Suggestions for salt water flying - RC Groups
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Jun 12, 2011, 12:19 PM
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Suggestions for salt water flying

Can it be done without destroying the plane?
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Jun 13, 2011, 06:17 AM
An itch?. Scratch build.
eflightray's Avatar
Don't make the plane out of a metal that corrodes easily, iron, steel and aluminum are not really suitable

From a corrosion point of view, I would think the biggest problem would be the motors.

If anyone has an old dead motor, perhaps they could go and dip it in the sea for a while then let it dry, and check it out after a day or two.

The biggest problem to me about flying off the sea is not so much the corrosion, but the possible waves. Large areas of water, especially the sea seem to have annoying sized waves even on calm days.
Jun 13, 2011, 07:59 AM
We shall serve the Lord
kingsflyer's Avatar
There is a product called CorrosionX that can be used to protect even iron surfaces from contact with sea water. A liberal spray of CorrosionX in the motors before and after each flying session should keep them in good shape.

Here is the science:

Here are the salt spray tests and some of the recommended uses:

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Jun 13, 2011, 07:25 PM
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Can you put it on something that is all ready rusty and will it take the rust off?
Jun 14, 2011, 03:50 PM
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kingsflyer's Avatar
I'm not sure if it will take off the rust, but it will penetrate the rust and stop it from rusting anymore.
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Jun 16, 2011, 12:29 AM
Excellence thru mistakes
"Can it be done without destroying the plane?"

I would avoid it like the plague.

I live on an island surrounded by salt water. I live on a golf course with "fresh water" lakes where I fly. In reality the water is mildly brackish from the infiltration of salt water into the water table. I have had several crashes where electronics got wet. After each I ran water, followed by 91% alcohol, through the receiver and speed controller. I dried each with a blow dry from a hair dryer.

Even with that, the receiver failed about six months after one crash, fortunately while taxiing. When I got it apart I found green whiskers had grown from the copper wires shorting it out. This despite a thorough rinsing and very little salt in the water.

You will lose your electronics if they are dunked in salt water. You could encapsulate them in a tightly sealed plastic tube or a condom. I doubt corrosion x would keep the circuit boards from shorting out if dunked. But I may be wrong.

If you can find a nearby fresh water pond, you will be better off.
Last edited by Corky Boyd; Jun 16, 2011 at 12:35 AM.
Jul 07, 2011, 05:24 AM
Registered User

yes it can be done

have been flying a skyartec cessna then a phonex glider on floats off salt water successfully.

yes everything rusts fast. go stainless screws, or plastic parts, stainless steel welding wire for push rods etc (or carbon)

if the esc or any electrics get wet they WILL be stuffed (i had a good fire in the cessna once)

I went with a spray on polyeurathane paint (colored so i could see it) over all circut boards) then a thick layer of silicone grease over. then finally in sealed in a watertight compartment which i tape up.

similar approach with the servos, then coated the outside too.

get big heat sinks, as airflow is very limited.

motors last well is you wash them out & spray with CRC afterwards while running slowly

I posted a bit of detail on the phonex glider thread a while ago.

If its the only place you can fly- do it- better flying than not.
Jul 07, 2011, 01:30 PM
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Cool, thanks
Jul 07, 2011, 03:36 PM
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i forgot mention that i learnt to fly on the cessna, it had so many crashes, flip overs etc that i lost count. used just to flip it over and keep flying, even though the motor and servos in the wings had been completely submerged for several minutes.
Jul 10, 2011, 03:10 PM
Retardedly intelligent
foam and tape's Avatar
ya, its doable, just give everything a good washout with distilled water when done, I just waterproofed the ends of the esc and RX with some silicone glue. the plane ended up upside down in the ocean while I was caught off guard by a gust of wind. after the flushing everything worked the same (don't forget to WD-40 the bearings of the motors after the rinsing)
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Jul 10, 2011, 07:43 PM
Registered User
Very cool, thanks
Jul 16, 2011, 04:17 PM
Electric Coolhunter
Thomas B's Avatar
May year ago, Don McGovern wrote a geat series of articles and columns about water flying and published plans for a number of large fying boat and amphibian models in Flying Models.

Don did speak about flying off salt water in his writings and did it from time to time. He was a big believer in a sealed "dry box" for all the radio gear so no water could get close to the radio gear and in careful treatment and flushing of the glow motor after any encounter with salt water. I do not recall what he did with exposed non-stainless steel metal.

These days, with so many great compostite, foam, carbon fiber and other non corroding materials, it is even easier to set up a model to operate from salt water....and long as the radio gear is absolutely sealed. Corrosion X on the ESC and any exposed connections, as mentioned above, would be manadatory.
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Jul 18, 2011, 10:26 PM
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I am south Texas I live on padre island with y parents when not at school and also am interested in salt water flying, ever since I was a kid weve had corrosionX around the house and definitly a coat on the marine engines. Can't tell you enough how important it is to keep a good coating of this on anything exposed not just to the salt water but even the salt air. The mist is just as corrosive as the water itself

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