Icon A5 1800mm - RC Groups
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Jul 12, 2011, 08:40 AM
Tech freak
Build Log

Icon A5 1800mm


I am putting together an Icon A5. It is made from EPO and is the larger version that Hobbyking carries. Think it is originally from a company called DZ-Hobby.

My plans with the Icon is to get a reliable and stable flyer that later will see fpv usage. The ability to start and land from both land and water is very appealing to me, and certainly helps to increase the accessibility of this model.
I am also taking a step to improve that even further by installing lights to make flight in dusk or darkness possible.

Here are some pictures of the build so far.

Unboxing. Plane came well protected with all parts intact. The box showed signs of a long journey.

Reinforcing the nose retract mounts, as I have found info from other buildthreads of its weakness.

Preparing the wing for lights. Cheap leds that point down into the wing and light up the white epo. I prefer mildly lit surfaces over bright spots any day when flying in dusk.

Soldering led bundles. Pretty much a PITA after 100 leds or so.

Installing leds into the wings. I am using 0,36mm motor wire for connections.

Starting to take shape.

Decided to move the motor backwards to reduce the noise from being close to the trailing edge of the wing and fuselage. Also beneficial for the CG to load big batts and fpv equipment later on.

Testing the winglights (mobile camera works bad in dark environments)

Lights in the sidesupports

Lights in the fuselage. Due to thin walls here I decided to not point the diodes into the foam. Might change later on depending on visibility through the walls. A switch will operate the lights on and off.

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Jul 12, 2011, 02:45 PM
An itch?. Scratch build.
eflightray's Avatar
There's a short thread on a 1800mm Icon A5 in the FPV forum, with a couple of flying off water videos,

New 1800mm icon for FPV??
Jul 12, 2011, 05:51 PM
Tech freak
Thanks for the link, I think I have seen most Icon videos by now. Checking Youtube for new arrivals now and then .
Jul 12, 2011, 06:04 PM
Tech freak
Spent some time with the Icon today and made alittle progress.

First when I was about to install my nosegear after reinforcing the mount, the gear itself broke.
It appeared that the part connected to the control rod had a manufacturing flaw and was very weak. Fixed it with CA glue and carbon rods.
(The part was built as an I-beam so the carbon rods did fit nicely on the sides after some peeling with a knife. As strong as it gets now.

Installed the elevator servo. It is located inside/under the stabilizer ontop of the fin. I decided to use a standardservo for now. If CG problems arise I will change it. (Still think it will work well with big batteries or a gopro upfront)

Installed one of the metal gear servos from hobbyking for the landing gear operation. Turned out it was to weak. Was planning on 2 of these in the fuselage for rudder and gear. Ended up with a standardservo for the gear. Note that the front retract control motion is about 15mm and the rear retract travel is about 30mm.
Installation instructions was recommending hitec hs81mg for the gear and rudder.

Tried the lights in the fuselage minus the wings. Approx 200 leds in the plane total. I left the tailarea clean as it will have the antenna for the fpv.
Dunno if it helps, hopefully it does.

Thats all for now. I will be away for 2 days but hopefully maidenflight this weekend.
Last edited by Wheazel; Jul 12, 2011 at 06:22 PM.
Jul 13, 2011, 05:55 PM
Suspended Account
Nice one Wheazel
Keep it coming, hopefully mine will arrive any day now

Sounds like your plans for FPV are pretty much the same as mine, though I may use about 200 less led lights than you
Jul 15, 2011, 08:23 PM
Tech freak
Pretty much ready for a maiden now. Might try a grass start the first time, haven't decided yet. Weather is very bad (rain and storms), hopefully better during the weekend.
Jul 16, 2011, 03:42 PM
Electric Coolhunter
Thomas B's Avatar
If you have not yet looked through our extensive and informative thread in this forum on the 1.8m Icon, here is a link to it:


Lots of good info there.

I am a very happy Icon A5 owner! My only real issue is the weakness of the stock retractable nose gear, as you have also discovered. The thread above mentons the fix for the model tipping over in moderate wind and wave conditions: increased volume of the sponsons (scale sized sponsons on scale model seaplanes are usually quite problematic, as the scale sized sponsons do not displace enough water to always keep the model upright.)
Latest blog entry: 2014 events and travel
Jul 16, 2011, 10:33 PM
Tech freak
Thanks for the reply. Do you have a postnumber for the sponson mod?
WOuld be nice to see a pic or two. I tried the searchengine on the thread but didnt really find anything visual.
Jul 17, 2011, 02:49 AM
Registered User
ssatoru's Avatar
No picture for sponson mod yet. I posted my experience in #379 briefly, I will post on permanent work with pic hopefully soon.

Jul 17, 2011, 10:31 PM
Tech freak
Okay so I decided to take the plane for a taxitest at my parents place. Gravel parking.
After a few seconds of taxying, the nosegear broke. Plane was 2660g at that time with a 5s5000mah battery. Small wheel + uneven surface makes the poor plastic forks take all the abuse when the wheel wants to stop and the plane wants to go on.

Decided to make a new piece as I lost one of the two plastic pieces and couldnt repair it.

Also made a decent place to put my battery for the maiden flight.

So after some more fiddling with the gear and putting 2 two blade props on the motor to get some load on the motor I decided to try with about 540watts. Plane was at 2700g.
My usual flying lake was lying like a mirror so I went for a water start.
Taxying was abit problematic without the sponsonmod mentioned in this thread, I will make that mod for sure. The power was not sufficient to get the plane in the air. Most likely very close, but not enough.

I realized I wouldn't be able to load the motor anymore. Had one 12x8 prop + one 12x10 prop on the motor. I tore the motor apart and tried to rewind it into something hotter. Just pulled a guess and rewound it 6turns with 5 parallell 0,56mm wires LRK. Dunno how good or bad that is and no clue about the Kv. Can't be as slow as it was tho, can it?

Went slow and was annoying but had it done after like 4 hours. When I was assembling the motor, one phase shortened the stator somehow. FUUUUUUUUU.......
Will have to tear it apart and try again, but Ill probably just order a decent hyperion as replacement either way. Regardless of the rewinding results.
Jul 17, 2011, 11:25 PM
Registered User
Kinnerhatz's Avatar
Wow, awesome work
Jul 18, 2011, 09:37 PM
Tech freak
I could not get the stator off the aluminum motorframe to rewind the shortened pole. I Scrapped the rewinding for now and threw on a 480kv motor I had lying around instead.
With a 12x12 APC E the power reached 600watts on a fresh charged 5s pack.
I decided to try it again on the lake with this power. Was convinced that the increase in power was not the only benefit.
The previous try with 2props put on adapter hub probably were more inefficient aswell.

It was dusky outside so I had activate the Leds to see the plane.
After a failed start try with digging water, I moved the battery backwards since it was obvious thatb the cg was abit too far forward. (I prefer to try with a cg on the "safe side" the first flight)

I lowered the flaps 50% and went off again with the new adjusted cg. Plane took off no problem and only needed abit of elevator to keep the nose up. I can probably move the cg even more backwards.
The flight was very short, maybe a minuter or two. Landing was smooth and controlled, I never moved the flaps during the flight.
It was exciting to have a successful maiden and I will trim it more when flying in daylight.

Plans are to build a new cockpit cover that is basically a replacement for the original one, where I can put cameramounts etc. I will also modify the sponsons when I find some white foam.
Jul 27, 2011, 06:54 PM
Tech freak
Have been flying the plane a few times by now and it surely flies well. Flaps make it go slow and steady. Overall cruisespeed is alittle faster than I expected from 1800mm wing and under 3kg auw. But I like that.

Started the sponsonmod today, prepared everything for the final sanding and glassing. Will cover the entire sponsons in thin glass weave and epoxi.
I basically added 10mm white foam everywhere on the sponsoons. increased the height and the width and also the length forward slightly.

Landinggear hides nicely in the new deeper compartment.
I plan to paint the brownish surfaces white before glassing. My west systems superlight microballons had that color.
Some pics.

Jul 27, 2011, 06:57 PM
Tech freak
Also changed the nosewheel to work better on grass.
Waiting for a hyperion motor to replace the low kv hobbyking motor I have on the plane right now.
(Have to squeeze 2 props on there to get the power up as of now)
Jul 29, 2011, 12:22 PM
Tech freak
The plane has now been glassed with thin fiberglasscloth and epoxi. Think it was 0,5oz/sqyard. Also did another layer with just epoxi, trying to seal off the gear wells.

It will cure over the weekend (I am working) and then I will try the new mods wednesday next week or so.
Maybe I have the hyperion motor on the plane aswell by then. Also possible I can get a video done.

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