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FT Simple Storch, my first plane back into the hobby

#1
This is my first official post here other than my intro post, I hope to be a member that can learn a lot from the forum and over time also add where I can.
After deciding to reenter the hobby and having a natural inclination to build things, I chose to build The Simple Storch. Shame on me that I didn't document the build process but I was just too excited to get it built. This same excitement would give me problems, mainly with the landing gear, more on that later. I also used the Power pack C which so far seems to be perfect, provides a very large envelope for flight and all the servos to add flaps. I know that for a first new plane this isn't the best idea, but I wanted them. image1.jpeg image2.jpeg
Building up to and during my first flight I made huge mistakes, I built the plane over two afternoons, at the end of the second afternoon, and losing daylight I drove 20 minutes north to the local flying field. It was too windy, but I thought "its a big plane, it can handle it" I wish I would have known the windspeed but the weather station at the field was not working. Having a proper place to take off from I took off via landing gear. "IT FLIES!" I thought, whilst the plane was banking to the left, having not flown a 4 channel plane in almost 10 years
I panicked and 'forgot' how to trim the plane, in an awkward fashion I bashed the plane into the runway and ripped the landing gear clean off. this was probably due to me not being able to bend the wires very well and starting to rush. I also think the design while more accurate to the actual Storch is slightly over designed. (Sorry Bixler, still love the plane!) I attempted to fly one more time but the wind wasnt going to let that happen and I dove the plane into the ground. This ripped the front barbecue skewer for the wings off and it was done for the day.
A week later after work decided to get out of the way I had a chance to fly again, this time I was going to take my time and do things right. I spent the morning repairing the plane from the past crashes, reinforcing areas I saw as weak points, and setting up my plane properly. There is a huge hay field behind my house and the only reason didnt use it before was the landing gear. When I fixed the plane I decided not to reinstall the landing gear, just hand launch and belly land. After checking the plane one more time, I launched it, very little wind. Man does this plane fly great, 1/3 throttle and it just wants to cruise! I brought it up, trimmed it out, flew a few circles and then landed and took off a few times. After about 5 minutes I took a turn and I see the battery come out. The plane just leveled out, and established a glide slope, right into a tree. Retrieved the plane, it was beat up more but still fine, but I had to address the battery issue, I went into my flight box kit and had a spare barbecue skewer. I used this as a wedge for the battery to hold it agains the velcro. The velcro keeps it from sliding fore and after while the skewer keep it tight up against the power pod. image1.jpeg I got 'one more flight syndrome' after circling around for another 7 Minutes and then dove the nose right into the ground. Not sure what caused the crash other than lack of experience. This ripped off the front power pod support, separated the power pod firewall, crunched the power pod, and damaged the dihedral to the wings. image2.jpeg image4.jpeg image1.jpeg image3.jpeg

As i progress through this I hobby I am really starting to enjoying the problem solving of fixing after a crash. While it is unfortunate the problem solving aspect gets me excited. I will probably continue to document on this thread if it seems fit, I also welcome all pointers and tips for building, flying, etc. Thanks once more for all the great threads on this forum and I look forward to learning together.
 

Bricks

Active member
#2
Welcome back it was over it was over 50 years before I started back up with RC airplanes, talk about a lot of changes and learning to do, programable radios 2.4 versus 72mhz and electric . My last transmitter had one button push once for right and twice for left.
 
#3
Welcome back it was over it was over 50 years before I started back up with RC airplanes, talk about a lot of changes and learning to do, programable radios 2.4 versus 72mhz and electric . My last transmitter had one button push once for right and twice for left.
Woah! I’ve only vaguely heard about the whole click button radios. That’s awesome mate!
 
#4
Just out of curiousity, have people done different landing gears on their Storch? Be it scratch build or adapted something else?
 
