FT Explorer - BUILD

by FliteTest | October 14, 2015 | (46 Ratings) Posted in How To

FTScratchBuild

More details and links available at the bottom of this article.

The FT Explorer, multiple wings, endless possibilities! Our first speed build kit that's designed to be customized!

Free plans are also available, links are at the bottom of this article.

The FT Explorer Core is the one common element that will cross over to many different formats and designs in the future.

This piece will be the first component we will assemble.

The nose assembly is very similar to the Guinea Pig.  

This piece can be interchanged to repair a crash, or hold FPV gear.

The boom can be swapped out, moved and adjusted for endless design possibilities.

The FT Explorer can be modified to setup all sorts of designs including a glider.

FT Elements Simple Glider Tow Release can be added for glider setups!

The Boom and Tail are able to be extended, contracted, or relocated to allow proper C.G. and flight characteristics.

The Trainer wing is easy to build and gives the FT Explorer gentle opportunities and a great glide slope.

The Sport wing is great for aerobatics, four channel flight, and greater speed.

Our new FT Elements Simple Firewall design will offer a variety of mounting options for your motor setup.

The FT Explorer is capable of swinging up to a 9 in prop and can be flown on both a B and C motor power pack.

Flite Test Power Pack B

FT Power Pack C 

Our hope is that this design will be the start of many great flights, memories, and learning opportunities to come.  

New to the R/C hobby?
Here's some resources to help get you up to speed!

Beginner Series: WATCH HERE!
Electronics Setup: WATCH HERE!
First Flight Quick Tips: WATCH HERE!

Got glue?? Get Some Here! 

FT EXPLORER PLANS

STORE LINKS

FT EXPLORER SPECS.

WEIGHT WITHOUT BATTERY: 1.08 lbs (493 g)  
CENTER OF GRAVITY: 2.25” (57 mm) from leading edge of wing 
CONTROL SURFACE THROWS: 12˚ deflection - Expo 30% 
WINGSPAN: 57 inches (1447 mm) 
RECOMMENDED MOTOR: Park 370 – 425, 1000 kv minimum
RECOMMENDED PROP: 8 x 4.5 slow fly or 9 x 6 APC prop 
RECOMMENDED ESC: 20 – 30 amp
RECOMMENDED BATTERY: 2200 mAH 3s minimum 
RECOMMENDED SERVOS: (2 – 4) 9 gram servos

 

COMMENTS

The-One-Who-Never-Crashes on October 15, 2015
Aha. So the Swede turned into a plane and changed his name...

(RCExplorer to FT Explorer???)
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dz1sfb on October 15, 2015
Thank you for sharing! Love the looks and utility of this plane.

Ken :)
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Paulshort on October 15, 2015
would a generic 2212 1000 kv motor work? im not sure if it would have enough thrust with a 9 inch prop so may have to mod it to fit a 10 inch.
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HowlingWolven on October 15, 2015
It sounds smallish, but you could always use a smaller lower pitch prop and run the motor at a higher voltage to get enough revs. Personally I'd use something like a 2822, though.
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Wurtle38 on October 24, 2015
I think I have thrust angle issues but it had plenty of power with one I found on amazon that came with a 30 amp esc for $14
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tictac on October 30, 2015
Could you give the exact number of that motor from Amazon, please.
Thank you.
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Battershell on October 15, 2015
When will you release the VTOL speed build kit?
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SP0NZ on October 15, 2015
Great to see Josh Scott in a build video. No matter how many build videos I watch, I always end up learning something new. Nice job Flite Test!
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Wolfgang1402 on October 16, 2015
Thank you so much, I'm excited :)

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Hedonist on October 16, 2015
Great work guys. What a great design. I can't wait to build it.
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Dnevarez on October 16, 2015
Great plane, wonderful build video, and I just got a look at the plans, amazing work, congratulations to all !!!
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jsauerii on October 16, 2015
Maybe you guys could start listing a Hobbyking and Ebay motor equivalent? Sorting out the motors from cheaper sources it a pain in the rear.....
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Ron DuBray on October 16, 2015
Awesome design guys. What Motor, controls and servos would you guys recommend for building this plane 1/2 size of the plans? I want to build one for small gym (single basket ball court) indoor use. there is a lot of stuff to hit so this pusher design will save me a lot of props :)
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rweait on October 16, 2015
I love the new format for the plans. So clear, and so much information built right into the drawing. Even printed in b/w, I can tell a reference mark from a cut-line.

