Shop our Airplanes Products Drone Products Sales
View Poll Results: What way is your camera pointing? Tick all that apply.
Forward 48 52.75%
Rearward 5 5.49%
Left 38 41.76%
Right 31 34.07%
Down 22 24.18%
Up 1 1.10%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 91. You may not vote on this poll

Thread Tools
Mar 27, 2006, 03:14 PM
Flying Kiwi
MisterNiceGuy's Avatar
Build Log

Backpack Easystar AP

After a slow build and a frustrating wait for 1/2 decent weather, I decided to maiden her in less than favourable conditions. It all went to plan (well almost!!) and I had 2 fantastic flights. One 15 minutes and the 2nd about 10 minutes in winds around the 10-15 knot mark. The weather was terrible, overcast and raining lightly.

The build was inspired by my slightly crazy idea of taking a plane with me on a four month overland from Kenya, through Uganda, Congo, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and finally onto South Africa and our flight onto Sydney, Australia. I had recently tested the theory that travelling with an AP plane could be done to good effects with a trip to West Africa (The Gambia). For that trip I travelled with a modified slowstick (a removable tail section), the trouble with the slowstick is that although very light it really did not get down to the size that I want/need to travel with.

After a recent meeting with fellow AP'ers in Surrey

I chose to give an Easystar a try this build log should show what I did and for what reasons, I will try and include photos to explain things (I get a bit wordy at times.....verbal diarrhoea)

My list of requirements
- removable tail section for packing and travelling
- durable (for all the rough terrain that I would be encountering)
- easy to fix (in case the durability was severely tested)
- forward facing camera mount (I love to take video and pics are usually less blurry when forward facing)
- tough (to handle the weight of the camera)
- STOL (especially landing!!!)
- available parts (I was especially keen to use parts I already had to keep costs down, plus they have all been tested thoroughly)

I spent a great deal of time browsing RCGroups (I swear my eyes were bleeding at this stage - can you say TOO MUCH INFORMATION!!), as well as asking questions of others that had successfully adapted the EZ* for AP use.

Last edited by MisterNiceGuy; Mar 27, 2006 at 04:39 PM.
Sign up now
to remove ads between posts
Mar 27, 2006, 03:43 PM
Flying Kiwi
MisterNiceGuy's Avatar

Removable Tail section

Part 2
For the tail section I chose to try something new. I added a aluminium bar underneath the fin removing the same width of foam from the channel where it sits. I also cut a slot further forward into the fuselage that this aluminium could slot into, this was to hold the fin down to the fuselage. The stabiliser then slotted in between the aluminium and the fin. To bind it all together and to fix it to the rear part of the fuselage I made a hole through the fuselage and stabiliser and with the use of a plastic screw (from a movie star wing mount) and a blind nut fixed on the top of the stabiliser and under the fin I was able to make a very secure attachment which was easily removable. To make it all simple, I installed the servos directly into the fin and stabiliser and plugged these into servo extensions that I ran from the receiver under the wing to the rear part of the fuselage. See the pictures, they should explain better than I can.
Mar 27, 2006, 03:44 PM
Flying Kiwi
MisterNiceGuy's Avatar

General strengthening and durability mods

Part 3

To strengthen it all up and to help with the durability, I used a 4mm carbon tube from mid fuse to the tail section (extending the existing slot that looks made for this), I used a 62cm long 8mm carbon tube in the wing to extend the wing spar to about ¾ width. I then ran one strip of re-enforced fibre tape from tip to tip both top and bottom of the wing. I also taped the leading edges to provide protection from dings and dents. On the fuselage, I ran the tape from tip to tail on both sides and also on the bottom. I added a couple of extra strips over the section where the camera was to be mounted. I know this all added quite a bit of weight but it was something that I think I needed to do for the Africa trip but wouldn’t have been quite so heavy with the tape for normal AP use.
Mar 27, 2006, 03:57 PM
Flying Kiwi
MisterNiceGuy's Avatar

Camera mount

Part 4
To install the camera was my biggest dilemma - I really wanted to mount the camera forward facing so that I could frame pictures easily but also so I could continue with making my AP videos, however my main concern was to make sure the camera was protected and wanted it enclosed in the fuselage.

