with amateur radio hobbyists who continually help advance the state of the art in electronics, software, and
communications, so too do model aircraft hobbyists help push back the frontiers of ignorance in their realm. Guys
like Tom Mast, a Staff Engineer with Bell Helicopter Textron, are part of a fairly elite cadre of people with an
ability to integrate a large collection of skills into a single sophisticated project. Knowledge of rotorcraft and
fixed wing aerodynamics, propulsion system mechanical and electrical requirements, microcontroller programming,
structure weight-strength tradeoffs, materials science, design-for-production aspects, and the skill to fly both
fixed and rotor wing models were necessary to pull this off. I have not found any detailed history on the
development, but about three years of dedicated effort was required from concept to reality. As you can see from
the detailed photos in the build process
documentation, the high quality of
engineering throughout is typical of what you would find on a military-grade system.
The radio system is a
highly configurable, 2.4 GHz, spread spectrum model that is in common use by fliers of top-end helicopters and
aerobatic airplanes. When I opened up my 2.4 GHz DSSS radio a few years ago and documented it, I found
off-the-shelf ICs and RF components. The magic is in the controlling firmware/software.
Kits are available
company both for a basic, profile fuselage version and for a full-scale fiberglass body. It is a bit pricey, but
it does include specialty components like high torque servos for nacelle tilt actuation (no 5,000 psi pneumatic
pistons like on the full-size version), wiring harness, and microcontroller. You will need to provide the RC
system, motors, batteries, gyros, and Electronic speed controls (ECSs). Total investment will be somewhere in the
$3k range. If you have a much more limited budget but really want an R/C V-22 Osprey, try
this one on for size for about $130.
Flying Radio Controlled Model of Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey