• This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn more.

Nose mods on the FT Spitfire

BATTLEAXE

Well-known member
#1
I am fairly new to the model aviation hobby. I seem to be a better builder then a flyer for the fact that I have lawn darted quite a few DTFB planes. Some were my own designs and half a dozen or so FT planes as well. The University of YouTube has been a great help, along with the majority of my new found Knowledge from the FT community (I think I've seen almost every episode from FT).

Anyway I built the Spitfire using the plans from Dave The Swede, and from the build video it seemed it was a plane that was kind of quickly put together with less attention to the build and more to the flight characteristics. Given the reason I wanted to build this as my first large warbird was for the models forgiving flight style I made some nose mods for my own flight style of crashing on a regular basis.

In the build video and with the plans there wasn't much in the nose for protection from crashes, which is where most of my self induced damage comes from. The nose seemed floppy and weak compared to what could be done and Dave did mention in the video that any modification suggestions are welcome so here it is. spitfire nose mod.jpg

With the front end of the nose being open to the wind and elements (dirt, grass and foreign debris) I wanted to close it off with a stronger more streamline design. On the top of the fuselage I added an extra plate of DTFB that extended to the very front and covered up the open !.25" where the nose profile slightly slopes down. On that same added plate I did a C fold that same 1.25" back up and over the top front for added strength, plus that same piece made shaping the curve for the nose using 100 grit sandpaper. This was something Dave said he couldn't figure out how to complete this area. and to hold it all down I wrapped it in a layer of poster board for durability. From the picture you will also notice I cut and hot glued some small stringers in to help with strength in the front turtle deck covering. I tend to handle the planes a lot for removal of power pods and batteries so this is an area that needs to take the abuse. 20190720_111532.jpg Turning it over I noticed that having this added plate on didn't give any room to index the 2 skewers into the firewall of the power pod so I made a small .75" cavity the width of the firewall (to the inner walls of the fuselage) to allow the power pod to slide in nice. It was just simple 50% score cuts in a rectangle shape leaving a .5" piece in the front for looks and strength. And you will also notice that I extended the front bottom panel from the wings LE to the front short 1" for crash protection as well. this still left plenty of room to easily slide the power pod into the fuselage.
20190718_115622.jpg Once covered in the poster board you will see that it didn't change the profile much from the original design but made the internals a lot stronger. the fact that I have considerable crash experience and take a little pride in the how the planes look this is an idea that I took on for my own piece of mind. Oh and I added a stringer between the 2 rear turtle deck formers as shown in the pic below. 20190720_111215.jpg
Another little issue that i was having in previous larger scale planes was that after a nose dive my power pod would shift back making sloppy slots on the fuselage walls or destroying the power pod where the skewers past through. I now reinforce the power pod itself with gift cards that have skewer holes cut through them glued and taped to the power pod, which works awesome. I've done the same trick to the fuselage before in other planes and it works just as good. I did see that there was the possibility to try something new here that will kill 2 birds with one stone. I developed a slide and lock system with a secondary layer of DTFB on the inside of the fuselage to help guide the power pod into place while pushing it up into position as it moves back into place, furthermore keeping it from sliding farther back in a lawn dart style crash. this is again a new trick so it hasn't been fully tested yet but you can try it out for yourselves and let me know what you think after field testing. It will work best with the models that have a similar fuselage width, might not work on something like the FT Racer, but more suited to models like the P40 Warhawk or P51 Mustang. 20190720_111319.jpg
On this plane I went for the removable wing option for ease of access to the electronics and maybe when I clothes line trees with my wing like a WWE wrestler it wont completely year the plane apart. with the second layer of DTFB for the power pod slide doubling as extra strength for the wing centering blocks glued to the wing might help as well. 20190720_121053.jpg As I was saying the power pod indexes really well into position just by pushing it into place from the front.

A couple of other tricks I learned the hard way by way of smashing a battery into the motor shaft by placing the battery into the power pod was to build a removable DTFB block into my power pod to stop the battery from launching forward in a crash. Each block will be of different lengths depending on the model you choose to use it in and that models CG and or the size of battery you use. but it has helped me with multiple trips back to the hobby store for new batteries. Note that I have the ESC located on the bottom of the power pod for airflow and space purposes. I am using a 9x6 ATC prop hooked to a Rimfire .15 35-36-1200 KV motor and a 40 amp ESC for those who are wondering. never had any overheating issues even with larger 11x7 props on other models 20190720_120858.jpg
To conclude this is the plane in its full glory. I hope this has helped anyone out there to learn from my mistakes or just inspire them to do their own mods and let me know what you think. Happy flying 20190720_121415.jpg
 

BATTLEAXE

Well-known member
#3
@BATTLEAXE - very nice thread - as you may know, we are embarking on a SPIT build at the moment, so your tips are invaluable! I am keen to fix my wing, delete the power pod, and make a hatch!
Hey bro I'm honored to see that you guys are checkin out this thread. Buzzbomb was helping me out with my Baby Blender build and mentioned your group build on the Spit. I referred him to this thread I put together while I recently built mine. Come to think of it I shoulda waited on my build to be a part of this one. I like what your doin with yours so far. Which forum title are you guys building the group build under?