At this stage I have only installed it facing the right and about 10-15 degrees downwards. I will re-look at the issue after I have flown a few more AP sorties.

The next part of my camera mount challenge was to allow me to use a filter specially a polariser as I use this in my ground based landscape photography almost all the time. The disadvantages include less light therefore slower shutter speeds and another layer through which the camera would need to look.

I had a spare 52mm UV filter lying around so that is what I have used at this stage. My plan is to remove the glass from the UV filter and screw a 52mm circular polariser onto the frame. This will make it all removable, the frame does not weigh very much so can stay in the fuselage even when not using a filter. I choose to use a circular polariser so that I can adjust it depending on my needs at that time.

I installed my camera, a nikon 3700, forward of the battery after much deliberating and swapping positions to get the CG right. I have used a very simple way to hold it in place. I have taken a velcro strap and run it down through the fuselage then back up, it sits perfectly over the top of the camera between the shutter button and the lens. I have also cut an access panel on the left side of the fuselage so that I can review the pictures, and setup the camera whilst it is still installed in the plane.
The first AP sortie (during the maiden no less!) seems to have produced ok pictures. It was a dreadful day for flying let alone AP flying but I am glad I have done it now.

Last edited by MisterNiceGuy; Mar 27, 2006 at 04:14 PM.
Mar 27, 2006, 04:23 PM
Smile & wave
Gray's Avatar
Lookin good so far rugged, durable and well engineered. I would however like to point out the gap between the vertical stabilizer and the rudder. If you could reduce or tape over this gap it should improve your rudder control. I think the EZ* handles like an aileron aircraft with this rudder mod, what did you feel?

Very nice look forward to seeing it fly.

Mar 27, 2006, 04:26 PM
Flying Kiwi
MisterNiceGuy's Avatar


Part 6

Easystar kit from multiplex (strengthened as detailed above)
Hyperion 2213/20 brushless outrunner (stick mount for prop clearance)
Castle Creations Thunderbird 18 ESC
APC-E 8x4 prop (will be changing to 8x6 or 9x4 shortly)
Sanwa RX611 6 channel receiver (full range)
Polyquest XP2100 3s (rated to 42amps continuous)
2 supertec Pico servos (I plan to upgrade these to HS 55 or HS 56)
Nikon 3700 with pico servo to control shutter release.
4 servo extension leads (Camera, ESC, Rudder, Elevator)

AUW without battery or camera 665gms (23.5oz)
AUW with camera and battery 905gms (32oz)
Mar 27, 2006, 04:29 PM
Flying Kiwi
MisterNiceGuy's Avatar
Gray, for the maiden I think my CG was too far back, it flew ok but porpoised when I powered off. I will move the CG forward and try again as soon as I can.
I did wonder about that gap when I was installing the hinges, I have now taped over the gap with blenderm tape!
Last edited by MisterNiceGuy; Mar 27, 2006 at 04:36 PM.
Mar 27, 2006, 04:50 PM
Flying Kiwi
MisterNiceGuy's Avatar

Future Mods

Part 7
On the list of things still to do

Undercarriage - to retain full control in tight takeoff situations (I plan to mount these just forward of the leading edge)

Forward camera mount - I am plum out of ideas at present, ideas welcomed!

Lighter Rx and install co-pilot (and lost model alarm)
New camera - I am swinging towards a Nikon 7900 (it shares battery, cards etc with the 3700 therefore can travel with both and have the 3700 as an able backup)

Spoilerons - although a very wise man has counselled me against this (I will need to do much more flying to decide if I can land run this heavy EZ* as a STOL craft)

Decals and orientation strips - I certainly needed these during the maiden in the low cloud (I plan to use 3m 983 diamond reflective tape if it is not too heavy/thick)

