hi, 1st build, 2nd plane - FT3d :D (w/pics)


Junior Member
Hi :)
This is a plenty long post, so I don't want to go into my (relatively short) rc history here, suffice it to say I had a few months experience (including many sim hours) with cp helis before I had any interest in planes. I only had the Heli-X sim, discovered 3d plane acrobatics, bought clearview just to mess around with planes. (love banging the sticks around on the big Edges, though I don't get as much landing practice as I'd like :p) I discovered flitetest while looking for instructional flying videos for planes. I'm slowly making my way through all the videos (watching as I write this). Now I'm getting into fpv quads, but that's another subject. Anyway, my first plane was the eflite umx sbach 342. :eek:

Like many people I read about, I (attempted) the maiden in too much wind, not enough light, and in a not so ideal environment (not unsafe, just too many obstacles). It took a 4-5 tries to get off the ground and when it finally did, I was too excited and inexperienced to think about throttling down. I turned to come back around and with the wind, low light, adrenaline and inexperience I crashed and broke a wing. CA'd it back on. I have had several crashes since and one good calm afternoon of flying it which was lots of fun (even managed a nice inverted circle). I can't land it in grass though without a nose-over. I think I will just take the gear off and belly land from now on.

Flitetest introduced me to the wonders of hot glue. Both wings are held on with hot glue. The nose had a lot of hot glue in it too but I had to replace the fuselage after this:

In the new fuselage, I braced the nose with a couple pieces of bbq skewers leftover from my not-then-flown FT3D. This bracing has held up well, but my last crash (again in too much wind :( ) broke my second and last prop adapter so it's grounded until I get more (ordered 4). Anyway, enough about that...

Here is my FT3D w/Power Pack C:

I took me a week to build due to it being my first and just being busy. I bought way too many hot glue sticks. I went to dollar tree and bought poster board to make spare templates and foam board for spare parts.

I think my kit came with too thick landing gear wire. it was really really hard to bend and I never did get it quite right. Got the idea to protect the fuselage a bit from somewhere on this forum. I made a front cover that I'll talk about later.

pennies for ballast and extra length on the tail skid to keep the rudder higher off the ground.

cut up an old gift card to reinforce the power pod mounting holes (thanks to this forum again.)

I wanted to put the battery in the power pod but couldn't find a way to do that where I could still reach to connect it to the esc. I saw someone on this forum put the battery here so I decided to try that. glued a piece of foam board between the landing gear skewers and stuck velcro on that.

I was a little worried about the battery coming out and hitting the prop. Using the canopy as inspiration, I made this little door.

I copied the naca duct from the one on top. I think I may add another hole or two at the front to help cool the battery a bit more.

I nearly maidened it that one calm day when I actually flew the sbach well, but I chickened out because there was still a bit of snow left over and my back yard is just barely big enough to handle the sbach so I deceided not to try the FT3D.

This past Sunday was really nice so I found a nice big open area to fly, but first I added some color to help with orientation (glad I did). I wanted to do more but held back, assuming I'd crash this one.

I tried to take off from the broken, unused road but just rammed the nose into the ground, scratching up the prop a bit so I decided to hand launch instead.

First landing broke the landing gear rubber band. oh well. It was more breezy than I'd like and I had some trim and/or balance issues (or maybe it was just the wind) but it was still pretty fun. I think it could use a bit more power though. I kept it on low rates the whole time but I have all the servo arms and control horns set to the most extreme so it was still kind of twitchy and mostly 3d-capable. I think I will move them to the middle holes. I'm proud to say I made it through both of my 1300 3s batteries and the plane is still in very good condition. I wasn't just flying in easy circles either. I tried some inverted and knife edge but wind and/or trim issues made it kind of difficult. no crashes really, just one rough landing which caused no damage. :)

next I'm planning to build the FT Racer and Spitfire (and an fpv quad).

Anyway this is too long and I'm too sleepy to think or type anymore so goodnight. flitetest is awesome. :D


Junior Member
have an update. I found a better spot to fly and the weather finally got nice. I did a cg check and it dawned on me that I did not think to remove the rear weight to compensate when I removed the landing gear. :rolleyes: I'm sure this contributed to some issues last time. I removed all that weight and it flew much better today. (It was also a little less windy).

It needed a lot of aileron trim but flew pretty good despite the tail feathers not being perfectly straight. It wanted to nose down a bit rather than glide straight which made it hard to trim. I compensated with elevator trim but I'm not sure that's really the cause of the issue. When I tried a knife edge, it wanted to turn as if I was pulling up elevator. I may need to move the cg back a little. Actually, looking at the plane now, it looks like the ailerons are pointing more down than straight back. That is probably not good. I'll work on that later.

My new flying spot is in the same area as the old spot but it's flatter and next to a long straight, unused road. I now have a runway! :D It's bumpy but better than the previous spot. I was able to take off and more importantly land my umx sbach properly for the first time ever. It was a near perfect landing, too. Nobody was around to see it, but I was very proud. :) Now I want to get proper wheels for the ft3d.

I then went and nearly broke the little sbach for the hundredth time but it wasn't my fault this time. I actually saved it (or got lucky :)). The elevator control horn got jammed and the elevator broke. (I'm not sure which happened first) It kept looping and I kept fighting it and managed to somehow lay it down on the grass flat and soft enough that nothing else broke (unlike my usual landing :eek:). It now has a new stabilizer and is ready to fly (and hopefully land) again.
Like you I came from helis, I have tried planes many time before with no success, they are supposed to be easier to fly. I finally gave it another go after discovering flite test and built a ft 3d. Three of them now actually. The first didn't make 1 complete flight and lasted less than a minute with two crashes. The second one was my fist successful flights with a plane and made 15 flights in total. Now in its third build I have dozens of flights with it and absolutely love the little plane.

I have given up on the landing gear, I find it is unnecessary and causes most of the damage in a crash or less than ideal landing. I was concerned about breaking props with out it but haven't broke one yet. Also after having built a couple now I find that, there is not enough trow on the rudder or elevator, use as little glue as you can on the build especially in the tail, I use a cheap paint stir stick for the spar and only glue it in one side of the wing and glue the other wing to the fuselage only. The lighter you build this plane the more crash resistance it has, the third version I have has close to a dozen less than ideal landings and crashes on it and is still flying with minimal repairs.

Being so cheap to make another has taken all fear of crashing and trying new things out for me. I also find after flying a plane for a while my helis no longer get to moving to fast for me to keep up with and now am getting 3d proficient with my helis too.