Air Hogs Titan glider simple RC Trainer conversion
I have seen the huge variety of RC Conversions for the Air Hogs Titan glider.
There are many creative conversions which look nothing like the basic kids hand launch glider.
However, almost none of them exploited the amazing fact that the model is large, very light and designed to free fly well from a hand launch.
This means that the model will fly with almost no input to its flight path. It can also take RC without much effort.
So I was looking to convert this model to make a simple and cheap model for a complete beginner. That means a model that will fly well for a beginner in RC that will fly with simple RC gear and use low cost easily available equipment and materials.
I had seen that many modifications were quite elaborate and often used more difficult to obtain materials and parts. So I set out to simplify as much as possible and not do complicated things to this very low cost model.
My target audience is to be real Newcomers and RC Beginners that have almost no construction knowledge who want to get flying with an electric powered trainer plane that looks good.
I found there were some challenges in the basic model:-
1. The length of the control moment between the wing and the tail feathers. This was far too
short for a Trainer type model.
2. There were no control surfaces for RC flying.
3. There was no place to stow the RC gear without cutting the molded parts. Particularly the
4. There was no safe place to put a power unit to avoid breaking props.
5. Linking up RC gear was not easily hidden.
6. Using simple low cost RC gear.
7. Gluing the foam without damage.
8. Keeping as much of the original model's character as possible.
So I set about trying to do the minimum amount of work on the model and decided to have a 3 channel model with just 2 low cost servos, a cheap motor, cheap battery and RC gear with speed controller. I did not want to strengthen the wings if possible and that has been fine so far. Just don't do aerobatics :-)
The model can be made with no power pod and motor if you want a glider for slopes or air towing. I would not want to try high start launching without major strengthening.
I think you will be pleased by my simple result and be inspired to grab one and build your own docile trainer.
Later you can step up to 4 channel, add a little extra strengthening and move up to the next level RC trainer model.
I have photographed the resulting model and will show how it was achieved. There were some improvements in my construction when testing but this is mainly confined to lengthening the fuselage to get a docile training flyer.
I will list here the additional materials etc used in this RC Trainer Conversion :-
1. 25 x 7 x 7cm block of 20Kg/M3 expanded polystyrene foam or XPS. Laminated pieces can be used but the density is medium and not light.
2. Fiber reinforced packing tape 50mm wide.
3. Clear packing tape 50mm.
4. Kebab sticks 2 for push rods.
5. Credit card for control horns.
6. Foam plastic glue like PVA or Gorilla Glue. Should not be flexible or rubbery when dry.
7. Foam safe CA.
8. Ply wood 3.5mm ( 0.14 inch) for power pylon.
9. Steal wire for push rod ends.
10. Sewing cotton for push rod to wire joints.
11. An ST2204 1550KV out-runner motor.
12. 4 x Motor mounting screws.
13. 1 8045 Prop.
14. A 10A Speed Controller.
15. 2 x 40cm electrical wire for power lead.
16. 2 x Power connectors for power leads.
17. A 3 to 6 channel lightweight RX.
18. A 1750 2S LiPo.
19. 2 x 7 to 9g servos.
20. 2 x Long servo extension leads.
21. 4 x magnets for canopy latching.
22. Foam cutting bow (about 300mm wire length) and power supply.
23. Corrugated cardboard for templates.
24. Modelling clay for nose weight.
25. A prop adapter.
26. fiber glass Dry Wall joining strip (has square holes between the glass fiber threads. Not a vinyl tape.
Further posts will be for detailed photos and steps to:-
A. Convert the fus.
B. Convert the horizontal Stabilizer
C. Make and fit the Power Pod.
D. Install the gear.
E. Balance the Model
F. Decorate the Model.
G Fly the Model
Convert the fus
The biggest job to do on this model is to make the fuselage fit to receive the RC gear and Power System.
My first impression is that the moment arm between the wing and tail feathers is far too short for a beginner trainer. So I set out to extend that.
This also facilitated making a tunnel through the fus to allow power and RC gear installation wherever I wanted.
The pictures with annotations are below.
I did make a simple foam cutter so that I could cut the fus in two and open up a canopy space.
I also made a cutter for boring the 13mm hole through the fus.
There is pics of the canopy cutting templates and fin/rudder upgrade.
The rudder area is extended with additional foam and sanded to a 3mm TE.
The hinge is cut and the elevator beveled to 45 degrees.
It is hinged with clear packing tape.
When cutting the fus into two halves you need to jig up the cut so that it is square and vertical in order to be sure that when rejoining the fus with the extension block the tail feathers remain in the original orientation to each other.
Care should also be taken that the ends of the extension block are also square and vertical before rejoining the 3 sections of the fus. Also be sure that the center line of the original fus sections is kept straight to each other with a center line drawn on both top and bottom of the extension block.
I used Gorilla Glue to rejoin all the fus sections.
Convert the horizontal Stabiliser
To convert the horizontal Stabilizer it is necessary to add a further section to the rear to act as part of the elevator.
The extension is glued to the back of the existing stab and then sanded to the section, coming down to 3mm at the trailing edge.
Cut the hinge line at 90 degrees to the stab surface then bevel the elevator LE to 45 degrees from the top edge. The elevator should then be able to hinge down to 45 degrees once a clear packing tape hinge is made.
The elevator is hinged with clear packing tape.
There is no strengthening strip needed in the stab if you fly as a trainer.
The dimensions are in the photos below.
Make and fit the Power Pod
I wanted an electric powered model so it can be flown anywhere. So I decided to make and fit a Power Pod.
It would be very easy to skip this stage and just have a slope glider or aero tow model. The model does not have a great glide ratio so thermaling is unlikely and high start has high forces which would require serious strengthening of the wings and Horizontal Stab. So for beginner trainer the power pod is the best option.
I have designed this method of powering to keep the prop away from the ground on landings. An EDF could be used but i wanted to keep it simple.
The best place for a power pod is over the CG so that dictated the positioning on the fus. This also makes it easy to fit a key fob camera with no prop in the view.
The ply wood used is 0.14 inch 3.5mm three ply. Not a particularly high grade ply is needed as the design is plenty strong enough.
This design gave me the chance to keep the speed controller outside the fus for cooling and ease of installation. Wiring is easy from that location too.
I also used a plastic egg to get the front of the motor area but it can be just foam sanded with some packing tape stuck over the foam.
The diagrams and photos are below with dimensions for an 8 inch prop.
Note: The power pod has a 2 Degree down thrust and 2 Degrees side thrust to smooth out the power changes on the flying.
Install the gear
I wanted to make the RC and power system installation simple.
I had made the tunnel through the fus and set the power battery location in the canopy area for balance reasons.
The power pod system is almost totally external to the fus so no problems there. I just had to make up a power harness with plugs to go between the battery and speed controller.
The Power Pod should have 2 Degrees down thrust and 2 Degrees side thrust.
Because the power lead comes out in front of the power pod pylon the signal lead from the RX can go to the speed controller through the same hole.
This also led to having the RX located in the space between the wing roots below the power pod.
The best place to put the servos for the tail control surfaces was in the substantial foam thickness near the front of the fin. This facilitated simple straight control rods to the horns for the rudder and elevator. It could not be simpler and all it needed was 2 small cutouts for the servos.
A hole in front of the fin lets the servo wires enter into the tunnel in the fus.
That just left me with the need to fit long servo extension leads through the fus tunnel to the RX.
The tunnel through the fus was perfect for running the wires.
I post all the pictures below of the gear location and wire runs.
Other useful information
During the Modification, construction and setup of this model there is other useful information for the converter of this Air Hogs Titan.
The total AUW for flying came out at 450g and the CG should be at 10cm from the wing LE at the entry to the fus.
I have strengthened the model a little for collisions.
There is reinforced packing tape :-
It may be beneficial to put a strip of glass reinforced packing tape down the center of the underside of the wings to resist upward bending forces on the wings. I have however found that the wings are strong enough if you don't fly aerobatics. Remember we are making a trainer.
I used magnets to keep the canopy on. This could be done with adhesive tape or using cocktail sticks pushed in suitable places.
I also chose to keep the wings push fitting but wanted to tighten the fit and make it unlikely the wings would pop off unless pulled out by hand.
I decided to put Glass Fiber Dry Wall joining tape stuck on to the end of the wing roots. Pictures are below.
