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Dec 26, 2005, 09:13 PM
VTPR & Slope Aerobatics
surfimp's Avatar
Thread OP
Build Log

Le Fish Build Log - 60" Aerobatic EPP Slope Prototype

EDIT: 3/1/12: Adding some videos of what this plane can do

The original Le Fish, built traditionally at 38oz. Flying at Farren Road in 2006:
(5 min 13 sec)

The new ultralightweight "Swiss" 16.5oz Le Fish at Ellwood in 2012:
(4 min 15 sec)

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EDIT 5/31/10: Adding the words LEG Le Fish here in hopes that this thread will show up better for people searching on build info for this plane.

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As many of you know, I'm keen on slope aerobatics. Towards that end, I built an Aeromod Voltij this summer, which is a great plane but not quite as versatile for my local conditions as I'd like. I've come to realize that what I want is a four channel plane (flaperons/elevator/rudder) that will fly in lift similar to a Weasel and can take the same kind of abuse.

The MiniToons by EPPConcept out of France seemed like it might fit the bill, but after nearly a year of trying I'd been unable to find anyone capable of cutting the plane from the files provided on the EPPConcept website. I'd order a kit from Laurent but between the international shipping costs and the unfavorable Euro/Dollar exchange rate, it'd end up being one extremely expensive foamie.

Also, there are some things I would want to do differently from the MiniToons in terms of wing planform (I prefer straight leading edges) and build materials (more wood & carbon fiber, less Coroplast and absolutely no foam elevons). Ultimately, I decided to design my own plane which was to be inspired and informed by the current creme de la creme of French aerobatic slopers.

I know that there is a market for this type of plane here in the States because I've been contacted on numerous times by individuals trying to get a MiniToons built here. To the best of my knowledge, there are currently no three or four channel purpose-built aerobatic slopers available on the market here in the US, and definitely none made from EPP. I believe that slope aerobatics is going to be on an upswing in popularity in the coming year or two, and I fully intend to do what I can to facilitate that upswing should it come to pass. My upcoming is one part of my plan, and this plane design is another.

I also think that this type of plane might appeal to a beginner/low intermediate level flyer as a 1st or 2nd glider. It's fairly large, easy to see & orient, and (if implemented well) should be capable of providing some very satisfying flight performance in a fairly broad range of conditions.

With all that in mind, I contacted my good friend Jack Cooper of Leading Edge Gliders to see whether or not he'd be interested in doing a prototype of my design, with an eye towards possibly releasing the plane as an LEG kit in the coming year if the prototype should prove successful.

Fortunately for me, Jack indicated that he would be interested in pursuing the project, so I emailed him my drawings and ideas about construction techniques and airfoils. Just a few days ago I met up with him in LA (he was out for the holidays) and he provided me with a nearly complete kit. All I needed to provide was the carbon fiber ribbon spars which I sourced from Michael Richter here in Santa Barbara.

So anyways, that's the backstory. The plane doesn't have a name yet (I have a name in mind, but it's definitely not politically correct so I'm not posting it), it's not built yet, and it might prove to be a complete flop. Then again, hopefully it turns out to be a success--only time will tell! I basically tried to incorporate features from a number of planes in order to produce a well-rounded and sweet flying plane for slope aerobatics. We'll see how it turns out!

Here are the specs:

Wingspan: 60"
Length: 39.5"
Airfoils: SB96V (root) and SB96VS (tip)
Wing Area: 467
AUW (est.): 25-30oz.
Wingloading (est.): 8-10oz./sq.ft.
Controls: Flaperon x 2, Elevator, Rudder

Last edited by surfimp; Mar 01, 2012 at 10:12 AM. Reason: Added the words Le Fish to first post in hopes it will improve search results for this thread
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Dec 26, 2005, 09:16 PM
VTPR & Slope Aerobatics
surfimp's Avatar
Thread OP
I started the build tonight by gluing on the subtrailing edge spars. These are carbon fiber ribbon spars, a little less than 3/8" tall and maybe 1mm or so thick. Very beefy, will really stiffen up that subtrailing edge. I used Weldwood contact cement to glue them on, this stuff is absolutely bomb-proof (comparable to Goop) and sets up real fast. Perfect

Dec 26, 2005, 09:16 PM
All times are GMT
wackyd's Avatar
Steve,..Looks like a very fun ship to fly. Keep us posted
Dec 26, 2005, 09:21 PM
VTPR & Slope Aerobatics
surfimp's Avatar
Thread OP
Will do, hope to have it finished soon. I plan to cover the wings in Ultracote, and the fuselage in Solartex. Will do the Moth-style thinned Goop reinforcement of the fuse and the wing leading edges, as well as some strapping tape. Hope to make it very strong and durable, while keeping it as light as possible. For these types of planes, lighter is better since they will tend to be impacting on the surface quite a bit

Dec 26, 2005, 09:42 PM
Registered User
Very cool! Can't wait to see how it turns out! One of those new Berg4L's might make a good fit.

