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redbarton Robotech Alpha Fighter Build Thread (My first design)

redbarton

Active member
#1
To introduce myself, I'm a new flyer that stumbled on some FliteTest youtube videos late in the Summer of 2019. They were in the play list with the Peter Sripol videos I was watching at the time. The accessibility of DFTB, low cost, and ease of construction really impressed me. I'd always wanted to fly RC planes, but felt intimidated by the high cost of other build options and equipment.

A few years earlier, I had built a slow stick with a friend's help. However, I choose to take it out in the wind and that didn't go so well. The motor shaft was destroyed. I was also racing RC cars at the time. (I've raced everything from off-road short course trucks to 4WD sedans on pavement to 12th scale pan cars on carpet.) So, I hung up the Slow Stick to collect dust. (I'm in the process of restoring it currently. It'll get flown soon!)

I ordered a Simple Cub in the Fall and put it together with 3 channels. Yet, being a new pilot with very little experience, I was hesitant to get it into the air. So, I opted to scratch build the FT Flyer next. The maiden didn't go so well and I spiked it right into the ground. I rebuilt the power pod, watched a bunch of beginner videos, spent many hours on simulators, and successfully flew the Flyer a short while later. I have successfully flown it for many packs now, including some windy flights. It glides pretty well, going into the wind. Based on this, a glider is definitely on the horizon for me.

I kept putting off the maiden of the Simple Cub. However, I finally went for it and had a successful flight, albeit with a few little tumbles and some minor rebuilds. About the time I was starting to get pretty comfortable with the Cub, it began to snow and I haven't been able to fly since.

To keep up the momentum, I decided to design my first plane during the holiday season. I spent hours watching youtube and scouring the net for instructions on how to use Sketchup for airplane design. I found the info was often fragmented and incomplete. I'd hadn't used a CAD program since high school and really enjoyed the challenge. One of these days, I might post a thread on this process to help others out. In short, I can now:
  • Design in Sketchup (2017 Make version)
  • Use the Flattery plugin to flatten the 3D model and create an SVG file for the plans
  • Convert the SVG to PDF in Inkscape
  • Print the tiled plans using Adobe Acrobat Reader
I have a tendency to jump into things full-bore. I didn't want to start with something run of the mill. I chose to finally satisfy a childhood dream and recreate a plane from the Robotech Anime series I had watched as a kid when they originally aired it in the 1980's. The third generation Alpha Veritech Fighter was always my favorite. When I was younger, I had drawn it, put together a model and even built it out of Legos. However, there's always been a hidden desire in the deep recesses of my brain to fly an RC version of the Alpha Fighter. So, I went in search of some line art. Here's the "5 way" I started with:

alpha_veritech_vfa_6_by_bagera3005_d1t7s78-pre (2).jpg

I'm many, many hours into the design of it now and have printable plans. The first prototype is about 90% complete. It's still a work in progress. Here are some pics of what I have so far:

IMG_20200103_222437505.jpg IMG_20200111_171227352.jpg IMG_20200111_171246721.jpg IMG_20200111_171311530.jpg IMG_20200111_171353891.jpg
IMG_20200111_171422326.jpg IMG_20200111_171454229.jpg IMG_20200111_171521787.jpg IMG_20200111_171546495.jpg IMG_20200111_171818151.jpg

These are some of the features:
  • Prop (up to 8") & Slot (EDF to come later)
  • Removable nose
  • Interchangeable wing for testing of different wings
  • FT pod swappable (for now)
  • About 300 grams without the pod or electronics
Other things I want to accomplish are:
  • Simplify the design to make the build easier (the nose is a PITA!)
  • Add other cosmetic elements (cockpit details, full paint scheme, etc.)
  • Create multiple wings to test performance
  • Add bomb drop option
  • Release final plans
Winter is in full swing right now. So, I'm not sure when I will get to do the maiden flight. I will probably install temporary landing gear and start with some quick bounces before I move to full flight status. I hope the snow melts soon!

On a side note, I have also scratch built an FT22 (minus electronics) and an FT Mini scout just needing the servos, ESC & receiver installed.

Stay tuned...
 
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redbarton

Active member
#4
First scratch build? I don't believe you...
:LOL: Seriously, it really is my first attempt at designing a plane. During my learning process, I did scratch build the FT Flyer/FT22/Mini Scout. That's it, besides the Simple Cub kit. Maybe I have finally found my calling, somewhat late in life?

I have some other ideas in the works. I want to do a first generation Macross Veritech next. Then, I'm going to move on to some totally off the wall stuff as I get inspired. (Maybe they will all be static models if the FAA ends up ruining everything! :cry:)
 
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redbarton

Active member
#10
I have a few questions for you veteran designers. They are:
  1. Do you think this design would work with a 3 channel setup? (Power, rudder, elevator)
  2. Does dihedral work very well for a delta wing shape?
Here is the reason I ask. I'm a new pilot and only have aileron experience in simulators so far. And, maybe other beginner pilots might want to fly to this bird?

Note: Whether or not the three channel setup works, I do eventually plan on creating wings with ailerons. Hence, the swappable wings....

Comments welcome!
 

jfaleo1

Junior Member
#12
I don't think 3 channel RET (rudder elevator throttle) will work on a jet style plane. I would add ailerons to all wings. They don't make it harder to fly - in my opinion it's easier to fly with ailerons!
I completely agree here. I just do not think you are going to have enough control without ailerons here. I also agree ailerons do not make it harder to fly. To be honest ailerons make an airplane more intuitive to fly.
 

redbarton

Active member
#13
Thanks guys for the feedback. I've never had issues flying planes with ailerons in the sims. I just haven't flown that configuration yet IRL. Wing redesign in progress...

And, now I know what RET means. :p