Building an FT Explorer in India - From Tiled Plans


Junior Member
Long time lurker and First time poster. I have been watching Flitetest from When RCSuperPowers and Alishanmao used to post regularly on youtube. I have been on and off the hobby for the past 7 years. My first plane was a nine eagles Xtra 300 ( Absolutely wrong plane to start with, needless to stay I flew it for 20 seconds before i ran it to the ground and broke it into 14 different pieces. My Next try was a 450 Size heli from RC Bazaar (, again striped the main axle gear, no replacement parts were available, in short FAIL. Then I took a long break and later on got a FMS easy trainer also got Fatshark 5G FPV set with goggles (was working in the UAE and had some disposable income to splurge) and this was a great success. Had some real good fun with this plane. I had also got a sky surfer to fly during my Annual month long vacations in India. I had also got a Hobby King Trifecta in UAE. When I left UAE for good, I gutted the FMS and took all the electronics with me and also carried the Trifecta tricopter with me (It was fold-able, so I was able to carry it in my Check-in). I had also acquired lot of spares during my time in UAE.

In the 7 years I had got three great transmitters, Flysky 6Ch (Still have it), Avionix 9Ch (, and Turnigy 9Ch. Once while flying my skysurfer in India, two locals came from the nearby highway to watch me fly, but they managed to distract me and steal my Avionix transmitter.

After my return to India from UAE (2 years back), I did my Masters, Got a job, Married my GF of 11 years. Present day, I am in Bangalore with a Good Job (But Not much disposable income, have a mortgage). The only thing that bothers me,is the beat-up skysurfer that hangs in the balcony. But Last week, I got this renewed excitement about getting back into it. Dusted my transmitter, rounded up all the spares I had and watched all the flitetest classics again. Really wish Josh scott was still a part of the show.

Okay, so now I have motors, servos, TX & RX. I was evaluating the options I had. RC Bazaar is still selling the Skysurfer (Stocks keep coming and going), but as always they never have spare fuselage/Wings. I didn't want to, again, crash and then forget it because of unavailability of spares. So I turned to Scratch building. First road block is that there are FT speed build kits available through RC Bazaar (Rightly priced but depron and no Beginner planes), Vortex RC india (, As costly as a Sky surfer kits and no spares again). So I thought why don't I build it from the free plans. Decided.

So, in India there is no Dollar Tree foam board. But Vortex Rc stocks something called Alpha board (India Made Paper laminated foam board) ( this is supposedly heavier than Dollar Tree foam board but stronger. Every other source i checked in India has only Depron. For the FT explorer depron wouldn't work as the wing span is too long for it to work without a carbon fibre or fibre glass spar). So I ordered it, they ship 10 sheets minimum. This was still cheaper than the FT Explorer kit they were selling, by about 9$.

This Thread will be updated till I finish building and flying the FT Explorer.


Junior Member
Update 1:

Hot glue sticks arrived (I already had the Gun)
X-Acto Knife and blades have arrived ,
Laser cut Aeroply FT Elements Motor Mount - On the way
Alpha Board - Paper Laminated Foam Board - On the Way
#64 Latex Rubber Bands - Waiting to be shipped

Printed out the Tiled Plan for FT Explorer on A4 Sheets. Followed the SP0NZ's guide from Flitetest to get the printouts in the correct scale. (


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Elite member
Best of luck!

Do you have a digital weighing scales handy? The original link to the foamboard specified 500 GMS which, if my math is correct, is almost 200 grams (7 ounces) per 20x30sheet. This would put it close to twice as heavy as the Adams Readiboard we get here - just something to be aware of and some encouragement perhaps to build as light as possible ;)



Junior Member
Best of luck!

Do you have a digital weighing scales handy? The original link to the foamboard specified 500 GMS which, if my math is correct, is almost 200 grams (7 ounces) per 20x30sheet. This would put it close to twice as heavy as the Adams Readiboard we get here - just something to be aware of and some encouragement perhaps to build as light as possible ;)

You are spot on!! It is actually 180 grams per sheet. I have two options, Going as light as possible (Really unlikely, considering this is my first scratch Build), the next option would be a powerful motor. My original plan was to use the Emax CF2822 1200KV with a 9*4.3 Prop.

I also have:
* Bixler 2 Motor 1300KV lying around
* DYS 2826/6 2200KV

I would like your opinion on which motor pack to use


Old and Bold RC PILOT
The biggest problem with using the heavier FB when building an FT design is that the planes invariably build far too tail heavy!
Being heavier overall is not a real concern as often I find that the extra weight can be beneficial especially if the winds pick up and the standard motors specified are normally adequate to get them flying quite well.

When doing an initial build of an FT design I tend to remove internal paper from the tail boom as the heavier FB is more than strong enough without the internal layer of paper and the weight of the paper is quite significant.

Where this is not enough to get the design to balance I then shorten the tail boom very slightly and also reduce the area of the tail members very slightly. If this is still not enough then I either look at moving the wing slightly forward, (EDIT: It should read rearwards:oops::rolleyes:), or extending the length of the nose very slightly.

Often though a heavy spinner can make a significant difference as can mounting the battery further forward. Finally a slightly larger and heavier battery can be used but the extra weight can reduce flight performance further.

Have fun!
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Elite member
Given that the build is likely to be a bit on the heavier side, I think you might be underpowered with the Emax CF2822. I could find any info about the Bixler 2 motor (albeit a quick search) but I think the DYS 2826 motor with a 7x3 or 7x4 prop might be your best bet with the only caveat being, as @Hai-Lee mentioned, you might need to move the wing forward to help with balancing if you go with this heavier motor.



Junior Member
@Hai-Lee & @DamoRC Thanks for the tips.

So, I got the foam Board yesterday. Bad News is, it is significantly Heavier. Each sheet is 260 Grams, but the Amazon Listing said 180 Grams Only (I had ordered this only because I knew 180 Grams was manageable). Now the Emax 2822 is not even an option.

On the FT Explorer page, the dry weight is mentioned as 493 Grams. Now my Foam board is 2.3 times heavier than DTFB, So I am expecting my FT Explorer to weigh in Around 1133 grams (493*2.3) + another 50 Grams (First build, gonna be heavy) = 1180 Grams.

The Foam board is significantly stronger than DTFB, But Cuts and Folds as expected. So, My game plan is to stick with the plan and finish building the Explorer. Once Built I will attempt to use your inputs to balance the plane out by maybe trimming the Tail Boom and Tail surface area. Only Thing I am scared of is, whether my DYS 2826/6 2200KV with 6*4.3 Prop will be able to handle this weight. I don't like doing loops or Rolls. I Like to just take it to altitude, Glide Back down and Repeat, I am weird that way, It is satisfying to watch it glide.

I Started Cutting Out Parts, Did Three Parts. Attaching Pics here.


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