FT Dart - Build and Review!

by FliteTest | March 13, 2018 | (9) Posted in Reviews

FTScratchBuild

The latest FT DIY Airplane design is here! It's the FT Dart, a rather unique looking flying wing based on our legendary Kraken, the two motored beast of an RC plane. Like the FT Kracken, the Dart has yaw authority using differential thrust produced by its dual props. Check it, and our new location, out in this new video. 


The plane is perfect for precision flying. Got two trees together? No problem. You can use the differential thrust to simply adjust your heading and make it through the gap. 


The plane is perfect for FPV. One of our chief 3D Printing specialists, Chad Lewis, designed a special FPV pod that goes on the front of your dart. This makes installing your micro FPV cam very easy indeed. Here's a link to the STL file - FT Dart FPV Pod.stl


The Dart is going to be a pretty good friend of our other flying wings, and especially the FT Mini Arrow which has a similar form factor. 


Using our brand new Power Pack H, the dart can remain small and manoeuvrable with easily enough power for some impressively fast flight performance. You can use from a 2s to a 4s with this RC airplane meaning that you have a very wide flight envelope to play with. 


Using our favourite waterproof Flite Test Foam Board, the plane combines performance with durability. Put simply, it can take a beating and keep flying. If you have a heavy crash, all you'll need to do is add some tape and maybe a little hot glue. If you do plan on pushing hard and potentially crashing, make sure you have some buddies at the field - they always make flying even more fun. 


So, I hear you asking, 'how do I build one'? Don't worry, we have a brand new YouTube channel called Flite Test Builds where you can find the build video of the FT Dart. We've linked it here though, so you don't have to travel far (or at all). 


If you don't want to watch the video all the way through to work out whether you actually want to build the FT Dart or not, here's a break down of each step. First, here are some helpful links if you haven't built many of our designs before. 

Okay, let's get started!


With this build, as most builds, you'll probably want to start by getting all of your electronics sorted out. The FT Dart requires slightly more wiring and soldering than most as this is a twin motor design with differential thrust. To help you do this, we've included a power distribution board in Power Pack H


As mentioned, you'll have a little more soldering to do than usual. Don't let this put you off though! It's really easy once you've mastered it. Check out our how-to video which teaches you some soldering skills you can apply to your scratch built airplanes. 


You'll be soldering your ESC wires to your power distribution board. This means that you can use one central battery to power your model. Make sure you get your positives and negatives the right way around. 


Tinning your board pads is the way to go when it comes to attaching the wires efficiently and cleanly. 


After you've followed the steps clearly explained by Josh in the FT Dart build video, you'll end up with a power setup that looks something like this. 


Moving onto the foam board, you'll pop out the main components of the wing and get started preparing them for your folds that will shape the airfoil of the aircraft. 


There aren't many parts to this wing when it comes to material, which is great for helping you build fast and get flying sooner. 


Tape is used, like with many of our planes, to initially attach the wings together. Glue is then poured down into the cavity and smeared smooth with a scrap piece of foam. It's always handy to have a lot of spare chunks of foam board lying around for this purpose. After about a minute of drying, you'll have a very strong joint. 


The spar pieces are glued into the wing which includes holes to guide your wiring through. 


The wing is folded over and glue in place. A Barbecue skewer is used at the leading edge of the wing to ensure that the FT Dart can take some hits from race gates, or even other wings! 


Servos are glued into the wing to bring your elevons to life. 


Moving onto the motors, this model uses laser cut wooden components to make some extremely strong motor mounts. These are glued into foam board necelles that hang beneath the wings. 


At this point, you can install your micro motors by screwing them to the motor mounts. 


The centre section is simply folded from foam board. Even if this wing is your first FT build, but this stage after glueing the nacelles together, you'll probably be familiar with how the pod folds together. At this stage, you can also choose to glue in a 3D printed pod that we've provided free files for, if you intend to use the wing for FPV. You can also use this later if you'd prefer to fly line of sight first.  


After this, you're ready to install all of your electronics including your receiver. Make sure you follow Josh's guidance on the video to get this right first time. 


Next comes setting up your control surfaces and differential thrust on your transmitter. This is a simple case of creating a special mix for the FT Dart. 


The last step is to locate your battery to find the proper centre of gravity. The centre of gravity is very important on a flying wing, but that's okay as there's a lot of space at the front of the FT Dart to move your battery around to find the perfect position. 


