Introduction: Dollar Tree Foam R/C Plane, F-16K
Have you ever try to get into the radio control airplane and got intermediating about all the detail of the hobby like. What is a transmitter, receiver, Lipo Battery, etc? And the biggest deal breaker is actually the cost of everything. You then go on Youtube to do some more researching (me), at first the hobby looks great, people know what they are doing, beautiful flying, beautiful video shot, then you start finding crashes, then more and more crashes. At one point you start asking yourself how people able to afford the hobby?
That was me months ago, I was debating for months, however, the moment my first design took off from the ground and starts to fly up the beautiful blue sky is something that I ever felt before. Nevertheless, I am not denying the challenge in this hobby. For that reason, I decided that it is time to share my experiences, design and, building tip, and also offer my best design, so that if you are a beginner then you would more likely to succeed and inspire you to join aerospace engineering.
Step 1: Research. What Is a F-16? and Why F-16?
The General Dynamics F-16, known as Fighting Falcon, is a single-engine supersonic multirole fighter aircraft originally developed by General Dynamics for the United States Air Force (USAF).
Fast forward to now, I have been in the hobby for months now, I can confident said that I gained some valuable lesson that I think it would make a big difference in the experience for a beginner. I have flown many different types of R/C airplanes, civil planes, war-birds, electric ducted fan(EDF) jet plane, etc. They have a unique characteristic flying style, and different experience as you control it in the air.
In this post, I will not go too deep on a particular topic, I will simplify most of the technical detail. If you just want order some parts online, slap it together and fly it and careless about the technical detail, you can. I will also include some link to other pages where I learn all this information if you are interested in a deeper understanding of the machine.
Don't get me wrong, this build has its own challenges. However, this design is a balance between build skill, electronic parts, and flying skill. Where I do not want the airplane make more than 10 parts to limit the material that you have to invest, also I want to use a minimum amount of electronics that you would need for the build, however, that means we have to setup elevon mixing. Sound complicate? Don't worry I will walk you through it and also include some great resource on the topic also.
Step 2: Let Start
I usually tape my dollar foam board with dollar tree packing tape, add little weight, however, make the airplane very durable and almost waterproof. It is important that you want to use the dollar tree tape because of their lightweight instead of the more expensive tape.
In this step, I draw the wing design on the board before I cut it out help the cut look cleaner also. I add a carbon fiber rod in the center of the plane because this is a "combat" plane. If you planning on 4S set up then I would really recommend the carbon fiber rod.
Step 3: Important Step. KF Airfoil
The Kline–Fogleman airfoil or KF airfoil is a simple airfoil design with single or multiple steps along the length of the wing. You would need cut the edge at a 60-degree angle on both sides like the picture, this will allow you to fold the paper down to for the KF airfoil.
Step 4: Motor Mount
I was using a common set up that you can get on eBay, however, the plane design like speed so a bigger set up if you have extra parts around. Here is the link for the brushless motor and ESC that you can get from eBay.
Just make sure if you choose to use a bigger motor then adjust the motor wall accordingly, ensure that the structure covers the motor since this plane design for a belly landing.
Step 5: Tail Section
Cut out the tail section of the plane, then glue it with rest of the airplane
Step 6: Horizontal Stabilizer
The horizontal stabilizer will help the airplane to go up-and-down, or pitching of the aircraft nose. This is one of the most important parts of the aircraft since it responsible for the airplane to take off and land.
Step 7: Electronic
Install servo motors, then run both servo motors, ESC signal wire, and power cable to the top of the plane to connect them to the receiver. This will keep the electronic setup cleaner.
Cut out the section for the nose. Then make sure glue the sides vertically to the top surface.
Step 8: Set Up Control Rod
We need to understand the basic of "Elevon" and how it works to continue in this important step.
" Elevon" is the combination of 2 words Elevator and Ailerons which are the 2 Control Surfaces on any airplanes.
" Elevon" is officially known as Dual Purpose Flight Control Surfaces, where the elevons perform the combined
functions of the ailerons and the elevator
Aircraft flight control surfaces are aerodynamic devices allowing a pilot to adjust and control the aircraft's direction.
The control rod will transfer the motion from the servo motors to the control surfaces. Therefore, the control rod is a very important part of the airplane.
Most of the time, the "elevon" usually use for flying wing, which the aircraft does not have the elevator. However, after testing I came to a conclusion that the control surfaces on the wings are not enough. I took the words "elevon" to a next level, where the Ailerons will mechanically connect to the Elevator. This will provide extra control over all.
I also design a double head servo horn to archive this setup. The double head servo horn will be glued to the ailerons and the single head servo horn will be glued to the elevator.
There are 2 ways to connect the control rod to the servo horn. You can use linkage stop or a Z bend, each of the methods has its own advantage and issues.
The linkage stop advantage is the ability to adjust the rod to archive a good setup on the control surface.
The Z bend is where the end of the control rod bend into a Z to then connect to the servo horn. The advantage of this method is simple and do not require extra parts. However, it is almost impossible to get a perfect length and a perfect bend to get a perfect control surface setup.
To know more about these setups, here is the link for more information about how to make a Z bend.
Step 9: Maiden
The plane flies on 1300 mAh 3S Lipo Battery, installed toward the front to balance the Center of Gravity (COG).
COG is the most important factor where a successful maiden and a failure maiden is a difference by inches.
To understand more about the COG, here is the link for more information.
If you follow with the drawing the I provided, then you do not have to worry too much about the COG