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Thread: Recommendations for an easy to build flying wing for an "advanced beginner" pilot?

  1. #1
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2013

    Question Recommendations for an easy to build flying wing for an "advanced beginner" pilot?

    I'm looking for recommendations for an easy to build wing, that I'll use as an initial FPV model.

    First my experience level that I'm coming in with:
    I've built and flown R/C electric helis for the last year or so. I typically fly in circuits, figure 8s, rolls, loops, and a little bit of inverted flight. Not really 3D style, more sport flying or "big air" style. A bunch of sim time has got the upright and inverted orientations pretty wired in.

    I've got a ParkZone Radian that I don't fly very often, but I can launch it and bring it down in one piece. It's not pretty, but I'm not a danger to anyone else or their aircraft.

    On the electronics/gear side, I'm very comfortable putting things together. I understand the issues around picking frequencies, antennas, and interference the control and video links. I'm "in" the R/C hobby, I've got a capable TX, chargers, batteries, some soldering skill, etc. so diving into this project is doesn't involve me spending hundreds of dollars gearing up for R/C or learning the basics all R/C folks have to get through.

    What I *think* I'm looking for:
    I'd like to get into FPV flying. I like the idea of soaring for longer times, and I get my rotary-wing fix from helicopters, so I'm leaning toward a fixed wing vs quadcopter. I flew a wing once at a local park and liked it. I've heard others say wings are harder to learn than a traditional plane, but I didn't really have trouble.

    I plan to start LOS to actually learn to fly the wing, but I want to progress quickly to flying it FPV. To keep this initial setup simple, I think I'll just stay with my 2.4Ghz control link and go with a 5.8Ghz video link. I know that means I'll have to stay close, and eventually replace gear if I ever want to go farther. But I figure it's better to get something working close range than try and jump to something like an OpenLRS and 1.3Ghz video right away. It also means less gear to buy initially. I have a spare RX for control, and for some reason I have an ImmersionRC 5.8 vTX and couple of cloverleaf antennas already. Oh, at least for now I don't plan on recording, no GoPro mount needed. I just want to fly.

    The reason I'm posting is that I'm trying to find an 50-60"-ish wing. I've look at a few options and I could use some advice:

    - Size.
    It seems like the current sweet spot for stability and flight time is about 50-60". Also, I don't think I can easily fit a bigger wingspan in my car. The Radian works only because it comes apart. I'm open to suggestions here though.

    - "flat" wings vs "fuselage" style?
    Maybe I should say "Grim Reaper" vs "FX-61" style. Right away, I like the idea of a large bay to mount electronics. This seems more flexible than having to cut channels for batteries and vTX and such. But, I don't know what I'm trading by having that mini "fuselage"

    - Simple to build, not lots of tweaking
    While I've done a few helicopter builds, I don't have very little of foam plane building experience. One thing I liked about the Radian build was that it dead simple. No laminating, no cutting channels for spars, etc very little gluing, etc. I really like some of the crashtesthobby products, but looking at the build videos looks like more than I want to bite off for my first wing build. Looking at build videos, the FX-61 seems dead simple like this.

    I'm also hoping to avoid a bunch of tweaking to get it to fly right. Not sure that is even possible. As a specific example, a friend has an FX-61 so I've been looking at that. But then I read all these build threads about changing the control horns, replacing the motor mount, etc. That's a real turn-off at this point.

    Maybe I need an PNP/PNF kit? Just add RX batt, and go? I've learned enough from building Heli's that I know I'm capable of picking out motor, ESC, servos and such but for some reason the idea of lots of cutting, gluing, and laminating on the foam is turning me off. Maybe there's a happy medium?

    - Plane instead of a wing?
    I'm not married to the flying wing platform, a more traditional plane airframe would work too. The Radian doesn't have much room inside for additional gear and not good spots to easily mount an FPV camera out of the way of the prop or I would try with that. The My Twin Dream plane looks nice. I do want space inside to mount things. What are there advantages/disadvantages to wing vs plane?

    - Return to home
    One thing I will want to do soon after initial FPV flying is add an autopilot with GPS and some return to home feature. I want to treat this like a rescue switch. I'll have this on a switch on my TX and set this up as a failsafe if my control link goes down. I don't need mission planning or auto landing, just something that will get the model coming back towards the starting location until I can bring it LOS. Are there simple systems that do this or am I pretty much looking at a full ArduPilot module?

    Thanks for any advice.
    Last edited by krb; 1st June 2016 at 05:33 PM.

  2. #2
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Walpole, MA
    If you want simple and cheap to get you going, get a spec wing. It can be a little twitchy, and is pretty quick, but I get 2 of them shipped to me at a time for about $50. And the minimal electronics to get it going from Hobby King are pretty damn cheap too.
    Something a bit better and able to grow into something pretty nice, get a mini talon X-Uav. Can't go wrong with this one for the price. Plus you have endless possibilities of how to build it, I made mine with a long range control (Dragonlink) and 1.3 vid. I can also stuff a 4s 6000mah battery in it and fly for quite a while. Again, you can make this one as cheap or not so as you want. I liked mine enough to buy a spare in case (when) I crash and trash it. It did live though a night stuck up 75' in a tree a couple of weeks ago.

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