• This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn more.
Pumpkin drop event

Exploring the Explorer

BATTLEAXE

Well-known member
#1
Back when I was looking at building planes as a trainer to cut my teeth on in this hobby I will say that I did pass by the FT Explorer a couple of times. I was originally interested just because of the name and then checked it out, and to tell you the truth I didn't like the look of it. It didn't look like anything scale so I kept searching. I build other planes with no success on the flight side time after time. At one point, even though I really like building planes the fact was that I wasn't progressing on being a pilot of these airframes. Needless to say I started getting frustrated and searched for a plane that had one purpose, to train me, regardless of how cool or scale it looked. I had the F Pack so I naturally gravitated to the TT.

I tried to fly the TT after 2 separate builds, one completely stock design and build, as per FT, the next was a slightly modified version for function, just ease of battery changes and ability to withstand impacts. Neither of which I was able to fly for some reason. The Mini Scout was my salvation as a pilot and kept me going in my desperate times of need. I got brave enough to take out my Spitfire and found It to be an easy plane to fly as a 3 channel AET and helped me build confidence in the standard size planes. Flying with @Headbang out at his local airfield helped a lot with piloting even though at this point in time I was able to keep a plane in the air for a full battery, being there helped me step up my game. After a small electronics malfunction I was grounded for the majority of the afternoon, and watching others fly, I was getting itchy to get back up. @Headbang said if I wanted to fly he had a Explorer just sitting in his trailer i could take up, eager as I am to get flight time i jumped at the opportunity.

I didn't know what to expect but one thing for sure I didn't want to crash his plane. He set it up and took it off and trimmed it out then handed me the sticks. The wind was up a bit but it looked like he was keeping it stable so how hard could this be. Well HOLY S%$T, it was the plane and not the pilot, or maybe a combination of the both lol. Flew it in an easy circuit into the wind and back, figure 8's, loops and rolls a little, trying out some low passes, (not s low as most but working on it). Actually it wasn't intimidating at all, easy to orientate due to the paint work, simple to level, and as a pusher there was no fear of breaking the prop. All said and done it was a great flight experience, so impressed. Got back to the trailer and he said he doesn't fly it anymore, it's just laying around, "Here, it's yours now." Really, you are kidding right? Yea he gave me the plane. You don't have to tell me twice.

Now I can't lie, once I got it home, I did look at the plane and think of what else I could do with the components but that really would be seriously disrespectful to trash a perfectly good airframe, that I flew, and was just given to me when I didn't expect it. I gotta do this plane and my new friend justice, so today I brought it into the living room while the little woman was at work to program it into my Tx, get this thing flying on my gear. There was a little bit of head scratching and a few texts back and forth to Headbang about some confusing parts but I finally got it to work, simplified style, that's how I roll. Even though it was a decent wind i headed off to my flying grounds and took it up. Again, HOLY S#%T I flew the hell out of this thing, easy wind handling, climbs, rolls and loops of coarse, and an apprehensive but a more successful inverted stretch, (the wind was flipping it back upright).

I sit here and stick my stubborn foot in my mouth for not going with this plane to begin with. I could be so much further along now as a pilot if I would have just built this great airframe and not passed it up. I am ecstatically humbled by my choice of wasted planes in the beginning. This a great trainer plane, and dare I say better as a trainer then the TT. And I'll explain why. First this design has size to penetrate the weather, and the wingspan to float like a feather. Second there is no dihedral, it forces you to level the plane yourself, trains you to pay attention to its flight line, and if you get into trouble in a rolling dive, just pull back on the elevator and she ends up at a reasonable level flight. Third it's a pusher prop above the airframe, no more replacing props or power pods, and if you do nose in, the whole front section can be easily rebuilt. Fourth it's a 4 channel right off the bat, set your throws and expos to however soft or responsive you want and the plane grows with you. Five it's a high wing low center of mass plane that stays stable in weather not limiting you to calm weather only flights and gives you the experience and confidence in less then favourable weather. One plane, one set of plans, multiple customization possibilities, flaps, FPV platform it, twin boom and A-tail the thing, it begs for it. So many reasons why I should have gone with it and I will be recommending this plane to anyone who wants to get into the hobby. Post what you like or don't like about it here, but I am excited about this plane and I am grateful to have met someone who introduced me to it. Now just have to find a way to pay it forward.
20190825_140703.jpg
That's my 2 cents, (insert mic drop here)
 
