Gone But Not Forgotten

Midwest Hots II (40 size): Read the "From The Shop" column in the May 1997 RCM for a an interesting perspective on flying in other countries. The letter is from Rick Shook when he was flying in Egypt. Rick and I were flying together at Wright-Patterson AFB and would dogfight on numerous occasions. One day in 1992 we went up for a some ribbon cutting fun and both planes came down in little pieces - we both zigged when one of us should have zagged. We looked at each other in shock and commenced to laugh, along with everyone else at the field. We shook hands and walked out to pick up the pieces.  FLOWN - CRASHED

Midwest Super Hots (60 size):  This plane had been flying non-stop for 13 years for me since I bought it, from someone who had also been flying it for a while.  I took it to the field every time I flew and had been looking for an excuse to tear it apart, rebuild it and recover it.  The engine died directly overhead at about 30 feet and I had to land long.  Long on this field meant landing between two trees and a metal signpost.  I missed the signpost and hit the trunk of the center maple tree about 6 feet off the ground, dead on with the spinner.  It made a nice little hole in the tree.  The plane dropped straight down and the body broke in half.  The wing is fine.   I could glue it right back together and fiberglass the joint.  Instead, I have built a new lightweight body and copy the whole thing so I have a backup-up Hots.  FLOWN - CRASHED


Tiporare : I truly still don't know what happened with this plane. I had been flying it for almost two years when it decided to call it quits. One day I took off, raised the gear, turned downwind, and then ..... nothing. It just kept flying at full throttle as it slowly rolled over and headed straight down. I killed the throttle and even turned the transmitter off and on. Nothing. It hit pointed straight down going at least 120 MPH. It made a respectable hole in the ground. The engine was buried a foot deep in dirt. The wing looks OK, but look again. It was a foam-core wing and was compressed chord-wise. It was unsalvageable. But the horizontal stab lives on in the ~Ultra Sport / Tiporare II. Post crash autopsy showed all connections to be intact and the battery to be well in the green. FLOWN - CRASHED

P-38/P-61/F-82/OV-10 Wanna-Be : This self-designed plane flew great for two years until I decided to get creative. I moved the engine to the back of the main body and added a nose cone with weights where the engine had been. I thought I had the CG correct. Nope. It was way too far back. The plane got to about 10 feet altitude while doing a great saber dance. It oscillated back and forth several times before deciding to head back to terra - firma. In this instance, terra - firma was blacktop and none too forgiving. The wingtips survived FLOWN - CRASHED

Conniption I/Conniption II : I designed and built this aerobatic plane and used the landing gear and engine from the crashed Hots II. The plane was a great success. It flew for over three years until I tried a Lomcevak about 40 feet off the ground. It did the maneuver fine, but I fumble - fingered it and smacked it into the desert. I took the pieces of that crash and built the Conniption II. It was the same design with a few minor changes. The wing center section was beefed up and the barn-door ailerons were integrated into the wing structure. This plane could do everything that its daddy could do, plus fly a lot faster. Unfortunately, the second weekend I took it out to fly, I smeared it all over the desert in about the same spot its papa had bought the farm. I was doing a series of snap rolls going upwards when the hatch lock came undone and the receiver battery went ballistic. I found the battery pack 150 feet from the crash site. The plane just kept snapping in a nice arch. My kids thought it made a very nice mess on the desert floor.  The same landing gear and engine live on in the Conniption III, which I have been flying since 2002.  FLOWN - CRASHED

This story and picture won the "How mangled did you go?" contest at RCUniverse, for which I won a Fliton Flubber.

