Hippo's Frog is a hit in our cul-de-sac
I got Hippo's Frog plans on Saturday from www.foamfly.com and the plane was a great hit in our front yard.
I built it as drawn and it flies great. We are rank newbies at flying, but very adept at crashing. We all could fly this plane, mom, dad, boys, neighbors, passers-by. We could all also crash the plane effectively too. I think it hit hard 30 times.
This is the first time we flew and retrieved a usable airplane at the end, no repairs needed. I do think I will tape some bubble wrap on the nose for next session. The nose is a bit wrinkled, but in tact.
I only did a few things that deviated from the plan. Building took about four hours. This is the first plans-built plane I have attempted.
I used low temp hot melt glue (oxymoron?), but still came in at 7.5 oz all up weight. Hippo's recommendation of 3M 77 looked like it would work well too, but I wanted to be able to slide the pieces a bit after placing them. I will pay for this choice when I need to fix the plane and therefore add weight. But for $2 worth of foam I can build another.
I did not heat form the wings, but they are very solid.
I found the wire foam cutter at Michaels arts and crafts and used posterboard templates for the curved pieces. This made the cutting accurate and easy.
I used the table saw to set the polyhedral on the wing pieces. I just set the saw blade at 13 degrees and trimmed both mating edges. You have to be very careful that the back of the blade does not catch the foam, but it went very smoothly, the pieces join up perfectly. The smooth and accurate cut meant that setting the angle was possible without any measuring, propping or even particular care.
The wings are 7 inches wide, not the 7 ¼ called for in the plans. Fit better.
Balance came out just right without any messing about. I used all the recommended gear.
I hope this helps anyone thinking about a trainer. We love it.
That's terrific. I'm really glad you like it. You just got the plans the other day, you must be one of the fastest builders around.
The nose on my first Frog eventually became mushy, but it never broke off, and I usually just slapped a piece of scotch tape on it if I popped a glue seam. You actually might have the same repair luck that I do though. If a hairdryer will melt the hot glue, you can heat it till it's soft, and then stick parts back together again without adding new glue. (or additional weight.)
After I once launched the plane with the controls reversed I wasn't so picky about who I let fly it. Anybody and everybody got their shot. My friend even dove it in from 50 ft at full throttle once. (that one required a little Polyurethane glue.) It's still in flyable condition, although I built a shiny new one.
Heat forming the wings is something of a convinience, but with that polyhedral joint, and wing slot to hold everything in shape, you don't really need it. I do find that a 7 1/4" piece of foam will end up making a 7" wing after you go the long way around the airfoil. Whatever works best for you though, so keep up the good work.
Got any pictures?
Oakdale, MN, USA
Joined Sep 2001
Hippo's Frog is a hit in our cul-de-sac
I was test-flying my new Frog this evening, too! And it flies exeptionally well, Hippo! The only caveat to this successful flight is that I think I have an FMA Extreme 5 that has gone south, with very severe glitching. Either I have an antenna problem or my motor is arcing and causing static. Will try substituting a different motor and I'm ordering M-72's from Azarr for the receiver.
Dan, I couldn't get mor than about 100 feet away from the airplane or it would just shut down and fall from the sky. This it did twice into tall grass with ZERO damage. My private flying field is not perfect, however. There is at least one large airplane-eating tree and many acres of 8 ft tall corn nearby. I lost my Cub in that last Sunday.
Anyway, Frog is right and tight. Stable and derned quick with only a 9070 propelling it. QC830's in the nose. Might be a little tail heavy, but that would be me with the glue, wouldn't it?
Dan, this is an excellent design and a very fine trainer. I'll have it back in the air after a little research.
By the way, I built a conventional fuselage for the Frog wing with a conventional rudder-elevator tail and put the GWS twin in the nose with a GWS 1080 prop. No landing gear. I put it in the tall grass easily with no damage. Lordy, does this thing haul on only 7 cell 720's! I want to bake some more sections for a straight dihedral, flat bottomed (sealed) wing ala Tom Herr's Prowler and try it with a 280 DD. That's it, a Prowler with one of your wings all done in foam. Man, this is fun!
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