This past summer, I decided to scratch build my first airplane. Up until this point, my only flying experience had been Ready-to-Fly Park fliers. After watching hours upon hours of Flite Test videos, I made my choice. I was going to build the Simple Cub. I downloaded the free plans, bought a craft knife and a hot glue gun and a bunch of Dollar Store foamboard. I set up shop in my garage and started cutting and gluing. I had a great time. It wasn’t perfect, but it was still so pretty. I then took my completed airframe over to my parents’ house, where my dad, who has years of building and flying experience, donated the electronics and helped me install them in my plane. We worked out the details of flaperons and throw and battery placement, everything. After much testing, and a few near disasters, she was ready for an official maiden flight. We went to a local empty field, and after a quick preflight, gave her a hand launch and she flew…horribly! I’m serious, she was bad. She wouldn’t turn predictably. She would climb and stall seemingly randomly. It didn’t go well. We took her home and over the next week, made some tweaks and changes and the following weekend, back to the empty lot where she flew just about the same. We were baffled, why did she fly so poorly? We would never be able to fully figure this out though because, as I was attempting to make her turn back towards the middle of the field, the wind was pushing her towards the trees, and sure enough, she got stuck in a tree about 50 feet up. There was no getting her down. We tried and failed to create a pole long enough to dislodge her, but she was out of our reach. This was August 20th.
As the days turned into weeks, I would drive by this field periodically and check, yup, she was still in the tree. I live in central Virginia, and we had a near miss with hurricane Florence. She brought some pretty good wind and rain. After she came through, I checked on my Cub, and she had lost her wings. I found them on the ground, just inside the tree line. To be honest, they were in pretty good shape, for foam and paper. We salvaged the two servos and the 3D printed control horns. As for the fuselage, still 50 feet up with no signs of coming down.
Well, you may see where this is going now. Less than a month after Flo blew through, we had Hurricane Michael. Now Mike, he came right over top of Richmond, and over top of my high-flying Cub. As a state, we all hunkered down and waited for the worst to blow over. After Michael left town, and we started cleaning up the mess he made, I went by my Cub’s tree and it was GONE! I made a quick walk around the woods and couldn’t find it. I informed my Dad of the Cub's M.I.A. status and he also made a search for it, to no avail. It was time to call in some extra help. I quick call to my brother and we arranged to meet up the next weekend where he used his Phantom 3 to do some reconnaissance above the tree canopy and over top of the adjoining shopping center. After about 15 mins of flying and taking pictures, we reviewed the photos on his phone, and we spotted my Cub!
It was in another tree just inside the tree line, and when we went in the woods, it was only about 25 feet off the ground. Well, a rope tied to a stick toss later, and my Cub had finally landed. The landing was rough, she lost a wheel, and of course her wings had already come down. But considering she had weathered two hurricanes, her structure was still pretty sound, for foamboard, not flight worthy, but still solid. The more amazing part is, we plugged in a fresh battery and all her electronics still worked, even the cheap 12 buck motor!
So, I’m not sure how much a review this is. I can’t really say much for her flight characteristics, they were not good. But I can say, the plans make for a sturdy plane. And hey, I may have set a record for Time-in-Air for the FT Simple Cub. Total time off the ground, 54 days.