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Sep 07, 2010, 09:43 AM
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Bandarra's Avatar
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Build Log

Bandarra's 54'' Zephyr (updated 10/11/10) Pic heavy - 1st post


Hi everyone,

It has been a while since I've been posting in the forum, for various reasons. But I'm back with a new project after my success with the EZ, my first FPV plane and after some GoPro action in it and diving in Egypt =)

So, now I'm into a new challenge. For Christmas vacations this year I'm going back to my home in Portugal. It is in a very beautiful and rural part of the country and many of my family and friends want to see live what FPV is all about.

If I can do it, I'm sure the footage will be amazing, specially because in Christmas it always snows ther, and well... for us it is not very usual =)

So, because I have all my gear here in the UK, I am thinking of how the hell I'm going to get the stuff I need to Portugal.

I could just get a massive box with styrofoam and put the ez in there (good idea) but that is not ideal, because of the long size, the tail assembly etc, and I guess this is a problem that nowadays more and more people have about transporting your FPV planes to nice filming areas.

So, I think I will start discussing options, and write as we go, how to make the "perfect" fpv transportable platform.

For now my idea is to get a new plane and adapt it to FPV as we normaly do and this time not throw away the box and styrofoam and etc

This project has taken a turn now and the requirements now are for a faster more stable plane, and I'll try to live with the size and portability of a normal wing. I will not make it foldable. I'll just put it in the plane like people do with skis etc.

I'm going to list of my set of requirements for now that can be later amended or modified: (its now modified)

- smaller than an EasyStar (ideally would fit in a normal size check in baggage, no posting) (will fit in a box of approx 1500x800x150mm)
- has to flat pack (and reverse, ie, after you assemble it, it has to flat pack again) (it is flat, pretty much)
- requires minimal instalation once you arrive (usually you dont have many tools etc etc) (no instalation what so ever, other that screwing/banding FPV parts such as gopro/Vtx antena)
- is a reasonably slow and stable platform (thing the fun jet route is not suitanble for my level of experience yet) (f* that! POWEEEER!)
- takes the volume and weight of the GoPro (sure)
- takes standard receivers, servos, etc... (sure)

Let me know what you all think about this, I'll share the information I gather and update the post as we go, just like I did with the easystar.



Current shopping list:
(can you please review it and make suggestions) now locked

Ritewing 54'' Zephyr Kit:
- 2x foam cut profile Wings
- 4/5x carbon fiber rod/tube spars
- 2x Winglets
- 1x aluminium motor Mount
- 2x (balsa?) wood Elevon control surface
- Xx sheet of laminate

- 3M 90
- 5min epoxy?
- Gorila glue
- CA glue
- tape with nylon threads
- "secondary" L-shape motor mount (will make it out of angle ally
- heavy duty clevices/pushrods

Flying Gear:
- Propeller: Folding 10x6, Folding 10x5, Folding 9x5 and Folding 9x4
- Spinner: Folding Headless Prop Spinner 38mm / 4.0mm , aeronaut 4mm to M8 yoke adaptor thing
- Motor: TGY AerodriveXp SK Series 35-36 1400Kv / 550w and TGY AerodriveXp SK Series 35-30 1100Kv / 345w
- ESC: TURNIGY Plush 60amp
- Receiver: Futaba R149DP or Corona RP8D1 or Corona RP6D1
- Servos: BMS-661DMG+HS Super Fast Digital Servo (MG) 6.4kg / .08sec / 46.5g
- Bateries: 2x 3S 2200mAh; 2x 3S 3000mAh; 2x 4S 3000mAh

FPV Gear:
- Camera: GoPro HD Hero
- OSD: CEOSD, 50A current sensor, 10Hz GPS
- Mic: tiny mic, 3 wires
- VTx: Sunsky 1.2GHz 400mW; Sunsky 1.2GHz 800mW
- Antenna: stock, rubber ducky one, 1/4wave bazooka, IBCrazy inverted Vee
- AV cable: from gopro to OSD
- Custom made VTx cable
- Custom made Rx cable;





What a mess...

The ritewing kit

Turnigy motors

Aeronault props and adaptors

Servos, ESC and Rx

So, starting from the start...

Used the first and last holes for the glass internal tubes.

Cut a smal piece of plastic tube left over from my EZ to make a channel between top and bottom of the wing for CG finfing purposes.

made a little slot in both wings to accomodate the little tube

Gorila glue into the spar holes, got the spars wet and stuck them in, twisting and pulling and pushing out and in to activate the glue, and waited a bit

waited some more and then trimmed this excess off.

did the same to the other side and a bit before that sprayed the side with 3M90. Weld it for the first moments and then tapped it and went to sleep.

The day after...

found out that the joining job the night before wast so bad so decided to go ahead and lay out the gear,

and trying to include as much stuff as possible that will be in the final plane to make the balancing (CG finding) as true as possible.

once I was happy that it would kind of work with the components layed out like that (the best you can do at this point is guess) I marked all the positions of the gear.

Started by cutting out the prop wash and then the motor mount.

The motor mount was cut out from the top, the bottom remained intact. It was place right on top of the back spar. the alu motor mount was glued in with hot glue, and the foam top was glued back on top again with generous hot glue and excess trimmed and overall sanded once set.

this gopro "mount" was a mistake, and if you haven't figured out why, I'll explain later when I come to redo it.

Cutted the rest of the of the bays out (except the batery ones) with the the various copper wire shapes stuck on a regular "average" power soldering iron. It takes a wile to cut because the heat to the wire is not much but the shorter you make your profile (less wire) the hotter it will get and the faster you can work so I would recomend smaller "perimeter" on those wire shapes.

One step that was skipped but is well documented by others like trappy and chris klique is the top and bottom spars that run along the wings. These were inserted using the technique described by trappy and then after the CA was set, riteweave was applied with 3M90. Over the spars I applied only half width weave.
I also applied riteweave over the leading, trailing, motormount and prop wash edges. This time full width.

So... that previous "mount" was too close to the front, to flimzy, etc.

So I filled it and chopped the all the front off and place the gopro further back between the batteries, where the section is thicker.

glassed it well and called it a mount. also it took a few attemps and marking to get the shape right so nothing is in view of the camera at the widest angle setting. r2.

hot glued in the servos

and then glassed the top

Glued the hatch on with a wodden dowel. If I was to do it again I would do it with something with smaller diameter like chris did with a pushrod.
also installed some magnets... all the right way around!

got all the electronics together and tested it. all good.

Not joking, ran out of blue. Oh well, keeps the weight down and give it more of a "project" look.

Light setup ready to maiden.

370W motor and 2x2200mAh 11.1V lipos with some balast to the front.

Balancing perfect on 10.5''


Maiden Report:

Ok so...

It was definitly different. lol

Things that I found:

- Launching is much easier than I thought.*
- Needed loads of trim to get it to fly straight and level.
- It is an amazingly strong construction plane.
- Mine is quite underpowered.
- You deffo need it quite nose heavy, at least for me, 10.5'' is too tail heavy.

So, first lauch, not too bad, but from not being trimmed etc tip stalled etc and went straight into the ground. Bounced, not exagerating, about 2 meters off the ground and was fine. not even scrached. I was like :O

Second managed to get it going for a bit longer and had a very bad 30 second flight always on the edge of crashing and again crashlanded, not as bad tho.

Third and last flight was much better, roll and pitch well trimmed and was a nice 10 minute flight around me LOS. Again, found it to be tail heavy and underpowered, a loop breaks away half way through it and just stumbles down from the sky. Manage to catch that one and keep it flying. I have like 80% expo at the moment but think i still need a bit more. all the landings were crash landings and fairily hard, coped no problem.

But hey, on the last flight once I got a bit comfortable into it, it definitly is a gorgous plane to fly, and even underpowered did a few dives and this and that and just got a massive smile across my face. Also, loving the paintjob :P


Now it is a bit nose heavy when picked up from 10.5'', on purpose, to see if I get it more stable after that eventful maiden.

540W motor, 2x 3000mAh and around 60~80grams of balast to the front of the bateries to make it balance a bit better front to back and side to side too.

IBCraziness Vee antenna, not tested yet, but from a mechanical point of view is nice and flexy and already endured quite heavy crashes.

Last edited by Bandarra; Nov 09, 2010 at 07:19 PM.
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Sep 07, 2010, 09:45 AM
lovegroove's Avatar
I think some sort of folding wing will be your best option. I know that FMKit has one that can fit in his backpack.
Sep 07, 2010, 10:18 AM
fmkit's Avatar
yes, here is my most used wing
it flew a million miles and still flies well dispite ugly look
48" span takes 200gram payload, it flew with flag and bottle attached
proided you have power pod already similar wing can be built in less than hour
Sep 07, 2010, 11:53 AM
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Bandarra's Avatar
Thread OP
Hmm, yes, I have to admit that when I first started thinking of it the idea of a flying wing came to mind.

48'' span is 24'' per wing which is 610mm, plus some more because of the kick back angle. Maybe what I am looking for doesn't exist, because being small and "packable" and being stable and able to carry nice payloads are conflicting objectives really...

Lets see what other people come up with. Certainly from the Flying wing point of view trappy must have something to say
Sep 07, 2010, 02:24 PM
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hugy's Avatar
Maybe a folding quadcopter or tri copter. They are packable,stable and can carry nice loads. And they can be flown pretty damn fast.
Sep 07, 2010, 02:39 PM
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Bandarra's Avatar
Thread OP
Hmm, that is a good suggestion. I think helis do have an advantage in the way they can take some shots, can hover, etc etc. but in the short/mid term i think that can be a step too far for me to do it all till xmas... but i dunno, have a friend that has just put one together, will give him a ring.

Also, for some reason I always few planes, and from the FPV perspective I quite like the autonomy to be in the air for longer, cover greater distances (like a bird) and be able to do something is the motor dies... but definetly an option to consider.
Sep 08, 2010, 03:35 PM
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Bandarra's Avatar
Thread OP
Ok, now that the GoPro firmware came out, I'm definetly not carrying more weight around and I'm going to use the GoPro as the only camera on my system.

Will start testing the electronics soon.

Still need to find a suitable frame... your thoughts...?
Sep 08, 2010, 03:46 PM
Registered User
You can get pretty much ready to fly tri's / quads / etc... it will be able to carry much more payload then a equivalent sized airplane as far as packing it for transportation is concerned. Especially if it's folding. If you get jakubs folding quad frame + a prebuilt KK controller board, all you need is 4 esc's and motors. I'm currently starting to build a quad myself for FPV use, possibly with a GoPro as the primary camera as well

Trappy just got a fully built one, you should check out his fpv4ever kk quad thread

They are quite simple mechanically, and electronically all the work is done on the KK board already if you buy a prebuilt one About the cost of a good reciever. You could be up and running by christmas no problem.

If you want you can shoot me any pm's with any questions you may have so you can save yourself from having to sift through tons of information, there is too much out there hehe
Sep 08, 2010, 03:51 PM
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Bandarra's Avatar
Thread OP
Thanks alot for the tips and availability Jaguar!

Will check trappy's thread now
Sep 08, 2010, 03:57 PM
"Here birdy birdy birdy..."
MDreamer's Avatar
I had the same thoughts..

Decided to go with the Shark(Multiplex Merlin FPV)

And use this backpack, everything is very transportable, light and relative low cost

But my requirements didn't include:

- is a reasonably slow and stable platform (thing the fun jet route is not suitanble for my level of experience yet)
- takes the volume and weight of the GoPro

I thing that a folding wing is your better option, mine was the Merlin because i didn't want HD nor stable flight.
One last thing, think about your ground station, it needs to be TLS as well (Transportable, Light, Small)
Sep 08, 2010, 05:32 PM
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Bandarra's Avatar
Thread OP
Some nice advice there MDreamer:

Yeah the two requirements that didn't apply to you really apply to me. I'm also thinking folding wing just need to sort out a few things in my head. But this is the concept I came up with:

since I cant get away from the gopro shape might aswell make the most of it.
also i need a clean image, dont want nose or bits of the plane showing up in the image.

