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This is an update on the list of registered Remote Control Dirigibles that will be providing us with sport, entertainment and thrills during the symposium, specifically at the Dirigible Races event.
We currently have 6 definite entries into the Dirigible races and/or design competition across 4 groups.
The League of Cincinnati Steampunks, The Clan of Teks, Her Majesty’s Airship Omnipotent of the glorious Unspeakable Empire of Cheviot, and The Airship Passpartout will have RC Dirigibles at the Symposium. Will YOUR group be entering a dirigible? Below is the list of transmitter types and frequencies we currently have registered for the races:
There are two 2.4 ghz transmitters (registered by Clan of Teks and Airship Omnipotent)
There are two Infra Red (IR) transmitters (registered by Airship Omnipotent)
There is one 27mhz transmitter (registered by Airship Passpartout)
There is one 49mhz transmitter (registered by The League of Cincinnati Steampunks)
It is important to note that RC vehicles that run on 2.4 ghz transmitters do NOT usually interfere with each other. The same goes for Infra Red (IR) transmitters, so if you have the choice, when you build your Dirigibles, try to find “powerplants” that use these two types of transmitters.
There are also may be other flying vehicles brought along that do not fit under the Dirigible races specifications, but that will nonetheless be cool to have flying around the symposium air field. (ornithopters, gliders, etc) If you are going to bring these kinds of things, and they are remote controlled, please let me know your transmitter type and frequency as well, we don’t want any of them interfering with the dirigible races.
There is already one such non dirigible flying contraption registered that runs 49 Mhz.
If you will be bringing a remote control flying machine to the Symposium, and if you want to enter a Dirigible into the races or design competion, please contact me on Facebook or via email (caelyn_8 (at) hotmail.com) to register your RC flying machines. Make sure to mention “RC Dirigible Races” in the title of your email.
Caelyn Nagle of the Clan of Teks,
Dirigible Races Organizer for the Steampunk Empire Symposium.
Hello future Dirigible races and design competition contestants! I recently received a question from one of the groups who will making an entry into the RC Dirigible Races portion of the Symposium Games this year, and I thought I would give an answer publicly to benefit other groups who may be considering making an RC Dirigible themselves.
The Question was in regard to the concept of negative buoyancy in a dirigible, and the effect of a heavy powerplant on the rule that says:
“2. Type: All Dirigibles should be of helium filled/lighter than air type. No hot air dirigibles,
flammable gas dirigibles (no Hydrogen) or heavier than air vehicles (helicopters or airplanes)
allowed. This is to keep the field competitive speed and maneuverability wise, but also for
spectator and facility safety.”
The group in question is worried that their gondola and powerplant is too heavy to qualify for the specification “lighter than air” because it doesn’t float unassisted in mid air (the powerplant is powerful enough to lift the vessel even though the balloon can’t hold it up on it’s own). So in the interest of fostering some creative hobby engineering, I will make a clarification for rule 2 as quoted above.
All RC Dirigible entered in the races and design competition must have a helium filled envelope/balloon, that is at least capable of slowing it’s decent in the case of a power loss, or a cut throttle. Basically, if you have it flying near the ceiling, and your battery dies or your motors stop working, it shouldn’t fall straight to the floor. I would like to be able to give a specification on “fall time”. But at this point I will have to wait until my OWN Dirigible get’s closer to finished before I can make a spec for that. (Something along the lines of “fall time from 5 foot must be X seconds or more”)
So to sum up, don’t worry if your Dirigible design doesn’t allow for a free floating blimp, just so long as it doesn’t drop like a rock with a loss of power.
Also, I need to clarify that the use of toy grade RC airplanes, helicopters and quad copters as “powerplants’ in your dirigible is perfectly acceptable, as long as you didn’t just attach a balloon to one and call it done. If you are going to use an RC plane, helicopter or quadcopter as your powerplant, it must be integrated with a gondola of some kind.
