My previous mini flying wing (Project
X), whilst it flew really well, it didn't seem to
have the visual appeal for me, so I decided take the project back to the
drawing board and create something a little
more extreme and hopefully have the performance to match.
As with most new ideas, it starts with a
few sketches to get to that appealing shape. Starting with a straight tapered wing,
then giving it a curved leading edge
that I'd seen on other models, a variable curve trailing edge resulted
in the new plan form. This, coupled with a PW51 wing section, the shape of
the new model just seem to evolve and take shape quickly.
Not sure if this would fly, let alone perform, I still
progressed the design cutting the wings from closed cell foam, sanding
the leading edge to shape and then covering it with 2 layers of 80g glass cloth. A 1.5mm
balsa fin covered in 25g cloth and resin.
Once cured, I cut out an area
in the centre pod to fit two servo and install a small receiver and a
300mAh battery, and made a glass cloth hatch cover. Not pretty, but
functional for now.
Once all the building was complete, I
gave the model a quick cote of paint to finish and prepared it for its
The following weekend given a Northerly
wind, I met with a few friends on Jeffery hill. A good Northerly facing ridge, situated
East of Longridge; the bonus being that you can actually drive to the
top of this hill.
It was a cold day with quite light
winds but certainly flyable and after checking the air with my Midge model
I then turned to the new mini wing to get it into the sky. It was a
rewarding site to see good friends Roger and Mick each flying one of my
Project X models.
I carried out Full control checks on
the new wing followed by a range check. After answering loads of questions from the onlookers, I
threw the model out from the slope, not knowing what to expect.
The model just needed a few clicks of
down elevator and it was away, the C of G seemed ok, but felt that it
could possibly go back a little further. The model flew every manoeuvre
I asked of it, loops, bunt, very quick rolls and a few spins which
started quickly when induced but after two turns, developed into a very
flat spin... this caused the descent to slow dramatically. It took a couple
of extra turns to recover when the controls were released though, but it
The model seemed a little laterally
unstable but not unmanageable, which in my mind required a little
home after tea and medals, I took the model into the workshop and promptly cut
through the bottom of the wing and induced a little dihedral (making the
top surface to the wing flat). A subsequent flight the following weekend in
quite blustery conditions had the model just eating up the sky but still
a little unstable in roll but better than before.
Back in the workshop that evening and out with
the saw once again to cut into the bottom of the wing once more. Not messing
around this time, I wedged a piece of 1.5mm ply into the bottom of the wing and
glassed over it to restore the wing strength. The model now has a good
level of dihedral and although I didn't think it would look right before, I am
surprised, its looks good and not out of place.
the next day, I took the model up on to Parlick
along with my Evolan Mk2 model, which I also intended to test
fly. The conditions were good, warm Easterly wind 27mph gusting
32pmh but the lift was good and smooth and the new X2 model was the first
to be launched. A great turn of speed, very much a pocket rocket, and
the lateral stability has been much improved.
The high wind and good compression on
the face of the slope meant that the model just came alive whizzing
around like there was no tomorrow............. The model is
a beast!! J
Not in a bad way of course, but it covers the sky quickly,
rolls are seriously quick and it just did what I asked of it even
bunting through the turns. I had lost the ability to spin and could not
induce this no matter what I tried, the increased dihedral induced stability having a
negative effect for this manoeuvre. Time will tell over
the next few outings and I will get it sorted. just a matter
of a little adjustment here and there, possibly in exponential in
Aileron movement and / or C of G position.
It'll be good to check the model out in
lighter conditions, but first impressions are good and certainly a lot
faster than the original project X.
Keep watching for further updates............
A few weeks on, a little more tweaking of the C of G
and control throws has resulted in a really quick and manoeuvrable model and
it now spins... Fast initially, then it turns into a flat spin given
full control movement. It does take a couple of turns to recover, but this just
adds to the excitement. The last time I gave the model an outing the
wind was on the Easterly face of my local hill and gusting around 36mph.
The model just ate up the sky, really quick and definitely something
that get the adrenalin flowing.
