Tiny Trainer- A little Airplane to Love

by winglet | May 5, 2015 | (23) Posted in Reviews

 I have probably built and flown hundreds of models in my lifetime?  Fast, slow and in between.  Most all have been fun, but when I think back on all of those airplanes, the ones that really stand out as having been the most fun were those simple 3 channel rudder/elevator/throttle models.  There is something about the simplicity of them and their normally well behaved flight characteristics that make them attractive to me.  When Flitetest announced the Tiny Trainer, I was all in.

I will give you a few details about my particular airplane at the end of this article.  I'll start by describing how it flys.  I can sum it up in two words.  AS PREDICTED.  This model just looks like it should fly right out of your hand at half throttle and it does.  It is completely well behaved in the air.  The Tiny Trainer enjoys a super wide performance envelope.  It can go super fast or really slow.  With my power setup (3 cells)  it very easily climbs straight up and up rapidly!  You will only climb for a few seconds before it specs out.  Gliding decents are really nice.  It isn't an awesome sailplane but it does have a nice glide and in the right conditions it would probably hang in some thermals?  I don't have the place to do it here but I suspect it would slope soar REALLY well.

I've had my airplane out in a fair amount of wind and it handled unusually well. Is this airplane truly a trainer?  Absolutely!  I would limit power to 2 cells however.  It is simply too speedy on 3 for an absolute beginner.

The name my be deceptive?  Tiny Trainer.  The airplane is not what I would call tiny by any means.  It is a nice manageable size.  It is actually rather huge compared to lots of other so called trainers like say the Park Zone Champ.  And....it can be a trainer, but it can be a lot more depending on how you configure it.  I'm expecting warmliner performance with the four channel wing that I am building right now.

Okay, just a little about my build.  My airplane is basically completely stock.  The most notable exception are the servos mounted on the outside of the fuselage near the tail, rather than inside the airplane under the wing.  I would encourage everyone to make this simple modification to avoid adding a ton of weight to the tail to reach the correct CG.  The TT builds extremely nose heavy.  Also....Josh called for 5 gram servos.  I went ahead and used 9's because I needed the weight.  With a 850mah battery my CG is perfect.  No weight added anywhere.

Here is my setup.  I basically used items I already had laying around the shop.  I got lucky I guess because I wouldn't change a thing.

Motor is a Sunnysky x2204 2300KV  I bought it for something else and never used it.  Can't remember where it came from but it is an excellent motor. I think there will be lots of motors that will work well on this design. One thing that won't work very well is an X mount. ( There isn't room for it on the small firewall)  You need to be able to mount your motor with screws coming from the back side of the firewall into the existing mounting wholes for an X mount.  Be prepared to re-drill your firewall to match your motor unless you purchase the FT motor.  Their's of course should fit perfectly without re-drilling.  It isn't a big deal.  Us your X mount as a template for the holes.

Prop is an APC style 6x4

ESC is an old 10amp that I think came from Hobby King years ago?

Servos = cheapy 9grams

Receiver = Orange super light 4 channel but almost anything will do.

Battery= The Zippy (compact) 850 3 cell is delivering awesome power and it balances the airplane right on the CG marks.  Fits real nice too.  My flight times are usually close to 25 minutes.  (I glide around a lot)

I used packing tape for the finish.  The fuselage is completely covered in white and blue tape.  The tail is naked foam with the edges ironed down for looks and to help the paper stay on.  The wing is also mostly naked except for the packing tape trim stripes.

Thats about it.  There isn't too much you can say about an airplane this simple.   Simplicity really is it's virtue.  In a complicated, hight tech world it is sometimes a pleasure to take a step back an enjoy something not so complicated.

