Father/Son Build Team. First Plane (Build Log)


Father/Son Team
Its a little unfair to say its our first plane ever but this is our first plane in a very very long time. My father flew big Glo-engine planes several decades ago, but since then we have only owned one small wallmart-brand plane that lasted about four flights. and that was eight years ago.

Since finding FT we have decided to get back into the hobby. If any of you read my "Hi"-thread post you know we are very cautious in the way we approach things (took us two weeks just to post on the forums) so I have done extensive research on the different scratch-build plans avaiable. We were searching for the right plane to start flying on.

I wanted it to have enough power that I could swap the power-pod directly into a larger plane when I decide to move up, I also wanted a radio that could grow with me a little (but nothing fancy, because if we really take to the hobby we will obviously want a second radio anyway), I wanted it to be easy to fly, and I wanted all of this at an affordable price.

It seemed like alot to expect from a hobby that five years ago was almost to expensive and consuming to approach, but with the recent evolutions in brushless outboard motors and foam construction materials, I think I made it happen.

The airframe we have decided on is the FT Flyer design, but we anticipate graduating to a Bloody Wonder fairly quickly. Pops has placed his favor on the quickbuild kits so we will likely build a Delta and Nutball as well.

As far as electronics, I have spent about 20 hours over the past five days researching parts, what all the stats for all of said parts mean, how they work together, and what size parts scale to what size airframes. The rest of this post will be dedicated to a parts list, im putting this here to that more experienced eyes can look it over and warn me of anything I may be mis-calculating, or to turn me away from shoddy parts. (the HobbyKing brand parts are so inexpensive I feel a little guilty and apprehensive even buying them)

1 Motor: Turnigy L2210-1400 Bell-style Outrunner

1 ESC: HoobyKing SS Series 25-30a ESC

Rx/Tx: HobbyKing 4ch Tx/RX 2.4gHz V2 (I would have prefered the 6ch, but it is on backorder in the US and this will do the trick just fine)

2 Batteries: Turnigy 1300mAh 3s 20c LiPo

CHarger: HobbyKing ECO6-10 200W 10Amp charger (we sprung a little extra here because we dont want to have to upgrade charger as soon as we upgrade planes, also we would like to be able to charge multiple batteries at once)

6 HK 10g Analog servos

And a Volatge/Amperage Meter that we will likely build onto a test-bed for testing Prop/Motor/ESC combos.

Speaking of props, we plan to begin testing with some older plastic props that my father has from his previous days in RC Airplanes. (starting with a 8x4) There is also a small hobby store in the next town over that we can get props inexpensive from. Not as cheap as HK, but they are privately owned and we want to give them our business.

As far as the things we are ordering from HK, I have already double checked that all of it is instock and avaliable from the US warehouse to avoid outrageous shipping charges. This Shopping list comes to a grand total of about $110 USD. Not including Airframes.

Thanks for reading and tell me what you think!

UPDATE! 6/9/13

Alright, with 20 minutes left in the weekend, I deliver on my promise for a build log. We ended up making our purchase from HobbyPartz.com and expect components to come in sometime this week. You might see another string of pics this week when/if we stylize the plane, a bit of paint and a nice FliteTest decal maybe. One more when assembling electronics.

The maiden flight is tentatively scheduled for next Saturday. We planned early so some of my buddies can take off work and be there. Lastly before the pictures, we added a Simulator to our order so I'll dust off FRAPS and see if I cant give you something to laugh at before the maiden flight.

So here are my plotted full-size plans. Doing it this way turned out to be a huge help. And it looks pretty cool.
View attachment 10599

We fabricated our own Firewall and control horns. The control horn for the elevator ended up needing to be extra long so we salvaged a plastic one off a twenty-year-old balsa trainer from a pile of scrap parts from dad's old flying days.
View attachment 10600

The build went pretty smooth, we reinforced everywhere we could. Our engine is a little more powerful than necessary so we figured the few extra grams wouldn't be a problem.
View attachment 10601

And here she is, final product, with some push-rods from the box of salvage we are now just waiting for the post-man. Talk about nail-biting.
View attachment 10602
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Foam Addict

Squirrel member
:applause: Welcome! A father son team is great!
My dad drives me to the field and watches me fly, but doesn't fly himself.
I really would recommend waiting for the six channel, and throw this in there too, you'll need it a lot:http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__41716__Hobby_King_2_4Ghz_6Ch_Tx_USB_Cable_USA_warehouse_.html

The little GT-2 ground RXs work great as well.