So there's only one solution left:

make a flying folding wing with a thick airfoil and put the gopro right at the front of it.

due to the large volume there would be quite so freedom to place the components inside the wings for nice Rx VTx separation, weight balancing etc etc, and trying to keep a sleek skin.

How do I start building it!? ahah

Also, need to find a way to easily put the wings together and take them appart, aswell as the endplates.

About groundstations, mine is pretty simple. I have a VRx of those normal 1.2GHz, one lipo to power it and some goggles. had HDD to record but with the gopro now can even do away with that.
Sep 08, 2010, 06:33 PM
"Here birdy birdy birdy..."
MDreamer's Avatar
you don't want to make whole wing "thick" just the section behind the GoPro

I have built couple to tens of flying wings in my life, i just love the concept, this the last wacko one

The wing should have MH45 profile(or another profile with reflex) and a washout of -2 to -2.5 deg at the tips. The sweep back should be as far as you can balance it(won't be a problem with all the FPV gear) and keep the structure robust enough so it won't flutter.
I think i gonna "join you" with the construction.
I think the the best thing to do is to buy a RTF wing and just build the middle section for the GoPro.
Do you want to add PT the GoPro?
Sep 08, 2010, 07:02 PM
Registered User
himagain's Avatar

Buddy, I have my tricopter up and running gopro fitted it's fantastic and for you it's local. I'm up to version 3 of the camera mount as vibration has been a problem but as I'm on hols in at the mo I've picked up 20+ apc props to fix that problem.

I went to the uk nationals and flew it inside the hangar with the 3d boys and the video is amazing, results outside have been fab too

As for taking it abroad it would be easy, and flying it fpv for you shouldn't be a problem either. But to be honest it your going to fly it on holiday 8 minute flights are a little short. I'd go for a flying wing between 45 and 60 inch, look at trappys videos in Switzerland they are amazing. As for transporting it look at the multiplex xeno it has a great folding wing system. I'm sure with your cnc gear you could print ine off

Btw I have a zagi 48 inch old banger in my shed that could be a started for you if you made a centre section.

I'm back in the uk in a couple of weeks, I'll give you a shout and we can have a planning session

Talk soon

Sep 09, 2010, 02:06 AM
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Bandarra's Avatar
Thread OP
Originally Posted by MDreamer
you don't want to make whole wing "thick" just the section behind the GoPro

Yeah, I was thiking that lated, making a sweeping profile that goes from thick in the center to pretty much a normal wing straight after the gopro

i like it!

The wing should have MH45 profile(or another profile with reflex) and a washout of -2 to -2.5 deg at the tips.

is this the rotation in angle of attack of the profile of the tip compared to the profile in the centre?

The sweep back should be as far as you can balance it(won't be a problem with all the FPV gear) and keep the structure robust enough so it won't flutter.

This is the angle of the Vee? seen from above, the smaller the angle the more sweep back the wing has?

I think i gonna "join you" with the construction.


I think the the best thing to do is to buy a RTF wing and just build the middle section for the GoPro.

Yeah, I was thinking this too. things to have in mind at this initial stage is payload, size, and the middle joint.

Do you want to add PT the GoPro?

whats pt sorry?

Yeah David, sounds good mate. have a great holiday and hopefully when u get back I'll have it a bit more figured out and will start building.

I'll keep you posted.
Sep 09, 2010, 04:57 AM
"Here birdy birdy birdy..."
MDreamer's Avatar

Washout - yes.
"Vee" - yes.
PT = Pan, Tilt.

What flying wings do you know that could work?
Here is my list:

FMKIT - what do you use?

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