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Oct 13, 2010, 12:16 PM
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FFF Blue Heron

I had nearly forgotten about this design... A Great Blue Heron made from FFF... might actually ROW as well. KFM wing with spoilerons for roll control.

Thanks IBIPS for reminding me.
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Oct 25, 2010, 09:48 AM
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Working out the design

My wife has taken on the Great Blue Heron as the image for her business. We have one of these guys living in a marsh down the road from our house in Maine.

I saw your design from the 2007 posts and I am glad to see you re-post. Maybe we can work together on developing this design (or at least bounce things off each other).

I have pulled some photos off the net into TurboCAD trying to get shape and dimensions right. In your diagram it seems that the body you have drawn is slightly large in relation to the wings. Have you developed a construction plan yet (I understood your posted diagram as a concept drawing more than a construction plan).

I won't be looking to do the flying boat. I like the idea of the motor in the head or in the shoulders and the wheel in the crook at the bottom of the neck.

I had thought to draw off the Soarbird designs and the powered Air Surfer and base the flying largely on elevons. Looking at pictures of the real birds, their tails seem small. Watching the one around my house it seems that they steer mostly by wing control like elevons would. The videos of the large powered Air Surfers look just like my local real bird in flight.
Oct 25, 2010, 11:04 AM
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Glad you like it. This is one of many planes that I thought "wouldn't it be neat" --- but then other planes jumped in the queue and I never went anywhere with it.

In the above image, the wing is not to scale in relation to the body. It looks like I shrunk the wing by exactly 50% so I could fit it on the page. Let me see if I can find the original drawings and I'll send you a vector PDF or EPS file.

It has been quite some time since I first came up with this design... and in the interim I have learned a bit more about scratch-building RC planes. I might need to revisit the construction and see if there is anything I need to re-engineer. It would certainly be simpler to have a simple dihedral wing instead of the gull-wing.

Making it a belly-lander should work just fine. Instead of the "stepped" breast-bone, I'd just make that a smooth curve and put the belly-wheel about 2" in front of the CG mark. It will need some internal structure reinforcement so the wheel can bear some load.

It was my idea originally that the feet would be articulated and hinge left/right so each finger would act like a rudder... but given the size of the wing, I don't think a rudder is even necessary. The big wing should turn fine just with the spoilerons. Conventional ailerons could be used instead... I just thought it would be a good candidate to experiment with the spoilerons.

I never got around to drawing the formers... but it was to be designed to float. It was going to have a wide boxy fuselage with a V-bottom hull.... so the formers would have been shaped like upside-down pentagons.

If it's not going to fly off water, then the fuselage could be an inverted prism-shaped body... so the formers could be upside-down triangles instead.... much more aerodynamic, and easier to build.

I think you are right about the size of their tail... it might not be very effectual in pitch control. But, their long legs definitely act as ballast, and angling them up or down slightly will shift the CG enough to affect the AOA of the main wing. Think about sky-divers... they change their direction and pitch the same way. So maybe the tail and the legs are one piece and they pitch up and down together.

Both of the planes you linked to have very different wing-shapes... they have swept wings... built for speed, not cruising. The elevons also would make them very acrobatic, and a Blue Heron is a glider... not really built for dog-fighting.
Last edited by warhead_71; Oct 25, 2010 at 11:09 AM.
Oct 25, 2010, 11:44 AM
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Thoughts on plan

I have been fooling around with photos of real birds and TurboCAD. My goal is to get the best layout from pictures that I can and then make modifications for practicality as necessary.

Here is the directly overhead view from one picture I have. I found the wing outline interesting. Inside the wing I drew a line that marked the boundary between the solid part of the wing and the feathers.

I drew circles and ovals to suggest the size and location of body, neck, and head. The beak speaks for itself.
Oct 25, 2010, 11:52 AM
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Better photo

I tried to put out a better photo in jpg
Oct 25, 2010, 11:58 AM
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Thoughts on other designs

I was attracted to both the Soarbird and the powered Air Surfer due to their descriptions as being very slow flyers. In fact there is a 70" WS powered Air surfer video on the forum to which somebody commented that they thought the video was showing a Great Heron at first. It actually seems to flap as the motor is powered up. I can find the post of that movie if you are interested.

I like your point about the feet and legs. Your comment made me thing of hang glider pilots who use weight shift to help steer and fly.

Can you handle a dxf file? I will post both a pdf and a dxf later.
Oct 25, 2010, 12:07 PM
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Hang-gliders shift their weight forward and back to change the X-axis CG... but I was suggesting moving the legs up and down to change the Z-axis CG. It won't really adjust the forward CG, but it will change the AOA of the main wing by acting as a counter-balance. If the legs go up, they will leverage the LE of the wing go up to maintain equilibrium.... and vice versa.
Oct 25, 2010, 12:34 PM
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Here are some new drawing files. Sorry they aren't very nice. The 2 pdf files give the best line definition. I'm not sure why the "3a" pdf file is cut off. I tried to print in in CutePDF. The other pdf is very long for the width. This is from saving the file as a pdf from TurboCAD. It looks like the paper is set in portrait instead of landscape but it isn't that way on the computer.

You can still see the basic lines pretty well in either pdf.
Oct 25, 2010, 01:37 PM
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Video of Air Surfer

Here is the video for the 70" Air Surfer powered by an EDF. Looks a lot like a Heron in flight.

It is at post #111 on the linked page.
Oct 26, 2010, 12:59 PM
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Next step

I did a little more work on the layout for the Blue Heron.

Again, using real pictures I traced the outline of a bird in flight from the side view and then did a top view in circles and shapes to line up with the side.
Nov 18, 2010, 12:05 AM
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rdbell's Avatar
I'd really like to see what you come up with on this. I love these birds
Jun 11, 2017, 10:21 PM
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Nice project !!

...just overjoyed to come across this... exactly what I had in mind.... was there any progress on this?

Jun 12, 2017, 08:24 AM
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Nope. I never built it. Other projects jumped the queue. But go for it... I'd love to see what you come up with.

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