And the part names on the parts! Awesome. Now I won't confuse the dihedral gauge for one aircraft with the throw gauge from another! Awesome. Awesome. Awesome.
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saini_boyz on October 16, 2015
I tried to print the tiled version plans, a few pages are not fitting on the printed page, am I doing something wrong. I am printing on the letter size page. Please help.
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saini_boyz on October 17, 2015
Was able to print correctly on Legal size paper. Amazingly good plans. The new style of plans let you to assemble the plans very accurately.
Will be trying to make the plane with ROSS board.
Thanks.
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skotekar on October 17, 2015
I print the plans using Adobe reader and I choose Legal paper size with scaling options set to "Actual Size" and "Auto portrait/landscape" which centers the plans nicely on the page.
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Aeropiff on October 16, 2015
THIS IS AMAZING THANK YOU!!!!!


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skotekar on October 17, 2015
I was desperately waiting for a pusher design. I am still learning to fly and nose dive a lot which used cause problems with prop, motor and power pod. Guess this is what I was really waiting for, although it is a little on the bigger sized plane. Building as soon as some of the parts I ordered arrive.

I also love the plans, especially the tiled version and new schematics. Kudos and great job. the new drawings make life so much simpler. Thank again for making and sharing this.

Request: Can we have a smaller plane with pusher configuration, trainer design?

- Shreedhar
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CrashnDash on October 17, 2015
I've just finished putting together the tiled plans for this. I down loaded the plans because the plane is a great idea. I immediately started thinking of different ways of building around the core, messing around and trying different ideas. As I was trimming and taping the plans together, I've got to say that as impressed as I am with The Explorer, I'm even more impressed with the plans. They are the most accurate tiled plans I've ever seen. SPONZ, you've reset the bar for tiled plans should look like. This is the first of your plans that I've seen. AMAZING quality. You've even taken the time to arrange the parts on the tiles to minimize the number of joints on any one piece. This makes it very easy to make templates and store the plans. Well done!
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Anon Pilot on October 19, 2015
Been disgruntled with you for a while now but THIS IS AN EXCELLENT EPISODE. There's even a glancing reference to receiver antenna orientation. Formidable !
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SHolman on October 21, 2015
Anybody know how long the push rods need to be, approximately? I have been using 18" surveyor flags, but they might be a bit short for this one. Anyone?
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Troop 17 Aviation Group on January 6, 2016
That will work on the ailerons, the wire that came with the kit was about 25" long. You could probably make it work on the tail but you would need more nose weight to counter balance the servos being further back.
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808aerosquadron on October 22, 2015
Good to see Josh Scott back in the videos. Great design and build video, and, as always, I learn something new each time. Thank you.
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808aerosquadron on October 22, 2015
How about a video on flaperon mixing and suggested throw rates for FT planes? I know systems are different and throw rates for planes differ, but I do not see flaperon throw rates in the plans. A beginner video would be a great help to us. Thanks again for great designs.
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solo-rick on October 28, 2015
What should my printer settings be? When I put it on "print to page" I get a smaller wing.
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srekrap on October 31, 2015
I could use some help. I built this pane and I set up the motor as directed with the thrust angle set to the line on the power pack and I seem to have too much down thrust. Which way should I angle the motor to correct this? Thanks. Using an 8x6 prop and 1120kv mototr
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rocketplane on October 31, 2015
I'm not sure if I did something incorrectly, but building from the plans my Explorer would only take an 8" prop. I had to move the motor mount up about 3/8" to get adequate clearance with a the 9"x7.5"E APC that I'm turning.

