Mod/Design Challenge - with prizes - "ARRON's STASH"


Junior Member
I've been trying to get this going with FT directly, but they are indeed insanely busy with the show and FliteFest... and I saw this handy open forum section and thought I'd just get it started myself to give people more building time! :)


Let's tweak our toys to fly even better!

Ever since helping with the FT3D, I have had ideas to improve on the design and ideas of making something that can perform even better. More than that, when I was working on the FT3D, it's apparent that there are some easy opportunities to improve performance from things like weight loss. However, I have not had the time to devote to getting this done myself. After talks with Josh about motivating people to start designing planes, I thought why not get everyone else to improve the performance of their own models!

The challenge, in two parts:

A) improve an airplane design/build!
B) help others improve an airplane design/build!

What do I mean by this exactly?

A) Build a model based on available FliteTest designs and improve it in some way. From helping the VersaWing be more versatile, to maybe your own Honey-Badger-like feature. It doesn't matter how you improve it, this is completely up to you! Bring the model to FliteFest and let me have a look at the model and hopefully give it a fly to check out your awesome work! I truly look forward to chatting with people on what and how things were improved.

B) Collaborate with others about improvements, collate improvements so that others can continue to build. Link related build threads into this thread, and help get people rolling with ideas of projects through to flying. The spirit of this is about educating and motivating, and there's no better way than collaborating.

NOTE: these are like two separate challenges in themselves. If you feel you can do it all on your own, then certainly feel free to bash it all out and bring it along to Flite Fest to surprise us all. The collaboration is so people who are not turning up to Flite Fest can join in, help out, and the whole community can gain from great collaboration. In general people will benefit from the collaboration.

NOTE TWO: this is about improving flight performance rather than aesthetics (Although if you make something look more awesome, I would certainly love to look at your handy work! )




I would like to personally reward the results of people putting in for this by awarding some of my own stash of high quality airframes. So I guess if there's a prize, then it's a contest. But to be honest, if it works as intended we will all win by having a nice set of go-to mods that can get the most out of our projects! Or possibly mods are so nice that they could be implemented into the products themselves.

For "Part A", from my personal stash of yet-to-be-built ARF's, a choice of 41" Edge or 57" Extra, new in box, to give to my favorite improved model(s) as shown to me at FliteFest.


(new in box. boxes have been opened and possibly drooled on, but new and in a box :) )

The 57" Extra is awesome, but may be out of people's size ambitions, so the 41" Edge will be an option and come with power system (motor and ESC) and the 57" Extra is the ARF kit only. If there's enough awesomeness, I'll possibly give both away... will see! people will have to get building!

For "Part B" above there will be a separate prize. After FliteFest, we will go through the forum collaborators on these projects and pick someone who has really helped the process along. Maybe they have given a lot of great ideas, build tips, gathered the results of other peoples efforts into a handy format so that others can have an easier reference. Maybe built their own and shown how. There are lots of ways to collaborate and help out. Anyone who stands out as being an awesome collaborator, regardless of where they are in the world I will personally make sure they get a reward... possibly one of 3DHobbyShop's EPP built-up foam aircraft, or something else if they're somewhere that isn't serviced by mail. Either way, it's an important part of our hobby, and will make sure we show the appreciation!

But again, the results of this will benefit us all!

A few ideas to get some thoughts moving...

  • Making models lighter will improve many things. A good technique for lightening foam boards (maybe making a geodesic triangle structure with corners reinforced by a thin bead of glue?) will improve many models.
  • Hot glue is a FliteTest favorite because it's easy, but there are lighter alternatives you may like the results of.
  • Anything that can fly fast, will fly faster if it is lighter (as it reduces the "induced drag"). For a fast model, flying faster is an improvement.
  • A trainer that can be both stable and very aerobatic will see more use as a student gets better, they can learn more from the same design.
  • Improve the shape of the airplane... maybe a little more wing area will make it glide better. maybe a little less wing area will make it faster. maybe a different airfoil will make it do everything better!
  • Get a nice balance of lighter weight electronics for the aircraft. If something is overpowered, it may be carrying more load than it needs to.
  • Lighter aerobatic models can generally do more. Sometimes heavier models can tumble better. Lots of things to play with.
  • There's something stopping the FT3D from being able to tumble... it would be awesome if it could. Servos with higher speed may be the answer, possibly slightly less wing area? trim the ailerons a little maybe?
  • FT3D has a *crazy* roll rate... we don't need all that aileron area, maybe reducing it to only what we need will help it in other ways.
  • There are now other fun ways to generate vortexes than the VG's... see how they go!
  • Make a landing gear that is impossible to break in a bad landing by using rubber bands or something. Great for trainers.
  • There are lots of innovations out there in use in various ways on models and full scale. Bring them into the FliteTest fold of foamies!
...there is an infinite number of ways to improve these models to do what we want them to do. I just want to see people building, applying ideas, and having a good sense of what is helping their models fly. Build planes, collaborate with others, come and enjoy FliteFest!


Can a Honey Badger be made from foam board? :) doesn't need to be badger crazy,
but all original ideas are certainly encouraged!

To encourage and enjoy...
I mostly love seeing people coming up with ideas and making them happen! Not just new crazy ideas, but even just improvements, the thoughts about what can improve things to the next level and how to empirically apply effort to get results. It's my hope that everyone can join in. It's likely that I will as much appreciate a young novice builder getting into tweaking models for the first time and having some good success as an old pro who's applied an engineering degree through foam board... there will be more than one prize on hand, I'm sure I will be compelled to leave them in the hands of some enthusiastic builders!

I will be at FliteFest to help in any way I can!
I mean this, literally. If anyone has a question about this challenge, or whatever, I will be there to help. If you have a question please find me and ask! I plan to also be playing in the build tents, so if anyone has a project to be completed, happy to help out in any way I can.

This forum thread
Also, I will try to watch out on this forum thread to answer any questions I can, offer any advice I have to give. But because I cannot watch the entire forum, if you have something starting up where you're using it for this challenge, or to collaborate some other relevant content to yours or other people's projects, please link it in here! I will be using it as a hub for the info, and the idea is to collaborate... so even if you have your own project, you may have some great collaborators feeding you more handy info about how to improve your project. So check in and check it out often!

This challenge may be tweaked or improved before FliteFest...
I just wanted to get people thinking and working on their projects as the event is right around the corner. If it all goes awesome, we will get to do it again for an event in the future. Because everything is a mad dash around FliteFest, things may shift a little. I am trying to get FliteTest involved (hey, maybe they want to improve their own designs! :) ) which may shift things in itself. Either way, trying make this as fun as it can be.

So... get to building, collaborate, have fun, and let's see what happens!


Importantly, I need to give some thanks...

  • FliteTest and JoshBixler for being awesome and community focused
  • I am beyond thankful for the support of my wife and family, and the support of my sponsors. It is their generous support that allows me to do a fun thing like these projects.