A couple of friends have queried if they
can get hold of a set of wings for the new model with all its curves, but whilst this
now flies really well, I
do not think I could reproduce these foam wings with any consistency
with all the sanding required to get all the curves. I have now found myself
tweaking the plan format again with a view of making it easier to
recreate the wings both in a foam veneered version and a wing that
would lend itself to learn how to mould a fully moulded wing.
Gone is the fully curved leading edge to
make the wing easier to cut and mould. The latest version of the X2
is the result of the previous experiments and incorporates many of the
This is the one that I am now progressing;
I can produce a standard veneered wing easily with a straight trailing
edge, but this will ultimately be a fully moulded wing with a curved
trailing edge. the model in the photo has a white foam core wing and a
couple of layers of epoxy glass and a lost foam fuselage and balsa fin.
the C of G was initially calculated at 17%
and the first flight saw a little too much reflex require to maintain
level flight. For the second flight I moved the C of G back to 18% and this
was much better. However, towards the end of the day and having got a
good hour of so stick time with the new model I moved the C of G back a tad
further and found the sweet spot. The Elevons are now in the intended
reflex position and and as such, the model has a little less drag and is
of course faster. It has just the right amount of dihedral to maintain
lateral stability but not too stable, a lesson learned from the previous
It flies really well, scooting around the
sky as if on rails; rolls are fast and I have tweaked the balance and
control throws so I can get it to spin. A real pocket rocket and a
model that if flown in the right conditions gets a big smile from me. I
have achieved the aesthetics I wanted over the project X and I have decided to get started
on the moulds.
The one thing I have noticed with my
flying wings especially, is how quiet they are, the X2 is no exception.
The hinges are integral in the lay up, the control gaps have wipers and
the control linkages are kept mainly within the wing resulting in a very
quiet model even when flown fast close in.
The wing plug has been created out of
closed cell foam which was cut on the cnc wing machine and vac bagged with 1
layer of 80g and 2 layers of 160 g cloth and a Carbon leading
edge -maybe a little overkill, but it has come out really well.
This has now been sanded and cut back with wet and dry and has now
received a couple of coats of tooling primer, cutting back after each
coat. However, Due to the high viscosity of the primer leaving brush
marks behind the finish had to be sanded back after each coat. By the
time the primer had been flattened down, it required a further coat.
after 3 coats of this tooling primer I decided to cut my losses and use
Fuselage has been fashioned out of foam and has also received 3 layers
of glass cloth. although this time I have not melted the foam out as I
would do for a lost foam fuselage that I would intend flying. The fin
has been made from 5mm balsa and sanded to shape and inserted within the
new fuselage with a little filler around the join between the fin and
Preparation of the X2 Plug
1. Wing already vac bagged and putting
final thin glass cloth.
2. Wing and fuselage now sanded and ready for
3. Tooling primer applied and cut back ready for the
I am now nearing completion of the
X2 fuselage plug and also the wing plug
through which, I can
develop the necessary skills to fully mould my other flying wing -
Model wing shown with Grey primer and
fuselage having had 3 coats of primer has received first coat of black
gloss now cut back ready for the next coat.
Both the fuselage and wing have now had
3 coats of Black gloss and are currently curing before cutting back and
A few days on and I am now busy
polishing the plugs for the X2,
these are now almost ready to mount onto a parting boards and then start
to lay up the moulds - looking good!! and looks mean in black!!
Progress has been made with the moulds for X2.
Fuselage plug mounted on to the parting plate and laid up with two coats
of Tooling Gelcoat, and 4 layers of glass cloth and resin. This was
allowed to cure and then parting plate removed to reveal part 1 of the
A few days later part 1 of the mould was
polished and given a coat of PVA release agent. This was subsequently
laid up with Gelcoat and glass cloth again to form the other side, part
2 of the mould.
was trimmed on the band saw before cracking open the mould. The plug was
a little resistant to coming out of the mould but a little persuasion
with a strip of Mylar got the plug to pop out with just minor paint
having given the mould a good wash to remove the PVA release agent with
warm soapy water, I'm very please with the outcome. The mould just
needs trimming and polishing and should be ready to lay up the first
fuselage in a week or so.
first fuselage will be used on the Project X,
as I have got the veneered wings almost finished for this. In the mean
time, I will be making the parting board for the
X2 wing which
will allow me to lay up the mould for the wing.