Great build, and I'm looking forward to the maiden flight as soon as the weather breaks a little.
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joneill4 on October 29, 2015
I'm sure this is a stupid question, but I can't seem to figure it out. How do you print a mirror image to get the second wing?
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Kotze101 on November 2, 2015
You don't, just flip the wing plan over and trace it off. Just be careful when you start cutting the score lines then. Cut the side that was printed first, place the other half next to it to make the complete wing and then score the other half of the wing. I almost messed mine up...
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Kotze101 on November 3, 2015
What are the push rod sizes and how long are they?
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omagcy on September 10, 2016
Is foam 5mm ?
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Sky Pirate on November 9, 2015
Will it fly with an FPV setup on a Suppo 2208/14 motor and an 8x6 prop?
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danielvc on November 11, 2015
Hello, I have three motors and a 30 amp esc lying around.
Turnigy D2830/11 - 1000kv - 210W
Turnigy D2826/6 - 2200kv - 342W
RCTimer BC-2212/10 - 1400kv - 205W
What motor is the best option for this plane (Sport wing)? And what propeller? I intend to put FPV equipment in it.
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magicmerlin on November 28, 2015
Hmmmmm, I think I know who is going to get this for Christmas!
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RevJim1952 on November 30, 2015
I think you should have single plan pages for nose, twin tail pieces and motor mount. Maybe speed build kits of the same.
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Sam Chen on December 10, 2015
Hello, I live in China, and in my area I can only get my electronics from HobbyKing. Could anyone recommend some type of motor,ESC, and battery that can be bought at HobbyKing, which will work nice on the FT Explorer for a beginner? Thanks!
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flyingscot on December 16, 2015
Just finished the build using depron. We dont have dollar tree foam in the UK and the equivalent foam board is much heavier and more expensive. The 6mm depron is slightly thicker than the foam board as i soon found out at the slide in assembly stage. Got it worked out though. Set the servos for the tail on the tailplane so no ling pushrods. Just to fit wing servos in an armin wing. Weather here is wet and windy so the maiden may be a while.
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Mfalk on September 14, 2016
Hi I just built this using european FoamBoard it weighs in at 960 grams without the battery. I'm quite new to this and rather anxious to see if it will fly, so I'm hoping for nice weather tomorrow.
I have a question though: Is the Depron stiff/ durable enough? Or do you use spars or something else to stiffen it up?

Regards
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jimmy1958 on July 8, 2017
there are two places you can get foam board I know of in the UK and they are the hobby craft and the price there is £4.00 per sheet and that is A1 size and the other is Paper Gourmet 2Pomeroy Drive Leicester LE2 5NE and the price is £21.00 for 10 sheets including delivery and that is also A1 size you can also fiend both of them on the internet
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Neskair on December 23, 2015
I love this plane! I'm starting to build this right now.
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ironrick on October 23, 2015
I. LOVE. THIS. I am building this pronto.

Is this the same FT Elements Simple firewall that is used on the Versa? If not is it the same overall size? I have some left over and need to know if the only material difference is how the motor mount holes are?
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Troop 17 Aviation Group on January 6, 2016
I believe they tweaked the fire wall for this design. It is in the plans so just check that.
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Troop 17 Aviation Group on January 6, 2016
Great plane. I did not get a trow gauge in the kit and I could not find one on the plans. Did any one find one in there kit? Is this the same throw gauge as with the bloody wonder?
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rak73poland on January 9, 2016
pozdrawiam zespół FT. Właśnie zbudowałem i przetestowałem EXPLORERA .Testowałem w Polsce i w Szwecji .Model wykonałem z planów w PDF, materiał to podkład pod panele i taśma klejąca .Już prawie lata.;))))
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Siodlo on March 1, 2016
Jakich podkładów pod panele używałeś? BTW, miło że i tu jest ktoś od nas ;)
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rak73poland on January 9, 2016
Jak się okazuje ten model jest najbardziej odporny na kraksy i wypadki a co najważniejsze konstrukcja chroni silnik i osprzęt przed uszkodzeniem.testowałem z 3300mah i 1200mah silnik GF2215/15 śmigło 9/4.7 nadajnik GRAUPNER JR SSM40.Jestem zawodowym kierowcą TIR.Mam często wiele wolnego czasu wiec zajmuje się pasją z młodości .
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ludodg on April 26, 2016
ehm??

