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

fiberglass bodies

Im thinking about building my first airplane. I have a pretty beat up firebird stratos and i was thinking about using some of the parts to make a wing. First question is my stepdad works for NASA a shop, and hes actually made fiberglass stuff for people before, i was wondering if fiberglass is decent for a plane frame, likely a wing. The other thing i was wondering about is thrust vectoring with a wing. I was thinking it would be possible to thrust vector it so that you didnt need elevons, you could use the vectoring for vertical motion and just have elevators. Or the other solution, which might be a little bit crazy is to have two vectored motors on each side of the wing and just have a solid wing with no moving parts. My only concern is that with thrust vectoring you need servos that are more powerful than average because more force is involved when moving a motor instead of an elevator/rudder/etc.

I was going to make a mini wing, probably around 1-1.5 foot wingspan. Any idea if any of these ideas would work for that?


Dedicated foam bender
That sounds very small to do in fiberglass. Glass, in large areas can get heavy very quickly. Usually it's used as a skin over other wing structure, like foam, and is on much larger airframes. Something that small can be built out of just foam and will keep wing loading low, which will help with flight characteristics.

Thrust vectoring for control has been used many times both for altitude control and for directional control, even yaw control.
If you use 2 motors and differential thrust, you can control both yaw and climb/decent with the proper thrust line setup.
Climb on full throttle, descend on low throttle, and turns are done with differential thrust.
would regular servos be too weak to control thrust? Actually i talked to my stepdad tonight and he was saying some of the guys in his shop make planes with carbon fiber over foam or balsa, so im not sure what im gonna do yet.


Dedicated foam bender
Normal servos might not work on thrust vectoring if the balance is off or funky. Better to use higher torque metal gear servos. They will also survive a crash better.

Carbon or glass is common over other structures such as foam or balsa to add strength, it's just usually in larger aircraft or for very high speed planes, like turbine powered jets. Feel free to experiment, just keep in mind the basic principals of good flying aircraft, such as lightweight, proper CG, etc.
do you know of any sort of guides that outline the main points of designing a delta wing? Im mostly concerned with the shape and things such as center of gravity.
Well by the looks of it the firebird stratos reciever cannot be bound to any other transmitter, which is kind of a setback but i can work around it. The firebird stratos is a 3 channel craft with servers integrated into the reciever, So if i hooked up a servo to each elevon i could effectively use the craft by rotating the controller 45 degrees clockwise and using the same control axis as a regular craft. Basically it would be a large inconvenience and i think there is a better way: to do vertical motion with one servo via thrust vectoring the motor in a pusher configuration, and have the other servo do the elevons which are now just ailerons using a carbon fiber rod anchored to rotate on a point. Clunky but it works in theory.
I guess the whole idea is that i have an old firebird stratos that is barely flyable because it was my first plane. Even if i repaired it i doubt i would fly it because the characteristics of the craft are not entertaining for me anymore. So i figured id take it apart and use the parts. I might consider getting a new motor if the motors are too heavy for a micro craft, either that or increase the size of the craft, foam is cheap.
thats a conceptual sketch of how the craft is going to work. Im not the best artist but hopefully its ledgible. Main concerns are balancing since the reciever/servos are off center and how sturdy the 1 servo aileron system will be.


Intermediate Hobbyist
I would suggest Balsa Wood, not fiberglass. I kinda does depend on fast you want it to go. I have yet to make my own plane, but your design looks nice.
i have two sheets of dollar tree foam and a sheet of crafting foam. Its going to be a mini so fast but not so fast that i cant fly around my neighborhood with relative ease. I think this first time i will try the foam and when i get proficient at it i will see about getting my stepdad or someone at his work to commit to making something high quality. A few years ago he helped my little sister design wingtip foils out of fiberglass for her highschool science project. One of the guys he works with owns a small top wing prop that they used to test the foils and supposedly it helped with the planes characteristics, so i think he could help me out if i asked him.

I reposted this in the scratch build area now that fiberglass is out of the question.
Last edited: