Detailed RC Delta Instructions

Detailed RC Delta Instructions
By
Bill Yirka

Building Your First Foam Board Plane

If you have never built a foam board, RC airplane before, this lesson is for you. I will detail every step of how to build a simple aircraft. By building this plane, you will learn how to draw and read my blueprints, how to install servos and how to hook up the electronics, to name just a few subjects. By the time you complete this plane, you should be able to build any plane in my upcoming book.

I suggest that you read each step completely prior to attempting that step. If confused, revert back to the original picture of the completed plane for clues and the pictures prior and following that step.

Before you build any plane, you’ll need supplies.

REQUIRED EQUIPMENT

1 Transmitter – I like FlySky from HobbyPartz.com if on a budget. $40 and up.
1 Receiver – Usually comes with transmitter.
1 11.1 volt Motor - The Emax CF2812 from Hobbyking.com or valuehobby.com is under $10.00
1 ESC, rated heavier than the motor. A 30a ESC will work with a 15 amp motor – Any vendor. $7 - $10.
1 Music wire, .049 diameter, from local hobby shop or 1/16” RG-45 copper coated welding rod. <$1.
2 Control horns. 20mm w/holes from valuehobby.com or 13.5x16mm from hobbyking.com. Under $1.
2 9g Servos. Hobbyking.com or valuehobby.com have best price. Both for under $10.00.
1 20”x30” foam board. $1 from Dollar Tree.
1 Prop Saver or prop adaptor. You can get these from any vendor but the best prop saver is from strongrcmotors.com for $1. These often come with the motor.
1 11.1 volt Li-po battery. A 1000 MAH if using a 15a or smaller motor. Hobbyking.com has best price.
1 Battery charger. Be careful with this one. Many require power supplies. $15.
Connector to connect battery to ESC. You’ll have to get the one that matches the battery. Be careful, there are many different connectors. $1.
1 propeller. 7x6 or 7x5 plastic prop if using the CF2812 motor. $1.
4 round toothpicks.

The above equipment list is bare bones. With this you can build one simple plane if you don’t mess up. The first plane will cost you about $100 if you need to purchase the transmitter. To build more than one plane, and to simplify things, I recommend buying several sheets of foam board, a few music or welding wires and several control horns and servos. Because you already own the electronics, the second plane will cost less than $2.00 if you reuse the servos. I also recommend more than one battery, 2 wood skewers, 1 wood tongue compressor and three male and three female 3.5mm connectors to connect the ESC to the motor even though they can be soldered together.

REQUIRED TOOLS and SUPPLIES

Soldering iron.
Quality 40/60 rosin core solder. Radio Shack.
Needle nose pliers or hemostats (preferred).
Wire cutters.
Phillip head screw driver.
Very sharp knife. Recommend quality 18mm snap-off blade type.
Metal straight edge/ruler.
1.5 mm Alan wrench if using CF2812 motor. Most other motors require Phillip’s head screw drivers.
Drill bit that is slightly larger than your .049 or welding wire or whatever wire you are using.
Sharpie marker.
Duel Temperature Hot glue gun. Use the low temperature setting. Hot temp will melt the foam.
Hot glue.


Delta
Detailed Instructions for the Beginner.

Short = 10, 13, 18 CG = 9 ¼”
Long = 11, 15, 19

The following example will demonstrate how to build a good first RC airplane, which I’ve named “Delta.” It’s called Delta because it looks like a triangle, like the Greek uppercase letter, “delta.”

This is the plane I suggest all first time builders begin with. It flies well, fast or slow. It is, in all likelihood, the easiest plane to build and should take around two hours. You can use almost any small motor from 6 amps to 30 amps, as long as it turns a propeller of less than eight inches. This plane will withstand a mild crash with little damage. But, even if you do destroy it, it will cost less than $2 to replace it.

The above examples are of the same plane except that the plane on the left has its electronics attached to its underside. These electronics are protected by two skids, which also make the plane considerably more durable. If you wish to build your plane like the left example, read step 12, for details.

The following instructions are for building the plane on the right, which is simpler and quicker to build.  

Step 1: Drawing the blueprint:

Note: If you wish to skip this part (how to draw and read blueprints,) simply draw the above example on your foam board. Copy the three lines (L11, L15, L19) to the board’s backside then cut out the plane and the 3”X8” motor hole, which begins 10” from the plane’s nose; then skip to step 3.

