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Flutter-By Models Flutter-By Review

This Custom-built, Ready-To-Fly model arrives test-flown and ready for the receiver and battery of your choice.

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Introduction


Wingspan:38”
Wing Area:570 sq”
AUW weight:17.6 oz.
Length:43”
Wing loading:4.45 oz/sq. ft.
Servos:2 – 9 Gram TowerPro
Transmitter:Spektrum 12X
Receiver:Spektrum AR6100
Battery:Thunder Power 1350mAh 3s LiPoly
Motor:E-flite Park 450 890 Kv
ESC:E-flite 25a Pro Brushless
Manufacturer:Flutter-By Models (jefsquared@comcast.net)
Price:$295.00

Shortly after the release of the GWS Slow Stick, Jack Frost began looking for ways to modify the aircraft's design to allow for a more maneuverable plane with good slow flight characteristics. He also wanted an airplane that could handle well in higher winds. After trial and error testing different design methods and materials, the Flutter-By was born. In the eight years since its creation, approximately 80 Flutter-Bys have taken flight.

Kit Contents

Flutter-By includes:

  • Complete carbon fiber airframe covered with rip-stop polyester with a poly carbonate coating.
  • 400 sized electric outrunner motor, 20 amp ESC, two 9-gram servos already installed
  • Hardware installed (nylon clevis connectors, pushrods and horns)
  • Decals already applied

Flutter-By requires:

  • 3s LiPoly battery
  • Receiver
  • 3 channel minimum transmitter

Equipment used for this review:

  • E-flite Park 450 Brushless Outrunner Motor 890 Kv
  • E-flite 25-Amp Pro Brushless ESC
  • Thunder Power 1350 3s battery pack
  • 2 TowerPro 9 gram servos

Assembly

I picked up my Flutter-By directly from Jack so no assembly was required. If your Flutter-By is shipped, the wing, horizontal stabilizer, vertical fin and landing gear are removed and can be reattached in a matter of minutes. Each Flutter-By is test flown by Jack and put through a rigorous flight like the one shown in the flying video. This level of commitment is what impressed me most. Imagine if each of our aircraft were personally flown by the designer to ensure they perform up to the standard in which they envisioned when the aircraft was designed.

The builder needs to:

  • If shipped, reattach the wing, horizontal stabilizer, vertical fin and landing gear
  • Install receiver

Options

The Flutter-By is available in one of four different colors. Florescent Yellow, Red, Purple, and Florescent Orange. Other colors are available; however, they require the materials to be special ordered. Also a night-flying version is available with an MPI light kit already installed. The additional colors or light kit are available for an additional $20.00 and $50.00 respectively.

Since each Flutter-By is made to order, the components used can be customized. The standard Flutter-By includes a 400 class brushless outrunner, 20-amp ESC, two 9 gram servos and an APC 11x4.7 SF propeller. The pilot may choose to provide their own equipment, as I did, to lower the cost by $65.00.

The Flutter-By is not available as a kit or ARF and is only sold as a Ready-To-Fly model.

Completion

As mentioned above, just add your receiver and battery and the Flutter-By is ready to go. To maintain the proper CG, along with good flight duration, a 3S 1300 to 1350 mAh battery is recommended.

Flying

The Flutter-By is a three channel airplane (Rudder, Elevator, and Throttle). The rudder and elevator are very effective thanks to the use of a flying tail. It is capable of unlimited vertical climbs and glides well with the power off. Pilots will find it almost impossible to stall as the nose just drops slightly with no tendency to drop a wing. The airplane can be flown at a 45-degree angle of attack for extremely slow flight. It is also able to hover and hang on the prop for as long as you can hold it. It is the most aerobatic, non-aileron, aircraft I own and has a wide flight envelope from mild to wild. I have also flown a Flutter-By with the stock 400 setup which comes in about an ounce lighter than mine. It feels just a little lighter on the sticks and and slightly more floatier. Where it really shines is by allowing for longer flight times, up to 20 minutes with throttle management.

Take Off and Landing

The Flutter-By is capable of taking off in less than 10 feet on a hard surface. In the grass, the large wheels will work with low-cut grass or it can be hand launched by holding the carbon brace above the wing at half throttle. Landing is a nonevent, you can land it at a walking pace with the motor running or bring it in and cut the throttle and glide to a nice landing.

Aerobatics/Special Flight Characteristics

I found this aircraft to be quite agile for a three channel model. It can achieve very tight loops, consecutively. It is able to roll in either direction and while not as pretty as an aileron roll, it gets the job done. The most fun maneuver is to go into a vertical climb to gain altitude and then cut the throttle while pushing the right stick in either the top left or right corner. The Flutter-By will go into a tight spin and then flatten out and tight spin again until you release the sticks. This maneuver can be seen at the beginning of the flight video.

Is This Plane For A Beginner

Yes. The Flutter-By with its light wing loading allows for very slow flight and the three channel control (Rudder, Elevator & Throttle) keeps it simple. The durability of its construction will allow it to withstand minor mishaps and less than perfect landings.

Photo Gallery/Flight Video

Downloads

Conclusion

The Flutter-By is a docile aircraft without any bad habits. It has spirited performance for a three channel model and handles well in the wind. It is also very durable with its use of carbon fiber and rip-stop polyester.

Pluses:

  • Custom-built and tested
  • Highly durable construction
  • Forgiving flight characteristics
  • Lightweight

Minuses:

  • As with any custom product, the Flutter-By and any replacement parts can only be purchased from the designer.
Last edited by Angela H; May 18, 2010 at 12:50 PM..

Discussion

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Old May 24, 2010, 06:31 PM
Flutter-Bys are fun
Conehead's Avatar
United States, MI, Honor
Joined Dec 2005
5,028 Posts
Ah finally a review of one of my favorite planes and person. Jack is one of the best guys I met in RC. I have 4 different versions of the Flutter-By. Two large ones like Dr. Who's, two mini Flutter-by's one a bi-plane and one single wing. I also have the only Frost's Flutter-Duck, a canard Flutter-By.
I will attach pictures as soon as I can get them from the other comptuer.
I find I can fly the Flutter-By's in a lot more wind than you would expect, they are so much fun, people look at them and say, How does that fly? They are amazed that The Flutter-By will fly and when they see it, most are speechless.
I have flown my Flutter-By's indoors in very small gyms, the JR Indoor Event, E-Fest and just about every place I can find.
I have lights on one, will add lights to the other one.
I have a Combat Flutter-By, a Red one, a mini Green one and a Red Bi. The Duck is Florescent Orange. It stands out great.
This is one of the most fun planes to fly. I put this plane and the Lightflite Bug in my car all the time for fun, fun, fun.
My 1320 mah will fly my Flutter-by for 30 minutes if you want to fly that long. At dusk with lights on, The Flutter-By is so much fun, it flutters by and you can't hear a thing, when you throttle up, it russels and my flying buddies say what is that??
Thanks Jay for the review, I love it.
Conehead
Orrin Eldred
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Last edited by Conehead; May 24, 2010 at 09:17 PM. Reason: added images
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Old May 24, 2010, 06:32 PM
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United States, CA, Huntington Beach
Joined Apr 2009
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great review and watch all the posts pour in haha
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Old May 24, 2010, 06:41 PM
WARNING: May contain spam
Xpress..'s Avatar
Joined Oct 2007
20,928 Posts
Sweet flying plane

Do you think a GWS 400C would work in it instead of the outrunner?
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Old May 24, 2010, 06:49 PM
Flutter-Bys are fun
Conehead's Avatar
United States, MI, Honor
Joined Dec 2005
5,028 Posts
Thank you Jay for a nice review. I got a Flutter-By at E-Fest years ago and have ended up collecting a total of 4 of them. I love them. In the wind, they fly great, I love them in the evening with lights on and I have flown them in small gyms, the JR Indoor Festival, E-Fest. I have a large Red one, a mini Bi also red, a lime green mini and a Combat Version, Tan and camo markings. The Combat Version has been in a couple of mid-airs, each time taking out the other plane, I have a few tears in the rip-stop nylon which were easily repaired with hinge tape from the underside. Everyone who sees them wonders how can they fly, when I take them off their wonders cease. They are all amazed that something like that can fly.
I also have the only Frost Flutter-Duck a canard Flutter-By.
I will post pictures of my Flutter-By's as soon as I can get to the other computer.
Conehead
Orrin Eldred
Jack Frost is one of the best guys I have met in RC flying. He is an amazing designer.
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Old May 24, 2010, 10:46 PM
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bglasa's Avatar
Joined Jan 2010
88 Posts
Illinois Flutter-By Fan

Wow, Great Review on a Great Plane, Jay.