Javelin (sorta): Built from RCM plans to match a small foam-core wing I had.  My version has a longer body length -to- wingspan ratio than the plans, and the wingspan is smaller.  I finally got this plane in the air with a long run down the runway.  It just did not have enough wing area for its weight. After several circuits of the field, during which I discovered that the max speed was about 2 mph faster that the stall speed, I decided to land.  As I brought the engine back, it died and the plane dropped like a brick.  At 45 degrees nose down, no amount of elevator would slow the descent.  It hit soft sod and the damage could probaby have been repaired in less than an hour, but the flight characteristics don't merit a rebuild.  FLOWN - CRASHED

Sorta-Scale Northrop N9M Flying Wing : Built from my own plans, it has the same general planform as the N9M. It was built as a proof of concept (1/2 scale) airframe for my UAV flying wing project.  I had been flying it for a while, but something happened during its second flight of this particular day.  The plane was rock steady, but as it was moving away it started to pitch down.  I added back elevator and it pulled back up, but continued to pitch over.  I continued to add back elevator as it continued to pitch nose down.  It about 10 seconds I reached full up elevator and I could add no more.  It was almost as if the elevator center point was moving in one direction.  I had complete control over engine and ailerons : during those 10 seconds I had managed to turn the plane around and was aiming for an empty field (as I added up elevator).  I thought I had it made.  Not quite.  It hit the top of the last tree before the field and shredded itself.  There was a cloud of leaves and balsa as it acted as a tree trimmer.  It finally came to rest about 30 feet off the ground.  The battery power was on for the 1.5 hours it took me to go home and get some long poles.  After getting it down and arranging the pieces, the receiver and servos worked fine.   Even the main gear retracts still function fine too.  The elevon servos are centered where they should be.  I don't mind crashes when I learn something, but this is annoying because I have no idea what happened.   FLOWN - CRASHED

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Vundango : This plane went through two forms before I found the version that flew well.  The second picture shows the version that flew very well.   It had a Speed 400, 2.5:1 gearbox, 12 amp ESC, R-4P rx, and the controls were mixed ailerons and elerudders via electric elevon mixing and mechinal mixing.  It was large version of the Tiny.  I was showing off and flying low around some trees in my front yard.  It got behind one set of trees and I lost sight of it.  Next thing I knew it was on the driveway, with all the internal structure of the wings smashed to bits.   The only thing holding it together was the Monokote.  The motor, gearbox, and ESC were moved to a two meter electric flying wing camera ship for my Aiptek Pencam SD.    FLOWN - CRASHED


Kingbergh Wing x2 : I had been flying my 11' Klingberg Flying Wing for over 20 years with an OS 61 for power.  This was built from Klingberg plans blown up twice. It was originally powered by OS 61 engine, but I had also flown this powered by a TowerPro 3520 outrunner and 50 amp ESC, both in tractor and pusher configurations.  It was 11 pounds total weight and had mechanical retracts, controlled by seven channels [elevons(2), throttle(ESC), mechanical retracts(1), nose steering(1), split-opening drag rudders(2)].

In 2012 I removed the engine and stripped the covering.  I installed several hundred LEDs on the framework and recovered it with clear Monokote, and I also installed a 60 size outrunner electric motor and 70 amp ESC.  Along with several other planes, I took it to the Southeast Electric Flying Festival (SEFF) in Americus, Georgia. This was the second time I had visited SEFF, but I did not have any planes on my first visit, so I was looking forward to flying at SEFF.  It is a great fly-in with lots of fun.  The night bowling is particularly fun to watch, or participate if you have the right throw-away plane.

On the first flight the plane completely locked up about 3 minutes into the flight and was totally demolished.  The plane was straight in front of me, less than 200 ft away, turning to crosswind. I shouted 'LOCKUP' and people dove for cover.  It came down on the field, in front of the pits.  Based on my discussions with other people at that SEFF who had similar problems and lockups, we came to the conclusion that DSM2 was the most likely culprit for the lockup.  SEFF had rules in place that your radio should only be turned on if you were at a flying station, of which there were less than 50 total flying stations for the entire field. That may sound like a lot, but there were over 1000 registered pilots, and there only 80 available slots in the 2.4 Ghz spectrum.  I had a solid link, and did a range check before I took off.  All it took was for enough people back in the all the RVs to turn on their transmitters, resulting in a completely saturated spectrum.  DSM2 will look for open slots, and then transmit when it believes it has found an empty slot. Since it does not hop, with every slot full, there will eventually be problems. After this, I restricted myself to only use DSM2 at my home field with < 10 active pilots, or at places where other flyers are not around at all.  At any big events with lots of flyers, I will only use DSMX, which has never given me any problems at SEFF or Joe Nall.  FLOWN - CRASHED 


