A-380 largest electric propulsion rc plane ever built - RC Groups
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Jan 29, 2016, 09:25 PM
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A-380 largest electric propulsion rc plane ever built


This plane was shown on Jimmy Fallon’s show on 1/8/16 and there seems to be interest in some information about the plane. The owner of the plane thought it might be good to make some of the information we learned available to anyone thinking of a large build project.

I agreed to scratch build this plane. The following 14 months were exciting and filled with problem solving at a level I had never seen before. I am a life-long builder, and have been in the business full-time for 15 years building all sorts and sizes of airplanes. My company has been fortunate enough to build planes of all sizes and types, such as Crack Yaks, ARF planes of all sizes, wood, foam, composites, gas and electric. We constructed the electric Bauer Concorde that flew at Jets over KY a few years ago. We have done many other one-of-a-kind, high end planes for private clients that enjoy unusual custom made planes. Additionally, I have stayed at a Holiday Inn so what could possibly go wrong?

At present the A-380 is parked at its home hangar awaiting the motors. The plane is done except for the motors, and the balancing and sizing of the landing gear system. On the TV show there was a miscommunication and you likely got the impression that the plane has flown. The discussion was about the planes in the collection rather than about this particular plane.

So here goes a build thread for the plane. There are lots of stories to be told, by people you know that helped in this giant undertaking. I will show you the hows of the build and I am guessing the stories will come from those that helped with it. I am Brian and my company is Dream RC Airplanes Inc.
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Jan 29, 2016, 09:27 PM
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Rules for this thread


1. This thread is about the plane and I will discuss the design and construction of the plane, and answer as many questions about it as I can.

2. The thread is not about the owner - I will not discuss any topics pertaining to him and I would appreciate it if you would simply refrain from posts about him. Any posts about the owner will be ignored.

3. This plane is the production of many talented people over nearly 2 years. Their dedication and knowledge is appreciated more than they will ever know. I will mention them as their part of the build is described. I will undoubtedly fail to mention everyone, so feel free to jump in if you are one of the many that helped. If you participated, please start your post with a note that you are a contributor so that readers will know you are not an observer.
Jan 29, 2016, 09:29 PM
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Table of contents


Introduction and rules of the thread -----------------------------------------1
General size and function of the plane --------------------------------------1
Concept Phase............................................. .................................................. .................1
Design phase............................................. .................................................. .....................1
Begin Construction - Cut foam.............................................. ...............................1
Tail section build............................................. .................................................. ............2
Fuse build starts .................................................. .................................................. .....8
Wing outers .................................................. .................................................. ............10
Measurements for assembly .................................................. ............................11
Move to large shop.............................................. .................................................. ...12
Set wings on fuse.............................................. .................................................. .......12
Battery heat and run time data.............................................. ............................14
Cowls............................................. .................................................. ...............................15
Schuebeler motor info.............................................. ..............................................15
Nose section .................................................. .................................................. ..........16
CG................................................ .................................................. .................................17
Last edited by Panther 45; Feb 05, 2016 at 04:11 PM.
Jan 29, 2016, 09:43 PM
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General size and function of the plane


.................................................. ...................Full Scale ..........Our Plane
.Scale............................................ ............................1:1 ............ 1:11.85
Wing Span .................................................. 261.65’ ...............20’
Fuse Length not counting stabs ...........238.09 ................18.9'
Wet weight ................................................ 1.2 million #.......approx. 330 #
Height of tail parked on runway ............. 85’....................... 8.1’
Thrust .................................................. ........ 328,000 # ..............200 #
Thrust to weight ratio................................ .273...................... .60
over twice the full scale

Wing area .................................................. .4,165 sq ft...................350 sq ft
Wing loading .................................... 288 lbs / sq ft .................94 lbs / sq ft

