| Tornado Chasers

RC 1/10th scale Dominator


I have watched @reedtimmer and the rest of his team fly RC drones into storms.
I also know that the DOMs are like the safest thing to drive into a tornado, but when you get those F-5 tornados that are too dangerous for even the Dominators to intercept, why not an unmanned small scale RC Dominator, or moving probe.

It’s would not be that hard to weld metal around the Axial Wraith in the same design as the DOMs, and to add some rubber lining to the bottom, it would quickly become almost as aerodynamic (on a small scale!) as the DOMs. Some LED light bars by RC4WD would enable you to be able to see at night.
The interior could house instruments that would store the data that it would be collecting the whole time during intercept.
Yes, their would be room for a GoPro camera that would look through a small pexi-glass window.
And if all else fails, have a GPS tracking device on-board to track it if it gets caught into the tornado!

Their are a few reasons i would recommend the Axial Wraith:

  1. Good top speed of 10-30 MPH with the right battery.
  2. Very tough (it even has an extremely durable roll cage!).
  3. Big enough to house weather instruments and GoPro cameras, yet small enough to easily transport.
  4. This truck accepts modifications very well, from lift kits to a wide variety of tires.

If anybody else has ideas, support or comments, just leave a post below!
Photos provided by AxialRacing inc.

RC storm chasing vehicle UPDATE

That is pretty neat.


We have done it already but I don’t think we ever got one inside a tornado. There’s definitely some videos on our YouTube channel of these RC car probes. It was used in the 2012 season but I don’t think any video of it made the cut for Tornado Chasers.


really? your kidding


The fact that you have done it is cool! But as you said,

I’m think this would to be a way to get in the tornado! Even the DOMs can’t get in the big F4/F5 tornados! Thats when the RC 1/10 DOM could be launched in the circulation, and since it can drive 30+ MPH, it could just drive into the tornado, without the risk of human life! This is great for a tight budget, because you could get GoPro video, weather measurements/data for WAY less the money! I would love to do this project just I don’t have the funds, or even if I did build it, it would be really track down a big tornado without help from the real DOMs!


Ok for those of you who want to know more about this project, go to to see more! Please keep in mind that this is a project that is still just starting!


If you got one into a tornado you would then have to find it. Assuming it doesn’t get broke up, you could put a SPOT Tracker on it, you’d need to order their service too but it is the best method for finding probes since it’s satellite based.


Well the current vehicle i’m using for experimenting has aluminum chassis/roll cage, so it would take a LOT of force to break it completely! I would defiantly have to install SPOT Tracker because if the RC vehicle got hit right, it could be blown a LONG way away!


the whole idea is useless its too light it will get blown away and the faster the rc goes the easier it will get blown away and it will require a fpv system to control it go get the heaviest tank from the army cause that’s what ya going to need to tackle a tornado think of what will work and not what may work cause what may work aint going to work at all

RC storm chasing vehicle UPDATE

That actually made me giggle a little @JarretR First i’d like to say that I think you’ve got an amazing idea! But… . yeah that little car would be launched like a rocket lol.

The problem will be like what @big_feller1983 said… but in a more polite way… It’s not a useless idea, but it’s definitely too light. Throw something 8 pounds at a tornado and it would be launched and probably destroyed the second it hit anything. I would consider looking into RC monster trucks though. They can handle more weight, especially after being modified and handle more instrumentation on them. Look into the CEN Racing GST-Colossus. The tire height alone is 7.5 inches, which I believe is the height of the wraith, entirely? Also the top speed is 45 miles per hour which is way faster than the wraith I believe? and with the weight difference of this bigger machine plus the speed, you might have better luck probing a tornado with it… Then i’d suggest parachuting and gps’ing the instruments you put on the vehicle depending exactly on what you plan on doing with it,… .And it’s so big you could really pull off an epic scaled version of the dominator 3, I think. Especially with the way the tires on the Dom are covered, you wouldn’t even notice it’s a monster truck.
So gps+parachutes+big rc monstertruck= something worth looking into . I would if i had that kinda money.

PS I totally get props for the epic idea if you end up going that route :stuck_out_tongue: lol


People have been saying how

[quote=“johnnygutz, post:12, topic:353”]
that little car would be launched like a rocket
[/quote] and

Those are very good points @big_feller1983 and @johnnygutz!
But I would like to explain.
Yes, the car might end up getting launched, but thats not the plan! It would be weighted and surrounded with metal in a aerodynamic design like the Dominators, not to mention a aluminum roll cage.
But lets say that it did get launched, considering that it will have a tracking system on it, we should be able to recover the vehicle.
Also, I know it might get damaged or totally un-driveable, but unless in got absolutely mangled (which is unlikely considering it would have three layers of tough metal), we should be able to recover video and data.
Hopefully someday we will be able to find out the answers to our questions by testing the RC vehicle in an actual tornado! We are working towards our goal, but it’s not like we are working with much money
either @johnnygutz! :smile:

We appreciate your ideas and opinions so keep em’ coming!



i’m not sure how well you’re testing the idea, if you are at all, as far as aerodynamics and such. but still I think the monster truck thing I mentioned would be your best answer. and the fact that the height of this machine is as high as it is you could fit it with more metal bigger cage, bigger everything and more of it too. lol… But, I see what you’re meaning now with the speed,and the aerodynamics of the shape etc, you could probably get away with your idea… You could also get really serious about it, and apply some kind of spikes to it, which I think would just make it THAT much cooler. and that would eliminate the whole aerodymanic issue all together. If you could potentially get close enough to tornadoes to intercept them and then have a 2 foot spike dig into the ground that’s welded to the rest of the frame of the vehicle. that would solve A LOT of problems. and , it wouldn’t look too silly if it was on top of the bigger vehicle. plus the spike could be bigger too then, and then you’d just have to rig a system for it to be moved from a laying down to an up an down position probably at the rear and then have it automatically dig itself into the ground by remote. control. orrrrr… you could do some kind of sling shot spike rig, where spikes sling down with the release of a latch and that way they forcibly enter the ground… . sounds kinda sketch in such a basic conceptual description but, i think if applied, the idea could really take shape.


For the record we are testing the designs (Its design is still being modified) and putting a LOT of homework into it as well. We appreciate your ideas, and yes, we are looking into spikes to create more grip. Also you said that we need to use a monster truck. That is a great idea but, as I said, we are not working with a large budget at all. Also a larger vehicle would be more height above the ground, and studies show that due to friction air speed is less right at ground leavel (we are talking like 7 inches above the ground). Keep in mind this is still under design, so hopefully someday we can test these ideas in a real tornado.


I didn’t mean to imply you NEED to use a monster truck, but i figure if you really wanted to hold some decent equipment and cameras, etc, that the size of this thing would come in handy, more. but if you’re doing it with the concept of the dominator, then you shouldn’t have to worry too much about the air friction , especially if you figure out ways to implement the spikes idea. another idea would be kind of like a pod idea . where you drive the vehicle into the path of a tornado and “walls” come down off of it, and lay in a pyramid type formation off the roof of the vehicle, essentially creating a pyramid out of the vehicle. this would create less friction as well… Also, again, i’m not exactly sure of the budget, but, there are tons of RC Monster trucks you can get on amazon. cheap ones around 30-50 bucks, at least you could buy a couple and outfit them in different ways to see if it’s worth doing. I’m assuming you’re putting your own craftsmanship into these projects anyway so it wont really matter for testing out different vehicles. also, you could try creating a wind tunnel or some sort of simulation for a tornado, and high winds to test these ideas out with. obviously not full scale windstorm since i’m assuming you don’t have a university lab to play around with but, anything that would show the aerodynamics etc.

sorry, coming across your idea really spoke to my creative inventive side. this is a subject that i could discuss for hours and hours and continuously spit out ideas because ive always been an imaginative / inventive type person through my whole life , as is my father so it’s a huge subject in my life lol. but yeah, so if it becomes too off base of whatever you’re trying to achieve then i’ll kindly back off :stuck_out_tongue: But maybe it’ll prompt new thoughts and ideas in the end and help you along the way with your goals!


PS where are you located? generally speaking.


No @johnnygutz , your comments and ideas are fine! I expect to get ideas and criticism for this project, so your comments are no big deal! The wind tunnel idea is something I am looking into, as I don’t have access to a professional laboratory. I’m wondering what would you recommend to create a wind tunnel?
Also we are located in western Oklahoma, near Woodward.



if you could get your hands on 4 somewhat powerful tower type fans, typical for households, you could put them in a position to face one another to create a spin of wind, and then in the center above , put a fan that creates upward suction so the vortex will rise, this should simulate some what the dynamics of a tornado, though there are other factors that would still be left out it might be a general start. maybe just try to find them from friends or family to keep the budget in tact. I don’t think you’d really wanna go spending all that money for something that may not really serve the best purpose… or heck maybe even try to contact a university that has a tornado lab and see if they’ll let you do a couple experiments at them. i know university of iowa has one, and i’m pretty sure there has to be at least one in oklahoma…


Ok so here is an update on the RC storm chasing vehicle:
We have created the shell of the aluminum armor, and have tested it against 80 Mph tennis balls along with driving in a strong gust front in 65+ Mph winds.

Also, notice we refer to it as the “RC vehicle”? Thats because it does not have a name!
Comment below if you have a name that you think would live up to its reputation!

For news, exclusive behind the scenes and awesome videos, go check out our YouTube page by following this link:


UPDATE: Go to our most recent topic for more detailed info RC storm chasing vehicle UPDATE