Mar 27, 2006, 05:09 PM
Registered User
MNG - That appears to be a well thought out, and executed project. I am currently modifying my EZ* to carry my 'new' optio s4 internally. I have put HS55 servos in the vertical and horizontal stabs (a la Gray) and repositioned the Rx and copilot cpu in the fuse servo cut outs. I like your idea for the removable tail feathers but it is a bit too late for me (perhaps on version 2!). I am using an adaptor ring for a digital camera as a tube for the lens. It has a 52mm thread so i can use skylight or polarising filters. It also goes all the way through the fuse and is epoxyed in to strengthen it. It took me ages to summon up the courage to cut such a big hole in the fuse. I am currently mounting the camera (for the second time ). I like the idea of a velcro strap as I know that you have had problems with an s4 losing it's battery, and firmware settings, in a crash. I may try to fit a servo to turn the camera off as I will be using the IR port to trigger the shutter. I have hinged my rudder and elevator and have similar gaps to you. It still flies OK but I will try to get some 'blenderm tape' and seal them up. Where did you get your tape from?

Best of luck with your holiday. I look forward to seeing some great African landscapes from you. When do you leave, and is it for good?

Mar 27, 2006, 05:16 PM
Registered User
For a view of the landing gear I use (weighs 43g and can be folded flat) see my post 1460 in this thread . It may help you come up with something better.

Mar 27, 2006, 05:26 PM
Flying Kiwi
MisterNiceGuy's Avatar
Thanks for for thought. I was thinking of lighter UC ala the movie star I used to have, but that would certainly do the trick. Are you still flying it with a brushed motor? I am impressed!!
Looking a couple of posts above yours ( by eaglewing) I have now added another modification to the list....magnets in the wings to hold them together in extreme situations. I have a couple of rare earth magnets somewhere here.
Mar 27, 2006, 05:33 PM
Smile & wave
Gray's Avatar
Wings holding togeter of,Velcro Mate, Less weight

The old bloke.
Mar 27, 2006, 05:36 PM
Flying Kiwi
MisterNiceGuy's Avatar
Sorry hadn't seen your first post.
Blenderm is a medical tape, well known for its amazing holding properties. I purchased mine from an online chemist....sing out if you want me to post the link. It is not cheap but goes a long, long way!
I am working until the 29th April, and have a AP mission driving through Ireland (N&S) over Easter...should be great to iron out any possible kinks, then have a trip booked to North Carolina to see one of my best friends before heading down under for the 1st week of May, then it is a mad dash to sell, pack and ship everything. We fly out to Kenya on the 22nd of May and start a 4 week trip to see the gorillas in the Congo (no I will not be taking my plane with me on the Gorilla trip!). Yes, it is a one way trip. We have been worn into submission by the poxy English weather (just is not that bad!!), we are relocating to MissNiceGirl's backyard, Sydney. I can't wait to post my first AP pics of the amazing harbour, bridge, opera house and all!!
btw the S4 didn't eject it's battery in a crash (thankfully I have only had one of note in 2 years of flying - fingers crossed that it stays that way!) the camera was jostled rather hard and battery ejected then. It remains dead!

Mar 27, 2006, 05:37 PM
Flying Kiwi
MisterNiceGuy's Avatar
Gray, ok I will weigh both and go with the lightest. These magnets are pretty tiny so it might be a close run thing!
Last edited by MisterNiceGuy; Mar 27, 2006 at 05:49 PM.

Quick Reply

Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Category Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Found Mega 16/15/7 or similar for EasyStar AP platform... tdab Aircraft - Electric - Airplanes (FS/W) 6 Sep 14, 2005 03:28 PM
Easystar AP #2 Maiden Pics + Stereo pair sweatyfingers Aerial Photography 4 May 19, 2005 08:13 AM
Post your EasyStar AP set-up PICS rcdishman Aerial Photography 24 May 14, 2005 11:35 PM
Easystar AP: 3D Wigwam, 2D wetlands sweatyfingers Aerial Photography 5 Apr 19, 2005 05:54 PM
Frozen snowy sloping Easystar AP of Boston sweatyfingers Aerial Photography 13 Jan 20, 2005 10:01 AM