Place the foam board in front of you so that the thirty inch side is closest to you and the 20” sides are on your right and left. The 30” side closest to you will be the front of the plane, the plane’s nose. Place a 0 (zero) in the left corner closest to you. This will be the reference corner, the corner all measurements will be measured from. This corner will have the designation S0-L0 (S=the board’s short, 20” side. L=the board’s Long, 30” side). Likewise, the opposite 30” side will be labeled S0-L30, which is 30” from the measuring corner on the S0 line. The other two corners will be S20-L0 (20” from the reference corner on the L0 line), and S20-L30. If you are having trouble grasping these corner designations, just continue on and it will probably come to you.

From the measuring corner (S0-L0), place marks at 11”, 15”, and 19” on the long side (the 30” side) of the board. Label these marks with the appropriate measurement, 15 for example. Then add an “L” to each of these labels, L15 for example. Repeat these measurements on the other 30” side. You don’t need to label these marks but it might help. Connect the corresponding dots.

From the measuring corner (S0-L0), place marks at 10”, 13” and 18” on the short side (the 20” side.) Repeat these measurements on the other 20” side. Label these marks, S18 for example. Connect the dots.

Once you become familiar with these blueprints, you won’t need to add the “S” or the “L” for it will be understood which side is the short or long sides of the foam board. Labeling them now only simplifies the instructions.

Now, draw a diagonal line from S0-L15 to S18-L0 and another diagonal line from S0-L15 to S18-L30.

Your blueprint should now look like the above example, except your blueprint will have a solid S18 line where my S18 line is dotted. Later, when you cut the board, you will know not to cut this line, but to score the line, which I will explain, later.

Always draw the plane’s center line on both sides of the board. To be sure that these lines match exactly, and to make the measurements easier, slightly cut this line (the L15 line) on both ends of the board. This will identify the exact location on the other side. Then on the board’s other side, draw a line connecting the cuts.

Generally, when building a plane, the blueprint is drawn on the bottom of the plane. Therefore, if we need reference lines on the planes topside, we need to cut these lines too. This plane uses two vertical stabilizers (tails) and so the reference lines L11 and L19 need to be copied to the top side. So cut and connect them also.

Only cut about 1/8th inch as shown above, left. The board’s top side should now look like the example on the right.

Step 2: Cutting the plane from the board.

Using a straight edge, cut the line from S0-L15 to S18-L0 and line S0-L15 to S18-L30.

In this next step, you will cut out a rectangular 3” x 8” hole where the motor and prop will go. To do so, cut from S10-L11 to S10-L19 to S13-L19 to S13-L11. Do not try to knock out this hole, yet. Instead, turn your plane over. Check the cuts. Be sure the cuts interest at the corners. If they don’t, and you try to knock out the hole, you will pull the paper from the foam. Once you’re sure all the cuts intersect and that the cuts penetrated all the lines, knock out the hole.

Your plane should now look like the picture below.

If you should error and partially cut the wrong line, never fear. Just tape the parts back together making sure the parts match exactly. Doing so will usually not weaken the plane. Also, painstakingly cutting every line precisely is not very important, either. Slightly cutting past intersections is also permitted. Doing so makes it much easier to tear the cut parts apart. There are only a few areas that must be exact and I’ll mention them when we get to them, like now. The S10-L11 to S10-L19 cut needs to be exact. The motor will mount to this cut, and if the cut isn’t true, your motor won’t be either.

Step 3: Prepare the wing’s ailerons.

A wing’s ailerons are what some mistakenly refer to as flaps. They’re actually hinged flight control surfaces which are usually located at the wing’s trialing edge. They force the plane to roll or bank. In spite of what most beginners assume, many planes, this plane, steer with their ailerons instead of a rudder. In fact, this plane doesn’t have a ruder or elevator, just ailerons. Your transmitter will know how to compensate for this.

The wing’s two ailerons will use the entire 30” length of the plane’s trailing edge. Each aileron will be 2” x 15” and separated at the L15 line. They will lie behind the S18 line, the dotted line in my examples.

First you must make a hinge across the entire S18 line by scoring this line. Scoring differs from cutting. Cutting penetrates all the way through the board where scoring only cuts half way.

You might want to practice scoring and folding a few scraps before attempting the wing.

When ready to score the S18 line, place your straight edge on the line and using a very sharp knife, cut through only the cover paper. Score the entire S18 line all the way from one end of the board to the other.

