Simple V-Tail (version 2)

by rcspaceflight | August 21, 2013 | (5) Posted in Projects

I really liked the fuselage design of my first V-tail plane, but the wings were rather horrible. It worked, but it didn’t look very good. I wanted more of a glider look so I came up with better wings and made a whole new plane based around those wings and the original fuselage/V-tail design.

I attempted to make version 2 a swappable by removing just enough of the triangle fuselage to fit a power pod into it. My hope was that the one weak point would be strengthened by the wings themselves. Ultimately it proved to be too much of a weak point and the swappable version was a failure.

Here are a couple of pictures to show the weak point and how I fit the power pod into the triangle fuselage.

This article is technically version 3. But I recycled both versions 1 and 2 into version 3 by ripping the wings off of both and melding the wings of version 2 onto the fuselage of version 1. This left the fuselage rather short and the nose even stubbier. Version 2 had a 40” long fuselage (two 20” fuselages joined together). With the 60” wings onto the 30” fuselage, it definitely is a stubby plane. However, this plane turns really sharp due to this. As you can see in the video.


Here are some pictures of the wings. As you can see, I have a flat bottom on the center part of the wing and an undercamber on the wing tips, along with dihedral. My logic was that the undercamber and dihedral will both work to stabilize the plane. I was able to fly this plane with rudder and elevator (and throttle of course) only without any issue. I do want to mention that my power/prop set up left this plane very underpowered and if I flew it fast, I may get that swaying back and forth that too much dihedral can cause.

Overall I think this plane turned out well. I think it is close to a glider, but the wings are probably too square and would cause too much drag to be a good glider. Especially since the leading edge of the wing is two foamboards thick. But for a big, slow 3ch it’s great. It is really easy to fly and might have enough glider characteristics to work as a feasible introduction to gliders. Especially since it's cheap and easy to build.


Here is the video I made. You can clearly see how underpowered it was due to the motor I have on it. To me it wasn’t worth putting on a better motor when it is perfectly flyable as is. If anything I actually like how slow it is. I did have to have full throttle the entire time and it was difficult to get a higher altitude and maintain it, but it was fun to swoop around and fly it slow and low.


Ultimately I damaged the nose by attempted to do loops with it. This plane doesn’t like those. Instead of fixing it, I think I may build a new one with my better motor on it. Maybe a longer fuselage if not to only make the nose longer. I did have to add weight to the nose to get a proper CG.


Here are some quick plans of the measurements I used. The plans are only supposed to be guide lines. Feel free to make any changes or improvements if you want to build something similar.

Fuselage measurements. Remove the foam of the 0.25" segments. This is similar to building a power pod, except you're bringing the ends together to form a triangle. Make the fuselage however long you'd like.

This is the tail measurements. I made mine 10" x 20" and the 8" and the 2" refer to the two inches to create the control surfaces. The red lines are score cuts and the gray area is where I removed material so the control surfaces didn't hit. I have no measurements for those because I just guessed at what to remove.

This is the main/center wing measurements. I have the center wing 30" long and each wing tip is 15". Making the entire wingspan 60".

This is supposed to show how to fold up the main wing. Make sure you add glue to the voids so the paper doesn't rip. I made my airfoil about 1" tall. You can make it as tall or short as you want. I think the higher the airfoil, the more lift but also the more drag. To a certain point at least.

This is the measurements for the wing tips. Again, the gray area is what you remove. I taped the flat part of the wing tip to the main wing, and then created the angle by resting the angled piece against the main wing then glued it into place. This was an easy way to create even dihedral. I made my wing tips 15" long, each.

Again, these are quick, basic plans to give you an idea of how I made this plane. The pictures are not to scale. Good pictures of the fuselage can be found in the first Simple V-Tail article I wrote. Any questions, feel free to ask.


Christian Jeppesen on August 26, 2013
Not a bad idea, and nice documented :).
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rljhr on August 26, 2013
This plane is what the hobby is about. I like it!
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nathauff on August 26, 2013
you could have to put a piece of tape on servos wires because the view on the video is a bit hidden. But it's a nice plane, good job!
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rcspaceflight on August 26, 2013
It was last minute that I decided to get footage of the tail. I actually used the piece of velcro that I was using for the ESC to mount the camera. I wanted some good footage to kind of show how the V-tail works, but my throws were uneven and I'm twitchy at the controls. It didn't work out so well. Yet I added it to the video anyway.
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Windburn on August 26, 2013
Very nice design. I may have to make that and give V-Tails a shot. To make it a swappable, you could just enlarge the triangle fuselage so that the pod fits completely inside (kinda like putting a square peg in a triangular hole...)
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rcspaceflight on August 26, 2013
That just might work!

I tried playing around with making a small triangle tube, but it was difficult to get the scaling right. To make it any smaller, you need exact measurements. But to make it larger, it should be much easier of a task.
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BP FLY on August 28, 2013
It's incredible, how this V- tail fly's! All my builds fly like a bricks, lol great job.
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Simple V-Tail (version 2)