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Jun 13, 2009, 01:33 AM
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The VTO and Mini VTO


This was the first airplane design I ever posted on RC Groups, back in 2004. It is also my all-time favorite RC model, and probably always will be. The VTO is the ultimate close-quarters model, and can be flown in incredibly tight spaces under complete control. I usually fly mine in the street in front of my house or in my driveway, but if it's raining I have also flown it inside my two-car garage. Once I even took it to work and flew it in a conference room at lunch! Of course, all you can do is hover and harrier in spaces that tight…

The VTO is incredibly maneuverable and is the easiest model to hover and harrier that I've ever flown. It also does beautiful hovering flat spins right at ground level. But the signature maneuver for this model, of course, is the vertical takeoff and landing. The vertical takeoffs are easy (just throttle up and go!), but the vertical landings are very challenging and take lots of practice—and even then can only be done in calm conditions.

The regular VTO (30" span) was sized for 150 Watt motors and the Mini VTO (20" span) was sized for 75 Watt (CD-ROM type) motors. Both were originally designed to achieve 1.5 thrust-to-weight ratios using cheap brushed motors (GWS EPS-350C and GWS IPS-A), but both my models are now powered with brushless motors and have a thrust-to-weight ratio of well over 2:1.

Regarding the plans, I think it's easiest and quickest to just draw the wing directly onto foam sheets using the dimensions provided on the plans, and then use the parts templates for the fuselage only (just print the fuselage pages only from the tiled parts templates). But I've attached plans in all the usual formats so the option is yours.

Specs: Original VTO
Wing span: 30"
Wing area: 603 sq in
Weight RTF: 12 oz
Motor: Himax 2015-4100 with 6.6 gearing
Battery: 1320 mAh 11.1V lipo
Propeller: 12x6
Wing loading: 2.9 oz/sq ft
Construction: 6mm Depron or BlueCore

Specs: Mini VTO
Wing span: 20.0"
Wing area: 267 sq in
Weight RTF: 4.5 oz RTF
Motor: CD-ROM motor
Battery: 700 mAh 7.4V lipo
Prop: 8x4
Wing loading: 2.2 oz/sq ft
Construction: 3mm Depron

Original build thread (now closed): https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...0&page=1&pp=50

Latest build thread (Version 3):
https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=296001

Here's a flight video that highlights why I love this model so much--it's incredible manueverability. This was shot in my driveway and the street in front of my house.

VTO Flight Demo (5 min 17 sec)
Last edited by jetset44; Jun 13, 2009 at 01:41 AM.
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Oct 19, 2017, 05:11 PM
Registered User
Bringing this to live as I'm going to start building one. I had one many years ago and it was a blast to fly.


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