Last edited:

Headbang

Well-known member
#2
One thing to note, the plans call for dihedral. I think even on the sport wing. I built it with the sport wing and no dihedral cause that is how I roll.
Paint scheme is designed for max visibility. I hate yellow, but I fly mostly yellow. I have yet to find any other scheme other then black and white strips that are more visible on the bottom of a wing. Even if one does not paint a white dtfb plane, adding black strips with tape or something to the bottom of the wing will make all the difference.
 

BATTLEAXE

Well-known member
#4
I have been playing with ways to compress video to upload to YouTube faster. One 15 min vid I had in the past I let upload overnight, I went to bed at 4% woke up 8 hours later at 11%, just ridiculous. If any of you have any tricks or tips for me would be helpful. MY Spitfire vids was my first attempt at compressing and it really bit into the resolution and the plane looked like a fuzzy pixel that was hard to focus on. This vid is a different compression format where it looks like it drops every other frame or so and makes it look like Claymation film, like the original King Kong movie, (the black and white version, not the Jack Black version, for you millennials lol). Suggestions are appreciated.

Any way I have some video here of some decent flying with the Explorer, really got to say I am impressed with the flight times on this plane with a 2200 3s, around 10 mind. And it handle likes any other plane I have flown. It is the first pusher I have had success with as well. I did build a Mini Arrow a little while back and didn't really like it. It was a bit fast for my experience level at the time and I found it twitchy making it hard to control. This on the other hand is a nice docile flyer that can help you out on whatever level you are at and help you achieve your goals. Enough said lets check it out:
Now if you notice this is the untimely demise of the Explorer, really wish this didn't happen but it was probably due to a bad decision to fly in these conditions compiled with taking the battery right to the end and not having enough volts to recover. But there is an upside to it as well. It did give me the opportunity to build it into a Bronco style twin boom bird that was inspired by the Sea Duck. Check it out:
20190830_115030.jpg
The ting with this model is that I had to extend the fuse by 2.5" to accommodate the fact that I didn't notch out the TE of the wing to wrap around the nacelle. This in turn pulled The CG 2.5" forward so the nose had to be brought forward to get the battery far enough out front. Which created another issue, the ESC barely has enough wire length to reach from the battery to the motor, making the battery change an issue, having to remove the wing just to plug in or unplug the connector. Always something right lol. I should be flying this one soon, maybe tomorrow night. Would like to paint it up first though, haven't decided on colors yet... blue and yellow?
 

PoorManRC

Well-known member
#5
A suggestion for the Video uploads... You could have cut at least 5 minutes of that Video, where all the viewer saw, was Grass, zig zagging wildly. It's not compression, but a shorter Video will be a smaller file size. 😉 lol

I believe you're right about the Explorer. I passed it by for the same reason! It's a fine flyer, and inherently stable....
Personal preference - I'd add at least 4-8 degrees of Dihedral, to any single Engine Aircraft. 😉
NOT to the point of being self correcting, just enough for better low speed handling.

The Bronco is high on my list! Love the looks! 😊 I think I actually like the single Pusher version best!

And YOU Sir, are a FT Aircraft Building MACHINE!
 

BATTLEAXE

Well-known member
#6
A suggestion for the Video uploads... You could have cut at least 5 minutes of that Video, where all the viewer saw, was Grass, zig zagging wildly. It's not compression, but a shorter Video will be a smaller file size. 😉 lol

I believe you're right about the Explorer. I passed it by for the same reason! It's a fine flyer, and inherently stable....
Personal preference - I'd add at least 4-8 degrees of Dihedral, to any single Engine Aircraft. 😉
NOT to the point of being self correcting, just enough for better low speed handling.