I am really enjoying everything about this model.  The build was really fun.  It builds fast but not so fast that you have no since of accomplishment.  I really took my time to get it right and still had it completed in a couple of really enjoyable  build sessions.  I might have a total of 5 hours invested in this Speed Build Kit.  Of course the plans can be downloaded for free but now I am a bit spoiled with the Speed Build Kits. There really arn't many parts to cut out for this model but I kinda dislike assembeling the plans and cutting out parts.  If you have the funds, I suggest the kit for this one.  It is a super great value considering it is 3 airplanes in one really.  They include a glider nose and the 3 channel plain wing and the 4 channel wing.  How can you beat that?

This really is a little airplane to build and love.  I am confident that if you decide to build one you will be happy with it.  It's a gem in my book.









MojoFlyer on May 7, 2015
My FT Tiny Trainer turned out nose heavy as well, I ended up putting a quarter oz lead weight on the tail. I can get the plane to balance with two cell batteries, but its tough to get the three cell pushed far enough back to balance. I have not flown it with the sport (w/Ailerons) wing yet, I'm not sure if it will help or make balancing it harder. BTW, when I built the sport wing I had trouble getting the top part of the wing glued down evenly on the wing spars, and ended up trashing the one that came with the quick build kit. I read some good Flite Test articles on how to build from plans only and built a new sport wing. It really wasn't that bad, and turned out fine. I think I'll try to build another fuselage from plans and have two complete planes (a 3 and a 4 channel). I really like the mod you did on the location of the servos, I think I'll try incorporating that on the new fuselage. Thanks for your article.
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udo789 on May 9, 2015
Very nice and thoughtful review.
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thejosh108 on May 9, 2015
Very interesting with the balance problems, I build mine totally covered in packing tape with barbecue skewers reinforcing the tail, (heavy/fast version) but its still a nice flying airplane with plenty of power. I put my servos in the recommended spot, and i used 5 gram. With this setup, mine is TAIL heavy unless i fly with a 1000mah 3 cell all the way forward. I was even thinking of weighting the nose so i can fly with lighter batteries. I wonder how using the trainer wing will work..
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winglet on May 9, 2015
Those BBQ skewers along with the glue to hold them on and the tape really add up in weight. Considering they are that far aft probably make sense that it is tail heavy? Looking forward to trying mine with the fast wing.
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tomzaal on May 9, 2015
I love your servo idea. I'm going to use it on mine. I'm tired of fighting with the servos in the mid compartment. Good article and nice finish on your plane. Mine is my first build and it looks chewed up already.
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thefrogman123 on May 9, 2015
ditto on the servo wrestling
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guytranspo on May 12, 2015
I also love the Trainer. Mine is built with servos in recommended position and is nose heavy. I have to push the batteries deep inside under the wing, but I've gotten used to it. I was recently suggesting to my son that we work on a trap door to ease the battery placement. I do, however like the idea of moving the servos.
I recently posted to the forum the fact that I crashed and compromised the integrity of the wing. I fixed it by cutting the wing in half and adding two small hard wood spars. It fixed the wing and gave it a bit less dihedral, but the plane flies as good as ever.
I would certainly recommend the plane to anyone. I can throw the thing all over the sky and it recovers without issue. It instills great confidence and is making me a much better pilot.
Thank you Flite Test.
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Ron B on May 15, 2015
I have a 54 watt motor and a 125 watt motor and am wondering if the 54 watt would work on the 3 ch setup?
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Torf on May 17, 2015
It should work fine. That's a little more than 6 amps on 2S, which is entirely reasonable.
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winglet on May 15, 2015
Hmm...I think it probably would but maybe someone else with motor calc can comment here who is more knowledgeable than I?
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MojoFlyer on May 25, 2015
My first FT Tiny Trainer was nose heavy and I didn't like having to jam the receiver up next to my servos. So I built a new one and put the servos external just ahead of the tail. I love how much easier it made the build, however it way overcompensated the nose heaviness of the first one. The new aircraft is now way more tail heavy and I had to add 1.25 oz inside of the power pod to get it to balance. If I ever build it again I'll go back to Josh's original design, and just move the servos a little further back toward the tail so they are out of the way and use linkage stoppers on the control horns to make adjustments.