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rak73poland on March 8, 2016
Witam wszystkich.Podkłady do paneli najlepsze są koloru szarego lub zielonego .Ale najważniejsze jest aby były odpowiednio sztywne i lekkie.najlepiej bez rowkowania.Oklejamy taśmą z jednej strony (bardziej błyszczącej).Reszta to praktyka.Patyczki do szaszłyków na wzmocnienia ale tylko bambusowe.Bardzo istotna jest dokładność wycinania części.I....TO LATA.....
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enes42 on March 16, 2016
can i use
2200 kv 2212-6 motor
40 a esc
2200 mah 3s lipo
6*4 propeller
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zukiguy on March 29, 2016
The esc and battery sound good, it's hard to tell about the motor without knowing what brand. The prop may be bit on the small side, but if it's recommended for the motor it will have enough thrust. If it's anything like the emax xa2212 motor it should have enough power. I'm assuming that that motor and esc were picked to go together, and assuming that the esc is rated a little higher than the motor can draw at 3s voltage. If it pulls 35 amps at 11.1 volts then that's around 388 watts of power, most people recommend at least 100 watts of power per pound of airplane. That's enough for over double the loaded weight of the plane as I assembled it. Again, I'm making a lot of assumptions,butbit should be plenty of power.
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zukiguy on March 29, 2016
Very impressed with this plane. This is my second successful trainer, the first I designed myself in a stubborn attempt to learn plane design. It eventually flew well but the tractor design ruined 2 motors with my newbie landings. The Explorer went together very well, I had to improvise for the firewall but it flew very nicely. Slow, smooth, and stable. Thank you for all the effort put into making this a great plane, Flite Test team!
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rak73poland on April 3, 2016
Pzdrawiam.Testowałem EXPLRERA z wideorejestratorem samochodowym .Lata całkiem nieżle .you tube. PADEW NARODOWA EXPLORER.
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westbows on April 5, 2016
Just got it . Dora the Explorer...Backpack.!!
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carbos on May 9, 2016
Hi, I am from colombia, I am a beginer in air modeling, so I made this model ,but it could not fly, I am not sure if it was the motor that I used, or other things, so i was wondering if it is posible to get some help from you. telling me what was wrong with my model, or in what kind of model can i use the items that i already have. it is important for me because is a proyect for university and i cannot afford other items.
those are the electronics components that I used.

motor 2200 kv- a2212
speed control 40 A sbec
proper 7x4
batery 1300 mha 11 v

thanks
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dholcomb on June 10, 2016
I am finally building my first Explorer from a speed build kit. I have scratch built the Bronco and it flies great. Used two 1400kv motors with 9x5 props and a 636 receiver. Great little plane. I do like the Explorer though. I have taken the FT Flyer to every extreme I can come up with. The EDF and the twin engine were a challenge to say the least but I did manage to get them both to fly. (at least once) The Explorer offers so many more challenges. Thank you very much guys. You have outdone yourselves...

Thanks,
David...
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omagcy on September 6, 2016
I do not know to what extent I cut Where is measurements. Can you explain to me pls?
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dholcomb on September 6, 2016
I am sorry. Cut what? What measurements?
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linuxuser3890 on July 15, 2016
Do you have the original cad drawing for this plane? I want to make some more things for it but don't want to spend a lot of time drawing what already exists in AutoCAD.

