This article is really just a collection of all of the FliteTest and Foam Board airplanes that I have built. It totals out at 96 airplanes, 44 of which are FliteTest airplanes.
Going in chronilogical order of the airplanes I have pictures and videos of, The very first airpanes I ever built I have a short video of. It was pretty basic and doesn't need much of an explanation.
Next I decided I wanted to build an airplane from plans so I decided on the FliteTest FT-22 because it seemed fairly basic to build. The only thing I changes was that I added a landing gear for fun. In the end I built 5 of these.
I built a couple of airplanes after that, that I don't remember and didn't take pictures of. Eventually I decided I wanter to build something of my own design so I built an airplane that I eventually developed into one of my favorite airplanes. Unfortunatley I never took any pictures of this airplane I only did an onboard video with it.
Here is a detailed thing I wrote about the prototypes. I'm going to break the timeline to just talk about this design for a bit.
The fist was a 30 inch wingspan and it flew very good but wasn't very advanced. It had a simple box fuse with a KFm-2 airfoil. and carbon arrow shafts as booms. It also had an inverted V-tail which I later abandoned because it had a slight wag to it that didn't look good in on board video. I have stuck to a removable nose on all of the prototypes because it is very convenient for access. On this first airplane I actually made 2 noses and installed a GoPro into the second nose. I unfortunately didn't take any pictures of this particular one. I have included the video from the on board GoPro however.
On the second prototype I stuck to a similar design but I used hardware store yard sticks for the booms and I used a more standard tail with a elevator between the booms and a vertical stab on each one. I also added a rudder in the center of the elevator which turned out to be one of the mistakes I made on this airplane. As for the wing I used a full airfoil this time that was made using the Armin wing process. This airplane flew alright but it needed many things. I made the ailerons too small and the rudder in the center was unnecessary and weakened the elevator.
The third prototype was back the the 30 inch wingspan. This time for the wing I mixed the Armin wing with the FT styles so that there was still paper on most of the inside of the wing and all of the outside. I went back to the inverted V-tail because I was still set on having a rudder. It worked good but the V-tail waggle was annoying. This airplane flew great and was a great sport flyer and would have made a great FPV ship but it was still not quite what I wanted. I didn't take any pictures or video of this airplane unfortunately.
On every airplane the fuse was a weak spot so with the next airplane I completely redesigned it. The new design was a hexagonal tube of foam with a rectangular box inside of it. It is quite simple to build and INCREDIBLY strong. It also gives me the ability to make a pointed cone for a removable nose. On the 4th prototype I used a 60 inch span again with the same Armin/FT wing but I went to the new hexagonal fuse and I went back to the regular split tail with a single elevator and two vertical stabs. This airplane flew awesome and was my daily flyer for a long time. It was also the first one I ever put a landing gear on that I actually used. (the second one had a landing gear but I only used it twice) Again I didn't document this one nearly enough but the other day I stumbled on a pretty terrible picture of it. I crashed it due to a failed elevator servo or it would have gone on for a long time.
The next prototype was a very similar airplane but of a 30in wingspan. The only major changes were the wingspan and instead of using a really long narrow hexagonal fuse I used a fatter shorter one which I liked more. I also added flaps which were incredible. I used larger ailerons and I moved the booms farther apart. All of this I liked. I never put a landing gear on this one because I didn't feel like it really needed one. I used the same type of wing but I made a thinner more streamlined airfoil and it made the airplane a little rocket ship. It would slow down to walking speed but then when you spooled up it would cruise along at 65 or 70. It did have some pretty serious cooling issues for some reason. In an attempt to fix that I added a large air scoop to the top of the wing and a cowling. Eventually I just crashed it because of dumb thumbs.
The sixth prototype was incredible. It had a 60in wingspan with the thin airfoil and the hexagonal fuse. I also added wingtip fences which were very, very effective at low speeds. I used the flaps and they were even more incredible on the big airplane. For example I didn't bother with a landing gear until very late in it's life because I just caught it instead of making landings. I did belly land it a few times just to make sure it didn't do anything nasty. Again the airplane cooked along at a good speed and then slowed down to a very slow speed. It also lasted a long time on a single battery because of how efficient the design was. It was very maneuverable and precise. It was very rigid and didn't seem to have any weak spots. When the rates were toned down it flew like a trainer but at full throws it would crank out hardcore aerobatics. It would be an incredible FPV airplane. The airfoil is not complicated to make but if people wanted to use an FT wing I can't imagine that it would hurt the flying characteristics much and other than that there is nothing that is even slightly complicated about the build. Also I forgot to mention that these last two can take off vertically by being placed on their rudders. It is not hard at all, you just slam it to full throttle and up it goes. Thankfully I took lots of pictures and videos of this airplane.
The seventh version of this airplane was esentially the same, I just build it a couple of thousand miles away while I was on vacation.