Eachine Racer 130 Quadcopter
: Banggood had an incredible sale for this quadcopter; it was $64 for everything to fly except the receiver. Here is some Racer 130 airborne video from my front yard. I replaced the stock Naze FC with an Omnibus F4 FC, which includes an OSD.   I tried several methods to isolate the FC from vibration on this mini quad; silicone pads on the motors plus silicone and other vibration damping material on several layers running from the frame through the mounting to the FC, and nothing would insulate it completely.  After more than about 30 seconds of hovering, the vibe was too much for the FC and it would begin to tilt in angle or horizon mode.  I tried analyzing the flight data and setting low pass and notch filters, with no luck.  All it took was a single flip to completely destroy the attitude solution.  I thought I had it working better and went out to test fly it - one flip and it drove into the ground.  I had spent so much time trying to get this one quad working that I finally gave up and trashed it.  FLOWN - CRASHED & TRASHED

- 1105 4000kv motor (x4)
  - soft mounted on rubber tape
- 10A ESC (x4), no BEC
  - reflashed with latest BlHeli and configured via flight controller pass-through
  - upgraded props
- Omnibus F4 FC with BetaFlight OSD
  - reflashed / configured FC with latest BetaFlight via USB
  - default RC_IN does not work for PPM receiver because it causes BIND mode on every power on
  - swapped RC_IN (B14) with TX1 (A09) via resource mapping in BetaFlight CLI and connected PPM signal line to TX1
- Orange DSMX Rx via PPM
- stock camera, modified for NTSC output by bridging solder pads on main camera board
- stock 200mw 5.8Ghz video transmitter
- upgraded video transmitter antenna gives much better video performance
- LC filter for FPV section

Fun-Fly :  I took the wingtip plug-ins (2 feet each) from the crashed plane above and joined them to make this fun-fly plane, complete with carbon fiber tail boom.  OS 40, 4 channels [ailerons(2), elevator(1), rudder(1), throttle(1)] SOLD

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Goldberg Electra :  I have built at least four of these over the years, crashed one and sold the others in flyable condition.  The second picture to the left shows an Electra that I built in 1989, which is still hanging up in a hobby shop in Colorado Springs, over 25 years later.  I can not compliment this plane enough.  I have used it to teach several people (including myself) how to fly.  It has simple construction, is available everywhere, will use any electric motor, and is easy to fix and fly.   3 channels [elevator(1), rudder(1), throttle(1)] SOLD

Trainer/Night Flyer : My own design wing on a second-hand used fuselage. The wing also contained 12 LED's for night flying. Four channels [ailerons(1), elevator(1), rudder(1), throttle(1)]  SOLD

~Ultra Sport : My own design with the horizontal stab of a Tiporare and the wing of an Ultra Sport.  The body was built to fit the available components. HP 61 Gold Cup with tuned pipe, mechanical retracts, five channels [ailerons(1), elevator(1), rudder(1), throttle(1), retracts(1)] SOLD

Dynaflite P-51 Mustang : Kit built. Mechanical retracts, five channels [ ailerons(1), elevator(1), rudder(1), throttle(1), retracts(1)]   SOLD

F-82 Twin Mustang : I copied the Dynaflite Mustang body twice as I built it, joined the two bodies and extended the wing. Counter-rotating engines, four channels [ ailerons(2), elevator(2), rudders(2), throttles(2)]  SOLD

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F/A-18 : Built from Mike Pastro's F/A-18 pusher plans in RCM, heavily modified and ducting added. It was painted in Blue Angels markings.  OS 65 VR-DF & pipe & Turbax III fan unit, mechanical retracts, five channels [ ailerons(2), elevators(2), throttle(1), nose steering(1), retracts(3) ]  SOLD

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Gee Bee Sportster - Fox 50, four channels [ ailerons(1), elevator(1), rudder(1), throttle(1) ]  SOLD