Breaking a Scored Line:
There are two methods of breaking a scored line. Just bend one side from the other until they break. Once broke, they produce a hinge, which will allow the two sides to easily move. Though quick and easy, you also risk bending the board instead of the score, which will crease the paper. To prevent creasing, which damages and weakens the paper, apply light pressure to a small portion of the scored line at any one spot then move to another spot, apply pressure there, then move to another spot. By walking the score line, back and forth, you will eventually break the foam and make a hinge.

Note: The hinge can only be pivoted in one direction. Forcing the hinge in the wrong direction will damage the hinge.

The less risky but more time consuming method of breaking a scored line involves a straight edge. Turn the foam board over, scored-side down. Place the straight edge on the unscored paper close to the score line. Holding the foam board against the straight edge, pivot the straight edge against the table until the score line breaks. You now have a hinge.

This hinge will pivot only one way. To benefit from two way movement, as needed, you must remove a wedge shaped portion of the aileron at the hinge as illustrated below.

I strongly suggest that you practice the following on pieces of scrap before attempting this procedure.

Bend the aileron all the way over to expose both sides of the hinge as pictured above. With a very sharp knife, carefully and slowly slice the aileron side of the hinge as close to the paper as you can manage. Some people will lay the foam board on a table to do this. I hold it up vertically, using my thumb as a guide. This sounds and looks difficult but isn’t. Besides, if you should happen to nick the paper, you can always tape the other side of the hinge to repair it. You can also go back and take off whatever excess you missed on the first pass.

Flex the aileron. If it doesn’t travel at least ¾ inch you have left two much material in the hinge. Find the excess and trim it off.

Now cut a ¼” tab out of the L15 line to make two ailerons. This will produce a gap between them so they don’t bump when flexed as illustrated below.

Step 4. Attaching the vertical stabilizers.

First, draw a vertical stabilizer (10” X 6”), which some call a tail, on a scrap of foam board, as illustrated below. Note the trailing 2X2” notch.

Cut out the vertical stabilizer.

This plane uses two vertical stabilizers, so trace a second and cut it out too.

Hot glue cools quickly, so perform the following, quickly.

Run a generous amount of glue along and outside the L19 line. Do not glue the aileron! The glue will go from S18-L19 to S10-L19.

Quickly press the vertical stabilizer into the glue alongside the L19 line. You should be able to see the L19 line while the glue cools. Keep it perfectly in line with the L19 line and square it using a carpenter’s square, or a book, or a CD case, or anything light and square. Hold it in place until the glue cools and hardens.

Repeat the procedure with the other stabilizer alongside the L11 line.

When both seams are cooled and rigid, reinforce the vertical stabilizers by applying a generous amount of glue along one of the seams of both stabilizers. When this glue cools, reinforce the seams on the other side of both stabilizers. Be careful, the newly applied hot glue might soften the seam, therefore prevent the stabilizers from moving until this glue hardens.

Step 5. Attaching the servos.

Prepare the servos.

Servos usually do not come from the factory centered.

When you plug the servo arm into the servo then hookup your receiver and apply power, it will usually rotate out of the desired position. Therefore, you must power the servos prior to instillation, and then attach the servo arms in the desired position.

As shown above, plug your servos, with servo arms attached (screws not necessary), into channel one and channel two of the receiver, or the aileron and elevator channels on some receivers. It doesn’t matter which servo goes to which channel, but the lightest servo wire must be closest to the receiver’s face plate on most receivers. Some receivers will be labeled to show which pin is negative, positive and signal. The darkest servo wire is negative and the lightest wire is the signal. If you get the wires reversed, nothing bad usually happens, the servo won’t burn up, they just won’t function.

Plug the ESC into the receiver’s channel three, or whichever channel is labeled “throttle,” with its lightest wire closest to the receiver’s face plate. Turn on the transmitter then plug the battery into the ESC. The ESC does not need to be plugged into a motor for this procedure.

Nothing will happen until you work the transmitter’s elevator and aileron controls, which is usually the stick on the transmitter’s right side. One of the servo arms should move when you move the stick left and right. The other should move when you move the stick up and down. Both should move the same amount without much jitter.

If the servos didn’t move double check your set up. Check your battery voltage. If the servos still don’t move, you might have to bind your receiver to your transmitter. Since I have no way of knowing which of the hundreds of transmitters you own, you’ll have to refer to your manual or the internet for instructions.

Now that the arms are moving, set the transmitter’s variables to the default position. What I mean by this is; if anyone has used your transmitter since you received it from your vendor, or the transmitter is used, the trim and sub-trim controls might have been adjusted. If the transmitter is new, the trim controls should be centered and you can skip this step. But if not, you should center the aileron and elevator trims – or – use the data reset option, which when activated resets the transmitter as if it were new. If this step is just too confusing, skip it. Any problems that occur because of trims can be corrected later.

