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Real talk - how many hours/flights/landings do you get out of your foam board builds?

#1
Hey everyone. I've done a few scratch builds with dollar tree foam. I started with a kit for a FT Sparrow, then build an FT3D, Scout, Bushwacker and a commuter from scratch. I have A and C power packs. The planes have all been really cool, but they don't tend to last very long. The scout lasted almost a year, but I finished the bushwacker about a month ago, the first thing to go on all my aircraft has been the landing gear, and the bushwacker, although it seems like its a more robust landing gear, its started to bend and collapse on landings after about maybe 20 landings. I'm wondering if its just me or if everyones scratch builds last a similar amount of time. I have no experience with factory built airplanes but I have to assume airplanes from horizon and other manufacturers last longer?
 

Figure9

Well-known member
#3
Hey everyone. I've done a few scratch builds with dollar tree foam. I started with a kit for a FT Sparrow, then build an FT3D, Scout, Bushwacker and a commuter from scratch. I have A and C power packs. The planes have all been really cool, but they don't tend to last very long. The scout lasted almost a year, but I finished the bushwacker about a month ago, the first thing to go on all my aircraft has been the landing gear, and the bushwacker, although it seems like its a more robust landing gear, its started to bend and collapse on landings after about maybe 20 landings. I'm wondering if its just me or if everyones scratch builds last a similar amount of time. I have no experience with factory built airplanes but I have to assume airplanes from horizon and other manufacturers last longer?
Welcome to the forum. I’ve had almost the same experience as you. I did start with a factory Champ but since then have build only foam board models. This hobby is a huge time bandit but with the isolation I have plenty of time, especially during the spring weather we’ve had. Crash ‘em all the time but the build is as interesting as the flying. I use DTFB but wouldn’t hesitate to buy the white maker foam at the higher price & I think I will do exactly that to see if it’s more sturdy. I’ve had problems with DTFB.
Forum advice has helped me a lot. I was advised to & now fly sans landing gear, don’t need it. I build models like Bloody Barons & motor gliders where it’s only in the way. I’m currently building a Cub & ordered wheels because, well, it’s a Cub. As for Cubs, I love ‘em. I wanna build a huge one if I can. Maybe balsa & foam combined, but I need build practice & better flying skills before I try it.
Even if factory planes last, I’m still a crasher. SAFE & gyros that fly the plane for you don’t impress me. I’ll buddy box with an experienced flyer, but I’m also good with flying the best I can & gently landing in a tree or on the prop, even in a swampy puddle. It’s all good & the crashes are cheap to repair or rebuild. I’m sure I’ll eventually catch on, maybe just notch up a skill level.
Build, Fly, Crash & Repeat!
Good luck with the hobby. Please post your results for us.
 

shadeyB

Well-known member
#4
Hey everyone. I've done a few scratch builds with dollar tree foam. I started with a kit for a FT Sparrow, then build an FT3D, Scout, Bushwacker and a commuter from scratch. I have A and C power packs. The planes have all been really cool, but they don't tend to last very long. The scout lasted almost a year, but I finished the bushwacker about a month ago, the first thing to go on all my aircraft has been the landing gear, and the bushwacker, although it seems like its a more robust landing gear, its started to bend and collapse on landings after about maybe 20 landings. I'm wondering if its just me or if everyones scratch builds last a similar amount of time. I have no experience with factory built airplanes but I have to assume airplanes from horizon and other manufacturers last longer?
It’s not just you with bending the gear. Flying is the easy part 👍
take offs without dunking it or doing the fish as I like to call it (more commonly known as tip stall) and nice flared landings are the hardest part of the flying experience to get under your belt .
ive used the ground as landing gear many a time and if that didn’t work out too well there’s always a magnetic tree around to help slow your plane down
Some last minutes and others last for years 🎮💫✈️💥🔥
I blame the clouds and the blue skies

Welcome and happy flying bignose and post to your heart’s content
here’s a few pictures of encouragement
 

Attachments

Flying Monkey fab

Well-known member
#5
Hey look, the fact that I have all of $4 in foam in a plane is a major draw for me.
If you are where you are seldom crashing there are lots of tips on how to build these things for longer life.
When you get where you almost never crash it might be time for a more complex build. Balsa, plywood, shrink covering will be repairable and last until the day comes that you do hard crash it.
 

Namactual

Well-known member
#6
I have owned and flew a few store bought kits with static and retracts. Even the best built gear will have issues on a hard bounce. Having the perfect head wind and a glass runway are about the best ways to keep your gear intact.

As for foam board life span, moisture and humidity is your worst enemy outside of crashing. In all honesty, I have more fun with the foam board planes than the store bought kits. The kits may look better, but that is a double edge sword. I don't have as much fun flying them because I don't want to mess them up. Most crashes with kits are either an expensive repair with new parts, or just DoA because the parts are not available.

I fly my foamies like I stole them. It is much more fun that way. And when I wreck them, I can always build another for a few dollars in foam board.
 

