Will it Fly? - Multiplane (Decaplane)

by FliteTest | July 27, 2015 | (10) Posted in Projects

Aircraft design has evolved quite a bit since the golden era of flight. In the past, engineers dreamt up some pretty hillarious planes by moden standards.

Our favorite failure by far is this plane. This design is the go-to example for humans attempting to conquer the skies...and how difficult it ended up being. 

The maiden of the Gerhardt Cycleplane has been referenced in countless movies and TV shows.

This sparked Peter's interest. Could this crazy contraption actually make it into the air? 

To find out, he built one! #becauseflitetest

This small scale replica is made from 10 copies of the same wing. The secret, Peter found, is there also needs to be a motor at the top of the wings. 

We actually maidened this over a livestream app we've been using recently called Periscope.

Periscope sends a message through our Twitter feed whenever we start streaming and you can watch the feed live! We do all kinds of weird behind-the-scenes stuff, so check it out! 

Believe it or not this actually flew! In hindsight, Peter realized he could have thrown in some mixing to help adjust with the pitch; a lesson learned and applied to the full project.

Flite Fest 2014 brought about a collection of unique monster planes. It was only obvious that we had to out do ourselves at Flite Fest 2015!

Armed with his knowledge from the small scale multiplane, Peter came to Flite Fest ready to put some ambitious builders to work. 

The wings themselves are not complicated. There are just a lot of them!

A basic box spar and simple fold techniques. 

The final design had 6 motors total. 3 pairs of random giant E-maxs' placed on the bottom, middle, and top of the wing stack. 

Too bad they didn't think about how to get it out of the hangar!

Now to answer the question, will it fly?


This project wouldn't have been possible without the help of all the kids who built it. You know who you are, and we thank you!

We can only hope that next year, we have something even bigger and/or crazier for you guys to build.


A special thanks also goes to David and Josh for helping us with the air-to-air footage for this episode. The talent in this community continues to amaze us. Keep it up guys!


Samahazai on August 1, 2015

Here are some funky airframes I'd love to see flite-tested!

The asymmetrical winged AD-1: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/NASA_AD-1

The world's smallest jet, the BD-5 in any variant: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bede_BD-5

A wing-in-ground-effect vehicle like the Caspian Sea Monster: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caspian_Sea_Monster
Or the Unversal Hoverwing: http://hovercraft.com/content/index....ndex&cPath=1_2

The plane from the worst Mad Max movie (Thunderdome), the PL-12 Airtruk: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transavia_PL-12_Airtruk

Thanks for checking these out!
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2point0 on July 28, 2015
I'd like to see a design-build challenge between Josh and Peter, or others.
Can you build a plane that can take off and land both normally and upside-down? (Most likely)
Can you actually take off and land it upside-down? (Harder)
How about something that takes off or lands on any side? Flying cube?
Thanks for the continued entertainment!

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corsair lover on July 31, 2015
would love to see a video of how you design a plane. and what CAD program and how your CAD program works?
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Yogenh on July 27, 2015
Love it you guys are doing great!!!! I didn't think it would fly but it did. But the landing wasn't too good!!! LOL
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Korben1 on July 27, 2015
can you build a plane that flies forwards and backwards? maybe 2 tails and an adjustable cg with weights on a servo?
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Gryf on July 27, 2015
I was one of several guys standing around the Multiplane just before they launched it, expressing opinions as to why the thing wouldn't fly... mine was that the horizontal stab was too small to resist the pitching action of the upper motors. And then lo and behold, it flew. And it looked really majestic up there, too. Shows what I know about aerodynamics. :-)

Once again, kudos to Peter and the build team. You all gave us quite a thrill!

Gryf - See more at: http://www.flitetest.com/articles/will-it-fly-multiplane-decaplane#sthash.pdiFjlM8.dpuf
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Willsonman on July 27, 2015
Challenge issued:

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Tri blades on July 27, 2015
Very cool wish I could of been there to help.
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Hunter9921 on July 27, 2015
I have a challenge for Peter. Try to make a flying RC version of a Lippisch Aerodyne. It looks like a cool plane that could be a challenge for you to make fly.

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Bsvoboda02 on August 15, 2015
Some more ideas for Peter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wwovm1FJ_Bo
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tclemmo on July 28, 2015
I love these Will it Fly episodes. Keep it up guys!
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raceskier on July 28, 2015
Great job guys. That was impressive. OK, how about trying this: http://www.leonardodavincisinventions.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/leonardo-da-vinci-helicopter.jpg
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moebeast on July 27, 2015
Awesome job Peter. I only wish you hadn't told Lucas and Gretchen they could have the remains:) They are piled up in my workshop. I'll post if we ever make something from them.
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dwillman5 on July 27, 2015
Here's an Idea, Peter.


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AdamV on July 28, 2015
I see a pusher at 2:20 in the background! (FT Explorer, was it?)
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Rhudson1960 on July 28, 2015
Hoe about a swappable based on the Caproni Ca.60 Noviplano. triple triplane should be easier than this with one less wing to worry about.
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Ace 13 on July 27, 2015
If i had to challenge Peter i would and will say make an rc car fly, using wings, a second motor to fly it, and still be able to control it on the ground as well as the air! Have fun Peter with this CRAZY idea
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skibum315 on July 29, 2015
These "will it fly" episodes are great ... Peter really has a talent for "making it work" as it were. Kudos.

I like some of the ideas that have already been suggested (like the ornithopter ... that's a great challenge). I'd also propose you tackle something like making a Magnus Effect wing (generates lift by spinning a cylinder on its axis - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnus_effect) or an homage to the GL-10 50% scale testbed that NASA has flown - video: https://youtu.be/kXql26sF5uc ... wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NASA_GL-10_Greased_Lightning ...

Hopefully the GL-10 isn't too much like Peter's first FT build, the X-19 (https://youtu.be/yfJWWzg5LeM) ... hope to see more of this kind of stuff, the "will it fly" episodes and the "challenge" episodes are great stuff. Thanks for all you do here, fellas!!
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Captain Crash on July 27, 2015
yes another will it fly thank you look forward to watching it after i finish school work
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Will it Fly? - Multiplane (Decaplane)