The newest Flite Test speed build kit is here! It's a seaplane based on an aircraft from an anime film. Here's more.
What happens when RC boats and RC airplanes collide? Flying boats of course! We've just released our latest airplane design into the community and it sure is a good looking plane!
Order your speed build kit here! - http://bit.ly/ftseaangel
The New FT Sea Angel
This DIY Seaplane is an RC version of the famous flying boat that appeared in the anime film Porco Rosso. Jeremy has been developing this foam board RC aircraft over the last few months here at Flite Test. Here is one of the first prototypes.
The design process was fairly complicated with the eye-catching configuration rarely seen on other RC aircraft. Despite this, Jeremy and the team did a stellar job.
One key consideration for the plane was to make it both stable in the air and stable on the water. As a seaplane, a whole new dynamic needs to be considered whilst prototyping.
Building this plane will be a lot of fun. The Sea Angel has been designed to be a scale flyer with lots of details and new building techniques meaning it will be a gripping and challenging build. You can install ailerons or leave it as a three channel - it's up to you how you want to customize it to your personal flying style.
What it's like to Fly
One thing that has to be said for the Sea Angel is that it's certainly unique looking. What's more, it's certainly unique to fly. To paraphrase Niel Armstrong, every flying machine has different handling characteristics, some good, some not so good. This seaplane, though, definitely has an abundance of the former.
I had the opportunity to take one up for a few hours of flying at Flite Fest Ohio 2018 and, man, this thing is a great flying plane. With its shoulder wing, even with the top-heavy looking engine pod, the aircraft flies very stably indeed. All you have to do is allow for some interesting torque effects from the motor when applying throttle. With too low of an airspeed, punching the throttle will roll the plane, so this aircraft will teach you how to deal with this!
If you'd like some proof, I got four seperate people who'd never even flown before to pilot the Sea Angel. Wow! They all found it to be a forgiving platform. It cruises effortlessly around the sky needing only small inputs to correct its flight path.
How to Fly a Seaplane
If you haven't flown from water before, here are some techniques you may want to bear in mind when flying your new seaplane. Even if you're a pro, these tips might come in handy!
Taxiing a seaplane isn't quite like taxxing on land. You have to bare in mind roll: if you steer too sharply with your rudder, you may sink the outside float into the water causing the aircraft to 'dig in'. To counter this, use small movements and only make large turns at slow speeds. You really don't want to flip over!
On take off, slowly increase the power until you reach the hydroplaning 'step'. This is where lift takes over from buoyancy. With the FT Sea Angel, you don't want to punch the throttle as this will contribute to a significant torque roll effect. Gradually increase your speed whilst giving the plane a little up elevator.
Landing on water is much like taking off. As with a conventional landing, you need to descend whilst bleeding off your airspeed. However, on a seaplane, you don't want to bleed off absolutely all of your airspeed. Instead, keep your momentum going and carry that speed onto the water. This is so you don't 'plop' down ungracefully with a stall. If done right, you'll be able to scoot along as the surface supports the airplane until, like the air, it ceases to provide lift.
The final stage is to party - you just flew a seaplane!
Build your own Sea Angel
If you would like to build an FT Sea Angel kit of your own, here are the links to everything you'll need.
Speed build kit (option 1)
Free build plans(option 2)
Foam Board (to cut out a Sea Angel using the free build plans)
Article by James Whomsley
Editor of FliteTest.com
YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/projectairaviation