#5
Another question, hopefully not answered by crickets. So i folded the wings earlier today. And I think this was due to me reverse folding the wings if you will, see above post. I took the wings apart, cleaned off the excess hot glue as best I could, and then re-glued with proper dihedral. Well I dove fairly fast, and then pulled up and the wings folded, SOMEHOW I landed it with minimal damage. I got the storch back up in the air today and upon a rough landing the glue joint on top broke again, read no dihedral anymore. Is there a proper technique to rejoining wings that I am missing? I am also thinking ore yardstick or carbon spar to reinforce.
 

JimCR120

Got Lobstah?
Site Moderator
#6
All my scratchbuilt planes have folded their wings when there wasn't reinforcement. I haven't built a Storch but generally I've found that whatever the plane we always push them to fly fast and pull G's so reinforcement is always needed. You can reinforce many ways including what you suggested as well as a couple strips of foam board. Some run theirs flat with a strip or 2 but I prefer having mine on edge like an I-beam. Make sure you glue the length of it all along the inside of the wing.

Before you go fly try supporting the plane under the wings by your hands and with gentle bouncing you might see how much give there is and where it might seem to be giving way to stress.
 
#8
I have experienced very similar failure points as you describe on my own storches, but I still love them. I added a few pictures to illustrate what I'm about to discuss, so here goes. Feel free to ask any questions if anything is unclear.

My scratch built Storch (white) had similar issues with the front cowling failing. I reinforced the hangers for the power pods by making two small incisions and sliding popsicle sticks through the cuts. The popsicle sticks hold the top of the cowling on and help take the weight of the firewall. Once glued in place, simply trim them flush. The pod slides underneath easily and the skewers are much more able to hold the weight of the motor.

The landing gear for my second Storch (brown) is a piece of aluminum bent into a modified U shape. The bottom (or top of the U I guess?) has has a small hole drilled in it, and a bolt serves as an axle and wheel attachment. This arrangement has worked very well and isn't as annoying to make as the Storch landing gear. Instead of 4 pieces of wire it's one piece. Also the aluminum base speads the impact loads of landing over more of the bottom of the fuselage so it doesn't wrinkle and bend as fast.

As for the power pod, I have damaged my fair share as you can see. Of vital importance is the quality of the tape used to reinforce the wood to foam glue joint. Don't skimp here and use plenty of tape. Once the inevitable happens and the foam gets bendy and sloppy, I have had great success reinforcing it from the inside with a paint stick on the bottom and a pair of popsicle sticks along the top edge. Cut the rounded parts square first and butt them up against the firewall. It gives a surprisingly ridgid pod, especially if you use some clamps to hold it while the glue is drying.

I too have had a wing fold. Since then I no longer use a two-part spar on the inside of the wing. I still use a paint stirrer, but I don't cut it, I leave it whole. You can still bend a little dihedral into it if you want to, but I've found it isn't really necessary.

Finally, the rubber band attachment at the leading edge of the wing has failed for me as well. You can either tie the rubber bands to the top of the landing gear assembly, which works as a "field fix", or you can do what I did and turn the fuselage upside down and pour some solid globs of glue down on that corner. On my birds that whole top area, including the paint stick reinforcement piece, is all soldily glued into place. I also replaced the BBQ skewers with 1/8" welding rods from tractor supply. They are just a touch heavier, but they don't break.

Dont give up on the Storch! I wouldn't be the pilot or builder I am today without the lessons I learned from my Storches.
 

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Chuppster

Active member
#9
I've flown the Explorer, which has a very similar wing, and I've folded its wing 3 times. I have trouble believing that FliteTest releases products in the state they are in, because of how easy it is to fold the wings. I can't recommend enough using a large pop sickle stick, paint stirrer, or carbon fiber rod to give the wing a spar. And with a 4 channel, I think it flies better without dihedral.
 
#10
Rather than typing up a whole bunch (which I probably still will anyways lol), I'd like direct you to my youtube RC channel in my signature. In the early days of my Storch build I documented A LOT on progress with it through videos. It was my first ever FT build and to this day I'm still modding it, fixing it, messing it up, and everything in between.

Couple things on it though.

I always feared the battery might come loose as mine attached below the pod and there's a gap underneath the battery and the bottom of the fuse. So, as a quick solution I cut up a piece or 2 of foamboard and wedged it in that gap. And actually my battery wire was in that gap as well so the foamboard plus the battery wire helped create some pressure against the battery to hold it in place. Never had it come out during flights.