When you say you are looking to fix your wing and build a hatch I'm getting the idea that the wing won't be removable, (no need if there is no power pod I guess). And with no power pod you will have to install a firewall somehow to the nose... possibly keep the firewall hidden an inch or so in from the front of the fuse. Without the removable power pod this in turn doesn't mean you can't permanently glue something in the nose something of similar design of the power pod in to strengthen up the nose area and allow for ease of reaching your electronics through a hatch in the top. Again I wish I would of done this now that I'm thinking of it. A simple horizontal battery tray installed over the wing extending forward to meet up with the bottom edge of your firewall at whatever location you choose. Maybe A fold some doublers in for the side walls for strength of handling or crashes. Once this is figured out and installed, trim off the top plate from former C all the way forward to create the opening for your hatch area and also use it for the bottom plate of the hatch itself. I would use the stringers between the formers like I have in this thread to strengthen the hatch lid and put it all together using the same hatch system you find in the Mini Mustang. Instead of the BBq skewer and tab lock down operation the Mini Mustang has I would be more inclined to use magnets to hold things in place. Because you now have taken away the fixed top plate to the front of the fuse and you are going with the solid wing mount, maybe extending the bottom plate on the fuse forward of the LE right to the front of the nose would give the bottom a clean finished look and again add more strength for longevity.

Again this is something that quickly comes to mind for me as to what I would do... just off the top of my head. I'm sure if I was mid build on it I would see ways to do other small variations to this plan due to odd little issues you run into while in the build process.

One thing I didn't mention in this thread was the strengthening of the wing tips in the undercamber area by using spray adhesive to install heavy duty poster board considering the wing tips take up a lot more area then most other FT planes. Dave the Swede designed this to eliminate the tip stall tendencies but also makes the tips weaker and adds more drag on a folded wing as opposed to a formed wing.
20190804_084000.jpg You could also add a small section of poster board vertically to wrap around the servo to eliminate air spillage into the wing as well. This will all depend on how much weight you want save versus the performance you want out of it. Since you are into slope soaring I'm guessing weight savings is a priority for you or maybe not.

What power package are you using out of curiosity?

Being that you live in New Zealand I imagine the average yearly temperature is somewhat warmer then here in Canada. We do get hot summers, although this summer is proving to be not so great. How do you find the hot glue works for you?

This is what I have so far as to what you mentioned in your reply which is much appreciated. Thx for checkin mine out and keep it shiny side up.
 

bracesport

Well-known member
#4
SPIT roasted FB

@BATTLEAXE - yes, hi from NZ - you are right that the weather here is warmer, but living in wellington has its challenges with wind and moisture, that's why I tend to tape my surfaces - will certainly stiffen the under-camber - @Wildthing is also Canadian, you should check out his work and combat flying!

I will start with a 1000Kva motor, 2400 3cell, 8x6 prop (possibly will also use my 1400 2cell) - ultimately I plan to slope her! o_O
 

BATTLEAXE

Well-known member
#5
Holy crap it has been awhile since I have been on this thread, it's about time though. Why you ask?... CUZ I JUST MAIDENED THE SPIT!!

Now some of you might say "Yea... so what?!" Well its a new stepping stone for me, I put a whole battery through it and I didn't crash it, which is something I have done on a couple mini's now. But this is my first standard size plane that has climbed up and lasted more then 15 seconds, I'm telling you at least 5 mins. I was nervous AF to even take off with it, most of the reason why it took me so long to try it. I did take up a mini first to get my nerves in order and build up some confidence. By the time I was ready to hand toss the Spit I was on the fence as to how this would go given how the Simple Scout met it's almost demise last night. She climbed, a couple clicks of trim on the ailerons and she was straight and true. Some easy turns, a few low level passes, one at 3/4 throttle, man does it sound good buzzin the tower, couldn't slap the smile off my face.