The Bronco is high on my list! Love the looks! 😊 I think I actually like the single Pusher version best!

And YOU Sir, are a FT Aircraft Building MACHINE!
Yea i got the 13 year old to be the cameraman on both the Scout and Explorer vids. He is getting better, this young Jedi is getting some quality training lol. I did try to use some editing apps but got frustrated with it and just went with the raw footage anyway. I did just get updated on your Scout build and I hope it flies as good as it looks. Good work man
 

PoorManRC

Well-known member
#7
Yea i got the 13 year old to be the cameraman on both the Scout and Explorer vids. He is getting better, this young Jedi is getting some quality training lol. I did try to use some editing apps but got frustrated with it and just went with the raw footage anyway. I did just get updated on your Scout build and I hope it flies as good as it looks. Good work man
ANY WAY you can get the Kids involved, and OFF of Gaming - is a WIN!! 👍👍 KUDOS!
Hopefully you can find some Editing Software that can work for you. Shortening Videos, without sacrificing quality - would be a lot easier on you! 😉
 

daxian

Well-known member
#8
like your take on the bronco ...working on the same premise myself ...the original explorer was so tail heavy ,i had to rebuild the core ,adding 50mm upfront !! got the cg in a better position with a single 2200 mah lipo .
so looking at the original core, i thought i might build a bronco out of that ...but dont want a twin motor setup ..will go with a single pusher instead ...got all the parts already ,just need the time to put it together now !! great minds hey !
 

BATTLEAXE

Well-known member
#9
like your take on the bronco ...working on the same premise myself ...the original explorer was so tail heavy ,i had to rebuild the core ,adding 50mm upfront !! got the cg in a better position with a single 2200 mah lipo .
so looking at the original core, i thought i might build a bronco out of that ...but dont want a twin motor setup ..will go with a single pusher instead ...got all the parts already ,just need the time to put it together now !! great minds hey !
You would be the third person, myself included, who is interested in the Bronco as a pusher. In the description this was the original design for the Bronco by Bix but they revised it to a twin prop for the release. You should do a build thread on it, mind you it is a pretty simple build, doesn't take long.
 

PoorManRC

Well-known member
#10
The Pusher Bronco has certainly caught my attention!!! I'll try to remember that it will need Nose weight....
But having more RC Ground Batteries than anything can work in my favor. I can go as high as a 5000 MAh 3S! 😲
 

BATTLEAXE

Well-known member
#11
The Pusher Bronco has certainly caught my attention!!! I'll try to remember that it will need Nose weight....
But having more RC Ground Batteries than anything can work in my favor. I can go as high as a 5000 MAh 3S! 😲
The original Explorer I got from Headbang, I think he used a 3000 mah 3s, which placed right to the front of the battery tray balanced perfect. I have 2200 mah 3s which I had to add nose weight, a 3/8 bolt with 4 nuts screwed on glued to the bottom of the battery tray. A 5000 mah 3s would be more then enough and give you like 20 minutes of flight time.
 

Steve Fox

Active member
#12
I've never got on with the Explorer, I wonder if my prop angle is too high, it forces itself into the ground on launch and it's such a handful to get airborne that I have all but abandoned it which is a shame as it's fully loaded with every including airspeed sensor ect :(
 

alan0043

Active member
#13
I've never got on with the Explorer, I wonder if my prop angle is too high, it forces itself into the ground on launch and it's such a handful to get airborne that I have all but abandoned it which is a shame as it's fully loaded with every including airspeed sensor ect :(
Hi Steve,

I printed out the plans for the motor nacelle for the Explorer and there is an etch line on the print. I extended the lines out and measured the angle. I come up with 5 degrees. The bottom of your power pod goes along that line. I hope this helps. Best of luck.

One more think. How is your c.g. ?
 
