The Turning Point

Feel like we made progress this week!

The Fantastic Foam Flyer design had not been performing like the internet said it would and although the kids are very happy with their planes I know they’ll be even more thrilled if the planes go up and fly around properly!.

I decided it was time to get tough with the plane so I took the tailplane off and glued it back on with a few degrees of up and cut a slice in the rudder and bent it to one side and glued it in position.

Testing our free flight planes

When testing in the hall at lunch the plane landed on the lighting rig! Fortunately the propeller was till turning and it tugged itself ree (drama!), the plane then did another circuit and landed.


We took the planes to the sports hall after school and gave them a good go, my plane flew for 15 seconds (Yessss!) and the kids planes were generally flying a bit better, much happiness and enthusiasm occurred!

New club members

We have 3 new kids in the club now, 2 more girls and one boy, bringing our fluctuating total to about 10, a bit more than we (Mr W & I) can handle but we’re doing our best!!

Most of the kids have now finished their Fantastic Foam Fliers and are learning how to wind and launch them.  I’ve realized my fancy bottle top winder is probably damaging the drive unit so have fashioned a bit of wire to wind the rubber from the back of the plane like the videos have shown me.

New version

I’ve built a new version with curves on it, just to look pretty!  I’ve moved the wings back to get the balance point right without adding loads of Blu Tack.  I’ve also had a good go at balancing the propeller, although I ran out of patience before it was perfect.


Video footage of the day

The final clip is the really exciting bit – 15 seconds of flight!  Feel free to add useful comments below, I think it’s got a bit too much up elevator and of course the propeller needs to be balanced…

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  1. It is always good to make forward progress.
    Your also retaining and gaining members.
    As the group gets larger I have learned to lean on the students that always finish first and do the job right. Don’t put them in charge as this can be a problem. They can take a big load of the work off. If one student is dragging or starting late the student who is far ahead can give direction to the slower students. This works well as all are busy.

    The progress your making with flights is encouraging. It could be a optical illusion but the crease in the wing appears to be midway back of the wing. Actually it should be about 1/3 back from leading edge.

    You will notice also the planes flying the best have a right turn in the flight. Torque wants to cause a left roll which pulls plane into a downward spiral. If it does power up in left spiral as the band slows down the plane will reverse path and fly straight then to right. So many direction changes kills the flight and indoors will almost always find a wall. Note on some high performance indoor models with large propellers moving very slow they will fly left circle. On our high speed propeller a right circle is best. If plane is rolling right on power curve try adding washout in left wing. This is pushing trailing edge of left wing up slightly.

    A common error is thinking to bend right edge down, thinking it will increase lift. The problem is two things.Drag increase on the inside of circle making circle tighter. Inside wing tip is already in a stall condition, so very little air is moving over wing thus no lift gain only drag.

    I think more winds could be added to rubber. Strech wind with lubricant will help also.

    A few of your flights looked very nice. It is exciting to see your progress.

    Ronnie Espolt

  2. Thanks Ronnie, wise words – I’ve understood & will applying them next week. Is washing up liquid ok for lubricant?

  3. For a foam plate airplane capable of two minute flights outdoors, go here:

    I have another design based on the Cloud Tramp that does as well. The problem with such well performing airplanes is that you will need a very large place in which to fly them.

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