FT Sea Duck - BUILD

by FliteTest | June 14, 2016 | (18) Posted in How To


Welcome a real flying version of the iconic aircraft from the cartoon Tale Spin—the FT Sea Duck! The Sea Duck is a twin-engine 3-channel airplane that maneuvers easily on the water and flies great from a position on land.

Before building the Sea Duck, build both of your power pods and center your three servos. This build does not require linkage stoppers.

Start by building the wings and fuse top. Remember to remove the top wing surface where the nacelles will mount.

After assembling the main fuse top, fold up and glue the window pieces one at a time. Then slide the top fuse into the wing.

Remove the nacelles and mount them on the fuse/wing. Route the power distribution cable through the wing and route the ESCs.

Build the tail and rudder. Remember to test fit the tail assembly to the nacelles before gluing so you have a good fit.

After installing your pushrods and control horns, install your servos. Be sure to center your servos before installing them. 

Test fit the control horn, then remove it and break the ailerons free. After beveling and reinforcing the ailerons, reinstall the control horn and glue it with the aileron and servo centered. 

Connect your electronics and ensure that the motors without props are turning the right way.

Assemble the lower fuse section and glue it onto the upper fuse. Install and glue the rear door.

Test fit and mold the engine cowling before gluing into place to ensure you are happy with the fit.

Build the pontoon and install onto the wing. Brace the pontoon with popsicle sticks. 

Install the battery so the plane balances on the reference holes on the wings. Check your throws, install the props and you’re ready for the maiden!

Happy flying! 

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  • WEIGHT WITHOUT BATTERY: 2.45 lbs (1111 g) 
  • CENTER OF GRAVITY: 2.5” (64 mm) from leading edge of wing 
  • CONTROL SURFACE THROWS: 16˚ deflection – Expo 30% 
  • WINGSPAN: 56 inches (1422 mm) 
  • RECOMMENDED MOTOR: 425 sized 1200 kv minimum
  • RECOMMENDED PROP: 10 x 4.5 prop (3s) or 9 x 4.5 (4s) 
  • RECOMMENDED ESC: 30 amp minimum 
  • RECOMMENDED BATTERY: 2200 mAH 3s minimum
  • RECOMMENDED SERVOS: (3–4) 9 gram servos 


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Michael763 on June 16, 2016
Awesomeness! Thank You!
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captron360 on July 9, 2016
After building and flying this all I can say is WOW !!!! Josh outdid himself with this one for sure. I can't believe the ingenuity that went into this one!! Just amazing!
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ericemn on June 16, 2016
Thanks, I'm going to do this one!
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KyleJ on June 17, 2016
Can't tell you how excited I am about this build! Thank you!
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KyleJ on June 30, 2016
What a great plane! I can't believe how stable it is. I was concerned about the pontoons but they are holding up even on ground belly landings with no problem! Great design and a fairly challenging build!
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saini_boyz on June 19, 2016
Hello everyone,
Is there a posibility to know the equivalent of size 425 motor in Turnigy motor size.
Is it 2836 1500kv.
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neilborj on July 17, 2016
The equivalent of Size 425 motor is 28/33 mm so yes a 2836 would work.
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Paskin on June 19, 2016
Hi Josh, I've seen that you are plugged both ESCs into a receiver with their conventional 3-wire cables - so both their BECs are connected in parallel. Is it OK - usually for multicopters it is advised to feed the receiver from a separate BEC...
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NTTD on September 10, 2016
There is no issue for your receiver, it just will have redundant power.
While the 3-wire cable does supply power to the receiver, more importantly it is also the signal from the receiver to the motors. If you did not plug these in there is no way for the ESCs to know when and how much power to supply to the motors
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captron360 on July 5, 2016
After building just about every plane F/T has, I have to say that this is the best build video yet!! Great job Josh!! (as usual)
You guys are awesome!!
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flying-coqui on July 5, 2016
Hey guys what about a twin engine and v-tail on a tiny trainer
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MadMitch178 on July 19, 2016
Hey guys, just wanted to know if anyone has put any batteries larger than 2200MAH's, because i have 4000MAH and i wanted to know if they'd fit.
Thanks. :)

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Gryf on July 25, 2016
I'm building a Sea Duck as we speak, having picked up the SpeedBuild kit at Flite Fest. Josh mentions the need for a Y-harness between the battery and ESCs, but there isn't one in the power pack... Nor in the FT Store. I struck out at our local hobby shop too. I don't mind making one, I'm just surprised this part isn't included in the kit. How did you guys handle this? Just curious. So far it's a great build, and is coming together really nicely.

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BlackHat Flier on September 22, 2018
I don't know if you found the answer to your question, but the video for building the power distributor is here. I had the same question.

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Eduardo Fritis on August 31, 2016
Hi Josh, the kit you are selling has the mods that you mentioned in the Video?

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Skeeter42 on September 16, 2016
Josh, I really love this build, but I'd like to make a 225% version similar to the monster one you and your son built. This would be my first time building with foam board. Do you have advice for building to this bigger scale & is there an easy way to scale the plans to that size? Maybe you already have a scaled PDF set up?
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charly94 on October 3, 2016
Hi Josh, i built the Sea Duck from your plans and it flies amazing, it has been a dream of mine to build the Sea Duck from Talespin, thank you for making this real. I just wanted to mention that in the plans on page 2 on the lower fuselage there should be an A-fold at the waterstep and not a B-fold.
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Mcdenny on October 3, 2016
Just finished a sea duck, my third ft kit build. Wish I could insert a picture here.
Maiden will be tomorrow. Taxi test today on grass with inadvertent lift off, stall and crash but no damage. Next a water taxi test with the plane stranded in the weeds and me sinking in ankle deep muck to retrieve.

