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FT Explorer to SkyHunter Explorer Conversion

Let me start with this, I had a TON of fun building the FT Explorer. It is an amazing lazy-day flyer with the glider wing, and a super thrilling, stunt machine with the sport wing. I had a crash in some super heavy winds and broke the tail boom. I always loved the look of a SkyHunter, but did't have enough damage on the Explorer to warrant a new machine. Plus, Josh and Josh have inspired me to really want to design my own, so here I went.
Below is the maiden flight of the original version. It was over 20MPH gusts, and thing thing was rock solid.

This video is with the sport wings w/ FPV. My friend calls it "the salad". Because you toss the plane.

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I added 2 lightweight wooden dowels under each wing and hot glued them in place.

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The rudder and elevator was glued on the ends of each tail boom.


The length of the trailing edge to the tail is 14" as of now.

Using the same CG as original.

Both servos are simply glued on the rear.

The prop is clear in the back and can take off from the ground.

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It flies, in my opinion, just as solid as the original design. Tail is much tougher this way and the ground take-offs are easier.

Pan and tilt coming soon.

Maybe flaps?

Dual Rudder?

Landing Gear?

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I have added a few modifications.
I added landing gear from my local hobby shop.
I also added winglets for some Yaw stabilization.
I added weight up front to adjust CG, keeping it in the original location.
Added some stability to the pod by layering the foam board on the belly and also horizontally in the pod to seat the ESC and add stability.
Added a servo so the FPV camera can pan with the Yaw stick control.

This is one of my favorite FPV platforms at the moment. Still can glide off-power, take off and land with the gear, and is super stable in high winds.
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Winglets have been removed, it was too stable and had a hard time banking. Might make smaller ones, and find the sweet spot.
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I totaled the above configuration on a windy day. Didn't notice that I had an elevator issue and when I let go of the elevator-up after a ground take-off, it took a quick dive into the ground. The glider wing was destroyed. However, I wanted to get more ability to roll, so I redesigned the tail section to be more like a SkyHunter with no rudder, just elevator. I added the FT Explorer sport wing to give me ailerons. I also got a 180 degree servo for pan abilities, to add to the FPV fun. I will update after the maiden flight(s).

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It has a perfect CG with 2 x 2200Mah 3s, So I am going to build a bigger pod to house the larger configuration. I don't like the idea of stacking the batteries on top of each other. I want to get them side by side, stacked on their sides. I also made a Y-harness to run the batteries in parallel.
Alright, so I didn't like the all-up weight of the 2 battery configuration. I redesigned the pod to have a larger nose, magnetic hatches for battery and receiver bays, and moved the wings into the body for a perfect 1 battery balance. I had to cut a section of the wing out for the prop. This is using the same CG points that the sport wing was designed with, and it flies awesome! The ailerons are super fun to have and I've got working flapperons too. I moved the elevator servo to the topside of the foam board, I broke the bottom mounted one when it got snagged on some tall grass. This will keep it safe from harm. I am thinking of adding a third wheel to the back of the fuse to straighten out the takeoffs and ladings, as well as install a CC3D board to fly in super high wind conditions and RTH for long-range FPV. More to come, but this is the most stable and strongest this build has been yet! Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 10.46.21 AM.png Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 10.46.46 AM.png Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 10.46.54 AM.png Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 10.47.02 AM.png
The shape of the nose was pushing the nose down at high speeds. The high-mounted motor didn't help either. I am going to be moving the motor centered down in the wing area too. Also upgrading motor size to a 2830 1100kv on the same, or bigger prop.
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It's back! And it's better than ever! I scaled this thing down to roughly the size of the VAS banshee. I have a 1000kv with a 10 inch prop on it. Broke the prop and flying too low, so I may move to a folding prop or a faster motor and smaller prop. I have a 2500kv with a 6x5.5 a may use, or even a 1500kv with a 7x4. hmmm :confused:

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the 1000kv and the 9x6 SF is spectacular. I am running on 2200mah 3s, and getting about 20-30 minutes of aggressive flying.

Next up... FPV gear!


New member
Wow, what a journey, the Explorer really can do anything... I think you've inspired me to take the knife and glue to mine...


New member
I scratch built with the sport wing only, I might pick up some more foam and try the Trainer wing and see how much better it glides. I think most space up front will be for FPV and recording gear, but I definitely want to play with the tail now. Given the design of the boom they'll be easy to swap back.
So I launched this thing the other day, and the prop bit my finger, then I fumbled the goggles, and put the "banshee" down hard. I broke the fuse, but I still have my finger. After wiping the blood off my Taranis, I built this fuse from parts of a totaled Radian.
Pan servo out front, battery pod in the middle. This is the rear section of a Radian fuselage.

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