Regret to say that my cinematographer was at work and couldn't take the video, so I'll get some video of it in the next couple of days. I am on cloud nine right now and probably won't be able to sleep tonight.

Anyway thanks for reading
 

kilroy07

Well-known member
#8
Holy crap it has been awhile since I have been on this thread, it's about time though. Why you ask?... CUZ I JUST MAIDENED THE SPIT!!

Now some of you might say "Yea... so what?!" Well its a new stepping stone for me, I put a whole battery through it and I didn't crash it, which is something I have done on a couple mini's now. But this is my first standard size plane that has climbed up and lasted more then 15 seconds, I'm telling you at least 5 mins. I was nervous AF to even take off with it, most of the reason why it took me so long to try it. I did take up a mini first to get my nerves in order and build up some confidence. By the time I was ready to hand toss the Spit I was on the fence as to how this would go given how the Simple Scout met it's almost demise last night. She climbed, a couple clicks of trim on the ailerons and she was straight and true. Some easy turns, a few low level passes, one at 3/4 throttle, man does it sound good buzzin the tower, couldn't slap the smile off my face.

Regret to say that my cinematographer was at work and couldn't take the video, so I'll get some video of it in the next couple of days. I am on cloud nine right now and probably won't be able to sleep tonight.

Anyway thanks for reading
Congrats on your first full-sized battery burn!

While we have a local RC club, they were mostly old Gas/Balsa guys and look down on my little foam toys... so I had to pretty much teach myself to fly as well.

Thanks for sharing your tips for the Spitfire! As @bracesport mentioned we are in the middle of a group build (although, I haven't even started mine yet! :rolleyes: I might see if he will share he exceptional 3D printed nose!
 

PoorManRC

Well-known member
#11
Invaluable information HERE!! I too seem to be more interested in how my Planes LOOK, than Fly...
Although I'd like them to FLY as well!! 😜
You've seen my Tubby Cubby (now the Steve Fox Show!)...
I'm trying again with the Scout, and a total redux of my Storch.

I've always wanted to try the Spitfire... Still think it's the second most beautiful Aircraft ever designed. I'm going to use ALL your Tips on that build!
Cheers 🍻🍻!
 

BATTLEAXE

Well-known member
#12
@BATTLEAXE - looking great - you have filled in the underside of the TE (I should do that)! The SPIT is coming along, but as you know there are numerous things you learn along the way that you wish could be in the build! :LOL:
I am following your Spit build quite closely, there are a lot of things you are doing to yours that I wish I did to mine. Like how you formed the entire tail section or did the silver paint with clear packing tape. The 3D printed stuff is something I would like to get into. It's going to be the best looking Spitfire built in the forum from the original plans, and should fly as good as she looks with it's smooth lines in the nose and canopy.

Oh yea it might be just the angle you are looking at the TE but I didn't fill it in, it is the same as in the plans, but now that you mention it, I wonder how that could be done. Do it on yours and I'll be watching for it.
Invaluable information HERE!! I too seem to be more interested in how my Planes LOOK, than Fly...
Although I'd like them to FLY as well!! 😜
You've seen my Tubby Cubby (now the Steve Fox Show!)...
I'm trying again with the Scout, and a total redux of my Storch.

I've always wanted to try the Spitfire... Still think it's the second most beautiful Aircraft ever designed. I'm going to use ALL your Tips on that build!
Cheers 🍻🍻!
Thx. I do want the planes to fly and I do consider flight characteristics when i modify these hot rods. I try not to go to far out of the norm to hinder anything as far as flight dynamics. But form and functionality are important. With a few of the planes I have built I have had to customize the way the electronics are set up inside the fuse for accessibility of the battery or to get the CG right, (I'll use a F Pack where an A Pack should go), or to simplify how a plane goes together or for durability. You will notice on my Shrubsmacker build i didn't cut in any faux counter balances on the control surfaces, although they look cool I will probably hook them on something and tear them off.

This Spitfire flies so nice and smooth. Actually i think its my best plane for it's flight characteristics, probably because its the first standard size plane that i have flown, compared to the minis I have gotten started with, (bigger flies better). It was originally meant to be a smooth flyin docile warbird by the way David the Swede designed it and he got it right. I really enjoy it as I am sure you will too. I can't wait to see your build thread on the Spit

Oh yea I have to apologize for getting ol' Steve on a tangent about his mods on your Cubby thread, I am partly to blame. I like how you keep trucking along on your Scout and Storch though. Are you going to transfer your electronics from the Cub to the Scout?
 

PoorManRC

Well-known member
#13
I was OVER that "takeover" of my Thread right away! 😉 Bigger problems in life.

