Thread: Build Log Flying Foam's Mothership EP
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Old Sep 15, 2012, 12:43 AM
bobatflyingfoam is offline
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United States, TX, Hutto
Joined Aug 2004
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MotherShip Background Info

As founder of FlyingFoam and the creator of the MotherShip, I thought I would provide some background information about this large flying wing.

I created the MotherShip in the late 90's when slope combat was going crazy in Southern California. FlyingFoam was created later, but at the time I was hand cutting the Cheap Shot, a 48" span flying wing that used the same planform as the Zagi and Boomerang, 2 very popular flying wing designs at the time.

The Cheap shot was a refinement of the Boomerang, using thicker airfoils, large elevons and a lot of tip washout. This combination resulted in an airplane that had superior recovery characteristics and resulted in a number of wins at local slope combat contests by my son and a couple of his friends. The rules for slope combat were pretty simple. Get into a collision with another airplane and recover without hitting the ground. To prove you still had control, you had to do a roll, and if the other plane couldn't recover, you got credit for a "kill". The most kills wins!

Recovery characteristics were everything and speed and efficiency didn't mean much, but it took a while for the other designers to figure that out.

The idea for the MotherShip came about at a combat contest in Laguna Nigel, CA in 1998. One of the flyers had a 60" span wing that used thin airfoils, and no washout. It was a tip stalling nightmare, but due to it's size, it was real tough to knock down. I made some calculations and came up with the 83" span MotherShip, which was the largest I could go using the 24" x 48" EPS foam sheets that I was buying at the time. The MotherShip is a scaled up Cheap Shot using the same airfoils, planform and other design features, all scaled up to an 83" span.

The first outing of the MotherShip at the local slope proved it was a devastating combat killer, as the normal sized airplanes would simply bounce off of it. It was so good that one flyer landed his plane and declared that he would continue flying when I was done! After the word got out, all future contests had wingspan limits of 48" or 50", so the MotherShip became a novelty. I used the concept of a larger and heavier plane to create the Wide Glide which was a 48" span flying wing with a wider chord both root and tip, thick airfoils and huge elevons. With a 22 oz flying weight, it faired better in a collision and still had great recovery characteristics. The Wide Glide continued to win a lot of Southern California combat contests.

After creating FlyingFoam in January of 2001, I sold quite a few MotherShip kits. The original design utilized 2# EPS foam with an EPP leading edge and no spars. A few years later I began selling all-EPP Motherships cut from 1.3# EPP and using top and bottom 1/4" diameter tube spars that sweep with the wing. Later the powered version was added to the product line as and all-EPP design, but with no washout. The washout worked great on the slopes, but caused instability or a waggle exiting a turn due to the higher speeds of the powered version. Eliminating washout solved that problem and all powered versions are cut with no washout.

The other problem that reared itís ugly head with the powered version was a lack of torsional stiffness in the wing tips. A tight covering job and a 5th spar placed as far aft as possible solved that and helped reinforce the motor mount area for the pusher configurations. The reason the 5th spar isn't included in the kit is a simple one. It won't fit in the box! A larger box would greatly increase shipping costs, so it has been left out.

The MotherShip has been flown in many configurations, in both tractor and pusher designs, and with cameras for FPV and aerial surveillance. As a result, I never included a motor mount or pockets for batteries and electronics.

I have been amazed at how the MotherShip has stood the test of time. It has been around for 14 years and I'm sure Coby will continue to produce the kit as long as there is demand.

I will keep an eye on this thread and try to answer any questions you may have.

Enjoy your MotherShip!

Bob Mellen / Retired former owner of FlyingFoam
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