Thank you for checking out this article about my latest project - the Mighty Mini Vampire. Early jets have always been a favourite of mine and I wanted to bring out a new set of plans for one particular jet that the community can build. I'm more of an artist than a designer, but I had a lot of help, especially from Jason Potosky who took my sketches and turned them into full Flite Test style plans. It's small, it's fast, it's versatile and it's very easy to build. I hope for these reasons you will have a crack at it! Check out the video to be convinced.
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About the Airplane
The design is based on the de Haviland Vampire, a British first generation jet fighter from the 1940s and 1950s. Read more here.
This model is designed to capture the spirit of the Vampire yet remain extremely easy to build. Comparable models from the Flite Test store may include the FT Arrow as it can also carry a micro FPV setup and reach some impressive speeds!
Here is a brief rundown on the spec of this little fighter jet based on my own power setup preference. What's great about this design is that it has a wide flight envelope; you can modify this design to fly off of as little as a 2s if you want!
|Servos||3x Micro Servos|
|Spar||Foam Board or (preferably) Ply wood|
|Flight Time||6 Minutes with 1000mah 4s|
|Time to Build||Aproximately 3 hours|
If you have built a couple of FT designs before, you will be fine putting this Mighty Mini design together: it's very simple. First off, make sure you download the free plans available for this build. There are both tiled and full spread versions, but I prefer to use the tiled version as then you'll always get the right scaling. Make sure that you check your scaling printer settings to be on the safe side.
Here are some pics of the build to help you along. This is the fuselage pod made of just two pieces. A Mighty Mini firewall is glued into the rear as there is no powerpod in this design. This is because of two reasons: firstly, the wing cutout gets in the way. Secondly, the design can be converted to being a 50mm EDF if you so desire.
This is the rear of the fuselage pod without the bottom plate. Like this one, you may want to glue in a square bulkhead forward of the wing cutout to help with strengthening your Vampire, but that's up to you!
These are the wing pieces. You may want to use a wooden ply spar to strengthen them instead of relying on a foamboard spar. Again, it's up to you!
You should end up with a machine that looks like this! When installing your pushrods, make sure that your tail pushrod that passes along one of the booms does not come in contact with the prop. That could be problematic. I used a drinking straw on this aircraft (pictured below) which works quite well.
Flying the Mighty Mini Vampire is a rewarding experience. Its rapid speed does not take away from its stable flight characteristics. Intermediate pilots will enjoy a smooth and 'locked in' feel for the aircraft. Good control authority is also kept right up until a stall. Even during a stall, the undercambered wingtips ensure that the jet doesn't drop a wing. Even if you are a beginner pilot and set the Vampire up with a 2s battery, you will have a predictable and steady airframe to have a great experience with.
I sincerely hope you have as much fun and success with your Mighty Mini Vampires as I have. If you build one, please let me know by posting images in the Mighty Mini Vampire forum thread. They're quick to build and quick to fly. Thank you for the support and I look forward to hearing about your adventures soon!
Article written by James Whomsley
Plans by James Whomsley and Jason Potosky