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Flite test plans decryption!

Hi guys. I want to be brief as it's 3.30 am over here in the UK. And I'm having that kind of early morning thought. Planning.

I have two questions (so far!) About the plans that Flite Test offer.

My first: What is the sheet and tile key for?

The second: is the CG measurement (in the case of the one I'm looking at, 62mm) measured from the wing tip?

I realise these may be basic questions. And I thank you all in advance!


Posting Elsewhere
CG is usually measured at the wing root (where the wing meets the fuselage) and most guys just balance it on their fingers. In the old days of balsa guys used to put pins or nails in the wingtip and balance the model on a stand like that so it is possible to balance at the wingtip. The point is to balance the airplane front to back and that balance point bisects the airplane so in theory you could measure it anywhere.

Now there is also balancing the airplane’s cg side to side, but if all your components are mounted on the aircraft centerline there is very little need for that.

The tile key is for if you print the plans out on a home printer using 8.5x11 paper. The key helps you get them in the right order to create a much larger single plan that you can tape together in a single sheet.
Thanks for the reply. Yeah I was just wondering if it was measured from the wing leading edge. Makes sense!

And thank You! I will be getting mine done at a proper printer place I think. Do you guys just spray adhesive the plans to the foam board? Scratch build kits cost more to ship over here than they do to buy. Which is unfortunate. But it's what I'm dealing with.


Posting Elsewhere
yeah, you move in from the wing's leading edge. here's a vid on how to balance the airplane:


Honestly I just use the cheap Dollar Tree Adams board. Any foam board should work, the brown stuff flite test uses is water resistant so it's a little more durable, but honestly, any combination of paper backed flat foam should work in theory. Just be cognizant of the weight of the model, a lot of overseas people have reported their foamboard weight is different and it throws the model's CG off a little. Don't be afraid to add weight to any model to balance it, the old balsa guys almost always had to do that when building an airplane - all part of the setup.
Even foam board without paper is hard to find around here. Online easy enough. But at the prices I may as well lump the extra few quid and get the ft stuff


Posting Elsewhere
there is at least one article in the main section about using coroplast if you can't find foamboard. I used to work with coroplast when I painted signs years ago (a lot of small American signs are made of the stuff) and it is way more weather durable but comes with a weight penalty. Election day just happened here for the states, so if I was up for a little dumpster diving I could probably score tons of discarded coroplast campaign lawn signs for free.

the point of these airplanes is to have as little money/time/energy invested in the air-frame as possible so that when you inevitably try to plow the field with one you aren't crushed and discouraged under the weight of loosing a lot of money and time.


Skill Collector
Getting the genuine stuff is a good idea for a first build especially - the extra weight of the stuff most people end up finding locally in the UK and Aus can throw off some of the FT designs and need some tweaking to fly right.
If you dont mind the expense then the FT board are the way to go, ive tried other foamboard its too heavy for some of the models and is more exensive. You might want to order some spare sheets incase of mistakes or damage in the post.

For me im using foam from HK, super cheap 20 sheets for 10 GBP. it doesnt have any covering so you need to do your own, and its not quite long enough for some builds, so you need to extend it in a non critical area of the part thats being extended.

Ive build a mini arrow out of it so far with coloured packing tape, and now donig a t20 trojacn.

Covering the foamboard does icnrease the build timea nd makes for a less than desirable finish


Skill Collector
Have you tried covering the HK foam board with a low temp iron on covering yet? I've seen some great looking planes finished that way.
Yeah that was the plan. Use the proper stuff until I'm more comfortable building. Does the level of difficulty increase from using the plans vs the speed kit? Apart from ease?


Posting Elsewhere
Nope not tried that as i dont have a covering iron. not sure if its possible with a regular iron.
You can't use a regular iron because of the stream. Most of the settings that get hot enough to work the conventional plastic have steam coming out. Also there is a chance you can melt covering to your iron (i've done it to my covering iron) and you don't want the SWMBO (She who must be Obeyed) yelling at you because she can't get her skirt wrinkle free. Some of the low temp stuff tacks up at just over 120 degrees F (Econokote, Ultrakote, HK low temp covering) so a clothing iron might work for it, just remember keep it moving.

An old timer once showed me how to do it with an electric stove, a glove, a sock and an old fashioned antique cast iron flat iron. You heat the flat iron on low on the stove, then quickly slip the sock over it and iron the covering. The glove is there to keep you from burning your hand. I will point out that antique flat irons are now like $30 and you can get a top flite covering iron for $19.95.

That same old timer once showed me how to cover a balsa airplane in monokote with just a heat gun. He had skills. Too bad he's dead now.