Dec 26, 2005, 10:44 PM
Mr. Innocent's Avatar
Do you plan on putting a longeron in the fuse? Looks sweet! Looking forward to a video!
Dec 26, 2005, 10:44 PM
BillO's Avatar
I like the concept! Love to see some video when it's all done!

Dec 26, 2005, 11:34 PM
Low AltiDude
PGR's Avatar
Originally Posted by surfimp
For these types of planes, lighter is better since they will tend to be impacting on the surface quite a bit
Silly me!

I always thought the ground smacked the planes.

Pete the Perplexed
Dec 27, 2005, 12:17 AM
Flagstaff, AZ
dawsonh's Avatar
Way to go Steve!

I really hope this project turns out. I'll be first in line to buy a kit. Good Luck!

Dec 27, 2005, 12:27 AM
Registered User
Bill L's Avatar
I like the tall fuse, should make multi point rolls easy.

Dec 27, 2005, 12:28 AM
Registered User
NWade's Avatar
Steve -

Are you going to be mounting the flaperon servos in the wing? My experience with thin balsa flaperons has been a disappointing one, since the aerodynamic effects at the outboard ends of the wings can apply a big warping / torquing force on the balsa if the control horn is mounted at the root. For total spans under about 38" it seems to work OK, but 48" and up gets kinda sketchy.

Good luck! If the plane works out I'll certainly be interested in one!

Take care,

Dec 27, 2005, 01:24 AM
kawika's Avatar
Right on Steve.
I'm glad somebody made a move to get this thing going. I have been intrested in the minitoons since the vids appeared. Downloaded the plans but unable to make anything of it.
A friend of mine even had a full size plan of the yodatoon, but nothing has come of it.
Leave it to you and Jack to get er done.
If it works out and the kits are produced ,( and your politically incorrect name doesn't work) how about calling it the Surfimp? :-) I think that would be a very fitting name considering you were the guy to get the ball rolling.
Looking forward to the flight report.

Dec 27, 2005, 01:33 AM
VTPR & Slope Aerobatics
surfimp's Avatar
Thread OP
Thanks for all the comments, everyone.

Hydrogin: No real need to save weight in the nose on this plane, I've designed it around standard size radio gear. Actually, I'll be using a 6V, 1800mAh NiMH pack just to help with the balance. With the straight leading edge, the CG is a bit further forward than with a normal straight taper wing like most aerobatic gliders have, so I stretched the nose a bit and figure that running a hicap 6V battery is a fine idea.

Mr. I: Yes, there will be CF ribbon spars in the fuse for longerons. Will be the cutoff extras from the wing spars, should work out perfectly according to my calculations. The pieces cutoff from the sub-TE spars will end up being the wing joiners, extending a good ways into each wing. Works out perfect, very efficient use of 48" long carbon fiber flat rod.

NWade: The wings are quite thick at the root, there's plenty of room for mounting standard size servos a goodly ways out into the span without problems. The balsa TE stock that Jack provided is pretty beefy, about 3/8" tall at the leading edge and 1.5" in chord if I remember correctly. Should be pretty good, even if there is some flex I suspect it won't be a killer as there's still going to be plenty of surface moving. Only time & testing will tell. Thanks for the tip, though!

To all: of course there will be video, once the plane is complete! I think the fundamental design is sound, the only question in my mind is whether or not it will be too slow with the tall fuse and the relatively thick airfoil. I intend to find out!

Dec 27, 2005, 01:54 AM
Free as a bird now.
Nice collaboration between Steve and Jack. Combined effort projects are starting to catch on here in R/C Groups, and I think that's a good thing!

I can't wait to see the finished plane in the air.

BTW: I have a name suggestion for you. All of these aerobatic slopers with the deep fuselages and big fins remind me a lot of fishes.

How about the word Malolo as a name ( Mah-low-low). It means flying fish in Hawaiian.
Dec 27, 2005, 02:26 AM
kawika's Avatar
Malolo ,sounds good to me Brian. Those little guys are so cool to see flying over the waves. Looks like this could turn into a name the plane thread. :-o


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