Over the last three or four years I've been lucky enough to stumble upon the wonderful world of rc flight, which has been a goal I have wanted to achieve since I was about seven years old after discovering that you could own your very own tiny aircraft. the trouble was I was still to young to really understand it and it was also extremely unaccessible/expensive. I had a few micro rc planes like a tiny ww1 biplane but these where cheap and not very aerodynamic. My fondest memories are from making free flight gliders and lobbing them of a big hill. these had varying levels of success, but a great learning tool. I was heavily inspired by the red Barron movie from 1971, I think mostly because of the brightly coloured planes of the flying circus. Anyway I was so inspired that me and my dad built a tiny Fokker dr1 for me to play in! we would spend ages running it up and down the road 😂 And of course we painted it bright red!
When I turned around twelve is stumbled across a small channel called FliteTest (you may have heard of them) and the video in particular that I clicked on just so happened to be the battlefield1 episode with the crazy foam board zeppelin! Suddenly I was introduced to a brighter side of the rc hobby that wasn't so intense and rather more just for fun. I remember being impressed by the fact that you could make such beautiful aircraft for about £5. (minus the electronics) after that I brought my first plane, a se5 biplane, and from that point I was hooked.
Me and my dad have built many aircraft now, so many that im pretty much completely independent at building them. but I wanted to revisit the older days of my flying journey and do a joint build like we used to. He has alway enjoyed the building process the most, and I think that's mostly because he's an artist and this means he is a perfectionist, which is a good thing. he's always checking the build quality of my projects and making me build at a much higher quality than I normally would do.
He's built a few planes on his own, most notably the ft commuter, but he has alway given me the go ahead to fly them. the whole flying business seems to confuse him and he can't quite get his head around it. So it was time to change all this!
It took a while to think of a adequate trainer plane for him. I wanted it to be a 3 channel as to not complicate things for him.
eventually we settled on the ft tiny trainer as it would be a great platform to upgrade later with a 4 channel wing.
First things first we started by printing and piecing together the plan. We then cut out the templates and glues them to the foam. this would aid in speeding up the proses and so we wouldn't have to draw anything out which could be drawn incorrectly.
we started with the fuse which took about 10 minutes.
next thing we cut out the tail surfaces and glued them on,(Making sure to use a set square!)
with the main part done I was ready to tackle the servo setup. This was pretty uneventful and my easiest one yet!
next came the wing. My dad cut out the template while I had a quick wash and when I came out it was ready to be transferred to the foam.
By the time I got the wing finished it was late and I was tired so I concluded day one of the build happy that I had got most of it done.
The next day I got up bright and early to finish the build. I put the powered together and added the doublers which I had forgot to add yesterday. oops!.... once that was done all that was left to do was to give it an awesome paint job! Completely forgetting that he is probably gonna plow it into the ground some time in the near future. ohh well!
I had some bright colours lying around and wanted to make it easy to see so different parts of the plane were painted different colours.
it looked pretty good but something was missing. it reminded me heavily of a ww1 plane so I applied some iron crosses to really sell it.
the result was awesome and I was super happy! its crazy how much those iron crosses added to the plane. it kind looks like a wacky racer!😂
If you would like to do the same to your plane its really easy. you can buy a pack of sticker paper on Amazon super cheap and it works in most paper printers. all you do is find an image, put it into word and print it off, that's really it! then take a pair of scissors and cut it out, peal the back and apply it to your model. It not as good a vinyl, but its a cheap alternative and cheap is part of the flite test spirit.
we originally had landing gear but in tests it created too much drag. it would be fine on a bigger model but not on such a small model as this.
we are yet to come up with a suitable undercarriage but we have a few ideas one of them is to have a detachable skid plate that would come off on landing just to save the prop. another idea is to make skis but it might still weight too much. anyway if you have any ideas we are open and would love to hear.
The official maiden was a quick one it lasted about two minutes and the plane handled poorly. it was very unresponsive an had a mind of it own. I tried to land it but I broke the motor mount. we went home and fixed it and waited till later for the wind to die down. we concluded that it had been too tail heavy and the wind probably wasn't helping. it was gusting about 10 miles per hour which is quite a lot for this plane.
the second attempts were much more successful! with the cg fixed and more elevator control it handled great we burned through 3 batteries and had a great time. It was time to hand my dad the controls! I took it up high and handed him the transmitter. he did a really good circuit but then tried to turn the other way and put it into a steep dive towards the ground! luckily a managed to pull out of the dive and put it back on a level flight path.
ohh well, it looks like we still have a long way to go but it should be a fun experience for us both and a good opportunity to brush up on my teaching skills😂
Anyway thanks for taking the time to read this article. its been a lot of fun and I look forward to updating you soon!☺️