Without touching the transmitter controls, the servo arms should be at right angles to the servos. See below. They should also be 180 degrees opposite each other, one arm facing left and the other right. If not, reinstall one of the arms.

The servos are now ready to install. You may now disconnect the servos, the receiver and ESC and turn off the transmitter. By the way, transmitter batteries quickly die.

Glueing the servos:

If you intend to use the same servos on other planes, you will probably want to screw them on. If so see the chapter, “Attaching Servos” in my upcoming book or watch YouTube.

At the front of either vertical stabilizer, glue the servo to the wing and the vertical stabilizer. The servo’s wire must be facing the plane’s nose and the servo arm must be away from the vertical stabilizer so be sure to select the proper servo.

Attach the other servo next to the other vertical stabilizer.

Attaching the servo control wire:

First, try inserting the control wire into the servo arm. If the wire is too big, you must drill out the hole in the servo arm. Use a drill bit that is just a little larger than the wire and drill the second hole from the end of the arm. If you try to drill the first hole, you might break through the arm’s sidewall, rendering the arm useless.

Using a needle nose pliers or hemostats, put a “Z” bend in the end of the wire. Trim off all but 1/8th inch as illustrated below.

Stick the “Z” into either servo arm, and then lay the wire across the aileron. With a permanent marker, mark the wire ¼” past the hinge.

Remove the wire from the servo. Put another “Z” bend in the wire at the mark. This “Z” must be parallel with the first “Z”. In other words, if the first “Z” is vertical the second “Z” must also be vertical. Trim off all but 1/8th inch of the “Z”.

Insert either “Z” into the servo arm. Insert the other “Z” into a control horn and lay the horn on the aileron. The horn might need drilling, too.

This step is critical: Check the servo to be sure the arm is still 90 degrees. If not, force it into position.

This step is critical: Place the wing on a flat surface. Put something somewhat heavy on the aileron to hold it down on the same flat surface. Both the wing and aileron must be aligned.

Using toothpicks, pin the servo horn to the aileron. Do not push the toothpick completely through the board, yet.

Repeat this procedure on the other servo and horn.

With both horns attached to the ailerons. Place a scrap of foam board under one of the ailerons and under the horn. Press the toothpicks all the way through both foam boards.

Remove the under board.

The toothpicks should be as illustrated above. If, however, your toothpicks are too thick to pass through the horn’s holes, push them as far as possible, shy of breaking the toothpicks.

Now, pull the horn up about 1/2”, while trying to keep the toothpicks in the aileron. Once lifted, squirt a dab of hot glue between the aileron and the horn and on the toothpicks. Then quickly push the toothpicks deeper into the aileron then push the horn back down onto the aileron, gluing it in place.

Likewise, install the other control horn.

Your plane should now look like this.

Step 6: Installing the motor.

The motor will eventually be attached to the wing, centered on the front of the 3” X 8” hole at S10-L15. In preparation for this, place a mark at the back of the wing at S10-L15 to identify the center line. This will help you to center the firewall support.

Likewise, mark the S0-L15 line on the front of the plane.

Eventually, the motor will be attached to the firewall, which is simply a thin slice of wood (I use yard sticks or dowel.) The firewall will be glued to the firewall support. Therefore, you must make a firewall support, which is simple.

Cut a 2” x 10” rectangle from a scrape of foam board. Cut the rectangle from one corner to the other corner to produce two triangles. These are firewall supports.

Glue the firewall support to the wing with the squared 2” side flush with the wing at S10-L15 as seen below. It should be centered on the center line – hence the reason for the marks. Note: Only one side of the firewall support should be glued. Gluing the other side will result in an out-of-square match, which will tilt the motor – a definite no-no.

Place your motor’s mounting plate on the firewall and mark the holes. Drill the marks with a bit that is slightly smaller than the screws you plan to use to mount the motor with, like the screws that come with your servos.

Hot glue the firewall to the wing and firewall support. Hold till set.

If your motor has a separate (most don’t) mounting bracket, like the motor illustrated, it’s easier to mount it to the firewall while off the plane. You can mount other motors to the firewall first but I usually don’t. I wait until the firewall is secured. I do drill the pilot holes before mounting, though.

Once the firewall is mounted, apply a large amount of hot glue to the back side of the firewall, securely gluing it to the wing and firewall support.

