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Meet Arron Bates' Super Honey Badger

At the 2013 King 50, Arron Bates made RC history with his Super Honey Badger.

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At the 2013 King 50 Arron Bates made RC history with his Super Honey Badger

At the 2013 King 50, RC airplane history was made when Arron Bates debuted his latest airplane creation, the Super Honey Badger. Arron has been a contestant in the King 50 for the last four years and each year he has had a special airplane. But in the past few years, he has taken the "special" part of them to the next level. Last year, Arron debuted giant servo-activated air brakes that came out of the top and bottom of the wings operating independently. The hope was to be able to spin the plane around on the activated brake side. The plane worked, but not as well as Arron wanted it to. So for the time being, that design was retired.

Since January, I have been seeing updates on Arron's facebook page referring to the "Honey Badger." Updates like "Another Saturday spent working on the Badger," "8 hours in tonight, depron used, balsa is next." If you were not in his inner circle of people who knew what he was working on, you knew he was working on something, but had no clue what it was. The whole process actually built up quite a bit of suspense for me and I was very excited to see the finished product!

Arron had posted this on a thread on FG, "After the trials and fails of previous years, it was a relief that this one worked pretty much out of the box. Idea was had during the build of the air brakes last year, but that epic fail burned me out... so build on this didn't actually start until January but has been all consuming of spare time since. Including not going to awesome events like SEFF and Joe Nall to stay home and work on it. Anyway, with all projects of a certain size, one does need the support of others even if it's simply the tolerance from significant others when you've only half mowed the lawn once in two months. So I need to take all chances I can to thank a few people: Amber (my wife), RJ Gritter, Ron Lueth, Ben Fisher, Noll Smith, Craig Morgan, Steve Rogers, Rob Waldron. But all these have helped me out in significant ways, and I'm most grateful to them...all contributed to the project success."

At the King 50, it wasn't until 11:30 am, thirty minutes before the contest, that Arron debuted the airplane. The plane was surrounded by a mob of admirers.

Arron cut the back of an 87" 3DHS Extra SHP right behind the canopy. He installed two long 25mm carbon fiber tubes in their place and then installed an 800 size Helicopter tail rotor in the center of the open booms. The electric motor is positioned just in front of the canopy and is connected to the tail rotor via a shaft. The whole assembly looks very professional and completely part of the kit. Arron did an awesome job. The stabs and remaining rudder are all grafted to the carbon tubes and have extra securing on them using kevlar string which is also glued on. It's really a piece of art to see in person (see pics below).

When Arron finally took to the sky, all eyes were on the Honey Badger. I could describe the flight, but I think it would be best to actually see the plane fly, so please enjoy this video!

Flyinggiants.com takes a look at Arron Bates' Super Honey Badger (5 min 28 sec)

I would like to wish a huge congratulations to Arron, this was seriously a win for "pushing the boundaries" of RC airplane technology.

AND... look out XFC, after eyeballing the rules, it looks like there are none that do not allow an airplane to have a tail rotor. Or, could this be the first RC vehicle to compete in the airplane and helicopter class at the same time!?!

Last edited by Sleepyc; Jul 25, 2013 at 12:35 PM..

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Old Jul 25, 2013, 12:53 PM
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United States, AZ, Tucson
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Lol totally awesome.

Full redemption from the differential speed brake idea... It was a cool idea, but iit just screamed roll coupling!
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Old Jul 25, 2013, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Jwmflying14 View Post
Lol totally awesome.

Full redemption from the differential speed brake idea... It was a cool idea, but iit just screamed roll coupling!
actually, I fixed the roll coupling problem of the air brakes

...the air brake issue was that it needed airspeed to create drag, which also helped the rest of the plane track properly which worked against the brakes working in that fashion. "Meh" was the general result. that said, as soon as I get a radio with enough channels (using 9 on this, need 4 more), I'll be putting that set of wings back on it to see what nonsense I can do with it
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Old Jul 25, 2013, 07:03 PM
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That's wild!
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Old Jul 25, 2013, 08:02 PM
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actually, I fixed the roll coupling problem of the air brakes

...the air brake issue was that it needed airspeed to create drag, which also helped the rest of the plane track properly which worked against the brakes working in that fashion. "Meh" was the general result. that said, as soon as I get a radio with enough channels (using 9 on this, need 4 more), I'll be putting that set of wings back on it to see what nonsense I can do with it
Sweet! I never saw that you fixed it! My mistake.