The motor you suggested will be really heavy on the FT Flyer, the old Fogey will carry it better.

Good luck, and please feel free to ask questions.


Father/Son Team
Precisely why I enlisted your help. What is the weight im should be looking for in something the size of the Flyer or Bloody wonder? My Second choice was this, but with a roughly 15a max current I figured I could push the Turnigy Bell motor harder and get more performance out of it.

Im lucky I love small electronics so much, balancing voltages, mAh, rpm/v, weight, and wing load along with the myriad of other things like price and compatibility. Its alot to think about.

edit: fixed hyperlink

Foam Addict

Squirrel member
That will work better, but the Bloody wonder requires a great deal of power (150-200 watts) to fly well, where as the FT flyer requires relatively little (50-100 watts)
Your first motor choice will work great for the Wonder, but the FT Flyer would be better served by these components:





They are lighter, and will make the plane fly slower which will make it easier for the beginner. This is a plane you won't grow out of either, take a glance at the Smart Dart XS thread on RCGroups.

EDIT: Don't forget battery connectors!
Get the T-plug from HK's USA warehouse, and JST connectors from the Local Hobby Shop.
Also, get 3.5mm bullet connectors for the motor to ESC connections while you are at the Local Hobby Shop (LHS for future use).
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Father/Son Team
By T-plug do you mean something like this:

also, could you explain further the use of the JST connectors. also, I had assumed that the comprable speed controllers and motors would have the same size bullet connectors, where on the spec sheet would I know the difference, I assume soldering new bullet connectors would be a bit of a pain?

edit: ah, I see form the photo that that HexTronic motor doesnt come with bullet connectors at all. is that common?

edit 2: hehe, you'd figure that after so much looking around i would have realied that esc almost never come with plugs installed on either end. so bullet connector is the way to go when attaching to my motor. would XT60s work fine for the battery or is that overkil?l
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Foam Addict

Squirrel member
For the Most part, motors come without bullets, and escs only come with the rx plug.
JST plugs can only handle about 10 amps for 10 sec. max. Over all they melt at about 11 amps
Yes, you could use XT60s but as I have used them, I have noticed that they are very hard not to cold solder.
Also, the real XT60s are only available from the INT. warehouse, where as the T plugs are available from the USA warehouse.




Father/Son Team
so, to clarify. you think I should put the t-connectors on my esc then get a jst -> t-connector adaptor so I can plug it in to the battery? or maybe put t-connectors on both the esc and the battery then use the adaptor to charge it?

Foam Addict

Squirrel member
I think that equipping everything with only one connector type is the way to go for simplicity. It also reduces the number of times that you go out to fly, only to find that you forgot the adapter.:rolleyes:
Buy all the adapters that you like, but try to standardize.
Also, when you get that charger, buy this as well:
It will help down the road when you need to charge 2 batteries at the same time.


Father/Son Team
Alright, this starting to make more sense. You are saying the jxt-xh connectors are not durable enough to be useful and I should replace them all with t-connectors. does this mean I should also replace some of the leads on my charger with t-connector leads?

edit: as a side note, how long would you anticipate waiting for the t-connectors and 6ch radio to come back into stock. And would t-connectors be something I could find at a LHS

Foam Addict

Squirrel member
I'd wait at least a week, and yes the T connectors can be found under the name of Deans, but they are more expensive. A lot more expensive.

Also, the Turnigy 9x is compatible with those HK Rxs I suggested and your radio you are waiting for. It is a great Radio, and is hard to out grow.