As you can see, the X fuselage mould is now
complete and has produced 2 fuselages. One for the project X and one for
the X-1, this being the foam veneered version of the X2.
wing mould is now being progressed with new enthusiasm having finished
and flown the new X-1, which has been rewarding to say the least.
I flew the prototype X-1 model
(red/white) at the Hole of Horcum slope site whilst on a recent holiday to North Yorkshire
moors and surrounding area. This is definitely
a site worth a visit if you are in the area. Situated near to the old
Fylingdales early Warning Radar site of old where I remember as a child
looking in Awe at the array of Radar "Golf Balls" on the moorland. These
have now mostly gone leaving a more modern radar array, not nearly as
dramatic, but hey I digress. If you do visit these slopes, please
make contact with the North
Yorkshire Moors Ridge Soaring Club (NYMRSC)
as they have sole rights to model flying on the moorland. They offer a
temporary membership at £5 for the month, which in my book, is very good
value for money. at the Levisham, westerly slope one evening, the X-1 prototype just ate up the sky at speed with great
manoeuvrability making the best of the grassy steep slope and good
compression. I hadn't had time enough to complete the new X-1 in time
for my holiday. However on my return from my short break, and on
the run up to Easter, I finally installed the gear into the new X-1.
This new model is a standard foam
veneered wing construction which has been finished with lightweight
glass cloth and painted and paired up with one of the new epoxy glass
I took all the settings from the
prototype and programmed the transmitter and ensured that the control
movements were the same. Utilising
a 1500mAh 2/3 AF battery only a small amount of nose lead was required
to achieve the required balance point.
Thursday morning saw blue skies and a
good WNW wind, so venturing out early I made it to my local slope site,
Parlick and was ready to fly by 10:30. As they say, the early bird
catches the worm so to speak.
I flew the Project X first off to check
out the conditions with a good constant 15mph wind and some good lift
and compression, the project X flew well and this provided a measure
from which to compare the new X-1.
Having completed the obligatory range
checks, final check of the C of G and control movements and we were
set to go. I must get a better Video camera to record these events!
First launch resulted a very quick
landing about 10 feet in front of me, mmmmm, may be I need to consider a
new launch technique.... a Few clicks of up trim and the second launch
was successful, straight and true. The model just seemed to lock into
the groove straight away and picked up speed with the performance far out
classing the project X.
Rolls were fast, albeit needing a little
differential and pitch was not overly sensitive. the model on the first
flight was put through fast passes, inverted flight (needs a little more
control throw for this) rolls, loops, stall check -this was good.......
the stall just didn't happen. Having gained some height and with the model pointing directly into wind
progressively more and more elevator was fed in. With full back stick
the model just maintained its height nodding gently, whilst drifting
backwards. release of the elevator allowed the model to quickly to pick
up speed and pulled straight into a loop with rolls :-) and then allowed
to continue on its aerial grooving. Landing the model was fairly easy
making use of the good slow
Post flight analysis and thinking that the model pulled out a
little too much during steep dives, I added a small amount of lead to the
trailing edge to shift the C of G more rearward and tried again. With
this small change
in a more reward C of G, the model did not grove so well, and in the dive
test seemed to tuck under a little, suggesting that the C of G was now too far
rearward although the pitch control did not seem overly sensitive. Again a short but rewarding
flight resulted in a good landing albeit hitting a rock as the model
slid to a halt. Ouch, that hurt! the resulting minor damage was a little gouging
to the leading edge and scuffing of the paint finish.
I covered the minor LE damage with some
insulation tape and carried on flying having removed the additional lead
from the trailing edge. The more I flew the model, the more I liked it.
Over the day I had actually clocked up 2 full hours of air time with the
new X-1 and I am really pleased. Back home the leading edge damage was
easily repaired and repainted in readiness for today's (Saturday) outing to Leek
and Moorland (LMMGA).
