Looking to build something wildly ambitious or slightly outlandish? Well, we're rather experienced in these matters.
From mail boxes to pigs, we've been there, made it fly, got the T-Shirt. Sometimes these crazy build projects don't always go to plan and can involve a number of, *ahem*, "hiccups" (remember when David Windestål almost burned down Chad's garage?). To help you through your own potential hiccups when attempting something a little different, here's a concise article. First, though, check out our latest project to make a real-life flying pig - who'd have thought it would work as well as it did!
Tip 1. Research
Before jumping headlong into a new build, its always a good idea to sit down and look at how you're going to accomplish your goals. The best way to do this is to start by looking at what others have done. This is true for many things in life, but especially true for DIY aerospace engineering! You want to build on what others have learned. You might see a new wing type or completely novel way of getting something up in the air that you hadn't previously considered. A while back, we featured a project on the Flite Test Forum of a guy who is making a Paramotor drone for carrying a heavy DSLR - now that's a new take on aerial filming!
Always research. Josh found out the hard way that Alex's RC Crawler wouldn't fit the first RC drop plane!
Tip 2. Experiment
Glide tests are super important. Throw a first airframe together and "play catch" by throwing the prototype across a room. Find some long grass and launch it to see how well it tracks. Change things up and don't get too attached to your first airframe. Spend little time on it and move onto something better with the knowledge you've gained.
An episode that involves a fair amount of "catch".
Tip 3. Don't expect it to work right away
It's very rare that you'll find true success on a maiden flight or first test glide. It's more likely you'll get a sense of promise, or, on the flip side, the sense that something drastic needs to change. Assess what worked and what area needs more work. For example, if your airplane seems a little pitch sensitive, add some expo, switch down the rates, consider increasing the distance between the wing and horizontal stabiliser. It's all about taking it one problem at a time, ironing them out, and developing something that flies better.
"I have a bad feeling about this"
Tip 4. Make changes
Everything can be changed! Here are some ideas:
- Move the battery
- Try a different motor
- Build a better wing
- Change the airfoil
- Add more stabilising surfaces
- Use canards
- Go back to the research phase
- Add more motors!
- Completely rebuild
- Ask a friend for help
- Change the concept
- Try something new
Here's a video where we had to alter a few things.
Tip 5. Try, try again.
Keep building things, keep experimenting, and keep sharing what you learn. One of the best ways to get feedback on your creations and to work with the FT community as a whole is to share through this very website, along with the FT Forum and Flite Test Fans Facebook group. Check out the links below.
To close, here's a project that didn't exactly work straight off the bat. Sometimes, you've just gotta' keep on trying!
What's your most crazy RC project? Give us some inspiration for our next build by posting a comment down below this article!
Article by James Whomsley