Do replace the leads with T's. As said above, simplicity is best.


Father/Son Team
Well, using a free trial of MotoCalc I have put in the parts you recommended sans the airframe so I dont know how accurate these stats are. Entries with asterisks are ones where it claims the prop stalled. (spoiler because wall-of-text)


Edit: Bleh, thats too hard to read, ill try uploading it a different way

Edit2: Here we go. Red means prop stall.
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Foam Addict

Squirrel member
Yes, that looks great.
I wish I had /could afford Motocalc.
Good luck and good job, I look forward to seeing your progress.


Old age member
Your first choice of motor seems fine to me. Specially for the Bloody. For the FT, it would be easy to expand the size 25% to get it more suitable for a 200W motor - but if you have previous experience - it will not be any problem - just some faster ;-)

Foam Addict

Squirrel member
However, then the pod wouldn't fit unless you redesign the mounting system, and keep the slot for the pod at the same scale, while lengthening it. No offense meant at all, but a beginner has enough problems to worry about without throwing a rescale into the mix.


Father/Son Team
With motors being so inexpensive I think we will just oversize the ESC on the Flyer, that way when we move up we only have to replace the motor and maybe the battery. You think the flyer could stand a slightly larger battery like a 1000mAh? I'm thinking flight times here, if the motocalc simulations are correct that's only a five minute flight with the optimal prop size.

Would a faster motor with a smaller prop make the plane lend it'self more towards faster flight and less low-end torque and lift? ie: the Turnigy 1826 2500kVh with like a five inch prop.

Edit: I ran the simulation for the smaller faster motor with less than spectacular results.


With the optimal prop size (pushing the amp limits of the motor) Im only getting 9oz of thrust and a little over 4 minute flight time.
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Foam Addict

Squirrel member
You won't be running at full throttle all the time because the FT Flyer does not need it to fly, it only needs about half throttle.
Do over size the ESC, you won't burn it out, and you also will have a larger one on hand for later.

The smaller prop is also less efficient, because until you get a plane's velocity up to close to the pitch speed of the prop, it will not be as efficient, and will draw more amperage. There is no way you are getting an FT flyer up to 60 MPH, but the previous 39.4 MPH will work great.

PS If you like formulas, here is one for Pitch speed.
Pitch speed is: ((Motor KV X battery voltage x pitch of the prop in inches)/12 in./5280 ft. x 60 min.)x .8ish=the pitch speed of the prop in miles per hour while static. multiply that by .9 and that roughly yields the top speed of your plane.


Father/Son Team
Awesome, that will go nicely right next to the formula for stall speeds. While doing research (still havent bought anything) I started looking at other suppliers and found very reasonable prices from state-side vendors like Hobbypartz.com but I dont recognize the names of the manufacturers (Gens Ace, Thunder, Optima, Dynam)

Do you know if I can trust these less common manufacturers' quality?

Foam Addict

Squirrel member
I trust their motors, love their ESCs, and call my friend the Army E.O.D. for their Batteries.

The motors are good, but a lot more expensive than equivalent HK motors. The bearings have an edge over everything but the NTM line. The ESCs are the same as Turnigy Plush at half the cost. The batteries... I had one work fine, one went bad (it puffed) in one charge, and one exploded in flight.
Their Flysky radios are compatible with the Turnigy 9x, and the Flysky CT6b is the same radio as the HK 6 channel I suggested.
Also if an item is out of stock, don't wait for it. Your name will be Rip Van Winkle if you do!


Some guy in the desert
I'm still fairly new so I'm hesitant to give any actual advice. But I will share my experiences :)

I tried one of the L2210 HK motors on a pod I used in my baby blender v2 - I had ordered the motor for something else but by the time I got it I had forgotten just what I had ordered it for :) (I think either a rvpowers style f22 or a noob tube from experimental airlines was what I had in mind when I bought it...maybe the "towel" that was in make magazine a year or so ago...)