I am using the Cub electronics in the Storch, because I want the POWER to go with all that LIFT!
The Scout is getting what's a B Pack Motor, with higher KV....

I'm not completely chucking the Tubby Cubby! I want to make her WORK. Just stepping back. I've got a short list of others to do.

I'd love to build a Spit! As soon as I can get someone to cut it for me... Some of my Disability detracts from my ability to Cut things with any type of precision.
And because I'm very particular about how it LOOKS, I wait until someone with a cutter can do it for me.

And, Landing Gear is a non negotiable need. Also getting around disabilities...

I THOUGHT there was something different about your Scrubsmaker! Peter LOVES appendages and add-ons in his designs...
I like some of them, but I also know that a clean Airframe performs better!
 

bracesport

Well-known member
#14
@BATTLEAXE - the next one will be better is my motto!

I am a complete flying nube - chipping away (unlike SquirrelTail for example)! to be honest, my SPIT is a bit heavier with the 3D printed parts and the heavier FB on the sides - I hope it will fly - the DTFB works well for forming and it is light, but man, it is fragile stuff! :D
 

SquirrelTail

Well-known member
#15
@BATTLEAXE - the next one will be better is my motto!

I am a complete flying nube - chipping away (unlike SquirrelTail for example)! to be honest, my SPIT is a bit heavier with the 3D printed parts and the heavier FB on the sides - I hope it will fly - the DTFB works well for forming and it is light, but man, it is fragile stuff! :D
Your plane will fly great! The spit is known for that!! And thanks for the shout out
 

BATTLEAXE

Well-known member
#16
As the title of this thread says I did some more nose mods to my Spit... so happy with it: 20190822_203559.jpg 20190822_203611.jpg 20190822_203633.jpg
Why are you soo happy with it you ask... cuz it was an attempt at inverted. HOLY CRAP I ALMOST EXICUTED INVERTED. Now why am I talking about inverted when I haven't shown you any maiden video... it's coming this time got a few vids that I got to get onto YouTube first, (why does it take so long to upload vids onto YouTube?)

Anyways I had such a good time with this plane so far. It got out to a rough start with my ESC as it turned out, couldn't figure out the problem in the beginning. I was messing with the ESC calibration and I accidentally set it up for a 4s while I run 3s, the voltage cut off would kick in a minute into the flight and only give me half throttle. Reading the instructions does wonders, reset back to 3s and got 15 minute flight times out of each battery. I was pushing the limits on it with every pass, low rates at 65% throw and 45% expo was cute for like 2 minutes then I kicked in the high rates. Super maneuverable even as a 3 channel AET. Loops were sweet, kinda scared I was gonna fold the wing but she held up. Rolls were easy, a couple with elevation loss, a couple with elevation climb, I'm sure there are names for those lol. And I was flying in my newly found green space 3 minutes away from the house, (wish I would have noticed this place awhile ago).
20190817_115604.jpg 20190817_115552.jpg 20190817_115557.jpg
So I got the testicular fortitude to try inverted, but stupid me, set myself up for a crash by doing it in the sun and lost orientation of the plane, got into a dive and drove it into the ground. You would think I was pissed but I found it to be a success on many levels. Besides having such a great flight, the crash taught me a lot not only about how far I am pushing myself but how well my nose mods held up in this lawn dart of an impact. As hard as it hit the nose damage was minimal, and my new power pod held up, and none of the electronics got damaged. The plane did exactly what it was supposed to do in flight and in the crash. (y)(y)

In the fix it shouldn't take long, a little planning and an afternoon and it will be flying again. I got a big day on Saturday so it will have to be in ship shape to fly, first time at an airfield, with some pro RC pilots, that I met on this forum. PUMPED. Thank you FT. And thx for reading.
 

BATTLEAXE

Well-known member
#18
I was trying and trying to spot the inverted SPIT in the backdrop! :D
Those are just pics of the new field, no plane in those. Took them a few days ago when I found it. In the flight vid you may get annoyed by my camera man, he may be on the chopping block lol. Just uploading it now, seems to be an overnight operation to get it on to You Tube. You done yours yet?
 

BATTLEAXE

Well-known member
#20
Ok so I do have some video of the Spit, these 2 vids are of when I was having ESC issues where I accidentally programmed it for a 4s and not a 3s and my voltage cut off would engage at about a minute into the flight. I did reprogram it and that's on another video which only uploaded 10% overnight and the 8 year old was doing the filming so you don't see much plane anyway. These the little woman shot so it's all plane and some of the back of my head lol. I gotta get a film crew just to document flights lol