This was a planned visit down to Leek
slope sites and we had been blessed with some good weather, 20 - 25mph
WNW winds. Although there were some sunny intervals, the wind was
bitterly cold, but kitted out for all weather conditions and with a full
flask of coffee, I met up with some good flying buddies.
Again the X-1
did not disappoint and it attracted a lot of interest. I still need to
dial in a little more exponential to stop me inputting elevator when I
just want fast roll control, but otherwise I consider the X-1 to be a
complete success which bodes well for the
X2 which will
essentially be the same except for a fully moulded wing.
The tooling gel coat is
already curing on the first part of the wing mould, so hopefully within a
few weeks, the wing mould may be ready to produce the first
The X-1 is now well and truly groovin on
rails and I am really please with its performance. A few people have
approach me to make them a kit consisting of foam veneered wings (vac
bagged with 25g cloth and epoxy) and epoxy fuselage ++. I have not seen
these flying yet but hope to soon. I see that Peter Garsden is building
one for a friend and is keeping a blog on a modelflying.co.uk forum of
his activity during the build.
My main aim of this little pocket rocket
if you haven't gleaned the aim so far, is to make a fully moulded
version to learn the skills required for moulding a model aircraft,
essentially to allow me to fully mould one of my other larger models.
There is no time
like the present when fuelled up with enthusiasm from the success of the
X-1 than to progress the wing mould for the
had prepared the wing and mounted it onto the parting board some time
ago and last week coated the whole thing with PVA release agent in
readiness for laying up the first part of the mould.
Yesterday, 2 coats of tooling gel coat
was applied and left overnight to cure. Today, I laid up coupling coat
and a layer of light CSM followed by a few further layers of CSM and
resin. This afternoon, I mixed up some casting resin and filler and
poured this into the mould to form a solid structure and one that will
maintain its rigidity when used to make a wing.
been quite a productive day, not only have
I completed the above, but between coats of resin I have also cut two
further sets of Foam cores for the X-1 and another Midge wing for my
electric version of the model, more on this later.
Tomorrow, I will look to removing the
top wing mould from the parting board and all being well, I will start
to prepare the other side of the wing ready for the tooling coat.
it was really nice and warm today, gone the rain from yesterday, and
unlike my day out down at Leek and Moorland, the wind was particularly
light and variable in direction, So I didn't have plans to go flying.
Having cleaned the car first thing, it was back into the workshop to
check on the wing mould.
sides flanges of the mould were unscrewed and removed and a wedge pushed
between the parting plate and the new half mould. The two parted
fairly easily, needing only a little pressure on each end to get the
parts to separate, such is the reliability of PVA release agent. A
little area of paint had come off the underside where the hot glue had
been holding the wing into the parting plate, but this was only a minor
issue that has now been filled and repainted.
quite pleased with the outcome although I did note that the casting
resin had caused the mould to bend slightly, probably a result of the
resin getting warm during the curing process, and not helped by how I
had made the parting plate. However, once released this flattened
out quite well. (Note to self, I must put a wood frame around the
parting plate for the next wing to stop it warping).
As can be seen, the mould has now been
tidied up. There is some minor damage to the gel coat around the
location holes in the corners, but not the wing itself, so I have filled
these little imperfections with car body filler and will cut these back
over the next few days so I can make a start on the second part of the
mould. - So far so good.
Hopefully next weekend will see the second part of the mould laid up - I
will report back as soon as this has taken place.
A few weeks ago I popped down to the Leek
and Moorland slope site for the day and bumped into a few good friends
with lots of banter and a few others that I may have seen before but not
really to talk to. The conditions were good and we all flew various
models through out the day. I did air the X1 which got some people
talking and resulted in me having to cut a few sets of wings and make
the fuselages. Well, it does keep me out of the pub and I just like
making things, it gives me the relaxation after a busy and stressful
time at work.
Progress of the X2 is also going well.
The second part of the wing mould is now complete, polished and the
first wing is actually being laid up as we speak.
I had decided to paint the moulds prior
to the lay up and had a few problems with the masking tape actually
pulling the paint from where it shouldn't due to highly polished finish
of the mould. However, a little rework sorted this out and fairly
neat line between the different colours of paint. I also chose not to
use PVA release agent this time, primarily because I wanted to mask the
mould for a paint scheme, so I am quite apprehensive about getting the
pain finish I desire and ensuring it comes out of the mould cleanly.
