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2nd Plane Questions

Hi there,

I recently built and repeatedly crashed an FT Mini Sportster as it was the only smallish kit available in the UK that seemed beginner friendly (had dihedral). I've discovered it is FAST and that its probably beyond my limits at the moment. Still going to fly it tomorrow but if previous flights are anything to go by at some point I will decide left is right and it will meet the ground at some speed. Its been fixed several times so far and I think its almost had enough.

I've purchased a new airframe for the 1806 motor and 18A esc and I've gone with the Mini Arrow but I'm having second thoughts as I'd rather not tear a wing off after only a few flights. I also picked up 2 sheets of FT foam board and can get foam board from Hobbycraft if needed. The shopping spree continued and I bought this gyro in the hope it would help me out as a beginner. My questions are:

1. What is my best bet for building something to learn on, self built Tiny Trainer/Mini Scout or the Arrow kit? (or something else entirely)
2. How useful is a gyro likely to be for a beginner?
3. I got very glue happy on my first build, is using outdoor wood glue a sensible idea if I'm happy to clamp/weigh things down in an attempt to keep the weight down?
4. I've got disorientated as the entire plane is purple, is there a convention on painting for orientation?



Legendary member
1. the arrow will be even faster but maybe easier to fly. i love the arrow and have built more than i can remember. problem is though, as you said, they have a tendency to rip a wing off when they crash. you can usually glue it back on, but...

2. i would not worry about a gyro, setting them up can be even tougher than just learning to fly. save the money and buy more foam board

3. it is very easy at first too use too much glue. with that said i don't have the patience to use anything other than hot glue or CA. i know the wood glue and gorrila glue is lighter but in my opinion not worth the time and effort.

4. i personally like to make the top one color and the bottom another. everyone has their own method, just find one that works for you. the most important thing though is to have faith in your control input. the plane will do what you tell it to do, just believe that it is!

good luck,

me :cool:


Elite member
Buy some FT foamboard and scratch build a Tiny Trainer. Use the tiled plans, stick to 200-400gsm card and then cut out your templates to use on the FT board or use a spray mount type low tack adhesive to stick the plans down directly onto the board and gently peel them off once you have cut them out. Low build weight is everything with smaller planes or anything you want to fly slow. @smiling albert built his TT here that way, he will have advice on parts. You can get 1.2mm music wire in model shops or online from Cornwall Model Boats and the control horns and flywheels are on eBay from a hobby laser cutter.
The other option would be to build a foam Das Ugly Stick which is designed for UK weight white foamboard, the plans are on here somewhere, @Hai-Lee has good advice on those.
The speedbuild kit situation here is woeful right now, there’s nothing I would recommend in stock anywhere!
The minis always need more forward speed to stay up due to their higher wing loading. Apart from the Scout they are all less beginner friendly. I have been flying 8 months, I wouldn’t touch an Arrow.
With trainers and any plane where there’s less cues about which way is up/left/right a scheme with different colours on the wings and top and bottom will help you a lot, as will dialling in low rates and a bit of expo on the TX.
Coloured packing tape is a cheap and effective way to add striping or colour even after the rest has been painted.
Above comments about gyros should be heeded, you don’t need them.
Hobbyking have re released the AXN Floater Jet which is a great beginner plane that will get you flying and able to cope with other FT designs like the forthcoming P40 which will be available here in kit form, as well as being a great all rounder itself. The cost is about the same as building an FT design.
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Elite member
*****Edit, I thought that a 1806 was a b pack, its not. I edited my suggestion to fit.

The FT mini scout and tiny trainer are probably both decent planes to try. There are also some great F pack designs on the forums. @AircPirateNinsei has built a lot of F pack designs, you might want to look through his builds and see if any interest you.


Legendary member
2. How useful is a gyro likely to be for a beginner?
3. I got very glue happy on my first build, is using outdoor wood glue a sensible idea if I'm happy to clamp/weigh things down in an attempt to keep the weight down?
4. I've got disorientated as the entire plane is purple, is there a convention on painting for orientation?
The SAFE system or other self leveling gyro is useful to a beginner to get you out of trouble. The downside, some never get off the gyro. I try to get a newbie off the gyro as soon as possible.

Water based wood glues can be used, but if you use too much you will delaminate the paper. I prefer to use hot glue, a thin bead is all you need. The glue is stronger than the foam.