Hai-Lee

Old and Bold RC PILOT
#7
Hey everyone. I've done a few scratch builds with dollar tree foam. I started with a kit for a FT Sparrow, then build an FT3D, Scout, Bushwacker and a commuter from scratch. I have A and C power packs. The planes have all been really cool, but they don't tend to last very long. The scout lasted almost a year, but I finished the bushwacker about a month ago, the first thing to go on all my aircraft has been the landing gear, and the bushwacker, although it seems like its a more robust landing gear, its started to bend and collapse on landings after about maybe 20 landings. I'm wondering if its just me or if everyones scratch builds last a similar amount of time. I have no experience with factory built airplanes but I have to assume airplanes from horizon and other manufacturers last longer?
As someone who repairs models for club members I can definitely state that the retail versions do not have very rugged and long lasting landing gear. In fact some of the planes I have repaired suffered landing gear damage just from landing on a grass field, (the landing was not even rough).
The Foamboard planes I fly, (including the FT designs), last me hundreds of flights but then I do my builds to have rugged landing gear, (I fly on grassed fields almost exclusively). A very robust landing gear does not add much extra weight but it does add weight.

The simplest thing you can do to improve the longevity of the landing gear is to use larger diameter wheels. I love using Tundra tyres!

Just what works for me!

Have fun!
 
#8
As someone who repairs models for club members I can definitely state that the retail versions do not have very rugged and long lasting landing gear. In fact some of the planes I have repaired suffered landing gear damage just from landing on a grass field, (the landing was not even rough).
The Foamboard planes I fly, (including the FT designs), last me hundreds of flights but then I do my builds to have rugged landing gear, (I fly on grassed fields almost exclusively). A very robust landing gear does not add much extra weight but it does add weight.

The simplest thing you can do to improve the longevity of the landing gear is to use larger diameter wheels. I love using Tundra tyres!

Just what works for me!

Have fun!
Do you happen to have a picture of your rgged/robust landing gear? I'm going to try to modify my bushwacker before it's totaled.
 

Tench745

Well-known member
#9
My longest lasting model was my Cafe Racer MKII. It had almost three hours of flight time on it before the wing finally folded during a combat at FliteFest2017. Most of the others didn't last that long; my Mini Scout flew for about 100 minutes before I decided to retire it and build another. There were crashes and repairs all throughout those hours.

By comparison, my little Hobbyzone champ lasted about as long as the Cafe Racer, 175 minutes, but is now it is acting as my brother's first RC aircraft.

How long it all lasts depends on your skills as a pilot, how well built the plane is, whether it's waterproofed or painted, and how you maintain the aircraft.

The foam wheels never last well, but I'm a little surprised that your wire gear itself is getting damaged.
 

Hai-Lee

Old and Bold RC PILOT
#11
Do you happen to have a picture of your rgged/robust landing gear? I'm going to try to modify my bushwacker before it's totaled.
I will give 2 examples of medium weight models that show the approach I use.

The first pic is of a repair dome to a retail foamie, (a Clipped Wing Cub), that went through a number of replacement undercarriage setups, (all original parts), before I modified it to withstand rough field landings. The model now sports Tundra tyres on the same setup and minus the spats of course.
DSCF0038.JPG


The second pic is of my Das Little Stick, (plans available on the forum), built from the local, and heavy, FB. This is the second version of this design I have built with the original being gifted away in flying condition and the undercarriage still pristine.
DSCF0021 (4).JPG


The aluminium is not too thick and can be bent if the model is landed extremely hard but the rearwards wire brace stops the landing gear being folded rearwards and then ripped out.

The rearwards brace is the key!

Just what works for me!

Have fun!
 

jfaleo1

Junior Member
#12
Well one of my White Diamond EDFs (the first one I did) has about 50 flights and has been shipped to and flown at Flitefest and shipped home and flown some more. Others 2 flights or less. but I have a 40 year old balsa model that has 100s of flights as well.
 

danskis

Well-known member
#13
@jfaleo1 - is lying that's not really possible to get 50 flights out of a plane. YOU GET 20 FLIGHTS OUT OF A PLANE....WHAT'S YOUR SECRET? Try hand launching...that will greatly reduce your planes life expectancy. All seriousness aside I now only build really simple planes now like flying wings....minimum time building/invested. On my third F22, a great flyer and easy to build and fly. Also, I've invested - $14 - in a gyro which I've tested and feel comfortable with that I think I will build a master series plane.
 

jfaleo1

Junior Member
#14
@jfaleo1 - is lying that's not really possible to get 50 flights out of a plane. YOU GET 20 FLIGHTS OUT OF A PLANE....WHAT'S YOUR SECRET?
Ok here is the secret the Diamond is crazy simple to launch, fly, and land. when the LE and bottom are covered in tape it ups the durability factor by 100%. And last don't crash it a lot even if it is durable. I put 15 flights on it between FliteFest last year and on the trip to Columbus that allowed me to go. It flew at least 15 before I went, and it is my goto plane if I just want to fly a few flights. To be fair I still have it it is still flyable but it is currently in a semi-retired state. The other diamonds I built have not faired so well to be honest though.
 

Sero

Well-known member
#19
I can think of 3 FT planes that I have that are 1-2 years old, hundreds of flights on them, many hard landings and crashed several of them too. 2 are belly landers and one has gear. For my planes that have gear I have utilized a system that uses rubber bands to hold them on, much like we use for high mounted wing planes.

The one pictured below is pretty beat up and one of the uglier ones as its endeared hundreds of landings. Just landing wire and coroplast.
IMG_20200228_105327.jpg


IMG_20200228_105320.jpg
 

Ryan O.

Well-known member
#20
My Snow otter has had a ton of flight time, but it is falling apart since I am constantly doing reckless things with it, like nose diving into the ground at 55 degrees angle of attack. I think my record for a foam board plane with flight time is my long wing sparrow, with countless flights. My oldest one still flying is the twin sparrow, but the lipo is dead and I need to get a new one.