Rx and batteries - four 12 channel rx – 8 rx batteries

Four Schuebeler 215 fans – 4 speed controls – 14s battery systems
Each motor has up to 8 batteries 7s 5000mah lipo ( total max weight of propulsion batteries 78 #). The load on the battery pack at full throttle will be over 2,000 amps

22 4.5” wheels - 10 with brakes

Air scoop under the nose for cooling of the components

Full Fowler flaps in four sections

Primary Builders : Brian Deis Jeff Spears Charles Gettys

Build time – not including foam cutting time at Chisel 3D - 3,100 hours to date
Last edited by Panther 45; Jan 29, 2016 at 09:53 PM.
Jan 29, 2016, 09:59 PM
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Concept phase


Most of you know of Peter Michel’s A-380 that has a wing span of just under 15 feet and it is sporting gas turbines. Top class airplanes like that are works of love and his plane has inspired all of us to push the limits of design. This project came about because we were unable to acquire his A380.

The design and build difficulty rises exponentially with the size of the plane. Peter’s 380 is foam and wood with a glass exterior and it is strong, light and flies fine. When you take the size up by about 1/3, things change very quickly.

In the design phase we looked at various ways to create the strength we needed while keeping the wing loading as low as possible. We have corresponded with Peter and shown him photos of the build process.
The concept was given by the owner when he designated the project as 20’ wingspan 380 that was foam inside and powered by electric motors. The 20 foot wingspan created the scale of 1:11.85. Further, this was an effort to make a prototype airframe to be a proof of concept that would lead to the final plane.

For that reason, the landing gears do not retract and some other functions were omitted. The second part of the concept was to build the good plane out of whatever materials might be needed and with full function. So this plane was created to learn about building, servicing and flying planes of a size never done before.
Jan 29, 2016, 10:06 PM
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Design phase


After much consideration, we decided to build the internal structure out of aircraft tubing (6061 grade) for its performance and availability in long lengths. We began with 190’ of tubing and some ended up on the floor. The tubing gave us the stiffness we needed in the wings and fuse and the shock strength for landing a 300 lb plane. The design criteria was 5x on most all of the parts and this meant the landing gears had to perform at 1,500 to 1,800 lbs load.

The wings and fuse would have to flex to prevent failure but could not flap in flight or drag the motors on the runway during landing. The fuse also had to flex and be strong as the elevator and rudder tried to twist and deform the fuse in flight.

With the help of top people in the field, a design came together that called for the plane to look like a NASCAR inside with tubes to take the load. Structure help came from Frank and Robert Deis (my brother and nephew respectively) as their engineering experience was key. Frank’s background, including the National Soaring Championship, helped in several places in the design.

Long-time friend Dennis Gergits at Carden Aircraft gave great assistance in the design of the wings and tail assembly, and in the understanding of the flow of forces through the airframe.
Jan 29, 2016, 10:19 PM
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Design phase


The landing gear system was designed to meet the needs of the prototype plane and the lower sections will be used in later models. They were done at the Bavington Machine Works in Atlanta and mounted to the plane on tubing that would make the height adjustable on the prototype plane.

Steve Bavington took on the construction of the “trucks” as well as the wheel mounts and brakes. The strut length remains adjustable. Once the motors are in and the landing gears are balanced with the final weight of the plane, we will adjust the height of the plane from the runway. It is key to get the incidence of the wing set to 0 degrees.
Jan 30, 2016, 01:29 AM
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Design phase


The design of the motors and the mounts was divided between my team and the good folks at Schuebeler Composites. Daniel Schuebeler and Christian Wileschek accepted the challenge of making motors with 50 lbs of thrust.

The new motors are more than twice the size of the largest fans they have made. They did the initial design and made us some “dummy” motors that were the outside case only. This allowed us to make the structure to hold the motors on the plane. One of our people that was in on the build was Jeff Spears and when he saw the dummy motor he named it the paint can.

The Schuebeler folks will very likely be joining in this thread to discuss the motors that are just like the 94s we use in 10’ airliners except they are 215. The speed controls weigh 2 lbs each and each one has two fans in the bottom. This is a different world even for those of us that work with the 77s and the 94s all the time.
Jan 30, 2016, 05:03 AM
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Are you sure that's a A380?
Jan 30, 2016, 07:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scraper
Are you sure that's a A380?
I am. Cutter data came from airbus. I have all the manuals and it matches the version one plane. They never flew version one, they are many versions down the road by now.
Jan 30, 2016, 12:51 PM
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I think this is the same plane https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show....php?t=2578801
It is not A380, it has A380 decals, but it is not A380
But I am delighted with the budget of your model. With such budget it was possible to create model not worse than at Peter Michel - he have scale model of A380 that is true
Jan 30, 2016, 01:43 PM
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Design phase


CG
Center of gravity concerned us and, while we calculated the CG at the wing root, we wanted to have a high confidence that we were very close to right. While on a road trip with Colton, we had the idea to make a glider from the same cutter data as the big one. We could throw it off of a hill and see where the CG really went. We did do that and Colton flew it and gave me the proper CG. It was different than the calculation for lots of reasons and I am glad to have the information.

Those of you that know Colton will understand that the glider did not stay a glider for very long. It got Coltonized pretty fast and soon it had little tiny motors and was flying around. He will tell you that the "research" he did changed the face of aviation and he might be right. A photo is shown below and you can judge it however you like.
Jan 31, 2016, 07:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike_fish
I think this is the same plane https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show....php?t=2578801
It is not A380, it has A380 decals, but it is not A380
But I am delighted with the budget of your model. With such budget it was possible to create model not worse than at Peter Michel - he have scale model of A380 that is true
Peter Michel had built a large number of airliner models (mostly Norbert Rauch designs) before he felt skilled enough to build his phantastic A380.
Building such a large plane without the experience of other, atleast mid-sized airliner models would overcharge most builders.
So this plane is bigger than Peter Michel's A380 but at a much lower quality standard.
Jan 31, 2016, 07:06 AM
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Design phase


The design phase was ended with lots of questions that would be addressed as the build progressed. While there were no sweeping changes to the design, we made a large number of running improvements.


Final approval of the design was done by Don Herring who recently retired as project manager for the entire F-22 fighter program. He knows a thing or two about planes and designs. He also gave the plane full approval after the construction was done. It was a nervous moment when he came to inspect the plane. Several hundred questions later he gave it a big smile and said we would be fine but it would take a big runway to land it.
Jan 31, 2016, 07:15 AM
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Cutting foam


We started with cutting the foam. Chisel 3D, In Atlanta, was brought in to make the foam, as they are experts at all sorts of projects in 1 pound foam. Gary Bystrom, owner of Chisel 3D, got the math data from Airbus for the outside of the plane and scaled it to the 20 foot Airbus and so our plane is slightly different from the version that is being flown today. While Gary is an expert at designs in foam, his Aero engineering talents are minimal. Technical assistance was supplied by Terry Ferintino, who was part of the owner’s organization. He did stellar work conceptualizing the plane and setting the beginning parameters for the cutting of the foam. His efforts set the incidences and made the plane practical to build. The plane was cut from over 30 slabs of 4’ x 8’ x 8” foam. The accuracy of the CNC machine was outstanding and the key parts of the plane fit precisely together for the entire build.

The flying surfaces were made from a top and a bottom piece. The joint was offset to allow for the placement of the wing tube in the thickest portion of the airfoil. Each wing was made from 6 sections of foam. We had to have the shucks cut on the CNC since the shape of the wings was not wire cut. The process of making the shucks used an additional 14 sheets of foam.

At this point the project was transitioned to our company, and the foam was transported to my shop. Everyone that saw the pile of foam seemed to have the same reaction. They quoted the movie Jaws and they were right. I needed a bigger shop.


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