I make sure to have a light color and dark color on both the top and bottom of my planes. In some light conditions you can see one better than the other. Just use a different pattern on the top than the bottom. I run a stripe one way on top and another way on bottom.
Thanks for all the helpful advice so far. I think I am going to turn my spare sheets and bits from the Arrow into a Tiny Trainer. Going to do a bit more research about types of glue but it will take me a while to get everything cut out.
Think I'll leave the gyro for now but keep it in mind for future.
Is there any secret to making Acrobat print the plans properly on A4 or does it do it on its own?


Elite member
Hi eadipus I would suggest you check out this thread. Tips for a newbie (experience talking). I have only flown the Tiny Trainer so that is what I recommend. Do you have any video of your flights? If you do post them and the members here can help you more by seeing what you are doing. I know when I put up videos the first thing they sad was I was flying to fast and that the throttle is not an on and off switch and it help me slow down and it became easier to fly.:)


Elite member
@eadipus Hot glue is perfectly fine for your TT, just don’t use too much of it. Mine flies great despite being the first FT kit I made. Use 5g servos, a nice light receiver (mine is 9g) and the motor you have is great with a 6x4 APC prop. Go small on the batteries, I use 500-800mah 2s in mine. You can use other glues, but you don’t need to if you go careful and select the right parts.
Thanks for all the further advice, I've had a read of the tips and its super useful. It was quite windy this morning but we went out anyway. BBC showed 8-9mph but it felt stronger than that when it was gusty. We took some video and I've edited the usable bits together and put them on YouTube, apologies for the wind noise. It was probably my most successful session so far as I managed to actually finish a battery and mostly flew where I wanted to go (trying to do exclusively right or left turns to get used to flying). After another crash not on the video I decided that the plane was too wonky and the wind too strong to continue.

I've been using a 3s 850mah battery with a 6030 prop but I'm down to 1 intact prop, would dropping prop or battery size help?
1) FT Tiny Trainer or Mini Scout would be good to learn on and both are cheap and not hard to build. They are smaller so you need to keep low weight in mind.

2) I'm with everyone on the gyro. Really you should be learning to fly in the wind to help improve your skills instead of letting a gryo do it for you. For really starting out though, I'd try to avoid windy days until you are comfortable. Plus gryos require some extra TLC to get them set up properly.

3) I hear Titebond and FoamTac come up for alternative glues, but hot glue should work fine.

4) As far as color, you could always add a stripe to the top of the wing and not the bottom, or alternate colors to help with orientation.


Elite member
I run the exact same set up on my DR1 and SE5. You won’t radically alter the characteristics with one prop size either side unless you are low on thrust. It’s the wing loading that is your problem, all the minis need that faster forward speed to stay up, so require a little more reaction time from the pilot. I have found the APC props much stronger than some of the others, Hobbyking have a dirt cheap 6x4 that has been my main prop for smaller planes.
You should start thinking about flying a circuit, this will teach you some of the basics and help you set up landings etc. If you are unsure about wind direction a length of plastic recycling bag on a garden cane makes a good telltale. We have a cheap eBay windsock stuck on the end of an old telescopic fishing rod for our field. It’s easy to take down and you can bungee cord it to a helpful bench, stick or other obstacle.
Circuits look like this-

The terminology is useful to learn too, especially if you want to fly with someone else. Our rule is that only one plane may be on each leg at one time, if you start to catch the flier in front you either extend the leg by carrying on your course or you orbit where you are until they change leg. My son and I call when we change leg, so after take off I will call “turning cross wind” and he will tell me “taking off” then he continues along the runway until I call “turning downwind” then he may turn crosswind.
After circuits you can try figure 8’s round things, start high up and slow, then gradually increase speed.
Thanks for the post on circuits, I definitely set up in the wrong place last time with regards to the wind as the wind carried the plane over my head a few times. Hopefully going to head out again this evening and try and get some better footage.

I've also started construction on the Tiny Trainer using a mix of hot glue and gorilla glue depending on how convenient it is to clamp it. Have discovered that a metal ruler makes a huge difference when trying to make neat cuts.

Two more questions:
Would a 500mah 2S be a more sensible battery for starting than the 850mah 3S's I'm using at the moment?
Where do build logs go (I've had a look and they seem scattered around)?