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FliteGreg on October 16, 2016
Wow this is a big baby! I just finished mine and I can't wait to do the maiden flight. Good job FT!
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wanabeRCexpert on November 28, 2016
When are the plans for the bi and tri coming out?
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Joey-williams on November 29, 2016
Hi im wondering if someone can tell me if all these parts are compatible for the ft sea duck or just compatible in general

2x A2212 1400kv Motor Specification:
KV: 1400
Max Efficiency: 80%
Max Efficiency Current: 4-10A (>75%)
Current Capacity: 12A/ 60s
No Load Current: 0.5A
Number of Cells: 2-3 Li-Poly
Motor Size: 27.5x38mm/1.08''x1.5''
Shaft Diameter: 3.17mm/0.12''

2x 30A Brushless ESC Specification:
BEC: 1A / 5V (Linear mode).
Output: Continuous 30A, Burst 40A up to 10 seconds.
Input Voltage: 2-3 cells lithium battery or 5-9 cells NiCd/NIMh battery.
Max Speed: 210,000rpm for 2 Poles BLM, 70,000rpm for 6 poles BLM, 35,000rpm for 12 poles BLM. (BLM: BrushLess Motor)

4x 9g SG90 Servos

Battery parameter:ZOP Power 11.1V 4200mAh 40C
Plug Style:XT60 Plug

Lipo charger Description;

Microprocessor controlled
Built-in balancer for lipo battery
High-power and high-performance circuit
Can charge Li-ion,LiPo,LiFe 1-6 cells,and Ni-Cd,NiMH 1 -15 cells
This item is for a rapid charger/discharger for all kind of battery of RC hobby
Dual Power, built-in AC adapter
Undefined Large range of charge currents
Store function, allows safe storage current, and data storage (Store up to 5 packs in memory)
Battery break in and cycling
Built-in temperature sensor
Note:Temperature cable is not included.
Separate voltage detector for balance charge mode.
Max. charge power 50W
Max. discharge power 5W
Pb battery voltage : 2V-20V
Charge current range : 0.1-5.0A
Discharge current range : 0.1-1.0A
Li-Ion/Polymer cell count : 1-6 series
NiCd/NiMH battery cell count : 1-15 cell
Current drain for balancing Li-Po : 300mAh/cell
Dimensions : 136 x 141*34mm
1 x English manual
1x 100-240V Power Supply Cable
1 x IMAX B6AC LiPo battery balance charger (Built in Power Supply)

Transmitter and receiver;
FlySky FS-Th9X 2.4Ghz 9 Channel Digital Transmitter and Receiver Radio System

Thanks, Joey
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jfrederick77 on December 14, 2016
Hey Josh, My question is about the motors you recommend for this build as I was looking on the box it doesn't mention that you can run them on four cell and I see that you do.... is that the same motor (emax gt 2215/09). I have 3s and 4s 2200s so I can run both I just don't wanna burn the motors up. Thanx man I love building your stuff!!!
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Dave.E on March 13, 2017
This is really late response, but just saw your comment. I run my 2215s on 4s 2200 batteries, and it works great. In fact, I recently switched to running two 4s batteries in parallel for longer flight times, and it handles the weight effortlessly.

The Sea Duck is my favorite plane of all time. I just finished building a second one (unfortunately I crashed the first one).
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massivellama on March 3, 2017
I built a Sea Duck and it was the best plane I'd ever flown... 'till I crashed it real bad. But, I am currently building a 200% version of the Sea Duck. It's coming along pretty well. I'll let y'all know how it turns out!
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tuckeraj32 on April 28, 2017
So when will you guys come up with Don Karnage and other foe's planes so we can do some serious TaleSpin combat!? :-)

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sussanbetcher on May 29, 2017
As a kid, most of us wished to be a pilot by flying some of our favorite FT planes. I was also not different from any of those children who wished to fly the plane at least once in their life. I am glad you have shared this tips on making an FT Sea Learn Japanese Duck.
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I wanted to thank you for this excellent read!! I definitely loved every little bit of it. I have you bookmarked your site to check out the new stuff you post.
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n1elkyfan on January 31, 2018
Did the plans did taken down for the sea duck.
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jdux on January 31, 2018
Cannot seem to download half of the plans?
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n1elkyfan on February 4, 2018
Thank you very much for updating the link for the plans. I know its not something you have to do but it is very much appreciated.
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alfafauzy on February 9, 2018
First You got a great blog .I will be interested in more similar topics. i see you got really very useful topics, i will be always checking your blog thanks
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Smok1n on February 9, 2018
I just completed my third Sea Duck (speed build this time). I love this plane! This and my Viggen are just about my favorite planes. The duck is so versatile, it's most at home at the lake, but it's a blast off the snow too!
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bruman on April 15, 2018
The "Electronics Pack (Power Pack C Twin Engine)" link is now broken and I cannot find the power pack c twin version.
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FT Sea Duck - BUILD