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Fliton Flubber - I won this plane in the "How mangled did you go?" contest at RC Universe, for the crash picture and story of my Conniption II above.  I flew the plane for about a year and then moved on to smaller electric 3-D planes.  Speed 400 geared drive, 12 amp ESC, R-4P rx, four channels [ ailerons(2), rudder(1), elevator(1), throttle - esc]  SOLD

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Hirobo Shuttle ZXX - I traded this chopper with engine, servos, and Telebee heading hold gyro to someone for two OS 91 VR-DF engines, three tuned pipes, two complete Dynamax fan units, and most of the pieces to a third fan unit. These were all installed in my SR-71.  OS .32, five channels  SOLD

Bridi Aerocommander Shrike : Kit built fiberglass fuselage and cowls, built-up balsa wing created from scratch to replace the original foam-core wing lost in a crash. (2) Magnum 40 FSR (counter-rotating), four channels [ ailerons(2), elevator(1), rudder(1), throttle(1) ]  SOLD

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Gentle Lady : Kit built, modified wing and empanage.  I added dual flaps / speed-brakes to each wing and replaced the stock tail with a removeable full-flying horizontal stabilizer.  Everything comes apart to fit into a box as checked luggage on commercial flights.  Speed 400, 3:1 planetary gearbox, 11x6 folding prop, 15 amp ESC, five channels [ rudder(1), elevator(1), flaps(2), camera shutter, throttle (ESC)]  SOLD

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Klingberg Wing #1 : Built from plans. two meter glider, two channels [ elevons(2) ]  SOLD

Klingberg Wing #2 : Built from plans. two meter glider, two channels [ elevons(2) ]  SOLD

Astro Challenger : Kit built wing and empanage, body from scratch. Speed 400, 3:1 planetary gearbox, 11x6 folding prop, 15 amp ESC, four channels [ rudder(1), elevator(1), camera shutter, throttle (ESC)]  SOLD

Great Planes PT-40: Kit built. OS 40 FP, four channels [ailerons(1), elevator(1), rudder(1), throttle(1)]  SOLD

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Draganfly - This indoor and outdoor flying four bladed electric helicopter is controlled completely by the on-board computer that mixes the four input channels with three axis gyro inputs, and adjusts the motors:  2 motors go clockwise, 2 go counter-clockwise.  I have upgraded my original -II to the pictured -IV configuration with a carbon-fiber airframe, a micro receiver, a micro- television camera that allows airborne video, and Thunder Power 3S lithium polymer batteries.  Video from my front yard.  Four channels [no servos - all electronically mixed] SOLD

I have also built a PIC-based board to read the PPM inputs to the FETS controlling the motors on the stock Draganfly flight controller board. The PICS convert the 0 - 5.8 ms PPM pulse to 1 - 2 ms PWM pulses, suitable for use with a brushless ESC.  Schematics and programming data for the PIC can be found on this page.

5 Foot Wingspan Night Wing #1 LED - I made this from a wing set for a Great Planes Slinger Flying Wing ARF.  It has an EPP center section added to hold battery, motor, ESC, and receiver.  450 outrunner w/ 40A ESC, three channels [ elevons(2 servos), throttle(ESC) ] SOLD

5 Foot Wingspan Night Wing #2 LED - This wing was made from a second wing set for a Great Planes Slinger Flying Wing ARF.  It has almost the same design as #1, but the center section is slightly wider and has a compartment to hold a Sony Bloggie HD video camera that looks straight ahead.  The EPP center section has space for the camera, and holds the battery, motor, ESC, and receiver. 450 outrunner w/ 40A ESC,  three channels [ elevons(2 servos), throttle(ESC) ] SOLD
Both of these wings are covered with LEDs for night flying.