Like Conehead, I’m the proud owner of multiple Flutter-Bys; I have two of the “regular size” and a smaller version, the “Mini Flutter-By”. Why does anybody need two identical Flutter-Bys? Simple, one is dedicated to the mission of letting other people experience the fun of Flutter-By flight, and the other is kept “in reserve” for my exclusive personal use. The funny thing is, I always grab the one that I let others fly when I head to the park or the field as it’s just so much fun to see the smiles on peoples faces when they fly it or – for some - when they just watch it fly. Since buying my Flutter-By and getting to know Jack better, I know that, for Jack, watching and hearing about people having fun with his airplane is his biggest form of “Flutter-By Fun”.

As far as the appeal of this plane, I can only say that people who have bought one from Jack after seeing and flying mine include our Club President (a career modeler with an already “full hanger” of airplanes) and a relative with no flying experience who now spends his sunset evenings at his country home just chasing birds and floating the plane around until the sun goes down. And Conehead is right about the Flight Duration……….you have to “plan” for sunset, because you can easily achieve gentle, floating flights of 30 minutes…….one of the things I enjoy most is to put the Flutter-By in the air just before sunset and then keep on flying after everyone else has landed. As far as I’m concerned, Jack is the Master of night flying, but with my on-board lights and a bit of practice, my 56 year old eyes can handle it pretty well.

Personally, the fact that the airplane is available only as a fully completed aircraft and not as a kit was a real plus when I bought my first one 3 years ago at E-fest. Jack wasn’t content to just sell me the plane - he “forced me” (I was a total newbie) to go get my (brand new) radio, then he bound it to my transmitter, put the plane in the air, trimmed it out and turned it over to me. Naturally, I was petrified about flying indoors at E-fest with no experience and a brand new airplane. In typical Jack fashion, he calmed my fears by reminding me that there was no better place to crash the plane then right there where he would be on hand to readily repair it and get me back in the air. (I didn't crash)

You want performance? The Flutter-By will take off from a Picnic table……width-wise! Fly it like Jack does in the video’s or just lazy it around the sky. I had a blast soaring it on the Florida beaches this winter. The only trick to that is that you have to find a section of beach where there aren’t any people, and as soon as you start flying it, lots of people show up!

You want product support? Earlier this year I found myself on vacation when I busted a prop (with no “spare”…….I guess I’m still a “newbie”). Since the prop used by the Flutter-By has to be drilled out a bit – and I’m on vacation with no tools – my vacation flying looked to be over. Wrong. One call to Jack and he goes out in a Midwest Blizzard to send me new props via overnight mail. As you might guess, Jack is more than the Flutter-By designer and builder; he’s my RC mentor and a good friend.

The Flutter-By isn’t the only Frost plane that I own. Jack also designed a foam plane he affectionately called “The Ringer” some time back. With his permission, a bit of reverse engineering, and a couple of phone calls, I have another Frost-design that's also a big hit with the kids at the flying field. But that is probably a story for a different “thread”.
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Old May 25, 2010, 01:24 AM
just Some Useless Geek
Chicagoland
Joined Oct 2008
2,529 Posts
Hey, um, is that price right? Three hundred bucks with no receiver, no battery, and an undersized motor? Doesn't that seem kinda steep?
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Old May 25, 2010, 05:07 AM
Registered User
United Kingdom, England, Milton Keynes
Joined May 2007
596 Posts
Isn't this essentially a giant vapor?? Ha Ha.
Since this came first, the vapor's design is from this. Interesting.

I agree with Useless Geek. I understand it's custom build but price does seem on the high end. No disrespect.
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Old May 25, 2010, 05:50 AM
Flying low is expensive.
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United States, CO, Boulder
Joined Jul 2008
2,398 Posts
This plane looks almost exactly like another plane i have, called the Cobweb 2. Hobby Lobby sold it until about a year and a half ago. Except that plane weighed about 6 ounces, and was as slow and floaty as you'd like it to be. Instead of the larger 3s battery, it ran off of a 2s 300mah lipo.

I love mine.

check it out http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=508599
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Old May 25, 2010, 07:42 AM
Flutter-Bys are fun
Conehead's Avatar
United States, MI, Honor
Joined Dec 2005
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Yep, that is the price. Steep, well that depends on how you look at it. If you want something ready to fly, hand built, unique design in a way, I don't think that is much at all. Look at all the other planes out there that are on the market. You can easily wrap $300 in any of them.
While this Flutter-By is a variation on a theme, it is much more durable and will handle more wind than any of the other versions on the same theme.
I am with Bob, lots of fun to fly, the only one I don't have is a regular size Flutter-BI, a bype like the small one.
Flutter-By is one wing, Flutter-BI is two wings.
Conehead
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Old May 25, 2010, 08:39 AM
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USA, MI, Dearborn
Joined Aug 2001
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You cannot go to the loco hobby store to get one of these can you?
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Old May 25, 2010, 10:35 AM
Flutter-Bys are fun
Conehead's Avatar
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Joined Dec 2005
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Not that I know of. Jack will ship one to you. You have to get in contact with Jack and he will build you one, test fly it, take it apart and put it in a box and ship it to you.

