Flight Trainer II - Two Axis Movement

Introduction: Flight Trainer II - Two Axis Movement

About: I am an American teaching English at Shangluo University, Shaanxi. I like making machines that do interesting but fairly useless things - I call them Quixotic Machines.
I modified my first flight trainer by adding another axis of movement so that it can pitch up and down now as well as move in yaw by rolling the propeller. Now it is more difficult to fly but more satisfying when you can do it successfully. Flying straight and level is pretty difficult as you have to back off the power as it starts to rise.

I have one more modification in mind for this trainer and that is to mount the motor onto a swiveling gimbal so that it will stay vertically up and down no matter where the motor arm is vertically.
To get a more realistic movement in this trainer it probably requires some sort of "smart" counterbalance weight/lever that decreases the weight of the backside of the motor arm when the motor begins to rise vertically. As it currently is the trainer requires less power the higher the motor rises which is opposite of a real world copter. 

The great thing about a simple trainer like this is: it gives a real muscle memory learning experience in the requirement to control two axis of movement at the same time -  which is what you have to learn when you fly the real thing.
And, you can't break this trainer whereas an expensive copter to a newbie is just a bunch of expensive parts waiting to get spread all over the ground.

Photo 1: First photo shows the entire trainer. Two jump rope handles and their bearings provide the two axis of rotation. A single servo rotates the motor axis thereby rolling the motor left or right and providing yaw movement around the vertical jump rope handle axis. The pitch, up and down movement is provided by the thrust of the motor.
Photo 2: Here is the servo which rotates the arm which holds the motor.
Photo 3: The electronics are an ESC motor controller, a radio receiver and a lipo battery. Only two channels of the ESC are required, one for the servo and one for the motor speed.
Photo 4: This shows two pieces of aluminum angle bracket bolted together and then bolted to the vertical jump rope handle bearing. The bearings are easy to pop out of the handle and a bolt goes right through the center of the bearing and then just pop the bearing back into the handle. Through the other side of the angle bracket I put a bolt that holds another piece of aluminum angle bracket which supports the motor arm handle.
Photo 5:  This is the backside of the aluminum angle bracket that supports the motor arm handle.
Photo 6: Shot of the aluminum angle bracket holding a brushed motor and propeller. The arm itself is a piece of hollow fiberglass fishing pole.
Photo 7:  Last photo is underneath shot of how I attached the servo to the angle bracket. Not very neat but it works. 

Primary materials to build:
- rc motor, propeller, radio, motor controller, lipo battery and servo
- two jump rope handles and bearings
- fiberglass fishing pole
- acrylic ruler to mount electronics on
- foot of aluminum angle bracket
- assorted bolts
- one shower curtain holder bracket
- a cigar box for base
- tools: soldering iron, drill, hack saw, screwdrivers and pliers

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    4 Discussions


    5 years ago

    You mention needing a smart counter balance. I think you could achieve that by simply lowering the center of gravity. Right now it looks like you have the batteries and stuff above the arm. If you hung them below the arm i think it would improve things. Or just flip the whole arm over so it's hanging below the pivot point, instead of sitting above it.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Absolutely fantastic stuff!!!!

    I was so very happy to find this instructable. It solves a lot of queries i had.

    My plan is to make a helicopter flying kit for my small boys. Harking back to the '70s toys such as chopper command and vertibird. The originals used a long drive shaft to run the heli, but i wanted to get a model heli and use a motor like you have. I just could not work out how to make the spinning base controllable without having to move the entire base, or have the blades controlled. But your method of having a servo tilt the boom and allowing the blades to move it forward or backwards, is perfect.

    Thanks for uploading. :-)


    Reply 5 years ago

    I'm glad to see someone else remember the Vertibird. I had one of those when i was a kid, and this made me think of that.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for checking it out. Will be very interested in seeiing how yours works out.