Anyway, I hope to see plenty of RC Dirigibles this year, and remember to contact me as soon as you know what kind of remote control you’ll have and the frequency (if applicable). (See the RULES for more info)
If you were not in attendance for the first annual Steampunk Empire Symposium, you didn’t get to see the first “Airship Races” which were billed as the premier event in the Symposium Games. This first “running of the dirigibles” consisted of 5 remote control helium filled dirigibles with seemingly drunk pilots and one slow moving but well piloted clown fish to keep the dirigible pilots humble. It wasn’t the most exciting of RACES, and the pilots didn’t really navigate as much as they meandered, but damn it was fun to watch and to participate in. (VIDEO) Those of us who designed, built and piloted the first dirigibles in the inaugural Symposium games are surely now preparing for the next Symposium with new ideas, new designs, and hopefully, more practiced pilots. (wink wink, nudge nudge) In FACT, the 2012 winner of the RC dirigible design prize has told me they are planning to enter THREE RC dirigibles this year.
This post is intended to get as many entries into the 2013 Symposium Dirigible Races as possible.
I plan to give as much info and ideas as I can to help Airships and Groups get into the RC Dirigible hobby as possible. As a side note, you may notice I am using the term “Dirigible” a lot. I’m not just trying to be a terminology snob, there is a purpose for this. You see in the Steampunk community, the term “Airship” is commonly used to describe a group of Steampunks who fly under a common flag. The term Airship has become almost synonymous with “Airship Crew”. For this reason, I will always be using the term Dirigible to describe an actual physical flying vessel (be it real world or remote control).
To start off I’ll provide a link to the 2013 Dirigible Races Rules. This PDF has a lot of information you’ll want to know before you begin building an RC Dirigible for the Symposium games, such as info on RC transmitter types and physical size limits for your dirigible. BUT, because I know that link barrier will often deter someone from going any further, I’ll press on, with more detailed info on how to build an RC Dirigible.
The first and easiest option is of course, to buy a “ready to fly” remote control blimp. There are a few options out there, but the only well known and easy to find option is the Dragonfly Innovations Mach III blimps from RCToys.com. Two of last year’s entries were based on the Mach III blimps. They didn’t do to well on the navigation front, but that’s because the venue last year had a VERY BREEZY and large room. This year the room we use will be smaller and have less turbulence, which should make flying the Mach IIIs much easier. Concerning the Mach III blimps, if you are planning to do any physical modifications of the blimp’s gondola (which is what I did last year) you will want to get the “High Lift” model blimp. The high lift model has an envelope (balloon) that allows you to add more weight to the gondola and still have it achieve neutral buoyancy. If you just want to paint the gondola, the high lift model is likely not necessary. I recommend getting a spare envelope, regardless of which model you choose, just in case.
Tf you are more adventurous, you could try any number of other ways to build one from scratch, or to use other existing remote control products that AREN’T dirigibles, and turn them into dirigibles.
Last year we had a completely scratch built dirigible and another dirigible that was a combination of scratch made materials. This full scratch built dirigible was made up of hobby grade electronics and was by far the most POWERFUL of the dirigibles. It is beyond my ability to describe how one should go about building one that way without a whole series of detailed posts on the subject. Hobby grade equipment can be a complicated subject to discuss with laymen.
However, there was also another custom Dirigible last year. This Dirigible, named “Her Majesty’s Airship Omnipotent of the Unspeakable Empire of Cheviot”, was made by integrating a twin prop flying toy with a custom designed printed vinyl dirigible frame, and suspending it from a six pack of white helium balloons. The designer provided the craft with a slightly negative buoyancy (it slowly sank when not under power), and the twin props would make the ship rise and move forward, thanks to the mechanics provided by the rigging, and the remote control allowed them to vary the speed of each of the two props, to allow for steering. See a close up video of this dirigible HERE
There are a large number of very light flying toys, that consist of a styrofoam airplane with either double or single electric remote control propellers. There are also a number of hovercraft type RC vehicles that could be used as “powerplants” for a dirigible. Finding the right flying toy, with the right rigging and custom framing to achieve a navigable helium lift dirigible, is the challenge. Keep in mind that you can use slightly negative buoyancy with some designs, meaning if done right, it doesn’t need to be able to free float. (a helium lift mechanism is required, no plain helicopters or quad copters)
I personally have been toying with the idea of using two (or maybe three) small flying toys in one dirigible. Meaning you would need multiple crew members to fly it. One to run the steering toy, one to run the “engine room” toy, and maybe even one to handle elevation. It would be like flying a real ship where you have to call out “FULL SPEED AHEAD” to your engine room. How cool would that be? The only problem there is finding flying toys that don’t interfere with each other. Perhaps a 27mhz for one, and an infra red for the other. (see the rules document above for more on transmitter types and frequency issues)
One other, possibly more simple custom option, is to take the control mechanisms from a flying fish, flying shark or flying dolphin toy (which usually consists of a flapping tail fin and a prop for steering) and integrating them into a less animal shaped, and more dirigible themed floating vessel, perhaps making the tail fin into more of a flapping silk sail on the back of a dragonfly innovations envelope/balloon. I must point out, that “stock” out of the box flying animal toys will be frowned upon for entry in the races. Bring them if you like, but please don’t enter them in the competition as a “dirigible”.
