Cherokee 180

by aviator08 | April 10, 2016 | (13) Posted in Projects


I thought it would be fun to build a larger aircraft, and decided to try the Cherokee 180. I have flown the full scale during my pilots licence training. It was a good flying aircraft with great landing characteristics. I hoped this would translate over to the DTFB RC world. I started with the wingspan of about 60" so each wing could be made out of one sheet of foamboard.  I also made the wing more scale by rounding the leading edge.




 First flight of the Cherokee 180

 Location : Flagstaff Flyers RC Field , Flagstaff AZ,

Altitude :  6500'


Building the Cherokee is pretty straight forward, but uses a thicker wing and double layer tail feathers. All of the exposed ends of the foam board were ironed to make them more rounded.  

The following pictures with captions is in sequence for the build. 


 The fuselage cut out and ready to assemble , including power pod plate.  Notice that the fuselage is longer then one sheet of foam board. Two pieces of foamboard were taped and then hot glued together.


 Fuselage partially assembled


 Underside of fuselage


 Fuselage assembled including swappable power pod.


 Stabalator cut out ( mostly) with carbon fiber tube ( arrow shaft ) fitted to the rear of the fuselage.


 Stabalator installed.


 Rudder installed.


 I had to move the power pod plate up in the front half of the fuselage to make the motor aline correctly. 


One wing cut out and leading edge formed.


 The Cherokee 180 uses a box spar. Here you can see one ready to be assembled and one assembled.


 The spar installed in the wing.


 Servos installed ready for the wing to be glued together.


Both wings built and assembled together;  Wingtips are also installed. There is a 1/4" carbon fiber shaft run through the center of the wings next to the main spar for support. I also used craft sticks in the wingtips to make them more ridged.


 Fuselage and wing assembled, ready to be mated together;  


 Landing gear and electronics installed.


Front landing gear assembly


Canopy, cowing front, and turtle deck installed.


Battery and reciver under the "windsheild "


 Front veiw - ready for first flight.


 The Cherokee 180 has been an interesting project. It has gone together with only minor adjustments. I feel like it flys very scale. I have had to add some up elevator mix in with the flaps to maitain level flight when the flaps are deployed. The stabalator is very effective and only requires 12* of throws. If I were to build it again, I would use a different type of control rod attachment to the carbon fiber rod that would allow a little more stand-off, so the servo travel would be a little more on the stabalator. I think this would allow a little finer control adjustment. I would probably do away with the swappable power pod and go with a more traditional firewall since the front of the cowl glues in anyway. I would classify the Cherokee 180 as a medium difficulty build with intermediate piloting skills required.


I am not real happy with the paint job. The tape pealed up in places between coats and I didn't notice it. Hence the overspray in a couple of places.  It does add to the scale appearance though. 


First flight attempt . Stabalator throws set too high.



Second successful flight .




 Kelley Cherokee 180 :

Wingspan : 61"

Length      : 42"

Motor       : 950 Kv

ESC         :  30 amp

Battery    : 2200 3 cell Lypo

Prop        : 13 x 6

CG          :  2 " back from leading edge of wing ( not fillit )


Cherokee 180 Plans :

 Cherokee 180 Fuselage

 Cherokee 180 Tail

 Cherokee 180 RT Wing

 Cherokee 180 LT Wing






PaulHicks on August 10, 2016
I can hardly wait to build this plane. Thank you soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much for providing us with the plans. I am 60 years old and took my first plane 20 years a Cherokee 180. :0) It is an awesome oldie-but-goooooooodie! :0)
Log In to reply
aviator08 on August 11, 2016
Thanks, Glad you like it. :-)
Log In to reply
jrvalentin62 on May 22, 2016
GREAT JOB! Is the wing removable? Looking forward to trying it.
Log In to reply
aviator08 on May 22, 2016
Thanks Valentine !
No , I glued mine on. I'm sure there is a way that it could be though.
Log In to reply
Travos on May 24, 2016
I bet you could use the same technique as the Ft spitfire if you needed the wing to be removable.
Log In to reply
J Bergsmith on May 27, 2016
Very nicely done, sharp looking model!
Log In to reply
cesarskydiver on May 27, 2016
Front part could be better, and still following the KISS philosophy. In this link, very good decals can be used as a reference:

Log In to reply
stufflda on May 27, 2016
WOW! This is really amazing! I did my first solo and cross country flight in one of these birds... It was a brick with wings... So much fun to fly. I really love this build. Well done my friend. Through the pictures it is hard to grasp how big it really is. You have inspired me to design! Not sure I will be as successful, but, none the less you have inspired me.
Log In to reply
aviator08 on May 27, 2016
Thanks, I will have to take a picture of it standing next to me to show it's size.

Log In to reply
Wes Vasher on May 27, 2016
Awesome bird! I built two dollar tree foam Cherokees, one looked a lot like this one.

First one, small but flew very well...

Second larger one...
Log In to reply
aviator08 on May 27, 2016
Very Cool ! Are you still flying it?
Log In to reply
Wes Vasher on May 27, 2016
The first, smaller one was the first RC plane I ever flew. I put a 4S in it and it took off like a rocket and I promptly destroyed it. It actually flew really well though for the short time it did. The second one was underpowered and I couldn't get it to fly very well.
Log In to reply
Jackson T on June 1, 2018
Really nice plane, it looks awesome!!!
Log In to reply

You need to log-in to comment on articles.

Cherokee 180