Whirlybirds and pizza boxes.
That's what one will find at the Safety Harbor Indoor Radio Control Flyers, a group that meets weekly at Safety Harbor Community Center to fly lightweight remote control helicopters and planes.
"These little planes and helicopters don't fly outside well at all," group organizer Vic Tyber said. "Outdoors, they get lost so easy. That doesn't happen indoors."
Tyber, who is a pilot, said the group started flying inside due poor outdoor conditions during the winter. Flying indoors avoids the elements such as high winds, or for that matter, thunderstorms that roll in quickly. Plus, many members say they don't mind having the cool AC during the summer.
The group has 45 names that have shown up. It is open to fliers of all ages and has experienced modelers who offer free help setting up new aircraft and can trim models so beginners have a safe and stable model to learn on.
"The person who tries it out and stays with it and takes the hobby seriously is the person who comes back," Tyber, 59, said. "They're usually the people who want to get better."
Many fliers have a square foam, self-made plane they jokingly call a pizza box. They can download instructions, cut and build it quickly and then paint it anyway they want. Others have lightweight planes and others have RC helicopters that have amazing height and flying ability. Sean Sullivan, for example, can fly his copters — he has five off them, including a T-Rex 700 Nitro that's about 6 feet in length and can go about a mile in the air — easily through the gym's rafters.
Tyber, on the other hand, has five planes he has been flying ever since he first soloed on a regular plane on his 21st birthday. Tyber says "it's harder to fly a remote controlled plane than it is a real plane," because "you're on the ground, not in the cockpit."
Though most aren't pilots. They just want to play with a remote control.
"It's hard to let people know that there is even indoor flying," Tyber said. "Most want to go outside, especially ones that have just retired. They want to be outside in Florida and then they want to fly a bigger plane in an approved club that's in the middle of nowhere.
"That's not this. These guys have bigger planes, but they don't fly them here. We have easy, light weight, hassle-free flyers. All indoors."