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"FLAPS" on the 150 Commuter ??

#1
I've read a lot of the forum news here and find them interesting. I haven't found a lot about the 150 Commuter. You can probably tell I'm a "Newbeee" here on Flitetest. None the less I'm enjoying the time I spend building my first plane and I especially like pushing the envelope - where it can be pushed. That being said I'd like to hear the "pros" & cons of adding flaps to my 150. Yes, I know weight is probably going to be a problem - which quickly translates into being underpowered - which begs the question "why" would you do this? It's just a beginner plane that I'll probably crash. True enough BUT I'd like to know if anyone has ever done it and/or would it just turn out to be "an accident looking for a place to happen". I don't think so. I think it could turn out to be 1 hell of a STOL plane if done correctly. I just don't know what that path would be having never done it -yet. 1 servo or 2? A "Y" harness & linkage? A larger motor? A larger prop? A waste of time and my limited $$$. All thoughts are welcome and I thank you in advance. PS I've always had trouble living "in the box"
 

Merv

Well-known member
#2
I can’t say anything about the Commuter, but I have put flaps on many planes. For me, the easiest method is take full length ailerons and program them into flaparons. No extra weight.
 
#4
This.

I used to do separate flaps and ailerons, but flaperons just make more sense.
Thanks for this information. Unfortunately I'm new and struggling to understand functions like flaperons and how they get linked together and then used separately. Is there someplace I can go (be kind) and learn about flaperons and their installation? Thanks for the help.
 

Matagami Designs

Well-known member
#5
Flapperons is just using your aileron surfaces as flaps and ailerons, generally through mixing electronically. I'm not sure if the commuter has full length controls surfaces but this is generally what you would find with flaperons. If your radio has mixing it may easily be able to set them up through a switch. But some Rx dont have this feature. Also they would need to be 2 seperate channels no y cable.
 

quorneng

Well-known member
#6
If it is the FliteTest 150 Commuter it does not have full span ailerons. Using outer ailerons as flaperons is not such a good idea. It is likely to make the plane a bit of a handful at slow speed near the stall which is the whole point of using flaps in the first place.
Much better to create dedicated flaps using all the space inboard of the ailerons, just as the full size 150 commuter does ;), as it will mean you will be able to fly much closer to the full flap stall speed and still maintain adequate roll control.
There are good aerodynamic reason for this as when deploying inboard flaps it increases the effect washout of the wing which reduced the tendency for the wing tip to stall first which usually results in a spin and crash if you are close to the ground.

Look at any airliner coming into land. They have to use flaps to get their landing speed down to safe limits but do the flaps go right out to the wing tips?
 

Merv

Well-known member
#7
I'm new and struggling to understand functions like flaperons and how they get linked together.
As @Matagami Designs said. For flaparons use 2 channels for ailerons, no Y harness. Program the mix through the Tx. At this point nearly all Tx’s should support flaparons as a preprogrammed mix.

I agree with @quorneng, DON’T use flaparons unless have full length ailerons. Flaparons on a plane with ailerons only on the outer portion of the wing are prone to tip stall.

If your Tx will not support flaparons, you can used a stand-alone a V-tail mixer.

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#8
Flaperons is just using your aileron surfaces as flaps and ailerons, generally through mixing electronically. I'm not sure if the commuter has full length controls surfaces but this is generally what you would find with flaperons. If your radio has mixing it may easily be able to set them up through a switch. But some Rx dont have this feature. Also they would need to be 2 seperate channels no y cable.
OK great, appreciate your help. Don't have a radio yet but will get 1 that can accommodate flaperon functionality probably a Spectrum 6 channel.
 

moret

Active member
#9
I would not worry about adding flaps, I would worry about using 6 servos. The FT 35 amp ESC will not run 6 9g servos with my receiver. The BEC in it is only 3 amp.
I would hook up your setup on the workbench and test that you can move all controls while working the flaps. Before I cut into the plane. Flaps do make it look more scale. Good luck
 

Arcfyre

Well-known member
#11
Thanks for this information. Unfortunately I'm new and struggling to understand functions like flaperons and how they get linked together and then used separately. Is there someplace I can go (be kind) and learn about flaperons and their installation? Thanks for the help.
Somewhere you can go? You're there, man! The flite test forum!

As for the "how" of flaperons, you need a few things to make it work:

- Full length ailerons on the wing you want to use.
- A 6 channel receiver
- A 6 channel programmable transmitter

As for physical setup, it is very simple. Instead of using a Y harness for your aileron servos, and plugging them both into the AIL channel on your RX, one aileron servo (usually the right one) goes into the aileron channel, and the other one goes into the AUX1 channel.

Then comes the programming. In your transmitter, set the wing type or airplane type to "flaperon". Once that is done, you should be able to go to the flaps menu in your radio and assign a switch to activate the flap function of your control surfaces. If you set it to a three position switch, you can program them to 0, 20%, and 40% or something similar.
 
#12
I would not worry about adding flaps, I would worry about using 6 servos. The FT 35 amp ESC will not run 6 9g servos with my receiver. The BEC in it is only 3 amp.
I would hook up your setup on the workbench and test that you can move all controls while working the flaps. Before I cut into the plane. Flaps do make it look more scale. Good luck
Good advice. Thanks. I'll pass on flaps with this build. I can wait.
 

