Towel R/C Plane Fleet

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A fleet of nine Towel R/C planes as a group project. Each person involved will be working on one plane.


Electronic parts were ordered en masse from Hobby King. One of three boxes underwent a delivery mishap which is still being rectified, but enough parts are available to begin. Some old coroplast for decks is available in the space, though more will be needed to complete all builds. Foam core for the airframe is available at Curry's nearby. Marker flags, which can be bent into control rods, are in the space.

Pairing controller and receiver

The controller and receiver were bought as a set, model HK-T6A V2. Before they're used, they must be paired to each other.

Start with the controller turned off, and the speed controller plugged into channel #1 on the receiver. Don't connect the battery yet.

  1. Insert the black dongle (pairing plug) into the BAT slot on the receiver
  2. Plug in the battery. You should now have a blinking red light on the receiver unit
  3. Hold the "Scan" button on the transmitter and turn it on. The red blinking light should go solid red.
  4. Turn off the transmitter
  5. Disconnect the battery from the receiver
  6. Remove the black dongle

Now the transmitter and receiver are paired together! It's a good idea to label your transmitter and receiver so they don't get mixed up.

Programming the controller

Using Digital Radio, the following settings were found to give correct elevon mixing on Randy's plane. This was with the starboard side servo on channel 1, port side servo on channel 2, and motor controller on channel 3.



Peter's plane

Peter completed the first build. It flew once the propeller was attached in the correct direction (remember, scoopy side back!).

Flight was somewhat unstable, so it never stayed up for very long. The cause is unknown, but it could have been caused by wind. Note also that the center of gravity of the plane was not measured or adjusted, so the weight distribution may have contributed.

Many propellers were broken the crashes. From the markings on the airframe, it appeared that the propeller was striking it.

Otherwise, the plane suffered little damage from crashing. The most noticeable blemish is crumpling in the tip of the airframe's nose.

Update Nov 11/2012: The plane flew better, but only for two flights before it crashed and broke like 10 zip ties. Recommending that people use the wide zip ties instead of the little ones. It still seems to be lacking thrust. Especially when compared to Randy's plane which was quite punchy when it took off.

Update Nov 15/2012: Night flying is hard. Even with an LED on the nose and two on the back, it was difficult for me to figure out what the plane was actually doing. At one point it flew overhead and I didn't realize how close it was. (ooops) Mounting the battery across the wing (ie parallel to the prop) is generally a bad idea. Broke lots of zip ties and the battery kept ejecting. The best option seems to be mounting the battery along the length of the plane (eg perpendicular to the prop) and putting a bit of tape over the zip ties.

Also we discovered that some of the props are defective. After replacing a busted prop, the plane had almost no thrust and it was making a wierd chopping noise (and the plane was vibrating). I replaced the prop with another of the same type, and everything worked just fine. I marked the bad prop to take a closer look at it later.

Randy's plane

A by-the-book build, with one significant modification: in an attempt to break fewer propellers, the propeller opening was increased from 2.5" long to about 4". Judging from the initial flights, it seems to have helped.

First flight occurred on November 11, 2012, ending with a smack into a tree trunk. Continued to fly many times after that. Over the many flights that day, only two propellers were broken, which was fewer than the number that Peter's broke in a shorter timeframe. This would imply that lengthened propeller opening helped, but I'm not doing the statistical analysis to prove it. Had a recurring problem with the battery sliding out from its zip ties on crash, sometimes ejecting completely; adding some tape over the battery might help. Flights ended when one of the motor mount's zip ties snapped; having spares on hand might be a good idea for the future.

Others' planes (who?)

Some people decided to reinforce the plane's nose by extending the deck toward it. The front 5" flat on the deck is removed, extending the two angled lines to their intersection point. We'll see what happens.