler

Although Align was not present at the show themselves, Heli Wholesaler showed their range, including the new T-Rex 450 V3. It comes presented in an unusually nice box with all the parts laid out in separate compartments. They also had a number of Align scale fuselages, as well as Mavrikk blades and other products for display only.

An Align Airwolf fuselage for the T-Rex 500.
The T-Rex 450 V3, also known as the Pro.

Other Photos

The Sapac L-39 Albatros EDF jet.
The Sapac F-22 Raptor.
A large radial engine.
This beetle was more of a toy, but was actually kinda cool.
Need a cowl?
One view down the center aisle.
The Century Jet Models 62″ wingspan F-22.
A variety of CJM landing gear.
Another CJM jet on display.
The Glowire booth.
Glowire on a T-Rex 450.
The BP Hobbies booth.
Quique Somenzini, a JR pilot, talking to two Futaba team pilots. Maybe there’s hope for world peace after all.
The Balsa USA booth.
A 1/4 Scale Balsa USA SPAD.
The range of 3M Mintor Engines.
A large Dietrich Aircraft Extra 260.
A 44″ SIG Demoiselle electric kit.

Keep reading…

Believe it or not, that’s only half the show floor! Continue on to part two of our Toledo Show 2009 coverage.
 read more »

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