The eight version was also the same except it had a wingspan of only 20" it flew great at full power and not at all below that, but I really just did it so I could say I did.
I have now built a total of 11 of these airplanes and after the 6th one, I pretty much stopped changing the design. One of the versions however, I widened the booms to 32" apart so that I could have huge flaps, and I added a fence to the edge of the flap to eliminate the vortex which helped a lot. I also added a tail dragger landing gear to this airplane.
I also at one point added a centerline retract system with wingtip support wheels that fell away on tekeoff which worked very well.
I have done many other things with this airplane. I broke 100mph with it, It built a parachute recovery system into one, I even flew one in formation with a car at 70mph down a runway. Here is a picture from that.
As you can see, I built that one out of the waterproof foamboard.
Here is a few onboard videos from the ninth and tenth versions.
Okay, back to my timeline. I kept building airplanes from plans, but I decided I wanted to try something besides FliteTest designs so I built several different profile jets from parkjets.com.
Continuing my theme of airplanes from plans I then built 5 bloody wonders which we promtly destroyed in combat, but they were lots of fun.
I also around the same time built three more FT-22s
Next I built an FT Cruzer which I put lights in. This airplane didn't last very long due to some major issues with electronics.
I eventually discover NerdNic's airplanes and built his Bucker Student and Chipmunk. These were my first real scale airplanes, which was really fun.
I built the Swappable Foam Cub, which was a very fun airplane. I never took a picture of it, but I took a decent video of it.
I really liked the scale airplanes so I continued it with a sweet little GeeBee Model D from some plans I found in the forums. This was probably one of my favorite looking airplanes that I have built.
I really liked the scale airplanes, so I decided to enter the 2015 (I think) Flite Test Forum Scale Build Off, with a Keith Rider R5 Jackrabbit. With plans of my own. I spent weeks building and painting it making it look what I thought was fantastic, and I took second place in the contest. Unfortunatly it crashed on the first flight when the elevator servo came loose.
I took an adventure into night flying with a blunt nose versa that was quite fun.
For the next few months I just built a few off plans airplanes that had seemingly no order.
One evening I got a little bored, so I built an airplane that I affectionatly called The Thing. I actually had lots of fun with this airplane, and I eventually mounted a ducted fan on top of it. When that wasn't enough fun, I put one on each wingtip in opposite directions for crazy flat spins.
I tried my hand at slop soaring with a glider I built from my own design.
Then I did some R and D work for a company called Brubaker Models building and flying the WildKard before it was released. It was an incredibly cool airplane and can be bought as a kit on their website brubakermodels.com
I eventually decided that I wanted to see how short I could make a model land and take off, so I built the fuselage of the Foam Cub and I designed my own wing, tail feathers and leanding gear. I flew it like that for a long time and it was great, but I eventually busted up the fuselage. So I built V2 using the same wing and landing gear but the fuselage of the FT storch and a set of tailfeathers of my own design. I will admit that both of these airplanes were aweful as ar as general flyers, but they were great at STOL.
Then I took an expedition into building scale airplanes with box profile fuselages. I built a Lavotchkin La-7, a Republic F-84 and a Cessna CR-3 racer which I unfortunatly never photographed in its original form, just in it's late life. The Lavotchkin was an incredibly fun little sport flyer, and the F-84 was really cool to fly because it was huge but very slow due to it's light wing loading. The Cessna CR-3 however, had too much vertical surface in the front end which resulted in the nose hunting badly. The only way for me to solve that was to add a massive rudder, which took away all the scale looks. So I decided to glue a landing gear to the top of it to practice my inverted landings.
I made a nice little Blunt Nose Versa wing which I used some colorful tape to make look a little more interesting. (BTW, all four of the Blunt Nose Versa's that I have had have died in spectacular in flight structural failures due to my hard abuse)
Next, I threw together a cute little profile model of a Blanik Glider that was fun to toss around for a while.
Then I found out that my friend was making the trip to California from Wisconsin so I got busy building, I built two Mustangs and two Blunt Nose Versa Wings that were decked out with lights.
My experience with FliteTest and DTFB airplanes has been incredible. It has opened me up to incredible new posibilities which I never would have thought possible. Thanks to FT I have honed my skills both as a pilot and as a builder and I have been able to use those skills to begin working in the RC industry to pay for my college. So I owe a huge thanks to FT for all they've done for me.
For people who are just beggining to build or are about to begin, I would say the most important part is to be spontaneous. If you like an airplane and are feeling like you might build it, just build it. As soon as possible. Just get it built and you will be so thrilled when you get to fly it that it will make the entire process well worth it. And it will excite you to do it again. If you have a failure, view it as an oportunity to learn. I have had many airplanes which did not fly or flew very badly. Instead of getting angry that it did not work, I would always view it as an opportunity to understan something new, and try to figure out why it wasn't working so I wouldn't make the mistake in the future.
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Thanks for the interest,