Landing gear has always been a pain for me. I used the actual bent wire landing gear approach like in the build video. The weak point for me is on landings (and some were hard ones), the wires would pop out of the glue joints on top of the fuse. The bottom glue joints usually held up fine. I have since removed the wired landing gear and added more standard gear (think it was the replacement landing gear for a Sensei). Had to drill some new holes in the landing gear and added some wood supports to mount it on. It is still getting some work done, so I haven't tested it yet. I put a pic below.

Never had the wing fold and I'm using the 2 piece wood spar. I don't do any high G maneuvers or anything though.

Powerpod has been beat to death but still going. I am going to go ahead and make a new pod for it anyways. And speaking of which, I had picked up a 4S capable motor now so going to try and start using some 4 cell power in it. Also got plans to try out flaperons.
 

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#12
I wanted to quote everyones responses and respond individually but they are in great length (THANK YOU!) and overlap some. Therefore im going to try to bulk everything together as best as possible. I do greatly appreciate all the input!
Finally having a day off, I made the drive down to the hobby shop and picked up some parts, namely, a piece of 1/16"x1" bass wood and a .220"x40" carbon fiber rod. Total was under $12 for those two. I opted not to mess with a landing gear yet, I don't see it fit on this plane and where I am currently flying, its easier jus to belly land. When I choose to go that route it will be on a new airframe.

I tore the storch apart, cleaned off the old tape as best I could and got to work. I repaired the fuse, where possible, on the front, but it is pretty beat up. Then reinforced the power pod in a sort of box fashion with said bass wood. This seemed to increase the strength greatly, I will do something along these lines to all my powerpods to come.
Finally I got to the wings. The hardest part was cleaning off old glue from the main joint. Conveniently where the box spar meets the airfoil fold is a perfect gap very close in diameter to the rod. From the middle the rod reached about 2/3 of the way down either wing, this seemed appropriate so I did not trim it. The wing is immensely more stiff and per the suggestion of @Arcfyre @Chuppster I didn't bend any dihedydral into it, even if I could have, that rod is beefy. By the time I was done it was too dark to fly, going to try to fly before work tomorrow and will check back in then!

Moving forward I am going to keep this Storch flying as best as possible until the time comes where fixing just isnt practical. I will then scrap this one for parts and it will become a wall hanger. I do however really enjoy the plane, how it looks, flies and builds. So I will build another one that hopefully I do not destroy. Do it a nice livery and what not. You guys are awesome for all the help! I cant tell you how much I appreciate the warm welcome I have gotten into the community.
 

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Chuppster

Active member
#13
Looks good, I'm hopeful it'll fly well for yah!

I used to reinforce my power pods with wood (1/16 thick), but I put the pieces vertically on the inside of the power pod. This kept the pod from crumpling up towards the open side, and kept my thrust angle straight. I stopped doing this after I realized that the stronger power pod meant that my motor shafts took more of the hit than the power pod. You can make 10 power pods out of $1 of foamboard. You can't buy 10 BLDC motors for $1.

The way you have it reinforced shouldn't prevent crumpling on a crash, just beware of my experience and perhaps consider rebuilding the power pod with some DTFB.
 
#14
Glad to see you got your Storch operational again, hreehoorn! It really is a great design to get back into the hobby with. Don't feel too bad when you wreck it. Even if you don't crash it, the foam doesn't last forever.

The best part about the Storch is that it allows you to grow. With landing gear it makes a great take off and landing trainer. With the optional flaps you can really practice slow flight and proper approaches.

All the best and good luck!
 
#15
Sorry for the delayed response, like I’ve said before, work gets nuts and soaks up most of my time. I did fly again a few days after the rebuild, uneventful and too windy but flew anyways, at least I didn’t crash! Next day off I will most likely build a new power pod, mine is about spent. It is causing issues that can be fixed in half the time by just making a new pod.

Side note, anyone going to Flite Fest Texas?