The Preamble

This article covers my conversion of a hand toss foam glider to a radio control (rc) powered airplane. Unfortunately, due to a severe oversight in understanding the concept of torque, the laws of physics prohibited my craft from taking to the skies (i.e., crash). All things considered, the build approach in this article is solid, fast, and relatively cheap, however, I recommend you use an electric motor more conducive to a aircraft of this size and weight; like a Park 250 Brushless Outrunner from E-flight.

The Build

When I came across a small 24 inch foam hand toss glider at a craft store I thought to myself, “I’ve converted a 4 foot version of this in the past so why not this small glider?” So without hesitation I snapped up the glider and had it on the workbench later that evening.

Wanting to keep the costs low, I decided to use what I had on hand from my past electric experiences plus only the items I had on hand at home. This included the use a glue gun (low temp setting) for all adhesion and using clear packing tape to hinge any surfaces (e.g., elevator). The electronics I used are the following:

  • (2) Hi-tech micro servos
  • (1) 25amp brushless ESC speed control
  • (1) E-flite 450 890Kv brushless motor (Way too powerful. See Torque Matters)
  • (1) 9×6 Slow electric APC propeller
  • (1) 3-cell 1320mAh 11.1v Thunder Power LiPo

The Build

I knew weight was possibly going to be an issue for a conversion of this size, however, I’ve flown bricks in the past and was confident I could do the same in this case. Plus, I knew the power my motor would provide should solve any issues getting airborne. The total time it took to do the conversion was a paltry 6 hours over the period of a week. The weight was lighter then I anticipated and I paid particular attention to the center of gravity (CG) to ensure I would have a relatively stable thrust line.

The Results

While the approach for this particular build & conversion was relatively solid, the oversight regarding torque ended any hopes of seeing this hand toss glider soar into the skies.

Lesson Learned

I often hear pilots at the field talk about how large of motor or engine they have installed in their airplane. And after my own personal experience, I began to wonder how many rc pilots really understand the effects of torque on our aircraft. For example, I’ve seen beautiful airplanes crash on take-off and landing because the pilot didn’t appear to understand the effects of torque at slow air speeds.

Too much power can be a dangerous thing if you don’t know what it’s capable of doing, so be ever mindful when you decide to overpower your aircraft because, torque matters.

4 Comments

  1. Torque Matters | Control Chat
    July 31, 2013

    […] Prev  |  Next » Articles  |  Filed July 30, 2013  |  No […]

  2. Jim Eastep
    August 5, 2013

    This was absolutely one of the best done build discussions I have ever seen. Great list of parts, objectives, discussion, photo documentation, links to other topics, video, sources of material, acknowledgment of input of others (full scale instructor wife, manuals, etc.).

    I’m anxious to see your next build documentation or further efforts to modify this one.

    Keep up the great work.

    Jim

  3. Foam Flyer v3 | Control Chat
    August 21, 2013

    […] having a minor set back in my last experiment dealing with foam gliders, I had my fingers crossed that this time it would work out. Not only did […]

  4. Fernand Deschenes
    February 25, 2017

    Allo lest Talk 1 506 472 4205 les teach each other some trick Fernand 60 years in the hobby

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