Rutan Defiant : I rarely buy ARFs, but this deal was too good to pass up. I bought this at the WRAM show in New Jersey, still in the original box. I had the right motors, ESCs, and radio gear sitting at home, which all dropped into the plane easily.   This unique plane gets a lot of attention at the field, and flies very nicely.  Two 35 size outrunners w/ Red Brick 50A ESCs provide power from a 3S 5000 lipo battery.  All the control surfaces are mixed for roll and pitch.  Six channels [ left front canard(1 servo), right front canard(1 servo), left main wing(1 servo), right main wing(1 servo), nose steering(1 servo), throttle(ESC) ]  SOLD

Horizon Hobby Habu 2 Electric Ducted Fan
: This is a smooth flying aircraft.  I bought this brand new at a swap meet.  I added flaps and flew it that way with fixed gear for a few months.  When HobbyKing had a sale on electric retracts, I added them to the airframe.  Stock motor and ESC, running on 4S lipo.  Six channels [ ailerons(2 servos), flaps(2 servos), elevator(1 servo), nose steering(1 servo), rudder(1 servo), retracts(electric), throttle(ESC) ]  SOLD

Tricopter - SOLD
I flew this tricopter with 2410-09 motors for several years. I have moved the electronics to a new V-Tail Quad, along with an extra 2410-09 motor and ESC.

Flip FPV Quadcopter - SOLD
I bought this at a swap meet with a DJI Naza-M controller installed. I added LEDs all around and flew it like that for a while, then decided to move the motors and speed controls to other quads.

SIG Four Star 40: This was repaired from a crashed Four Star 40 body found in the trash at the field.  The wing came from the X-29 Canard. Anakin Skywalker is the pilot. This plane was removed from the hangar at the Shadow UAV flightline on Ft Huachuca and never returned.  ASP 61, four channels [ ailerons(1), elevator(1), rudder(1), throttle(1) ]   Missing In Action - Sierra Vista, AZ

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Tiporare :  Fiberglass fuselage, homemade foam core wing and stab. OS 61 RF w/ pipe, eight channels [ left aileron(1), left flap(1), right flap(1), right aileron(1), elevator(1), rudder(1), throttle(1), retracts(1) ] crow flaps & ailerons, mixed elevator->flaps, flaps->elevator, ailerons->flaps.  SOLD

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ICARUS Shockflyer - Park and indoor 3-D airplane. This plane was so beat up it was time to retire it.  The Himax HC2812-1080, 17 amp brushless ESC, GWS R-4P receiver (w/ channel 6 added) were removed to go on another plane,  five channels [ailerons(1), VPP(1), elevator (1), rudder (1), throttle (ESC)]  FLOWN - retired

Camera Plane #1 : The original fuselage was thrown away.  The wings and tail live on in the new, improved Camera Plane #2.  The two elerudders were secured by nylon screws and were removable for travel.  20x40 brushless inrunner, 6:1 gearbox, 18 amp ESC, four channels [elerudders(2), throttle(ESC), shutter]  FLOWN - retired

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Foamy Ultimate : Built from plans available for free at JetWorksModels, made out of Bluecor foam. Hint: Increase the aileron size. Also, the CG in the plans works fine for normal flight, but does not work for 3-D. Move the CG back about one inch for 3-D flying. 2408-21 outrunner and 18 amp ESC, four channels [ailerons(1), elevator(1), rudder(1), throttle (ESC)]  FLOWN - retired

I cut out eight of these things and gave the other seven away to friends who fly RC.  I eventually gave the eighth copy to a friend.

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Slow Stick II : I resurrected my original Slow Stick wing and fuselage, and added a V-tail and LEDs for night flying. Check out this page to see the LEDs and how to set up LEDs .   There were a total of 46 super bright LEDs on the plane; 20 blue + 6 red + 6 green on the wings, 8 blue + 6 white on the tail.  TP 2410-12Y, 18 amp ESC, three channels [elerudders(2), throttle (ESC)]   The LEDs were moved to my other night flyer, the UFO.  FLOWN - retired

VFO VTOL: Copied from pictures of the ElectriFly VFO.  This uses the same mixing as my NightOwls, minus the second motor.  2410-09 outrunner and 18 amp ESC, and four HXT500 servos.  Five channels [ elevons(2), rudder1(1), rudder2(1), ESC ] FLOWN - retired