Last edited:

BATTLEAXE

Well-known member
#14
I've never got on with the Explorer, I wonder if my prop angle is too high, it forces itself into the ground on launch and it's such a handful to get airborne that I have all but abandoned it which is a shame as it's fully loaded with every including airspeed sensor ect :(
If hand launching a pusher, because of the down thrust, will force itself to the ground until it has sufficiant airflow over the wing to create enough lift to compensate. You may need to chuck it harder and at a higher angle to get it airborne. If you built the pod as designed it should be fine. I watched a video on YouTube about this when I searched up Explorer video release, check it out.
 

Steve Fox

Active member
#15
My angle seems to be around the 5 degrees Alan measured.
Like all my planes, the motor mount is made of aluminium but based on the original design but with it cut in one piece and folded into the box section rather than separate parts.

Ti use aluminium on all my planes they are strong (not really a problem on the Explorer as it's not in the path of a crash) but also act as a heatsink for the motor.

I had trouble sourcing plywood in the beginning of my building days and when I discovered it gets destroyed in a crash I made the move to the sheet aluminium I can get all day long and never gets destroyed in a crash, even when the power pod is scrap, I clean up and re use the aluminium firewalls I have made :)

My Explorer is heavy which won't be helping, on a regular puller weight does not affect it in the same way but with a 4000mah 3s it's almost 1.3kg due to it having a flight controller and all the extras on board as well as a pan and tilt camera up top.

im seriously tempted to modify it into a nose puller and have a hatch for battery access or stick dual motors on the wings!
 
Last edited:

BATTLEAXE

Well-known member
#16
My angle seems to be around the 5 degrees Alan measured.
Like all my planes, the motor mount is made of aluminium but based on the original design but with it cut in one piece and folded into the box section rather than separate parts.

Ti use aluminium on all my planes they are strong (not really a problem on the Explorer as it's not in the path of a crash) but also act as a heatsink for the motor.

I had trouble sourcing plywood in the beginning of my building days and when I discovered it gets destroyed in a crash I made the move to the sheet aluminium I can get all day long and never gets destroyed in a crash, even when the power pod is scrap, I clean up and re use the aluminium firewalls I have made :)

My Explorer is heavy which won't be helping, on a regular puller weight does not affect it in the same way but with a 4000mah 3s it's almost 1.3kg due to it having a flight controller and all the extras on board as well as a pan and tilt camera up top.

im seriously tempted to modify it into a nose puller and have a hatch for battery access or stick dual motors on the wings!
Just build an extended Bronco wing and do the twin motor configuration. Or build a Storch wing and adapt the twin boom design to it with a twin motor set up. That way the wing will support the weight of all your extras and still cruise at a manageable speed on the slower side. So many possibilities my friend
 

BATTLEAXE

Well-known member
#17
Wind died right off around dinner time and I had to get the Bronco in the air for her maiden, dropped my fork and got saddled up. Got out to my green space and took off... again had a loss of signal issue right off the bat. Opened her up and found I left the bind plug in, duh. Fixed her up and got out again and she needed some serious trimming and throttle to keep it airborne at first. Got it to level out and dropped the throttle back to half. She flew so nice and docile on the slow side and super responsive when I took it to 3/4 to full speed, even some vertical. Did the usual rolls, loops, inverted and low passes.

I had the little woman out this time to film and I swear I need to hire a film crew for this. I asked her to film most of it and she ended up taking pics, then at the end I was doing a bunch of figure 8 passes posing for photos and that's when she took video... go figure lol. Bless her heart. Anyway this is what I got and I will get some video up soon.
20190902_190011.jpg 20190902_194313.jpg 20190902_194315.jpg 20190902_203651.jpg
 

Attachments

Steve Fox

Active member
#19
So many possibilities my friend
Oh yes, these days I will modify all sorts and try Anything, when I first started out on this hobby I thought it was crucial to stick to the design of the planes I was building 100% but now I realise that not only can you go way off the plans , you can improve them a massive amount as none of the ft designs are perfect and uouooen touches to them make a huge difference :)
 

bracesport

Well-known member
#20
@BATTLEAXE - regarding video - do you upload the raw footage to youtube or edit it and then export it at a better size before uploading it to youtube - if the second option, it should not take too long to post the video. :D

the bronco looks great in the stills! :D