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Oct 16, 2019, 09:33 AM
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rockom's Avatar
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Balsa Glider.


I was looking at the Woodchuck plans as a possibility for my next build with a motor and folding prop.

1. The goal is a 750mm powered floater. Is there a more suitable platform for what I am looking for? Hands off floater on a calm evening.

2. Any recommendations on a motor? I'd like to use 1s or 2s.

Last edited by rockom; Oct 16, 2019 at 10:40 AM.
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Oct 16, 2019, 09:25 PM
DLG Bug Bit Me
Tim Harbour's Avatar
This is an easy build.
I've extended wingspan to 1200'm for extra float.
Awesome flying in the evening. Super light.
Oct 17, 2019, 07:18 AM
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rockom's Avatar
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I can't find plans for this one. The links are dead at the PL Daniels Easybox website.


Originally Posted by Tim Harbour
This is an easy build.
I've extended wingspan to 1200'm for extra float.
Awesome flying in the evening. Super light.
Oct 17, 2019, 03:14 PM
B for Bruce
BMatthews's Avatar
Hands off floating around? Are you fixed on the wing span? If you want hands off very slow floating where you encourage it around with small nudges of control but mostly just enjoy the view with the Tx dangling from one of your hands you may want to consider a conversion of a free flight glider that has a more cambered airfoil. If storage or transport is an issue you can make it with a two piece wing.

Such as..... This one would need a slight increase in the dihedral to respond well with rudder. Or fit it with ailerons and elevator only since you're powering it.

There's also many, many small and lightly build engine style old timer designs that will fly hands off since they were designed as free flight models. And they are just riddled through with character. One perfect example of this would be the 54" span American Ace. And if you don't want to build from plans Bob Holman has a really nice laser cut semi kit.

And back to the little Woodchuck. If it puts a spark in your eyes I think it would do fine. Maybe not quite as slow and floating as some of these other options but if you don't want to go bigger it's a good option.

Oh, another very simple build you might like the looks of and which would float quite nicely if kept light is another from my youth. Chuck Anderson's Tern.. It even shows a power pod and upthrust angle suitable for power from a motor that makes around 60 watts of pull.
Oct 18, 2019, 01:55 AM
Registered User
Based on the figures on the plan, the span loading on the Woodchuck is a bit high, though the wing loading isn't bad. The span loading is based on the square of the span. So this model's span loading is similar to that of a grossly overweight, 1.5 meter dlg. This means that a slow glide would be steep and a slow airfoil might be wasted.

If I didn't care about speed, which might be useful for escaping sink or making it to the next thermal, then at this span I might use a free flight P-30 design with a thin airfoil and relatively low aspect ratio. The empty airframe on a P-30 ideally weighs only 40 grams. They use 10 grams of rubber. I think that you could convert to powered rc and keep it to 50 grams as well if you use really light gear. Like maybe similar to what is found in the UMX Radian. It's pretty good for the same mission with the exception of not being made of wood. Plus under power it can get back upwind against a surprisingly strong breeze. An indoor rc design that was moderately large might fit the bill, though not all of them will glide well with the power off, and of course almost all would have more trouble with the breeze. I think I've seen a Ron Fikes design that might glide well and be fast enough to fighy a modest breeze. Not his Moosquito, which I mention later, but something with a higher aspect ratio. I agree with BMathews that some free flight gliders would be food options. Unfortunately, on this phone I can't follow his links without losing what I've written so far.

I think you can find lots of P-30 designs on Outerzone and maybe Hip Pocket Aero. Outerzone,has a 30 inch design called the Fair Clipper which, if I recall, has a nice thin airfoil and a lot of charisma. It probably wouldn't float QUITE as well as a good P-30, but it would be much prettier. There are also quite a few kits out there. I don't know which ones are good. If you find the Flying Aces Club web site, there is a links page with vendors, some of whom sell P-30 kits. I imagine the National Free Flight Society's page has a similar list, which might have some vendors who are more performance oriented.

If I was converting a free flight design, I'd probably enlarge the vertical stab to reduce Dutch roll induced by control inputs. If it ended up nose heavy, and moving the battery didn't help, I'd consider shortening the nose.

If you could stand to go up to a meter of span, chances are the performance would be markedly better. You might look at coupe d'hiver designs or kits. (coupe for short). I imagine the Woodchuck might work well if enlarged to 1 meter, assuming you could keep the weight down. It would be considerably faster than the options above and could cope with a breeze. Mark Drela's Apogee design would be even better. Not super slow, but it would have a nice flat glide and a low sink rate. The 30 inch version doesn't fly nearly as well as the larger ones.

Anyway, unless things are very calm where you fly, you may want at least some speed range. I built an indoor flier called the Moosquito. One time I was flying it from the back porch (more like a hefty fire escape). A modest breeze came up, but it was faster than my model could fly. When it got downwind of a school, as opposed to over it, I cut the power and ran after it in my bathrobe and stocking feet.
Oct 18, 2019, 03:37 AM
Registered User
You'll find lots of relevant plans if you do a search on "volar libremente".

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