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FlyingTrucker on July 3, 2015
May be a dumb question but how do you iron the edges and does it improve durability?
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winglet on July 3, 2015
I always iron the edges. Only takes a minute. Not sure how much it improves aerodynamics but it does for sure keep the edges from peeling up so much over time. I think it looks nice too.
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Schraggy on July 26, 2015
I just built my tiny trainer today and I also have the same problem it is very nose heavy... I might be able to adjust my electronics to help. I was able to get it to fly but I went through 2 propellers in 2 flights. The first one it nosed down and my throttle was not all the way off..(understandable) but my second flight I cut the throttle and it still snapped the propeller because it is so nose heavy....any ideas?
I also have a question about power it seemed like I had to have my throttle all the way up to fly...I used the power pack A and the motor that came with it...I just got a new DS6 radio is there something I need to adjust on the radio?
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winglet on July 26, 2015
Take a look at the photos above and note that the servos are located near the tail on the outside. This will correct your CG problem. It is a simple job but you will probably need a couple of servo extensions. The DX6 is an awesome radio and probably is defaulted to 100 percent power. I don't think it is an issue. Please make sure your propeller is on in the correct direction. If it is on backwards you will have very little thrust. Have fun!
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Schraggy on July 27, 2015
Thank you for the info. I still have a few questions….Should I go into the settings on my radio and make sure throttle is set to 100? It still feels like my throttle is not enough. (yes I checked the propellers and they are on the right way letters facing forward) also should I be using the small black rings on my motor shaft? The rings that fit still don't make the propeller fit snug.
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winglet on July 27, 2015
You could go to Monitor under the Function List and make sure you have 100 percent movement when you go to max throttle. That will tell the story there. Not exactly sure what you are describing with regards to the prop shaft? I think you are talking about a prop saver? Typically they don't fit real tight by design. That should be Okay. Did you get your balance point adjusted properly. Try gliding it without power. It should float to a nice easy landing.
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Schraggy on July 29, 2015
I did check the settings and it was set to 100 so thats ok. I just seem to have to have my stick all the way up for throttle when flying…I ended up just driving over to flightiest and the guys there helped me out. I am actually going to go fly with Jim Bixler on Thursday and he said he would help get this tiny trainer all setup. Thank you again Winglet
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winglet on July 29, 2015
Wow! I imagine Jim will figure it out! First time I've actually heard of anyone actually taking their airplane to Flite Test for help. That is REALLY nice of them to help you out. I know they are super busy. After Jim gets it sorted out, please drop a quick note to let us know what the problem was. I'm just very interested to know.
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agentorange2000 on July 31, 2015
I just maidened my TT. I'm using a 2400kv motor, 2 cell 500mah battery, and 5 inch prop. It's weight at 10.1 oz w/ the battery; so I may be slightly under-powered. It was a bit of a struggle to gain altitude and had some struggles turning. Just thinking I may be too heavy.
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winglet on July 31, 2015
I doubt it is too heavy. Wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't tail heavy though? Almost everybody's is. Check that CG. Also...the best combination I have found for this airplane is a Sunnysky x2204-16 2300kv turning a APC 6x4e propeller on 3 a 3 cell 850 Zippy Compact. It is amazing. Super smooth and effecient. Also unlimited vertical performance if you want it.
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DrDiff952 on December 9, 2015
I am buiding a Tiny Trainer right now. I just glued the linkages to the control horns. Will moving the servos to the back of the opening under the wing help or is it too late for my Tiny Trainer? This is my first build and I have already made misteakes. I put the control horns on the wrong sides. And before this I broke the control surfaces the wrong way and had to use tape as the hinge.
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winglet on December 9, 2015
Don't worry too much about moving the servos to the rear. It is a great mod and makes the airplane better but I would say that far more have been build bone stock then with the mod. This is a great first airplane. Of course you are going to make mistakes. Don't worry too much about those. Just correct them the best you can and go out and fly! Like Peter says, in the end it is just a cheap piece of foam.
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Tiny Trainer- A little Airplane to Love