TIP: Scroll to the end to check out the flight video and download build plans!
The Smash Drone is a crashable, pusher swappable that will keep you flying even after the most horrific crashes. It is a 3 channel airplane, just like the Old Fogey and uses two sheets of Readi-Board Dollar Tree foam board and one 36" X 1/2" X 1/2" balsa wood square rod. The wing and elevator make up one sheet and are straight from the FT Old Fogey plans. In fact, you can use the wings from your existing Old Fogey, if you have one. The fuselage and rudder make up the second sheet and are now available as .pdf plans.
- All-Up-Weight (AUW) (No Powerpod or Batt): 350G
- AUW (As flown): 554G
- Powerpod setup (As Flown): 114G
- Turnigy D2822/14 1450KV Brushless Motor
- Turnigy AE-20 20A ESC Controller
- Hobby King HK6 Reciever
- 8045R Prop - 8"Dia X 4.5" Pitch, Pusher
- Battery (As Flown): 90G
- Bush Gear Weight: 26G (Old Fogey Wire Gear with Pool Noodle Wheels)
- Center of Gravity: Apex of wing, plus up to 1.5" aft
- Control Surface throws: 3/4" Up/Down
Power System Options:
The Smash Drone can handle a prop up to 8" in diameter. The Smash Drone has been tested with both 2S and 3S power systems extensively.
Flying with a 2S system gives the slowest, lightest flying. This has been the preferred power system thus far. With a standard tail, the Smash Drone didn't seem to mind being aft CG, up to 1.25" of the wing apex. This is helpful since most of our 2S batteries felll short of the 110 grams needed to get a "perfect" CG.
Flying with a 3S system gives more thrust and agility. You will have much more authority with a 3S and can fly aerobatics with ease! It is also easier to get the center of gravity at the apex of the wing with 3S batteries, which are normally heavier. A 110 gram battery seemed to do the trick.
The Smash Drone is slightly heavier than the Old Fogey which seems to give it better stability in wind (thanks to higher wing loading). This also means that if you had an underpowered or just-enough-power powerpod for your Old Fogey you might need to upgrade to get the best results. The Turnigy D2822/14 1450KV motor listed in the specs is highly recommended as it is cheap (less than $8US) and bulletproof. However, we have been able to fly with even the cheap (and anemic) Hobby King Donkey 1550KV motor when using a 3S battery.
Story Behind The Plane:
The first swappable plane I built was with my brother Matthew - the FT Old Fogey. It was a ton of fun to fly and I found that I loved “low and slow” flying! Learning to fly was fun but costly. Everytime I crashed something usually got bent or broken. Prop savers helped a lot but it was 50/50 chance at best that when the plane crashed something would break.
When I finally felt more confidant in my flying I found that stuff kept getting busted thanks to family and friends. There are always plenty of friends and family who would like to fly and whom I want to share the experience with. Unfortunately, paying for their learning curve can be a pain in the wallet!
"Everytime I crashed something usually got bent or broken."
I kept thinking that what was needed was swappable pusher plane that would protect the parts I had to buy - prop and motor. Unfortunately, swappable pusher's seem to be in short supply. The fowl flyer was one of the only swappable pushers (with plans) I could find but it looked a little big and a little more complicated than I was looking for.
It didn't take long to decide to try and build one for ourselves. The first attempt with my brother was partially successful in that it was a pusher and it did fly. However, it had sad rudder authority and didn’t really keep the prop safe anyway. The second attempt went tremendously well and resulted in what we now call the Smash Drone.
Design Goals For The Plane:
- Easy conversion from Old Fogey (Use wings & tail, same power setup, etc.,)
- Slow flight
- Stable flier
- Protect the prop and motor
- Capable flyer – even mildly aerobatic depending on how you set up the throws (We've down outside rolls, inverted flight, spirals and much more)
- Large CG range (Flies stable with Old Fogey CG AND up to 1.25" AFT)
- Decent glide ratio
- Great hauler (Nerf bombs, etc.)
- Extremely good handling due to "power steering" (prop blowing directly on tail surfaces)
- Possibly decent intro-to-FPV platform?
It's All In The Name:
The biggest strength of the Smash Drone is that it can take a smashing! Hats off to Josh and the guys at Flite Test for such a cool plane that got me into the hobby, but since building and flying the Smash Drone with friends and famliy, we haven't lost a single prop or motor due to crashes. Because the balsa wood rod runs from the tail all the way to the nose, even the most nose-diving, full power, smash-a-crater-into-the-ground crashes have resulted in only minor foam repairs and the occasional balsa wood splice.
"For the established pilot, the Smash Drone enboldens a sense of adventure."
For the established pilot, the Smash Drone enboldens a sense of adventure. Low-level stunts, flying close and tight and general revelry are sure to ensue. Damage to persons and property on the ground is drastically reduced when there is no lawn mower blade hanging off the front!
Build Your Own:
The Smash Drone is a 3 channel airplane, just like the Old Fogey and uses two sheets of Readi-Board Dollar Tree foam board and one 36" X 1/2" X 1/2" balsa wood square rod. The wing and elevator make up one sheet and are straight from the FT Old Fogey plans. In fact, you can use the wings from your existing Old Fogey, if you have one. The fuselage and rudder make up the second sheet and are now available as .pdf plans.
"The airplane is very simple to build and can be built in a few hours."
Build Video & Tips: Smash Drone Build
Build Video: FliteTest Old Fogey Wing Build
Build Video & Article: FliteTest PowerPod Build
The airplane is very simple to build and can be built in a few hours. For a little extra panache, landing gear, a steerable tailwheel, bomb drops and more have been added to this capable plane. A gear platform is included in the plans which allows you to use the Old Fogey landing gear.
Check out the upcoming build article for helpful tips.