80"Flying Wing Update and Modifications

by dharkless | February 8, 2015 | (7) Posted in Projects

Hello everyone,


This article is an update of my earlier article "Four Sheet No Waste 80" flying wing" that was published last summer.

Here are a couple of pictures of the model as it appeared in the original article:


The earlier article was a build article that I published as I was developing this design and building the first three examples but before extended test flying.  Last summer was my reintroduction to RC after a 3 or 4 year period of flying and then a 17 year gap.  I was pretty much starting over on the flying part.  Through the summer I flew a few times at a couple of local school football fields and stayed with some of my smaller designs.  I finally broke down and rejoined one of the local AMA club fields in September.  Before the weather turned I got about 25 flying sessions in and flew the "80" at least once in most of them.  I now have at least 25 flights on the prototype.

I built 3 of these, all the same, before doing any flying.  The first I built in a flurry of activity without photos as I was working out the design.  It was one of those "Honey, why did you stay up till 3:30 in the morning" episodes. The second I built exactly like the first but took time to take photos for the build article.  As I wrote the article I found that I needed a few photos that I had missed so I built a third to get those.  I figured I would need at least two and possibly all three due to accidents before I got up to speed with the flying but that went much better than I feared.  I am still flying the prototype with just a couple of minor wing tip bumps.

The wing flies quite well.  It is very steady in the air.  The elevons are responsive but not snappy.  It is too big and light for that.  It does fairly small loops and gentle to moderate rolls nicely.  It stalls out of large loops or extended vertical. Stalls are very gentle and recovery is very quick. I once got it into trouble in a cross wind flying too close to the flight line and had to roll it almost to 180 degrees to pull away.  It did the maneuver starting at about 20' from the ground and recovered after the adjustment at about 15' in the middle of the runway all in between 50' and 75' of distance.

The current motor is rated at 342 Watts.  I have a 500 Watt that I intend to try this year.  I think that will push the vertical performance. 

In the process of test flying I discovered a couple of items that needed modified to improve the design:


Modification #1:

Problem: Wobbly landing gear.

The first modification became obvious in the first two flights. The landing gear was OK for taking off but was not rigid enough for landing.  I had originally designed it with pods attached to the wing with skewers and landing gear attached to those with rubber bands.  The combination proved to be too flexible and the main gear collapsed on anything but a perfect landing.  The first modification was to make the landing gear and supporting pod permanently attached to the wing.  

Attaching the pod was simple.  I just removed the skewers, applied glue to all of the mating surfaces and reinstalled the pods in the original positions minus the securing skewers.  Spacers were already in place to facilitate this.  I then ran a small bead of hot melt along all of the joints to clean up the appearance and for extra strength.

The landing gear attachment was a little more involved.  The original design used a triangular bent wire arrangement where the rubber bands secured it to the pods.  The wire was 1/8".  I took the gear off and traced the  inside of the triangle onto 1/8" plywood.  I traced a second piece of 1/8" plywood to the outside of the triangle.  I then repositioned the gear and glued the smaller piece inside the wire triangle to the original plywood base.  I ran a bead of glue between the wire and the plywood insert.  I then glued the larger triangle over the first sandwiching the wire gear in place.  Finally, I ran a bead of glue around the outside of the wire attaching it to the original plywood base.

Here is the original installation:

Here is the modification:

This is much more secure amd does not collapse on landings.


Modification #2:

Problem: Failing landing gear attachments.

This arrangement held up well for a few flights but the paper then started to separate from the foam under the plywood base on one side.  To fix this I carefully cut the paper lose on three sides, leaving the fourth side as a hinge.  I then spread a generous amount of glue on the back side of the paper and swung it back into place. I proactively did this repair on all three landing gear positions.  I have not had any subsequent landing gear issues.

Here is a shot of the gear after cutting the paper and ready for glue:

The "after" picture is the same as the second picture above.  It looks the same before and after the repair.  

If I were doing this during the original building process I would cut out a rectangle of paper 1/8" smaller than the landing gear base so that it was glued directly to the foam instead of just to the paper.    


Modification #3:

Problem: All white was just not gettin' it!

My original article was published with an all white model.  I had published the article shortly after developing the design and had built three but had not painted any of them.  Most readers saw the article before I added the painted shots.  I later updated the article with a couple of color potos but in case you read it early and did not see the painted version here it is again.

The model was painted with oil based aerosol paint.  The top was done with bright yellow trimmed with fluorescent orange.  The bottom was done with the same orange trimmed with black.  Striping was added to the top using black duct tape. The color scheme works well for orientation since the bottom is much darker and the stripes are distinctive.  

Here are a couple if pictures of the paint job:




Modification #4:

EDF Conversion Preview:

Problem: It looks like a jet but it has a propeller.

One of my readers (Yogenh) asked if I had ever thought of using EDFs on it.  Up till that point I had not.  I had never done anything with EDFs so the thought just never occured to me.  I looked into it a bit and decided that it might not be bad idea.  

I found a set of 64 MM EDFs on Amazon that claimed 750 g of thrust each and ordered a pair.  After getting them I could not get more than about 550 grams each so I am looking for repalcements.  There WILL be two EDFs on 80" wing #2 before the beginning of the flying season! (Better hurry up Dan!)