If you want to be extra safe you can push barbecue sticks down through the fus and the wing route sections in the fus. If you do this you are bound to tear the wing and fus if you have a collision.
I made the servo mounting holes very tight fitting on the servos. This has made it hold strongly enough to not glue the servos in. An alternative is to use masking tape wrapped round the servos and then use epoxy to glue the servos into the foam.
Push rods are made from a short piece of Z bent wire bound onto a stick. A barbecue stick is ideal. The binding is sewing cotton with CA glue fixing the joints.
Before you glue the Power pylon into the fus it is wise to mount the motor and fit the prop so that you are sure the prop will not touch the fus. Also be sure the 2 Degree down thrust and 2 Degree side thrust is set in and that the pylon is set verticals and not twisted. The motor should also be set to 2 degrees side thrust as per the diagram below.
As built I have not wanted to fit ailerons or alter the dihedral as everything works great as a 3 channel rudder model.
The next step would be ailerons and stiffening the wings with carbon fiber strips or wooden dowel. Also the horizontal stab would need a carbon or bamboo spar for reinforcement.
I may add more useful information here as I finish the upload.
Balance the Model and Setup
The finished model should have the CG set at 10cm from the LE of the wing.
I marked the underside of the fus and also put the model on a balance to be sure I got an accurate setting.
There was need for a little modelling clay at the front of the battery bay to get the actual CG I required.
I also wanted to check the incidence of the wings and horizontal stab.
Fortunately the model is designed with reasonable alignment if assembled as standard. Do remember to glue the horizontal stab onto the fus when you are sure the alignment os good.
Decorate the Model
I decided to decorate the model using mostly the decals in the Air Hogs Titan package.
Most of the decals are put as shown on the plastic bag the model came in.
I have taken some stripes from the canopy decal and place them elsewhere on the model/
Some of the scrap white decal is used to cover the holes in the top of the fus where wires go inside.
I will let you see my lack of imagination in pictures below.
Fly the Model
I will get you some flying photos and perhaps video.
What I can say is that it is a perfect trainer.
Reasonably slow, with no nasty tricks.
It flies smoothly and is nicely responsive to controls.
Low slow passes are easy and climbing to a 2-300 foot altitude is very easy.
I have carried a key fob camera and got some great video of my local flying site.
Thanks to Air Hogs for this lovely flying model.
I got 3 at £10 GBP delivered and am so inspires with what I might make with the next one :-)
Have great flying.
Please feel free to comment and give feedback
Please fell free to comment and give feedback on this Conversion as there may be better ways to go with this concept or perhaps I have missed some details you would like to have me expand on.
My Conversion is one of the most stable and low cost beginner trainer models I have ever seen.
This could be a great build project for anyone who finds these Spinmaster Air Hogs Titans in their local store or on a discount site online.
I do hope this Conversion is what you have been looking for as it is working well for my young son.
All the best.
Canada, AB, Wainwright
Joined Jan 2015
Excellent work! I love the aesthetic with the fuselage stretched. These really are great planes to convert to RC. My son and I did a couple and my latest was the Albatros. His served as a very good trainer, and we went 4 channel on all of our conversions. My first ended up being very maneuverable, as I didn't stretch the tail. I'll fire some pics up here later.
Again, great work and a very good write-up!
Nice conversion, that is quite the write up! I completely agree that it makes a perfect trainer. I headed down the same road as yourself in some areas, and made slightly different design choices in others. So far I have let 3 kids and four adults fly it while I buddy box them, and it has survived intact no problem. I've crashed it as couple of times on takeoff, with no damage, just check it over and go flyin again. Very good design that opens up tons of options for rc at a very cheap price.
Very Inspiring Design
That looks a Very Inspiring Design.
It has already triggered a new design in my mind.
The thinking also includes putting in a wing spar and ailerons.
So a 4 channel trainer with a shoulder mounted wing.
I am also thinking of making the fus about 12cm longer, take out the wing sweep and put the motor at the front.
The idea is ticking on how to make this simple.
Thanks for your inspiration and I hope others will post their inspirations :-)
Thanks a lot.
All the best.
Or did you mean flying wing with foldable wing tips, hardwood reinforced leading edge to knock others out of the sky during combat? ( doesn't help when you get ribbon all twisted around the prop though,haha)
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