Conehead
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Last edited by Conehead; May 25, 2010 at 01:32 PM. Reason: corrected missinformation, I goofed
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Old May 25, 2010, 10:40 AM
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United States, NC, Jacksonville
Joined Feb 2005
266 Posts
Flutter-By FANatic!

I was also bitten by the Flutter-By bug years ago. As a matter of fact, I am fortunant enough to own the oldest Flutter-By prototype still being flown. And believe me, it has been flown. I have been involved in RC flying since 1989. During that time, I was lucky enough to have flown a little of everything from small glowfuel trainers, Giant scale gas, to military target drones and full scale UAV's. But, I have flown more hours since getting these planes approximately 5 years ago than I had in the 15 years prior to that! In my opinion, you become a more proficient pilot every time you pick up a radio and airplane and go flying. The Flutter-By allowed me to do just that!

The early models were built using a carbon fiber tube for the fuselage, and a truss-like carbon fiber landing gear. Originally, the wing was elevated above the fuselage approximately one inch, instead of being attached directly to the fuselage, as it is now. Although the latest design far surpasses that of the original, I have no intentions of parting with my older one. They fly like two totally different aircraft.

I noticed on an earlier post that some readers own Mini Flutter-Bi biplanes. I own the only full size Flutter-Bi biplane ever built.

I also own one of the Flutter-By's covered in this review. Like my prototype version, it also has lights for night flying. My models have been flown everywhere from indoors at E-fest, in Champaign, IL, AMA in Muncie, IN, the mountain-top at Lonesome Pine Cabins, in Orchard Gap, Virgina (Blue Ridge Parkway) to my home, along the beautiful beaches on the Crystal Coast of Eastern NC. I have never owned a more versatile airplane in my life. When you witness national champion RC pilots wringing out a Flutter-By, then exclaiming, "I've got to have one of these!" that says it all. Every person I know that owns a Flutter-By agrees that these are the most "Fun" airplanes they have ever owned.

If this sounds like an advertisement for the Flutter-By, then so be it. Let me assure you that I don't stand to gain anything from what I have stated in this post. I just think it deserves mentioning when we purchase something that not only performs as advertised, but far exceeds those claims. What a refreshing change that is from what we are accustomed to!

To the readers that wonder if this plane is a little over-priced, let me assure you... it isn't. All of the people that have already purchased one or more of these planes can attest to the fact that they are built unlike anything else you can buy. I saw a quote years ago that has always stuck with me. It pertained the fact that a particular businessman's prices were a little higher than his competition. It read, "I agree, the other man's prices may be a little cheaper than mine, but who knows better than he what his product is worth!"

If you're ready to have the time of your life, try out a Flutter-By. You can't go wrong!
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Old May 25, 2010, 11:25 AM
Flutter-Bys are fun
Conehead's Avatar
United States, MI, Honor
Joined Dec 2005
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Well said Lt Col Bryan.

I have been to Jack's home and workshop a number of times. He is the most organized I have ever seen. When I picked up my Duck, he installed the deans plugs on my batteries, set up my transmitter for me and I was ready to go. It was too dark to fly it that night.
I fly my Flutter-By's just about everywhere. I even flew the large one in a small, very small gym, i thought I could do it, I did. It was awesome to fly in a small cracker box gym, having to dodge the basketball backboards and nets.
This is a hoot plane to fly.
Conehead
Orrin Eldred
I also don't get anything from Jack and his building these Flutter-By's.
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Old May 25, 2010, 11:33 AM
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United States, NC, Jacksonville
Joined Feb 2005
266 Posts
Questions/Purchase Inquiries

Apparently some of the readers (including myself) overlooked the Contact/Source info in this review, for use when inquiring about or wanting to order one of the Flutter-By's.

According to the review, the ONLY place to buy a Flutter-By, or obtain answers to any questions you may have about this plane, is through the owner/builder. He can be contacted at: jefsquared@comcast.net
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