An rc glider sitting on a bench after its maiden

Again?!

You could say that this is yet another foam glider conversion to rc, and like many rc enthusiasts before me, and you’d be right. But rather then show you the end result, I want to share exactly how I built this creation. While this may not be the best airplane for a first time pilot, an experienced hobbyist looking to try something new will surely enjoy the easy build and its stable flight characteristics.

I’ve provided some in-depth image galleries of the construction techniques I used when converting an Air Hogs Titan foam glider to rc. Materials I used were:

Electronics and the glue gun aside, this build was purposely created on a tight budget. The goal was to use only the electronics I owned and focus on a build that can be done by even the most novice of builders. The total cost of materials, Air Hogs glider included, was approximately $25. I hope you find my how-to build useful when venturing to create your own foam-to-rc conversion. ‘Njoy!

Wing Construction Gallery

The wing was where I spent most of my time for the build. A majority of this time was spent planning how to assemble a strong wing with simple and affordable basswood spars, not carbon fiber. I removed the wing dihedral but, kept the swept back design of the wings the same.

5 September 2013 Build Note
After further flight testing, I found the best location for the Center of Gravity (CG) was approximately 75-80mm from the tip of the leading edge of the wing (measured from the center of the wing).

Fuselage Construction Gallery

To add more stability to the aircraft design I shifted the wing mount to the top of the fuselage (not the middle, it’s original location). This also created a stronger wing mount design using wing dowels and rubber bands.

Elevator Construction Images

Through experience and test flying I learned one should not use packing tape to adhere the wood elevator. My construction came apart mid-flight and almost caused catastrophic failure. I changed my design to instead use CA Hinge’s and epoxied them to the foam. Don’t use CA glue on this type of foam as it will melt the foam when applied.

Build Video

Modifications v.1 & 2

After the preliminary test flights, I found a few structural items that needed to be addressed. The biggest issue was the amount of flex the elevator was showing when achieving higher speed flight. To remedy this, like the wing, I installed some basswood spars with epoxy. Also, I filled in the wing holes (from the original design) using the foam I had cut off during the wing construction.

Modifications v.3

The focus of this modification was to create a larger battery bay. At the time I was using 3-cell 1350mAh lipo’s for flights, however, I had several 2250mAh and 3200mAh batteries available for use. Keeping the structural integrity of the fuselage was my greatest concern since the size of the bay was going to be triple the size I currently had. Also, the need to shift the batteries forward or aft (in the bay) to keep the center of gravity the same was going to be a requirement. The test video shows how well the plane performs with the weight of a 2250mAh 3-cell lipo in the battery bay. This gave me a comfortable 22 minute flight at approximately 60% throttle. Later tests proved the weight of the 3200mAh was negligible and provided over 35 minutes of flight time. The weights of the batteries are as follows:

  • ThunderPower 3-cell 1350mAh 11.1v, 89g
  • Pulse 3-cell 2250mAh 11.v, 205g
  • E-flite 3-cell 3200mAh 11.1v, 248g

Modification 3 Test Flight Video

Modification 3 Image Gallery

Modification v.4 Leading Edge of Wing

After having flown the Air Hog all summer long, the leading edge of the wing started to show significant damage where the rubber bands held it in place. Repairs were clearly required but, only to a small portion of the wing so I decided to cut out the damaged areas and replace the foam with a hard balsa wood triangle. I decided to use a balsa wood triangle rather then a symmetrical leading edge because I needed to hand sand the balsa to match the shape of the Air Hog leading edge. I cut out a 2 inch slot for each of the leading edges, hot glued the balsa pieces in place, and sanded to match the wing shape.

Modification v.5 Adding Winglets

Using the left over parts from when I trimmed the elevator (see Elevator Construction Images above) I decided to experiment with winglets to see if there would be any significant change in flight characteristics. My assumption was that the winglets would make the aircraft more stable and increase efficiencies (i.e., less drag).  The reality was that the winglets created more drag when I recorded increased times during high speed test runs. While a novel idea in concept, the winglets served no benefit to this prototype other then to make it look cool.

Flight Characteristics

Several people have asked to see more video of this build in flight. Below is a video short showing some of its characteristics in low level flight.

14 Comments

  1. Foam Glider conversion Tutorial
    September 3, 2013

    […] showing how I built the plane. Attached are some of the highlights but full details are at: http://www.controlchat.com/air-hogs-…der-conversion http://www.youtube.com/embed/EVsa6FTXYow [ Control Chat: the source for the aspiring rc […]

  2. Fernand Deschenes
    November 24, 2013

    Ilike to buy4 air hog titin no suply in Fredericton this time off year what can you do for me Merci price and chiping iff availeble

  3. Chatter
    December 1, 2013

    Hey Fernand,
    Feel free to drop us a line to try and help you out at contact(at)controlchat(dot)com.

  4. Fernand Deschenes
    December 1, 2013

    No air hogs in Fredericton N B Please seen me 1 /2 dozen air horgs the 4 feet wing Merci Fernand 168 Mcgregor stree Fredericton N B E3G7V5 Will pay with Pay pal Thanc you

  5. iPhone 5 Aerial View | Control Chat
    April 3, 2014

    […] a whim I decided to tape my iPhone 5 to the side of my converted Air Hogs foam glider one summer afternoon. Surprisingly, the airplane flew great even under twice the normal payload […]

  6. Foam Glider Conversion To EDF | Control Chat
    April 24, 2014

    […] materials as possible. The total build cost was approximately $45. The cost was much higher then my last build but, this was because I had to purchase two (2) 30amp brushless ESC speed controllers to ensure my […]

  7. Don Reynolds
    October 7, 2014

    Thank you for the tips, I am just getting back into the hobby which I have been out of it for over 20 years!I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a RTF and I have collected a lot of electronics so I had planned to use a air hog as my first plane back and your videos have been a great source if information…..please keep up the great work!

  8. Chatter
    October 9, 2014

    @Don
    Thanks for the compliments and I’m glad this article helped. There’s more to come as a twin engine Air Hogs is in the works.

  9. Fernand Deschenes
    October 12, 2014

    Merci pour liformation Were can i buy afew har hog Merci

  10. Control Chat » Foam Flyer v3
    October 15, 2014

    […] it took off straight & level and continued to rise into the sky. Now I continue to tweak my converted foam glider, making it even […]

  11. Don
    November 18, 2016

    Nice job building a couple my self wings in center thought about adding spars, did not though

  12. Don
    November 18, 2016

    Nice job building a couple my self wings in center thought about adding spars, did not though. Trying to get a shot for you.

  13. Don
    November 18, 2016

    Trying to send photos

  14. Chatter
    November 23, 2016

    @Don
    Unfortunately I don’t have a way to accept photo to the site. perhaps you could post them online and lave a URL to visit? Dropbox.com works really well for that.

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