F-27 Thrust Vectored Stryker: EPP foam. The motor had a 2-D thrust vectoring system. Motor pitch was driven by the elevator, and motor yaw wasdriven by rudder.  These mixes could be activated by a single switch, so the plane was launched with normal controls and then the motor 2-D vectoring was turned on at a safe height.  The plane would spin like a top with full yaw commanded.  It was powered by a rewound KD A22-20L outrunner brushless motor and a folding 9x6 prop with a homemade hub. Five channels [ elevons(2), motor tilt (1), motor yaw(1), throttle(esc) ]  FLOWN - retired
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Zagi : EPP foam, 2408-21 and 18 amp ESC, three channels [ elevons(2), throttle(ESC) ] FLOWN - retired

Camera Plane #2: I took the wing, empennage, motor, and speed control from my original camera plane #1 above and built this new version.  It uses twin booms so it has a much stiffer tail assembly, and it has room for a digital video camera looking out the nose, and a digital still camera looking out either side under the wing.  The whole thing comes apart into small pieces to fit in small box for traveling, and the full foam fuselage protects the camera much better than my old camera plane. Four channels [ elerudder(2), throttle(ESC), shutter] FLOWN - retired

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Electric UAVs : These small electric planes were built to explore development steps to build a fully autonomous electric unmanned aerial vehicle.  Brushless 400, 6:1 gearbox, 10 amp ESC, FMA Copilot, CCD Camera and BlackWidow 2.4 Ghz video transmitter.  FLOWN - retired

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Extra 330 - Another plane from plans at 3DBatix.com. I also added blue LED strips so I could fly it at night.  6mm Depron, A22-10S, 10 amp ESC, four channels [ ailerons(1), elevator(1), rudder(1), throttle (ESC) ]  FLOWN - retired

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Pitts S2C - Built from plans at 3DFoamy. Bluecor, TP 2410-12Y, 20 amp ESC, GWS R-4N + 1, five channels [ ailerons(2), elevator(1), rudder(1), throttle(ESC) ] FLOWN - retired
Foame IIx 3D Biplane - Built from plans at 3DBatix.com to 86% plan size, 3mm Depron, Typhoon 6/20 brushless motor w/ Tsunami 10A ESC, four channels [ailerons(1), elevator(1), rudder(1), throttle(ESC)] FLOWN - retired

Blue Wing 5' FPV - The photos hows the originally setup of this wing with the 400 outrunner motor on the front, and then converted it to a pusher prop with the same motor and 20A ESC on the back, and FPV gear on the front.  This FPV setup used a Turbowing Cyclops DVR-camera on the nose, 600mw 5.8Ghz video transmitter w/ built-in OSD (from Racer 250), LC filter for camera + video transmitter, 6ch DSMX stabilized receiver, four channels [ elevons(2 servos), throttle (ESC), stabilizer on/off ] The plane flew for many years and got very beat-up.  The carbon fiber spars and electronics gear has been moved to a new 5' wing.  FLOWN - retired


NightOwls, versions 1 - 2 - 3:  Copied partly from the Phlatboyz website. Heavily modified, and several versions have been built to get it right.  FLOWN - retired

Version #1 was a tall single engine version with elevons and a single rudder.  Himax 2025 w/ gearbox and 18 amp ESC.
Version #2 was a short single engine version with elevons and a single rudder.  TP 2410-12Y and 18 amp ESC.
Version #3 consisted of a second engine added to #1 as a testbed for counter-rotating engines. Videos at YouTube
here, here, here.  Info at RCGroups here.

Tricopters versions 1 and 2 - The first two multicopters I built were TriCopters with four HK 401B gyros each.  These were made before multi-copter controllers became readily available, and we used CCPM helicopter mixing in computer radios to control the motors through gyros on each arm.  FLOWN - retired

The larger Tricopter was powered by three TowerPro 3520 outrunners and 50 amp ESCs, and the smaller Tricopter was powered by three 2410-09 outrunners and 18 amp ESCs. The top picture shows the small TriCopter with its carbon fiber body and booms.  They both used four gyros and identical mixing, with slightly different gains on the gyros and exponential settings. 
Check out this page for full details on the gyro setups and radio mixing that were used with independent gyros.