Here are a couple of pictures showing the plannned installation:

You can also see the modified landing gear supports on #2 before painting.

These are  just sitting in place till I verify whether I will use them or posssibly go to the 70 mm units for better thrust.    

The mounts are a simple 3" long "D" tubes made from Dollar Tree foam board.    The paper is removed from the inside of the curved part.  They are covered on the outside surface with 3 overlapping pieces of packaging tape. They are sized to allow the EDF and exhaust tube to fit snugly.  The exhaust tubes will be glued to the EDF.  The EDFs will be a snug friction fit and will have a built-in stop to prevent them from sliding back too  far.

Here is a picture showing one EDF unit with the tube attached and one "D" tude disassembled:

This is the  same EDF unit assembly that was used in the "One Sheet No Waste Simple Fold Delta - EDF Version" published about a week ago.  It is made by hot gluing an exhaust tube made from an 11 oz powdered creamer bottle directly to the EDF housing with the wires exiting a small hole on the side (see that article referenced below for details). I will just use two of them for this. I mentioned in the earlier article that this unit could be easily moved from one model to another.  This could literally be done in 5 or 10 minutes in the field. I will take two of the smaller planes ready to fly and move the motors to this before the end of the flying session.  

The motor wires currently reach just byond the rear corners of the "D" tubes.  I will make a "Y" extension cord to connect each side to the ESC which is inside the power pod at the center line of the aircraft.

The battery, ESC, servos and radio insallation are the same as for the original prop version eccept that the ESC must be 60A (or possibly larger with the 70 mm units).  The motor and prop were simply removed and the EDF units added.   The EDFs were positioned with the fronts of the "D" tubes matching the front of the two main landing gear plywood supports.  This position allows the CG to be maintained in the original position.  

Weight with the two EDF units will be about 1600 g which his about 125 g heavier than the prop version with the same batteries.

Of course the EDF housings and the landing gear modifications will be painted before flying (unless I get impatient and the weather is good).

When I finalize the installation and have a working model I will do a dedicated article which will show all of the details.  I just wanted to give you an idea where I was headed with it for now.


Please look at the original article for construction details if you are interested and missed it last year.  It is a very detailed step by step building guide. 


Well, that is it for now.  #1 Had all of the updates last September and has 20+ flights after modifications.  I am getting #2 ready as the EDF version for when the weather changes and we can get onto the field.  I hope that is soon (snow on the ground in western PA this morning).

Let me know if you build this or any of my other designs with comments here, or...  Send pictures and comments to my e-mail: dhark69@gmail.com 


Thanks for reading this and good luck with your spring flying.


Note: Please take the time to rate and comment on this and all articles you read.  Reader feedback is the most valuable tool that the writers have to improve their product.  The writers and readers will benefit from the improvements that result.  






Sharky on March 29, 2015
Hey Dan,
Randy here don't know if you remember me but I posted on the original to let you know that I built this wing. Now that the days are getting longer I have been able to get out an do some flying (today was a beautiful day for flying) and I just wanted to say Hi an to let you know that I have not been able to fly the big wing cause the plane did a nosedive on the first takeoff! Seeing as I have built 13 other planes over the winter. I just pulled another out when the nose gear collapsed on me so I have yet to get it in the air. I like your fix for the gear an now that I have seen how you've done yours I gives me an Idea so If It works I will take some pic's an let you know. Oh heck Bro I think I might even be able to steer the wing as well! Alright cool I will let you know how it works out. I really like the edf version so I might do that on the next wing as well. Thanks for the inspiration. Blue Sky's!!

Log In to reply
dharkless on March 29, 2015
Hey Randy,

Yes. I do remember. Thanks for responding.

I think I responded with a couple of comments including that I had revised the original landing gear because I had trouble. I was able to take off OK. My trouble was mostly on landing. The gear would wobble and collapse on all but the most gentle of landings. I also updated the original article with the fix.
Do I understand you correctly that the nose gear collapsed preventing you from getting off the ground? If so the landing gear fix should help. Make sure your nose wheel is angled forward so it is at least even and preferably a little forward of the nose. The nose should also be about 5 degrees up. If you are getting airborne and then nose diving there is probably a problem with your GC and /or reflex settings. They might be worth double checking.
I have gone on to about 15 other projects since the "80" and have not taken time to solve the steering issue. It is not that complicated but a little tricky because of the forward angle of the nose gear. If you come up with a workable solution please send me a couple of pictures. I will do an update with credits.
Please send me some pictures to my e-mail address: dhark69@gmail.com

Log In to reply
dharkless on March 31, 2015
Please send pictures of the build regardless of the landing gear issues.
Log In to reply
dharkless on March 31, 2015
Please send pictures of the build regardless of the landing gear issues.
Log In to reply
dharkless on April 4, 2015
Make sure your main gear is in the right position as well. They should be just as far forward as you can go and keep from tipping over backwards. Too far back and the nose won't rise. The leverage that the elevons have is a lot less than a conventional tail.
Log In to reply
Sharky on April 5, 2015
I am in the process of redoing the landing gear an will send pics when finished. I have been busy flying as it is spring time where I live. I will send pics when I've finished the mods on the gear. Randy
Log In to reply

You need to log-in to comment on articles.

80"Flying Wing Update and Modifications