The last bit I have to say is that if you DO want to buy, build or modify an RC dirigible, you need to buy your helium tanks now. Helium is going back and forth with availability, and you’ll want to make sure you have the helium you need well before the symposium.
Also, MAKE SURE your Airship or group is registered with the Symposium Games (details coming soon) AND that your RC Dirigible is registered with the Dirigible Races Organizer (me)
My contact email can be found in the rules document linked above, or you can contact me at The Clan of Teks Facebook community.
The Clan of Teks is happy to have been given another chance to travel via dimensional portal to attend the gathering known as The Steampunk Empire Symposium. Less than one year ago the clan first sent two through the rift created by one of the meteoric impacts of the event we call “The Fall”. Then it was only one of our Engineers, Hanna Tikva, and I (Caelyn Nagle) who ventured into your dimension originally on a scouting mission. When we met with Aloysius Fox of the Pandora Society he agreed to let us bring several of our technological wares and other artifacts for display on the Bazaar. Once Aloysius knew of my worldly technical expertise, he also asked me to manage the Dirigible Races at the Symposium and I agreed.
Well in the relatively short time since the last Symposium, the Clan of Teks’ delegation has grown a bit. Of course the population of our compound is in the hundreds, but our field agents, scientists, engineers, and any number of other professional people who have taken to traveling the dimensional rift on missions has grown as well. At this time we have nearly 10 professionals ready to attend the Symposium, with more surely to join the delegation in the months to come.
This time around I will of course be set up in the Bazaar at the Symposium selling pieces from the Tek Armory, the Tek Outfitters and the Tek Artifact Collection. Please stop by and visit CaelynTek Mercantile when you have a chance at the Symposium.
I will again be managing the Remote Controlled Dirigible Races and Design Competition. For rules and details, and to see last year’s winners and some kinetiscopes of last year’s races, go the the Dirigible Races page at the Clan of Teks journal.
Our delegation also intends to compete in the Symposium Games this year, so we hope to see all of you on the pitch…as it were.
I have been asked to provide the Symposium with newsletters and updates regarding the Symposium and the Clan of Teks, so look for more correspondence from me as the Symposium draws near.
From another dimension,
Caelyn Nagle, Technology Scout and Recruiting Agent for the Clan of Teks.
Follow The Clan of Teks on Facebook. . . whatever that is, its 1907 for Pete’s sake!
The Corn Island Steampunk Society is pleased to announce that they are hosting their first official event since forming as a group, Saturday August 25th at the Howard Steamboat Museum in Jeffersonville, IN. Although the leaders of Corn Island have been frequent and found attendees to various Cincinnati area steampunk events, including competing in the Symposium games in 2012, this if the first time they have organized a large-scale gathering of their own.
Hey area steampunkers, come join The Corn Island Steampunk Society as we host our first event at the Howard Steamboat Museum, located in Jeffersonville Indiana. There will be a tour of the museum, door prizes, plenty of time for socializing, and lots of opportunities for photos at a place rich in Victorian architecture and full of artifacts from a time when steam boats ruled the waves! The museum closes at 4pm, and afterwards, we will caravan to King Fish on the river for dinner and socializing! So, polish your goggles and program your time machines and come join us for a day of steampunking at the museum. And remember, with The Corn Island Steampunk Society, it’s all about the steam!
Representatives of Steampunk Empire Symposium will be attending, including Aloysius Fox, Ginny Tonic and Charles Moore. Join us and the Corn Island Steampunk Society for a lovely afternoon picnic and stroll. The event is free to attend but it costs $6 for adults to get into the museum. Hope to see you all there!