Thanks
Linuxuser
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Alin on August 15, 2016
Sup Josh. This is a great plane for me as a starter, but the throw gauge is not in the plan.
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muellersthegoat on March 11, 2017
Also interested in what throw angles (low/high) work well? Thanks
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muellersthegoat on March 11, 2017
nevermind, found it. 12˚ deflection - Expo 30%
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omagcy on September 6, 2016
I do not know to what extent I cut Where is measurements.
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Manni sag on August 26, 2016
Sir can I use with 2s 25c lipo with 1100kv motor
I am from india
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rak73poland on September 5, 2016
Pozdrawiam.Ostatnio polatałem EXPLOREREM w Belgii,Niemczech,Szwecji i oczywiście w Polsce.Testowałem silnik A2212/10 T,śmigło 80/60 i 1100lipo 3s lata całkiem fajnie z wideorejestratorem.Dodałem wzmocnienia belki ogonowej z płaskowników węglowych i belki skrzydła z listewek 8x3 mm.Teraz jest znacznie bardziej kretoodporny.
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rak73poland on September 5, 2016
A, i jeszcze ciekawostka ...latałem na 6 ogniwach sony z laptopa .Mizernie ale jest w stanie latać około 12 minut.
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abdullahdemirci on February 25, 2016
I tried to open pdf file in corel draw for laser cutter but error came out "file corrupted" .Can anyone share dxf file?
thanks
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omagcy on September 6, 2016
rica etsem ölçülerin nasıl hesaplandığını söyler misin çizimlerin kenarında ölçü felan yazmıyo neye göre keseceğim
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dholcomb on September 8, 2016
My compliments to Flite Test. The Explorer is not only a very nice looking plane but it is a pleasure to fly. I have been flying Flite Test airplanes for over 3 years now and the Explorer is my favorite of them. Josh Bixler, you have outdone yourself.

Thanks,
David...
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dholcomb on September 8, 2016
Take a look at my Explorer. I call it "Tusk"...

http://www.falconflyers.net/images/Explorer.htm
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larsmn on September 17, 2016
Downloaded the tiled plans and in that version, the integrated distance section between the nose sides is some 4 mm narrower than the other nose strips, if one uses the guide markings on the plans to put the tiled papers together.

It can be a consequence, us in Europe using A4 paper, US using letter.

Maybe the tiled plans should be in two version, letter and A4, or even a third, A3, since A3 printer is not that expensive.

Cheers
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RCCola on September 18, 2016
I had some trouble with this one. May entirely be operator error (me), but what I learned:

1. Have the prop on the motor, and tail section in the plane, when you install the motor mount. I finished the build only to find out my 9" prop would have sliced the tail boom. Thank goodness I rotated the prop by hand before firing it up!!! Had to use an 8" instead. I think Josh comments about this in the video.

2. Verify your controls before you maiden flight! What was I thinking!!! I had my rudder flipped, crashed it twice before I realized that issue.

3. This plane is really cool, and I hope to build another, but when I do, I recommend adding a stronger wing spar, at least on the trainer wing. After my two first crashes, my third flight ended after a few circles around, I went for a loop, and the overspeed caused my wing to fold. 3 mistakes high is a good suggestion, but makes for a totaled plane if the wings fold... I think all the electronics are salvageable at least...

Despite that - good lessons to learn, love the design, love the website, you guys rock!!! Guinea pig next I think.
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Charlie1230 on October 21, 2016
The recommended prop is 9" but I cant fit, it would slice tail boom, it looks under powered using 8 * 4.7, any suggestions?
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SoylentGreen4570 on November 6, 2016
build a replacement power pod and be sure to mount your motor with enough clearance to swing a 9" prop
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Mohsen on November 25, 2016
Hello captain Gach helped me shred the plane occasion?
Is Motor Rim Fire 1250 kV and 50 speed and battery in 1800 suitable for plane
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zagniash1@yahoo.com on November 25, 2016
Sir can I use with Motor Company rimfire 1250kv-350w
Speed control 50
Battery 1800 3s 20c

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magic_marty on December 12, 2016
yes
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LAdams on January 13, 2017
Nice craft. Its basically a larger, prettier, and more complicated Smash Drone.
http://www.flitetest.com/articles/now-you-can-crash-and-keep-flying
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madgoatdog05 on November 2, 2017
is anyone using a pusher prop or just a regular prop reversed??
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