FT Alpha Build

by FliteTest | December 14, 2016 | (13) Posted in How To


Introducing the FT Alpha, the first in our new 3-part Triad jet series! The Alpha, the Bravo and the Charlie have interchangeable wings that give you unique flight experiences for beginner, intermediate and advanced pilots.

The FT Alpha, Bravo, and Charlie were designed by students at our FT STEM school, the MESArc Foam Fighters.

Start your FT Alpha by building the power pod. Do an A fold on the sides and glue it down. After it dries, glue your firewall onto the angled side of the power pod. Reinforce the entire power pod with packing tape.

Install your motor and ESC. Test to make sure your motor is spinning counterclockwise. If your motor isn’t spinning the right way, swap two leads on your ESC.

Remove the pieces for your main body: the top plate, bottom plate, bottom nose piece, the top nose piece and the power pod holder. 

Score cut all the lines on your main body pieces and remove all the foam from the cavities.

On the bottom nose piece, remove the paper from the front portions. Make a 45 degree bevel cut on each side of the interior rectangle portion.

Make two bevel cuts on the inside part of the triangle in top nose piece. Remove the paper on the other two sections.

Remove the foam cavities from the bottom plate using a barbecue skewer. Perform a B fold on both sides of the plate.

Do a B fold on the power pod holder. After it dries, attach the power pod holder to the bottom plate. 

Install the bottom nose piece on the bottom plate, and insert the nose piece into the tabs on the front part of the bottom plate.

Roll the edges at the front part of the bottom nose piece so that the foam is relaxed in the place where it needs to be bent. Glue the nose portion together. Once it’s dry, add another bead of glue to reinforce the nose.

Glue the bottom nose piece to the bottom plate. Make sure you put glue in the tabs as well.

Gently curve the foam on the top nose piece. Test fit the top nose piece on the bottom nose piece, and remove any excess foam as needed to make a tight fit.

Glue the top nose piece into place. Use tape on the nose so you won’t burn your fingers as you hold the top piece down to dry. You may have to remove some extra material to help get a tighter fit.

Once the nose is dry, carefully remove the tape if you’re using water resistant foam board. If you’re using white foam board, remove the excess tape using a knife or scissors. 

Cut two bevel notches on the bottom plate, then install the top plate. Make sure you have plenty of glue on hand.

Remove the foam from the front cheek wing pieces. Perform an A fold on each piece. After it dries, install the front cheek pieces on the fuselage.

Center your servos to make sure that they have equal throw going both ways. A servo centering tool is a convenient and economical way to center your servos.

Use the longer servo horns and cut them in half. Make sure that the servo horns are facing opposite directions. 

Remove the pieces for the elevator and tail fins. Score the hinge lines on the elevator pieces and do a bevel cut on both sides inside the hinge. Reinforce it with glue.

Glue the fins into the slots at the back of the fuselage. Once the fins are dry, install your elevators. 

Install your servos, push rods and control horns. Don’t glue the servos down until after you’ve reinforced the push rod using a zip tie. This will prevent the wire from deflecting.

Use tape to join the two pieces of the wing, then flip it over and put glue in the hinge line. Fold the excess tape over, and let dry.

Glue down the main spar, lining up the notches. Remove the foam from the servo pockets on both sides of the wing.

Open up the wing and cut a 45 degree bevel on the bottom and top surfaces of the wing. Fold the wings over and glue them down. After they dry, install the two reinforcement pieces.

Install the wings and connect your electronics. Make any electronics adjustments as needed.

Score the lines on the canopy piece, then cut a bevel on both sides of the inside portion. 

Test fit the canopy on your fuselage, then glue down the back inside seams of the canopy.

Cut any excess material from the fuselage and canopy piece as needed. The goal is to have a tight fit throughout the canopy.

Flip the front part of the canopy over and add a bevel. Test fit the canopy, and when you’re happy with the fit, glue down the next set of hinge lines.

After it’s dry, make sure the canopy isn’t glued down to the fuselage. Add another bevel to the front part of the canopy, and remove any excess foam as needed to get it flush with the nose.

When you’re happy with the fit, glue the remaining hinge lines. Don’t glue put glue on the front part of the canopy, otherwise you won’t be able to reach the electronics compartment of your fuselage.

Add decals to the canopy and wing, then reinstall the canopy to the fuselage. You can use a barbecue skewer to keep the canopy and fuselage nice and secure.

Install your prop and battery, then check the center of gravity. Make an adjustments as needed, and you’re ready to maiden!

Stay tuned for upcoming build videos on the other Triad jets, the FT Bravo and FT Charlie!










CENTER OF GRAVITY: 14 inches (355 mm) from the nose

CONTROL SURFACE THROWS: 16 degree deflection/ Expo 30% (increase based on skill)

WINGSPAN: 24 inches (609 mm)

RECOMMENDED MOTORS: 2300 kv 2204 size motor

RECOMMENDED PROP: 6.45 CW Reverse Prop

RECOMMENDED ESC: 12 amp minimum


RECOMMENDED SERVOS: 2x 5 gram servos






New to the R/C hobby?

Here are some resources to help get you up to speed!

Beginner Series: WATCH HERE!

Electronics Setup: WATCH HERE!

First Flight Quick Tips: WATCH HERE!

Scratch Building without Knives: WATCH HERE!

Got glue?? Get Some Here!


wanabeRCexpert on December 14, 2016
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TurtlesThatFly on December 14, 2016
Wait, what happened to the plan links?
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Plane Stupid RC on December 15, 2016
There up there now just above the store links.
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TurtlesThatFly on December 15, 2016
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TurtlesThatFly on December 15, 2016
Strange how this build article is not in the "FTScratchbuild" section...
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Air-headed Aviator on December 16, 2016
Those kids really know how to design a beautiful airplane. Challenge Excepted!
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andremendes on January 30, 2017
I build one this yesterday, Dude, today I flew today for the first time, there are 9 months of research, search for materials, learning, buying the electronic components, simulators ... and then the Alpha came to make this guy here 39 old, fly RC for the first time ?!
10k's staff, thank you so much guy's!
It's amazing the feel!
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JackEdge360 on March 24, 2017
I Want to Upgrade This Version
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Crazyace969 on June 14, 2017
My first built and first scratch built
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tesa5411 on September 2, 2017
where do i get the plans for the motor mount (fire wall)

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Plays2Hardball on October 28, 2018
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Jagan_0310 on January 17, 2019
FT group, Hii guy's really I want to be know which materials are you used to making a small scale aircraft.? For example, like a flute board...
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Mattelson on January 16, 2020
Is it simple enough to add retracts to this? If so which port of the receiver should they connect to?
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Max12345 on January 23, 2020

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sriman_u on June 18, 2020
Where can I get the plans for ft alpha so I can print/make them myself?
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Truyooper on March 1, 2021
Wish your plans would include what size sheet/foam board your using. I know you have a key showing inches and centimeters but for quick reference having the sheet size right on the plans would be appreciated
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Trucker7222 on August 30, 2021
What type of planes are the alpha, bravo and the charlie?
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FT Alpha Build