Some of you may remember my post last year on the "Butterfly" living room flier from Plantraco Hobbies. Technology is marching on though, with new composite materials and ever more integrated electronics in smaller and smaller packages. Witness the latest in living room RC technology, the Carbon Butterfly. (you can purchase one at the previous link complete with controller and padded carrying case for $299) (hint...hint...anyone planning ahead for my 2007 Birthday/Christmas season...)
(Check out videos of the Carbon Butterfly in flight here.)
The new version above weighs in at a scarce 3 grams including all of the receiver, rudder actuator, and prop motor hardware despite the addition of the new landing gear. Smaller carbon fiber rods and a redesigned mylar-coated wing comprise the major advances. Here's the older version for comparison (at 3.6 grams):
The new Carbon Butterfly sports a fully proportional 2-channel controller for both the throttle speed and the rudder actuator, and a nice light gear reduction to drive the prop.
Better-yet, the founder of the indoor flyer community, Michael Hendricksen, has started an indoor flier blog showing how you can make your own miniature actuators with simple coils and magnets!
and the Plantraco Micro-RC web site has all the supplies and components you could need to build your own miniature airplanes and helicopters and indoor flying pleasure. These sorts of things are great starter projects to get kids excited about electronics, mechanical design, and aeronautics, all at once!