It definitely will be interesting! Curious if it will do much more than what you already have. Although it might allow for some high speed, to almost dead stop maneuvers.

Either way, awesome work! Be sure to keep us up to date!
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Old Jul 26, 2013, 01:32 AM
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Cool idea and implementation.. but i lost interest after the third set of pinwheel's... hopefully with more flight-time on the airframe, the video's will get more entertaining. Again, a very cool idea and implementation.. definitely out of the ordinary
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Old Jul 26, 2013, 11:21 AM
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Cool idea and implementation.. but i lost interest after the third set of pinwheel's... hopefully with more flight-time on the airframe, the video's will get more entertaining. Again, a very cool idea and implementation.. definitely out of the ordinary
omg, I agree! it's so incredibly boring!

Most people when they realise that something isn't their thing, they just move along... but thank you for going out of your way to post that this isn't your thing and that you found the whole thing to be be a complete waste of your viewing efforts.

...but I see that you're into building jets, planes that express pretty much everything that they can do with a single regular flat pass... and you come here to express that you lost interest at the speed of light by me flipping the plane a few times in a fashion that no other plane has done before. It's so nice of you.
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Old Jul 26, 2013, 11:30 AM
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Lol KM, I agree.

On the other hand, I am not sure there ever will be much more than this! 3D aircraft are alerady almost maxed out on what they are capable of doing. This just released the very last hold back, which was slow speed rudder authority.
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Old Jul 26, 2013, 11:38 AM
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Lol KM, I agree.

On the other hand, I am not sure there ever will be much more than this! 3D aircraft are alerady almost maxed out on what they are capable of doing. This just released the very last hold back, which was slow speed rudder authority.
actually, I don't think we've seen it all yet from 3D planes... we could have said a similar thing a few years ago, but watching the flying now compared to then is a world of difference. There's more things left to play with, and then add in technology advances (even simply radio systems with more than 12 channels) and things get more interesting again.

the badger was a "not a normal airplane" project, but I'm working on some stuff that don't require cutting a plane in half, as are other airframe developers... all of it will still be like watching paint dry to invertmast here, but to those people into actually maneuvering airplanes there's still plenty of new toys on the horizon methinks
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Old Jul 26, 2013, 11:50 AM
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Very true. I guess you are right that we haven't seen it all...

However aside from variable pitch (reversing) props, as well as what you did with this, its hard to believe there will be another dimension open up with 3d... I do think maneuvers will get more extreme, but you can't really top this rudder authority!


Curious, what you have in mind with future aircraft that you mentioned? Also what do you have in mind with this guy? It would be cool to see a reverse blender... Ya know, sort of hanging on the prop, but not quite enough to hover, so you are still descending tail first, yet with all that rudder authority I wonder if you could get it to do a tail first, inside out flat spin... If that makes any sense at all...
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Old Jul 26, 2013, 11:55 AM
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Very true. I guess you are right that we haven't seen it all...

However aside from variable pitch (reversing) props, as well as what you did with this, its hard to believe there will be another dimension open up with 3d... I do think maneuvers will get more extreme, but you can't really top this rudder authority!


Curious, what you have in mind with future aircraft that you mentioned? Also what do you have in mind with this guy? It would be cool to see a reverse blender... Ya know, sort of hanging on the prop, but not quite enough to hover, so you are still descending tail first, yet with all that rudder authority I wonder if you could get it to do a tail first, inside out flat spin... If that makes any sense at all...
I'd love a VPP setup for this plane

There's other things I want to try and build that aren't this crazy, if they work out you'll see them in some form or another. For the badger, there's lots of things to try, from more powerful rotor motors, different blades, different blade/rpm/pitch configurations, different mixes to try out. So far it was a race just to get it flying and pluck some of the low hanging fruit of new maneuvers... lots of longer term things to play with.

I do think you're right in that there are some tail-first/slide maneuvers still to be found and worked on... unsure what technically needs to be in place to make them happen though.
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Old Jul 26, 2013, 12:05 PM
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Yeah for sure!