By over-gluing like this, I’ve never had one work loose through normal flying. Many, however, have been busted off in sever crashes, along with most every other part of the plane.

Once the glue sets, mount the motor. If you haven’t already used them, the screws that came with your servos are just the right size.

Step 7: Installing the electronics.

Plug the motor’s three male wire connectors into the ESC’s, the Electronic Speed Controller’s, female connectors. Which male mates with which female is not yet important, just plug them in.

Next, plug the servo wires and ESC control wire into your receiver. The left servo (as if you were sitting in the plane) goes to channel one (the aileron channel), the right servo to channel two (the elevator Channel) and the ESC to channel three (the throttle channel) if you receiver is not otherwise labeled. All the connector’s lighter colored wires must be closest to the receiver’s face place for correct polarity unless otherwise labeled.

This is an eight channel receiver. Don’t worry if your receiver doesn’t have eight channels, you only need three channels on this plane.

Some people use hot glue. Others use tape, or rubber bands or Zip Ties. I use Velcro to secure all the electrical components to the wing. However you do it, try to stretch everything as far forward as possible leaving only enough room for the battery. This will help with balancing the plane, later.

It’s now time to secure the battery. Just like the other components, you can use rubber bands but I strongly suggest Velcro here, it just makes it so much easier when it comes time to change batteries. But, before you position the battery, you must establish CG.

Step 8: CG.

Center of Gravity (CG) -- the most important part of flying an airplane. Get it wrong and things quickly go bad. A front heavy plane will fly poorly. A tail heavy plane will fly once!

On the plane’s underside, mark a spot 9 ¼” back from the plane’s nose. Poke a toothpick through this mark. Glue it in place. Trim off all but 1/8” of the toothpick on both sides of the wing.

Every time you’re about to fly, I highly suggest you check CG. You do this by placing your fingertip under the toothpick and balancing the plane, with the battery in place. If the plane tips nose-heavy, move the battery back or use a lighter battery. If the plane tips tail-heavy, move the battery forward or increase the size of battery. When in doubt, fly nose-heavy. The first time I fly any plane, I go slightly nose-heavy just to be on the safer side.

Using this method, find you battery’s position and secure it in place.

Step 9: Testing the servos.

Before you attempt anything, you must set your transmitter to use the ailerons to control the plane instead of rudder, elevator and ailerons as most typical planes use. To do this you will need to refer to your transmitter’s manual and set either the “V Tail” or “Elevon” internal switches to “On”. Most transmitters use “Elevon.” Some transmitters will say “Delta”.

Whether you bought a plane or built a plane, a transmitter has no way of knowing how the plane’s servos were installed. When you work the transmitter’s controls, it sends signals to the planes receiver, which interprets these signals into voltages that it then sends to the servos and or the ESC. The transmitter determines whether the servo moves clockwise or counterclockwise, up or down, or in and out. Therefore, if a control surface moves the wrong way, we simply tell the transmitter to reverse its commands.

Before you hook up the plane’s battery, check your transmitter. Turn it on. Some transmitters require all switches to be in the up position and if they are not it will emit a tone or display a message.

Move the throttle control all the way to off (usually the left stick down). Most ESC’s have safety features that prevent the motor from spinning if the battery is plugged in while the throttle is on. If you have jumped ahead and mounted the prop, be cautious, secure the plane and keep body parts away from the prop just in case the motor does start. If you haven’t yet installed the propeller, don’t. We’ll get to that later.

Hook up the battery. Most ESCs will emit beeps, tones and some even music. If you didn’t hear anything, work the elevator or aileron controls on you transmitter. If nothing on the plane moved, something’s wrong. Since I, again, have no way of knowing which transmitter you have, you’ll have to be the one to fix this. Sorry.

On your transmitter, move your elevator control (stick) up and down. When you pull back (down) on the stick both ailerons should move up. This will push the tail down, which makes the nose goes up, and the plane would climb if it were flying. If both ailerons lowered instead of rose, you must adjust your transmitter to change this, to “reverse” this. Search your manual for the “Reverse” settings then reverse channels 2 and 3 or the elevator and aileron channels.

If the aileron’s each moved opposite one another, you will need to reverse either channel 2 (elevator) or channel one (aileron).

If things still are not working, try switching the servo wires on the receiver.

Move the stick right. As if you were flying in the plane, the right aileron should go up, the left aileron down. If the opposite happened, you must reverse channels 1 (aileron) and channel 2 (elevator).