With that, it's maiden flight time!


We hope you have a great experience with the FT Dart. It's an extremely enjoyable plane to fly, as can be seen by the grinning faces all around in the main flight video. If you build a Dart, let us know by posting a picture of your plane on the forum or even by writing an article about how it went here on flitetest.com. Happy FT Dart Flying!


Links

Pick up an FT Dart Kit

H Power Pack


Article by James Whomsley

FliteTest.com Editor

www.youtube.com/projectairaviation

www.projectair.co.uk

Instagram @jameswhomsley

COMMENTS

mrp192 on March 14, 2018
In the STL the Pod is offset a little. So as is the pod has to start printing in air..
Log In to reply
tehDustyWizard on March 22, 2018
you have to flip it 90 degrees in your slicer to everything sits flat.
Log In to reply
CrossX5 on March 15, 2018
Are there .PDF plans for this yet? I can't seem to find them but I may be looking in the wrong place.
Log In to reply
devangel77b on March 15, 2018
I'm curious why this one goes with JST over XT30. Also if there are plans for the foam and the plywood parts? Would it be possible to install a reprogrammed flight controller in it and use it to hover as well as fly, or is there not enough power?
Log In to reply
devangel77b on March 15, 2018
In the build video, he says he had to go with a 6 channel receiver? Couldn't an AR400 be bound first with nothing connected except a battery / remap like throttle and rudder to do the twin motors with aileron and elevator doing the elevons...
Log In to reply
devangel77b on March 16, 2018
What video transmitter is recommended for use with the Split Mini?
Log In to reply
Svenr85 on April 2, 2018
Briliant, this looks like a great way to repurpose some stuff from previous quads (no point in trying to fly a quad w two blown esc's and motors. πŸ˜‘

Great design, kudos on the intern for making it happen and congrats on the new field.

Just about to finish a 150% Ft dart; easiest build so far, joy to put together.
I'm hoping this will work with some 2206 motors and a 4s1500mah.
Log In to reply
Damig on April 9, 2018
NIce doooood, Photos? wait, isnt a 150% FT Dart a Kracken?

saluute
Log In to reply
Damig on April 9, 2018
NIce doooood, Photos? wait, isnt a 150% FT Dart a Kracken?

saluute
Log In to reply
Damig on April 9, 2018
NIce doooood, Photos? wait, isnt a 150% FT Dart a Kracken?

saluute
Log In to reply
Svenr85 on April 11, 2018
Naa; not a kraken. Its a mini-big kraken.. or ft lawndart?😁 Still waiting on electronics. I'm going into (for me at least) way uncharted area; new tx (qx7 comming from way too expensive graupner) and new untested plane.. what could possibly go wrong..πŸ€”
Log In to reply
Svenr85 on May 13, 2018
So havent crashed it yet.. mainly because i havent flown it yet 😊 (china s got my radio..)
Installed fpv stuff in there.
Along with a battery 3s2200mah weighing in at 850 grams it seems a bit heavy. I havent got the slightest clue weither it will fly well even in windy conditions or wether its just a radiocontrolled brick..πŸ˜…
Log In to reply
Svenr85 on June 2, 2018
After a first flight i can say the following;
- its fast even on 3s (Don’t know About 4s since the landinggear broke before i had a chance to try and i didnt trust my 6inch props in a belly landing)
- handling and power setup seems proportional to the enlarged dimensions.
- it s definetly not a brick😁

Log In to reply
SmokeshowFPV on April 10, 2018
Why not use a EMax F3 Femto from a grem grem instead of a PDB, then run iNav and have stabilization and the ability to add GPS? I think I may rip apart my gremlin and do just that! I killed one of the motors and want to upgrade to the new 1106 Red Bottoms so I may give this a go :)
Log In to reply
timbucstoo on June 17, 2018

Log In to reply
timbucstoo on June 17, 2018

Log In to reply
StephenB on June 19, 2018
I sent the STL file for the camera mount to the local library for printing and they tell me the file's corrupt. Does anyone know a solution to this issue?
This plane really does take a beating but I finally had to order another. A tail heavy plane flies once unless it's an FT Dart.
Log In to reply

You need to log-in to comment on articles.


FT Dart - Build and Review!