I am still surprised I haven't seen any VP set ups for larger planes. Even some of the turbo-prop aircraft. Kinda nuts if you ask me... It isn't all that difficult on RC, at least not compared to full scale. As you know, Heli tail rotors are pretty much perfect. No need to do that through-shaft pushrod like whats being used on Electric fixed wing VP set ups...

As for tailslide, I am not sure how... We/you would be dealing against physics. Center of mass being too high, and stability (such as Horizontal and vertical) in the wrong direction. I assume if it were to be done you would need that perfect throttle setting for JUST enough thrust/drag to keep the nose vertical, yet not enough thrust to maintain altitude. No to mention with some kind of spin you could use some gyroscopic stabilization to help keep her straight! Then again, this is all just speculation.... Maybe just cut big ol air brakes out of the cowl! lol
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Old Jul 26, 2013, 12:17 PM
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Yeah for sure!

I am still surprised I haven't seen any VP set ups for larger planes. Even some of the turbo-prop aircraft. Kinda nuts if you ask me... It isn't all that difficult on RC, at least not compared to full scale. As you know, Heli tail rotors are pretty much perfect. No need to do that through-shaft pushrod like whats being used on Electric fixed wing VP set ups...

As for tailslide, I am not sure how... We/you would be dealing against physics. Center of mass being too high, and stability (such as Horizontal and vertical) in the wrong direction. I assume if it were to be done you would need that perfect throttle setting for JUST enough thrust/drag to keep the nose vertical, yet not enough thrust to maintain altitude. No to mention with some kind of spin you could use some gyroscopic stabilization to help keep her straight! Then again, this is all just speculation.... Maybe just cut big ol air brakes out of the cowl! lol

one "Markus Rummer" has build a 100cc class electric that has VPP and vectoring... he's had it since 2011, but with all the momentum it's a tough nut to crack with maneuvering. With vectoring the yaw vector still has a forward vector, etc etc. There are some videos on youtube of it. It's not a retail unit though.

going pitch-slider style on a big electric has other problems with getting the servo output around the motor. Markus uses the through-the-shaft style, whatever he's doing, it's certainly working.
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Old Jul 26, 2013, 12:46 PM
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I'll have to try to find it!

On another note, even a big electric set up would be just as easy as a heli tail. Instead it would use two bell cranks. A servo mounted at the side of the fuse would push a 90* bell crank, which would actuate the same bell/link type set up on a heli.
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Old Jul 26, 2013, 02:04 PM
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omg, I agree! it's so incredibly boring!

Most people when they realise that something isn't their thing, they just move along... but thank you for going out of your way to post that this isn't your thing and that you found the whole thing to be be a complete waste of your viewing efforts.

...but I see that you're into building jets, planes that express pretty much everything that they can do with a single regular flat pass... and you come here to express that you lost interest at the speed of light by me flipping the plane a few times in a fashion that no other plane has done before. It's so nice of you.

I never said it was a waste of my viewing time, its just that Every 3D video made is almost always exactly the same.. Rolling harriers, torque roll, rolling harrier, 1/2roll loop, etc etc.
It doesnt matter who it is doing the flying, it gets boring after seeing the same manuevers over and over. I applaud the guys with the skill who can do it all, but throw some variety into the mix, by doing something that require some precise finness.

After 23 years in this hobby (and im still a youngish guy at 29), i have seen allot happen, so its really hard to keep my attention for more than 3 minutes. I got into jets bc of the technology involved in them, and because i enjoy doing composites. Jets are also coming into the 3D scene, but its even more boring. You guys get your rush from doing slow speed aerobatics at low altitudes, i enjoy the other spektrum of the hobby

Like i also said, the thought process and design of this airplane is completely insane and cool! But i expected allot more "variety", but i guess you can only do so much with limited time on the sticks before an event, which i am sure is the case here. I am sure with more time, the videos will become more entertaining.


Most of You 3D guys get real bent out of shape real quick when someone shows any inkling of not being impressed or liking your flying styles, which is allot of the reason why i got out of that circle to begin with way back before 3D was cool.

No disrespect was meant as i like the idea and engineering that was put into it, bc most people just keep the same "vanilla" crap going along. Its nice to see something extremely wild and different for a change. I also look forward to future videos that will hopefully spice things up when the flight envelope is fully expanded to the capabilities that the Badger could possess.
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Last edited by invertmast; Jul 26, 2013 at 02:11 PM.
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