E Flite Apprentice replacement tailfeather fabrication


Active member
Spent last night setting my Apprentice S 15 up on my DX6e transmitter, got it all working properly and ready to go, got hyped to leave.
Packed the car and then spent the morning working on someone else's car instead of flying. Finally went out to the airfield this afternoon to try out my new 5000mAh batteries in the plane and trim out the controls. Got it together, checked all my crap, everything looked good, put it in the air.
It was flying a little funny, but I attributed that to there being a heavier battery on board, a transmitter that needed trimming, and some wind tossing the plane around a bit. So I did a few passes to get the trim straightened out and things seemed good so I took it around a little further, picked up some speed and it was pretty straight but the control response felt off. I figured well there's a lot of stuff changed, so I'll just take it up and get warmed up, run through that battery then put a regular 3200mAh battery in and see if it feels any different.

Put some altitude on it and did a big lazy loop with it, circled the field a couple times and climbed it way up to see if I could improve my aileron rolls. Did one roll and pulled through okay with a little bobble. Turned it around, went for a double and got about a roll and a half in when the nose suddenly dipped while it was inverted. I figured I must have done something wrong so straightened it out and pulled it up hard into a climb to get my altitude back when there was a distant popping noise. I saw something white fluttering away from the plane and slowly drifting down, and my elevator authority pretty much went away. It was pretty stable but something was obviously messed up. So I killed the motor and did big lazy glide circles down until I could get it to where I could see it closer and on doing the pass there was something flapping in the wind off the tail. I had no real elevator authority so I circled back around and drifted it down until it stalled as low as I could manage into some tall grass.

Once I got to the plane I found out what had happened. That pop and the object fluttering down from the plane was the right side of the elevator leaving the scene. Given that's my only plane right now (the scout still doesn't have a prop but it will next week) I packed it up and took it home.
Fortunately I already had some foam board kicking around for other projects so I cut a strip out, traced the good side of the elevator onto it and mirrored it. Then cut the shape out, basically laminated it with packing tape, transferred the original stiffener onto the elevator and tested it with a little bend. It flexed and the foam board immediately wrinkled, so I cut a valley into it on the other side away from the stiffener and sank some leftover BBQ skewer into it with hot glue. I mocked the control horn on, then punched the holes and put it together, mocked the whole thing onto the plane, then made hinges with packing tape and put it all together. Good news, it works! (it isn't pretty, but it'll fly)
Got stuff to do tonight, but I'll take it out tomorrow morning and throw it at the sky again.


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Master member
Great idea. That should work perfectly. You can iron the edges of the foam board with a sealing iron or clothes iron to make them stronger and more aerodynamic. It'll look better without the square edge of fresh cut foam board too.


Active member
Took it out flying today, flies great! Probably going to take a that advice and smooth the edges down with a little heat and a sanding block. Oddly enough, now it has more elevator authority than it ever had before. I think the factory stuff must just be kind of flimsy because it's way more snappy in the air and I can hold it inverted and really point the nose far more easily now. I had it doing upside-down tail drags back and forth across the airfield (when the wind was still at least) and it just motored right along, give it a quick snap and it flips right over.

Looks good. If it ever needs to be replaced totally, here are some plans I made.
Huh, the plans won't load for me off the link in that post, thanks though. Maybe upload them again? They look like they cut out pretty well though. I might have to do that vertical stabilizer strut for mine, that super thin foam de-laminates and just flops over way too easy, right now mine is mostly tape and good luck.