Here at Flite Test, we've produced quite a few kits for small RC planes over the years. Popular choices such as our Mighty Mini Scout and new FT Dart use our favourite building material, foam board, to keep the planes light and agile. But how far, or specifically, how small can you go with foam board? One of our community members Nerdnic, the brains behind many great community designs, shows us with his 'Manic Micro Tiger Moth'.
Nic's speciality is usually super fast warbirds. Last year, in 2017, we collaborated with Nic to produce the FT Mig 3.
Nic actually designed the Tiger Moth back in 2015. It has remained popular on the forums since then with an active build thread which pays testament to a popular design. All you is one sheet of foam board and a microelectronics setup to built one yourself. The plane takes just three micro servos that can be seen by looking down into the cockpits of the model.
All up, the flying weight of the Moth is around 80 grams (2.8 ounces). It has a 16-inch wingspan and a length of just 13.6 inches. Wondering how this compares to the smallest planes on the FT store? The FT mini scout, which is a highly respectable indoor flyer, has a wingspan of 24 inches. You'll probably also have noticed that the wing supports are simple wooden barbecue skewers!
This model also includes a nice cowling made from card. It helps to capture the real-life lines of the Tiger Moth.
The full-scale moth was designed as a trainer for the Royal Air Force pilots in the 1940s. Like the real one, the small size results in some favourable flight characteristics for new pilots. Even in a breeze, the predictable nature of the airplane allows you to fly it with confidence. I always like to remember that equation - Force = Mass x Acceleration. This plane has neither a lot of mass or speed meaning that you're probably not going to have many forceful crashes!
So how does this tiny little plane fly? Here's Nic's video.
Nic's 30-minute build video shows how quickly this RC biplane can be put together. The Tiger Moth seems like a great option for those without a ton of flying space, storage space or time for building!
The Tiger Moth looks fantastic in the air against a blue sky backdrop. If you'd like to check out all of the community builds of this design, where people have gone to town on painting and decorating their models, just check out the Manic Micro Tiger Moth page on Nic's website.
It's great to see people like Nic pushing the boundaries when it comes to using simple, accessible building materials like foam board. Building aircraft that fit those gaps, when we need something that's super manoeuvrable and slow to fly around a backyard or gymnasium, is an awesome way to expand the hobby and provide new experiences for other people. If you have a design that you're working on, make sure that you post about it in the FT Forum and write an article about it when you're done.
We can wait to see what you come up with!
Article by James Whomsley