Answer: The Robara is subject to all the rules and regulations that apply to RC model aircraft and you need to check what these are in your country. Usually you are not allowed to fly near houses and public roads, and not above a certain height. There may be additional restrictions near controlled airspaces such as airports.
Answer: Any land will do but it must be clear of trees, overhead wires and places where you cannot retrieve your falcon. As a general rule, if you plan high flights you must allow more distance horizontally in all directions than vertically. Thus if you plan to fly to 400 metres high, then you need about 500 metres in each direction around you. A small falcon on a windy day will come down at an angle shallower than 45 degrees.
Answer: The Robara is designed for falcons in the 700-1500 g range, that's about 26-55 ounces. Smaller falcons need smaller prey birds.
Answer: Yes, we are trialling a RoCrow at the moment, which could also be used as a Karrowan or Stone Curlew. One problem is that the human brain is too slow and limits how small the model can be. For example, you could never control a model sparrow chased by a sparrowhawk. Probably crow-sized will be the lower limit.
Answer: Simple - more batteries mean more weight. More weight means poorer flight performance and more risk of injuring the falcon. We have trialled many options and this is the best combination. With the 5 minute deadline, the pilot knows that the Robara will run out of 'energy' just as the falcon will - who can last longest? This is more like nature. It also means that you cannot totally exhaust the falcon, so it is able to fly again later in the day.
Answer: We have trialled more power options too. With more power you can zoom around and make the falcon look ridiculous. The balance has to be maintained and the pilot needs to show some skill and strategy, not just brute engine power.
Answer: Not really, but the flapping wing cannot fly so fast or so violently. That's why we use it as a 'Trainer' wing.
Answer: Yes, you can do that, you can also do FPV (First Person View). But actually the falcon attacks so fast, you only see half a second. We prefer filming both the Robara and the falcon from a distance so that you can see the drama. We can fit onboard cameras for you if you wish.
Answer: The Robara is as easy to fly as similar model planes. The controls are very simple and beginners can easily fly it badly! But to fly it well when you are under pressure from a stooping falcon takes some skill. Are you the kind of person who panics??? We provide a flight simulator package that you can use on your computer and crash as many times as you like until you are ready for the real thing.
Answer: Contact your local aero club. There will be plenty of people there thrilled to fly a Robara with your falcon. We are also able to provide training and technical support at competitions.
Answer: About the same as ordinary falconry. Fog is a big no-no. Low cloud means you cannot fly high. Force 5 is about the upper wind speed limit, although we have flown in Force 7 which is crazy and both Robara and falcon are practically stationary, trying to plough into the wind. Rain is not good for the Robara or the falcon.
Answer: We are developing a network of franchises in the main falconry countries and plan to launch the production models in 2015.
Answer: We are currently working with organisations in several countries to make official competitions, qualifying for the International Rofalconry competition. We can also provide technical support services for this.
Answer: The Robara is tougher than it looks. Parts are easily replaced and can usually be glued together again in a few minutes. We have wings that have survived the most horrendous crashes and are still going at the end of the season.
Answer: Low density expanded polypropylene (EPP).
Answer: If you fly just at the Robara, your falcon will develop a search image for that species. That means it is unlikely to fly away checking at other species such as pigeons. This can be a huge advantage.
Answer: On average it takes 6 lessons. Start with the Robara on the ground with the engine running and with food tied on its neck. Then tow it on a line. Then launch it and the falcon will chase it and take it in the air. All her natural instincts kick in!
Answer: Actually, the problem is the other way around! Falcons very quickly learn that the engine noise means fun and will start flapping their wings even when hooded. Some falcons need to be kept quietly in the car until it is their turn to fly.
Answer: Yes, that would be possible. We are open to more research into that.
Answer: For those of us who have been lucky enough to hunt real prey over the years, nothing can match the proper hunting experience, with its highs and lows. On the other hand, many people have hunted all their lives and never seen the kind of flights you can see in Rofalconry. Watching a falcon and a Robara coming out of the clouds from 500 metres up and twisting down through the sky towards you makes you jump up and down and scream!
Answer: Come to the 2014 International Festival of Falconry in Abu Dhabi www.falconryfestival.com in December. We are the organisers and we expect over 80 countries!