BATTLEAXE

Well-known member
#13
I know you are new to FT and the forums but a good question would be if you are new to RC flight? The Commuter is already a slow plane and will slow down sufficiently on it's own for landing or even take off in a few feet without flaps. If you are using them for just functionality because you are new to RC flight then I would have to say flying with flaps is more challenging then without and may be counterproductive. If you are a more experienced RC pilot and want a more scale look and feel to the plane then by all means add the flaps as a separate control surface just like the real thing. Flying with flaps will make the plane pitch sensitive and harder to control on the pitch axis, having to feather the throttle and elevator to get the leveling right. As a new pilot without flaps takes out all those variables and makes for an easier experience which is more rewarding. It's a gamble, do you want a plane that looks cool once or one that will fly for several flights. Have fun and good luck
 

AkimboGlueGuns

Biplane Guy
Mentor
#14
Having flown the Commuter and several other small FT planes I can tell you that flaps are pretty unnecessary. If you want them for added realism then you're more than welcome to add them, however you might find that there are more detriments than bonuses. With flaps deployed on any aircraft you are effectively increasing the angle of attack without changing the deck angle of the aircraft. This is a benefit as it allows the aircraft to retain control at lower airspeeds, gives the pilot a better view of the runway, and increases total drag which allows for a more stable descent. However on planes like the Commuter it's so light and small that adding the mechanism for flaps would only add weight, which narrows your total flying AOA range. Deploying the flaps would only narrow your range further and most likely make for a difficult approach. The 150 comes in slow enough that flaps are really not needed, and you'll get a better flare on landing without the flaps on a plane this light. If you're going to add one control to the aircraft you should make it the rudder. Without it you will not be able to fly coordinated. Not a huge issue on this design since it's small and light, but adverse yaw (drag which pulls the nose to the outside of the turn) will persist unless rudder correction is applied. Even with the dihedral angle that this design incorporates adverse yaw is unavoidable. Hope this helps! If you're just getting started the 150 is a great option of scale(ish) is one of your needs.


tl;dr: Add a rudder instead of flaps, there are too many downsides to flaps on a plane of this size and weight, but a rudder would be a great addition to better flight dynamics.
 
#15
I know you are new to FT and the forums but a good question would be if you are new to RC flight? The Commuter is already a slow plane and will slow down sufficiently on it's own for landing or even take off in a few feet without flaps. If you are using them for just functionality because you are new to RC flight then I would have to say flying with flaps is more challenging then without and may be counterproductive. If you are a more experienced RC pilot and want a more scale look and feel to the plane then by all means add the flaps as a separate control surface just like the real thing. Flying with flaps will make the plane pitch sensitive and harder to control on the pitch axis, having to feather the throttle and elevator to get the leveling right. As a new pilot without flaps takes out all those variables and makes for an easier experience which is more rewarding. It's a gamble, do you want a plane that looks cool once or one that will fly for several flights. Have fun and good luck[/QUOTE

Thanks for your reply. I value you bbn onsite. You are right. I am both a newbie to both RC & Flitetest although I have spent hours on the flight simulator. All of the input I've received says I should not add flaps at this point but wait til I have more experience and as more suitable plane. Appreciate all responses to help out probably the oldest newbie ever. Thanks
 
#16
So, I just added flaps to the FT cub because...why have a cub if it ain't as STOL as possible...lol. First takeoff at maybe less than half throttle was more like a rocket launch than a place. Amazing how a few mm down can really make a huge difference.
I set them up to a 3 button switch to 25/50 dorm. The flaps are 12.3 cm wide and I didn't carry the ailerons all the way to the wing tips like in the speed build kit. Just felt it was way too much control surface as I had to crank the duel rate/expo way down for them. So, solutions are 24.6cm each.
Very happy with this experiment. Take off with 25 flaps and land with 50. Landing roll is maybe 10 feet.
But yea... Flying with flaps IRL is called flying dirty of fat. You need more Fullerton and rudder because you're slow and sloppy with less air moving over control surfaces. Whether it's a real cub or a 1.2lbs t.v....the same dynamic principles apply. The great thing about FT planes it that you can experiment and if it fails, you're out a couple bucks and a couple hours. If you crash, no one dies! 😉😆
 
#17
Some good points on the commuter. Haven't flown it but it is a pretty small and slow plane. Flaps are like anything else in this awesome hobby. If that's what you like then go for it. If not, that's great too. The really cool part about Flite Test and foam board planes is you can experiment cheaply. If you build a new wing and end up not liking the flaps than you're out some time an a buck or two. Not like your destroying a $300 production plane from e flite or something...right?
Personally, I'm digging the flap I did on a new wing for the cub. I love landing and shooting approaches..as it were...like when I flew Cessneas (IRL) back in my younger days. Just kissing the wheels on the ground...every now and then.... love it!
Just remember that whether it's an rc plane or 200 ton Boeing the sake aerodynamic principles apply. Lift is still life, drag is still drag and gravity...well...yea. just with RCs your power to weight ratios is a bit of an advantage lol. Flap will make any plane fat and sloppy on the controls but, that's also part of the challenge. And, it doesn't mean you can't stall. It just lowers your stall speed.
If you do go with flaps, I recommend setting up a 3 pos switch and 4-5 sec delay when deploying. Pretty easy to set up in a spektrum radio.,maybe add maybe 5% down elevator as well. You will nose up when deploying flaps and that alone can stall you if it catches you off guard. But hey...have fun, crash and repair, repeat! :)
 
#18
Thanks for this information. Unfortunately I'm new and struggling to understand functions like flaperons and how they get linked together and then used separately. Is there someplace I can go (be kind) and learn about flaperons and their installation? Thanks for the help.
I've just built an FT Commuter. For the hell of it, I've programmed flaperons. In a tx like the Futaba T6K the way you can do it is with the Air Brake function. Just set the ailerons to down... I haven't flown it so won't switch it on until I'm way up high...but judging by the posts, I doubt it is much of a good idea anyway for this plane so it will just be to experiment.
 
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