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CHEAP (less than $20) Electric Sailplane

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CHEAP (less than $20) Electric Sailplane

Old 04-01-2007, 11:15 AM
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Default CHEAP (less than $20) Electric Sailplane

I guess this is where this needs to be posted .....it is a sort of frankenstien plane and all hand fitted.

A while back my son (15) had a flying experience at a friends house where his buddy had a 2 ch twin prop plane, small (about 16 in wing span) twin motor....anyways he had a blast and talked be into buying one off ebay for him. We both had a blast flying it but the flight time was pretty short (about 10 minutes with the 4.8v 180Mah 1/3AAA pack that came with it) and eventually he had a small accident and broke the wing. I repaired it for him but it just doesn't fly quite as well.

The last couple of weeks I have been collecting parts behind his back and tonight put together a new plane for him to fly, a little bigger and a lot longer fly time....

Started out with a 48 inch foam glider from the local hobby shop. Glued the wings in tight then dremel cut openings for the battery and control board in the top of the fuselage. I used a 6 cell 7.2V 1000Mah AAA battery pack and picked up a 2ch control board (non-propo) from an on-line hobby shop (they had it on clearance for $4 compared to the regular $18, so bought two. ) I had a couple of stock 180 size motors laying around so these will be mounted on a couple of scratch built mounts, slightly elevated and rear facing (this will keep the out of harms way when he puts it on the ground) The props are 3 1/2 inch #3 pitch. When holding this plane in your hand and hit the throttle it will almost jump out of your hand so I think it will have plenty of power....in fact if you turn it around and look from the rear it will blow your hair pretty good. After mounting everything I made some removable covers for the battery and elecs compartments. It also has 2mm CF rods for stiffeners in the wing bottoms.
Everything was mounted so that the plane maintained the same balance it had as a glider. The stock glider weighed in at 110g and with all the electronics, motors and battery it now weighs in at 250g...still a very light plane for it's size. Test glides all went well.

The best part is that I have less than $20 in the whole project...thats less than the cheapy little plane I bought him!!!

Tomorrow, weather permitting he will get to test fly this monster.







comments or suggestions?

Old 04-01-2007, 01:39 PM
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Default RE: CHEAP (less than $20) Electric Sailplane

IT is nice that the cost is low but is that trailing edge really that blunt? That would be one place I would try to make an improvement. I would test its glide characteristics first and then look into making that change. I also wonder how the props will drag when the power is off. It might be a situation where flying slower will be better to increase glide ratio.
Old 04-01-2007, 01:48 PM
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Default RE: CHEAP (less than $20) Electric Sailplane

The most important thing is to make sure that the center of gravity didn't change. Also, if the plane is not responsive enough in a turn, you could try spacing the motors farther apart. Let us know how it goes.
Old 04-01-2007, 10:17 PM
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Default RE: CHEAP (less than $20) Electric Sailplane

Well the maiden voyage didn't go to well....slightly windier than I would have liked.

In the middle of the first turn a sudden wind gust slmmed it to the ground and snapped off a few inches of theat long nose....so now the weight bias is an issue and things are being reworked over the next few days
Old 04-03-2007, 07:49 AM
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Default RE: CHEAP (less than $20) Electric Sailplane

wait by 2 channel you mean the its only the propellers that change speed to turn, no control surfaces, try adding at least an elevator and maybe some bigger props, im no expert and even tho ive been flying for about 6 months i still dont know didly squat about servos, motors, receivers etc. im just telling u wut ive learned from my own experience, but it looks pretty good just for 20 bucks.
Old 04-03-2007, 07:50 AM
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Default RE: CHEAP (less than $20) Electric Sailplane

maybe adding a little weight to the rear mite help
Old 04-03-2007, 10:12 AM
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Default RE: CHEAP (less than $20) Electric Sailplane

I'm still newb to model aircraft, but that plane seems like its ripe for some LE shaping, a pair of ailerons for that fat TE and an elevator. How fast does (did) it fly? That might be some insight to how much cleaning up the plane would help.

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