Story Chris Reibert, Photos Jenni Orebaugh
Known for his great SmackTalk videos with Bert Kammerer and designing items like the Delcon System, Bobby Watts is a household name in the RC world. Although you won’t find Bobby on the competition circuit anymore, he is more active in the hobby than ever. With his new company, Encore RC, and still working closely with Gaui and Halo Blades, I don’t know if this guy ever sleeps. I was lucky enough to hang out with Bobby at his house last December before the OHB. He is a great, down-to-earth guy whose brain is always turning with new designs and ideas. I was pleased to see his Invertix 400 fi nally come to the market. With Bobby’s great enthusiasm and drive for the hobby, I’m excited to see what’s to come this year.
RC HELI PILOT: How many years have you been in the hobby?
BOBBY WATTS: I have been flying for 10 years now.
RCHP: How did you get involved in the hobby?
BW: I always had RC cars and trucks growing up and had a few planes along the way as well. One day, my godfather decided that it was time for me to build a RC helicopter on my own…the only deal was we couldn’t tell my mom how expensive it was. We ended up purchasing a Raptor 30 V1 at the hobby shop that day, took it home and two days later my flying journey began!
RCHP: Do you have family in the hobby?
BW: My uncle is an avid RC enthusiast. He has it all…cars, boats, planes, you name it!
RCHP: Who did you look up to when you were first starting out?
BW: I think the first “WOW” moment I had when starting out was seeing Alan Szabo flying in person with his Raptor 90. I just could not get over how he flew so low with such control ALL THE TIME. OnceI saw that kind of flying in person, I knew I had to learn how to do that myself.
RCHP: How do you fit practice into your daily routine?
BW: Currently I am not flying nearly as much as I would like to, but I have found another aspect of the RC hobby that I am absolutely in love with: design. I absolutely love being able to dream up whatever I want, develop a CAD model, then prototype and produce it. It is such a cool thing to be able to think of something then watch it fly only weeks later.
RCHP: What has been your most difficult maneuver(s) to master?
BW: I think the hardest maneuver I ever had to do was a goofball of a Set Maneuver for the 3D Masters called “The Haymaker.” It was a horizontal backwards rolling 8 with a full pirouette at each knife edge. Each pirouette had to be in an opposite direction as well. Even when pulled off seamlessly it still hurt your brain to watch.
RCHP: Do you have any sentimental helis you will never get rid of?
BW: I am not too much of a sentimental guy, so no not really. I usually end up blowing up those models anyway, so most of my first models are no longer with us. The only thing I plan on saving is my green, black, and white Stratus canopy that my buddy Craig painted for me back in the day. As beat up as it is, that canopy and Stratus model really took me to great places in this hobby so I want to hold on to that.
RCHP: What do you enjoy most about our hobby?
BW: I love being able to meet so many great people in the world because of the hobby. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be able to travel the globe and meet so many cool people who all share a common passion.
RCHP: Where do you think you will be in the hobby in five years?
BW: Not quite sure honestly. I hope to be able to continue our work with the 3D Fixed Pitch quads at Encore RC and see how far we can push this technology in the 3D world.
RCHP: What do you recommend to someone who is looking to learn 3D-type flying?
BW: Fly, fly and fly. Stop buying a million helicopters and simply fly. Pick your favorite model and fly every single day. Whenever you have the urge to buy another model, put that money into more fuel or more batteries. It is amazing just how far you can progress with one model and 10 flights a day.
RCHP: Do you fly other types of aircraft ?
BW: I fly helicopters, airplanes and all sorts of multirotors.
RCHP: What keeps your interest in the hobby?
BW: It is always developing. The technology in the RC world is always changing and finding new ways to enhance our thirst for 3D is always a fun challenge.
RCHP: Who are your current sponsors?
BW: Futaba, GAUI, OS Engines and Scorpion Motors.
RCHP: How did you become a Team Pilot?
BW: In 2005 and 2006, I was traveling all over the country and att ending Fun Fly’s almost every weekend I could. I met the owner of Miniature Aircraft and established a solid connection with him and his team. I then started to do some R&D work and testing for them and the rest is history. I then began to work with Futaba and Scorpion shortly after and continue to have a great relationship with those folks to this day.
RCHP: If you could have a “do over” in the hobby what would you change?
BW: If I could do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing. I have grown so much as a person through this hobby and it has really been an amazing experience. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for me in the hobby.
RCHP: Any upcoming projects you’re working on you that could share with us?
BW: We are working hard on the Invertix 400 multirotor, which is the world’s first Fixed Pitch 3D Quad kit. This thing will do anything our RC helicopters can do but in an extremely different way. I really think this technology will only continue to grow.
RCHP: Now that your hobby has turned into a career, have your views changed on the hobby?
BW: Well, as for anything that is “work,” it is work! It is a way to pay bills and survive. When you love what you do, you never have to work a single day in your life, but as much as I love flying there does come a point every once in a while where you simply have to take a break for a bit. The feeling of flying a perfectly tuned model on a great day never gets old though!
RCHP: What is your favorite size model to fly and why?
BW: Without a doubt, my favorite size model to fly is a 700-size nitro. The power to-weight ratio just feels so “right” to me and I tend to groove really well with this size heli. Plus, I can bring a gallon of fuel to the field and fly all day without having to worry about chargers and the rest of the stuff associated with big electrics.
RCHP: Do you have a favorite pastime besides RC?
BW: I am a huge music fan and love playing guitar and writing music. Also anything that gets me up and moving is a plus too working out, running around, going out on boats and jet skis, I love it!
RCHP: How do you feel the hobby has evolved over the past 10 years?
BW: I think battery technology and electronics have taken the hobby to another dimension that we couldn’t even foresee years ago. The stuff we are able to pull off now with RC helis is incredible compared to 10 years ago.
RCHP: What are your goals for 2014?
BW: My biggest goal is to grow our Invertix line at Encore RC and see how far we can push this technology. I really think that being able to flip multirotors upside down is going to bring a lot of new faces into the 3D world.
RCHP: What motivates you on a daily basis?
BW: I am never complacent…always looking to do bigger and better things.
– Bobby Watts
I would like to thank Bobby for taking the time out of his busy day to share his experiences in the hobby with us. The hobby would not be where it is today without the greatness that is Bobby “High Voltage” Watts. I have been lucky enough to hang out with him at our local fun fly as well as his own home down in Florida during the OHB. I enjoy watching Bobby fly with his go out-and-have-fun flying style. My father credits his learning from watching Bobby’s SmackTalk videos over and over again. I wish you the best luck in 2014 and keep the new designs coming to the market, my friend.