This part can be confusing. Both ailerons should rise when you pull back on the right stick. Also, both ailerons should move opposite each other when you move the stick left and right, the right aileron up to turn right. If these two things don’t happen, you might try randomly switching the wires and reversing the channels until, low and behold, it works!

Step 10. Mounting the propeller.

Some motors come with prop adaptors or prop savers. I recommend prop savers. They allow the prop to pivot when they strike the ground upon landing or crashing. This helps to prevent the prop from breaking or, and more importantly, the motor shaft from bending. Whichever method you use, be sure to get a tight match between the prop adaptor/saver and the prop. A gap between the mount and the prop will cause the plane to vibrate violently, which robs power, rattles everything loose and wears out the motor prematurely.

Balance the prop. An out of balance prop will also vibrate the plane. If this is your first plane, you probably don’t own a prop balancer, which is inexpensive. If so, try the prop you have. You will know if the prop is out of balance because the plane will roar and you will feel the vibration. If it is out of balance, take it to someone who does own a prop balancer (hobby shop) or buy another prop from a hobby shop and ask them to balance it for you. You can also try balancing the prop by placing a wire or drill bit into the prop’s center hole then taping the prop one way then the other. By working the prop back and forth, you might be able to determine which side is heavier. Clip off a small slice of the end of the heavier side then test it again until it is balanced. By the way, there are many other ways to balance the prop other than cutting chunks from it – cutting is just the easiest.

When you mount the prop, the lettering goes forward, toward the plane’s nose. When you do eventually fly your plane and it should happen to whistle, you will know that you mounted the prop backwards. A reverse mounted prop also has little torque.

Step 11: Motor test.

A word to the wise: Propellers come off! They are sharp and go fast. I have the cuts to prove it. I’ve had propellers leave the motor and dig holes in my walls. So, always face the plane away from you and others when turning a propeller.

Secure the plane. Keep body parts away from the prop. Plug in the battery.

Work the elevator and aileron controls, just to make sure everything is still working.

Secure the plane or hold the plane and very slowly move the throttle stick up all the while avoiding contact with the propeller and pointing it in a safe direction. The propeller should eventually rotate. With your free hand, feel the air behind and ahead of the propeller. If you feel wind ahead of the propeller, you have the ESC and motor wires reversed. Turn the throttle off and disconnect the battery. Switch any two wires of the ESC and motor. Plug the battery back in and repeat the motor test.

In the next step I’m assuming that you have a modern 2.4 ghz transmitter. If not, skip this step.

If you’re motor goes beep, beep, beep and continues to beep, the motor will probably not start. You’re ESC thinks that the throttle is on and is giving you a warning. If your throttle is not on, you need to tell the ESC how to recognize the receiver’s throttle commands. To do this, unplug the battery. Turn your transmitter’s throttle all the way up to full throttle, then with the plane secured and body parts away from the prop, plug the battery back in. The plane will begin to emit beeps. When it goes beep, beep, (two beeps close together) quickly move the throttle to the off position. The ESC should then understand the receiver’s commands and initialize. It is ready and the prop should spin when the throttle is moved. Note: Some ESCs only emit one beep, so check the manual that came with the ESC.

With the motor spinning the prop correctly, slowly ease the throttle up until the motor is running at full power. This is where you will know if you have the propeller properly attached and if the propeller is balanced. And, it’s always a rush.

Step 12

The rest of this lesson is optional.

As illustrated in the first photograph of this lesson, you may have noticed that the battery, receiver and ESC are not on top of the plane. They are under the plane, protected by two skids. Even if you wish to keep the components on the top side, the skids will add rigidity. If you wish to use skids, cut two 2” by 12” skids from foam board and glue them to the plane’s underside outside the L11 and L19 lines. Make sure that the skids do not interfere with the ailerons.

If you wish to place your electronics under the plane, you can either glue your servos to the plane’s underside, instead of the plane’s topside as instructed in this lesson, or cut holes through the wing to snake your wires through.

Everybody crashes. The beginner crashes a lot. The plane usually noses in. Therefore, if you wish to add durability to your plane, add a pair of sticks (I use skewers) to the plane’s underside so that they extend out beyond the plane’s nose as shown in the first illustration of this lesson. If you’re using skids, glue the sticks alongside the skids. Do not sharpen the sticks, which is dangerous.

Another method of protecting the plane’s nose: glue a tongue compressor to the plane’s underside, whereas the leading edge of the tongue compressor is flush with the plane’s nose. Either of these two methods, or a combination of both, will greatly improve your chances of surviving a crash.

You’re now ready to go flying. Have fun!