I really wasn't impressed by the L2210. Now, grains of salt on this are that the only motors I've used so far are the 24g "blue wonder" from HK (have 2 of them and love them for the smaller swappables) the D2826/6 2200kv (for my axon) and the NTM 2826 I'm currently using on my larger swappable pod. The little 24g motors blow me away how much power they deliver in such a small package. The D2826 is a little high on the KV's for swappables but is a very impressive motor for it's size and price IMHO and worked well on my axon. The NTM was similar to the D2826 in build quality and has a kv rating that works very well on my larger swappables.

The L2210 on the other hand...I ran into problems with it right off the bat. First problem was it's mounting footprint is just slightly too large to match the pre cut holes on the laser cut firewalls - not a huge issue but annoying. Second problem was if I tightened the set screws in the mount to hold it enough that it didn't spin...the screws put enough pressure on the motor shaft itself that it didn't turn freely anymore...when I loosened them and reset them with loctite so the motor could turn freely the motor was about to turn in it's mount and twisted the wires around itself. After more fiddling I finally got it "just right" to where it didn't move but didn't bind...but then one of the wires broke in mid-flight from what turned out to be a cold solder joint on the bullet connector (having been pulled and wrapped around the motor didn't help either of course!) I haven't fixed it yet because I was sick of dealing with it at that point. The other issue was that it just didn't feel as good in the air to me.

If you're used to internal combustion motors the best way I can describe it is the L2210 felt more like a 2 stroke while the NTM2826 feels more like a four stroke. The L2210 was happiest at higher RPM's and seemed to have very little torque at lower speeds - which made trying to fly my BBv2 as a beginner difficult since it just didn't work well at slower speeds unlike the NTM. The NTM on the other hand felt like a much wider power band and was very happy slow or fast.

One of these days I'll resolder the bullet on the L2210 and use it in something...but I'm really just not in a big hurry to right now.

I'd really suggest getting one of the 24g motors from HK or the blue wonder from lazer toys for your first swappables instead of the L2210. They're proven and work which is a big plus when you're first starting!

As for HobbyPartz. I've got several of the Dynam ESC's and have been very happy with them. I just got a plush recently and can't really tell any difference between the Plush and the Dynams. I went with the 30A Dynams since I needed the bigger ESC for my Axon - but they work great with the 24g motors as well. I also bought several of the Sky Lipo's from HP last year when I started building my swappables and love them - they were the best deal I could find and have served me very well and are still doing great with no puffing. I picked up 3 2cell 500mah and 3 3cell 500mah - I lost one 2cell (fell out of my pocket at the field) but the other 5 are still doing great after a year of noob abuse. (I've never over discharged them though - I use the cut off in the Dynam ESC set to it's mid setting - I may not get the longest flights but they're plenty long for me right now.)

I also really liked the 8x4.3 slow fly props from HobbyPartz. But like the sky lipo's they've been out of stock for months. Which brings up my big beef with HP. Look back in my previous posts for a detailed post but bottom line is they may not always have what they claim to have in stock and I got the run-around on my last order from them eventually resulting in a refund. Even though everything I ordered was listed in stock and my order supposedly shipped right away - I never got it as it went back to their warehouse as undeliverable the same day it left their warehouse - and when I contacted customer service they said they had lost the original package and were now out of stock on several items that were supposedly in it. I haven't tried to order from them since (mainly since the props and programming card I want have been out of stock) but I've heard a few stories from people who've gotten refunds from them in the past being refused orders when they tried to order again after getting a refund. Add in their shipping going up and I've been happier with value hobby for batteries (though the wires on their geforce bats are a bit short) and grayson for some other things.


Father/Son Team
So, today I commandeered the plotter at City Hall that they use for printing architectural blueprints. I printed out a couple copies of the FT Flyer as well as one set for the Bloody Wonder and the FT Delta.

After searching all over town for stranded packing tape I have the basic construction materials I need. Expect the first post of the build log (with Pictures!) sometime this weekend. I'll try to also keep the OP updated so people don't have to wade through the thread to find the juicy bits.