FT Charlie Build

by FliteTest | December 16, 2016 | (7) Posted in How To


The FT Charlie is the third member of our Triad jet series, and it has interchangeable wings that give you unique flight experiences for beginner, intermediate and advanced pilots. The FT Charlie was designed by students at our FT STEM school, the MESArc Foam Fighters.

Start your FT Charlie 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 pieces for the front wing detail, and remove the foam from the cavities. Perform an A fold on both pieces.

After it dries, use a barbecue skewer to score the innermost score line on both pieces so that they folds at an angle against the fuselage.

Test fit the wing detail pieces on the fuselage, inserting the pieces into the front notches. When you’re happy with the fit, glue them onto the fuselage.

After the glue is dry, fold the canard back and put glue into the cavity closest to the fuselage. Once they’re dry, glue the canard down, making sure it’s at a 90 degree angle to the side of 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 vertical fins and the horizontal stabilizers. Cut the hinge lines on the horizontal stabilizers and do a bevel cut on both sides inside the hinge. Reinforce with hot glue. Glue the fins onto the fuselage.


Test fit the tail. Once you’re happy with the fit, glue the stabilizers down to the fuselage.

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.

Remove the foam from the scored servo cavities on both wing pieces. 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. After it dries, score the hinge line closest to the spar 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. 

Score the remaining hinge lines with a barbecue skewer or ballpoint pen. Fold the wing over, and glue the wing down. Install the two reinforcement spacers.

Connect your electronics. Make any electronics adjustments as needed. Install the wing to the fuselage using a barbecue skewer and rubber bands.

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 any adjustments as needed, and you’re ready to maiden!










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

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

WINGSPAN: 28 inches (711 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!


TurtlesThatFly on December 16, 2016
Looks a lot like a beefed up version of my pusher prop plane...
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modise kgosi on October 30, 2018

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uggymoo on January 17, 2020
I know the sound . check out my old post
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FT Charlie Build