Photos below show the stages of lay up
of the X2 wing.
1. Wing Moulds finished ready for polishing.
2. Making the template for cutting the glass
3. Applying the initial paint colours
(Painting in reverse - Top coat colours
4. Painting finished and undercoat applied
5. Top mould Laid up with Glass cloth - balsa
- Glass cloth and carbon tows as the tops to the internal spar. Peel Ply
applied in readiness for perforated film and paper towel to soak up
6. Both moulds in Vac bag, this was covered
with a heated blanket to improve epoxy curing time.
7. Next day and out of the vac bag ready to
remove plastic film and peel ply.
8. Peel ply removed and ready to trim the
excess resin and cloth from the edges.
9. First phase complete. Now need to install
internal parts of wing before bringing the two moulds together.
10. Spars made and tacked into place also hard
points for wing bolt and wind dowel.
Note that at this point the only carbon in
this particular lay up is in spar capping made from Carbon tows seen
through the balsa layer. Also, given that the model requires a bottom
hinge, there is a strip of 200g Kevlar installed on the hinge line on
the bottom surface under the balsa.
This is a trial lay up as I do not see
that it really needs a carbon skin and I want to see how rigid the wing
is and what weight it comes out at to compare with the current X1 wing
loading and also that of the Prototype X1. We'll see soon enough.
I have been making the clamps that will
squeeze the moulds together when the wing is joined, but I now have to
wait until I can get down to the DIY shop to get some more captive nuts
and 8mm threaded rod. Hope to get these on Friday after work and should
then be ready to complete making the wing by reinforcing edges and join
the two halves together.
Watch this space cos' I hope to get this
done this coming weekend. C U soon.
It's now Friday Evening, I finished
work early so I took a slight detour on the way home via the local DIY
superstore and got the bits I
needed to complete the clamps to hold the two halves of the mould
together. Needless to say, I then just had to progress the completion of
the moulded wing.
Having mixed up a batch of epoxy resin,
some of which, I used to created some filler / paste with Qcells.
Unfortunately, I don't have a photo of everything before I joined the
wing halves - It is a rather warm night tonight and felt that I was
working against the clock and forgot to take the photo before bringing
the moulds together.
However, I lined the leading edge with
carbon tows before applying the Qcell paste to the periphery of the wing
with the use of a home made piping bag. the carbon tows helping to keep
the resin paste in place at the edges.
It all seemed to go well and now the wing
is clamped in the mould waiting for the resin to cure.
Hopefully tomorrow evening or Sunday I
should be able to see the results. I am really excited to see the
outcome. I also have to make a new
fuselage to compliment the wing, and given that this weekend is a bank
holiday weekend, I may just get time to sort this out too as well as go
24Hrs on ........
I have now cracked open the mould for the
Wing. Whilst I am really pleased with the outcome, certainly for my
first attempt, there are a few issues to resolve.
The wing came out of the mould easily but
some of the paint has been left in the mould, not sure why yet, but
otherwise the finish is really good!
Given the lay up layers, which I followed
a link on you tube as the first attempt the whole thing is a little
heavy.. Whilst there in only a few carbon tows in the lay up, I probably
used too many layers of glass cloth and resin. (1x 49g, 3x 160g, 200g
Kevlar hinge & Balsa). The you tube example used 2 layers of 4 ounce
Carbon and 1 layer of 4 oz cloth in addition to the other layers.
I probably need to go with a similar lay
up as the fuselages 1 x 49g and 2x 160g.
Once trimmed, this wing weighs in at 387g.
As I said, a little over weight given that the X1 wing (Foam veneered)
finished with servos is only 260g giving a flying weight including the
fuselage and all radio at 504g.
This one may be good for those really windy days.
There also seems to be a mismatch between
the fuselage and the fairing moulded into the bottom of the wing. Mmm......
the plug wing and Fus match up ok so not sure what's happened to this.
But this is all about learning , so all in all, I think the outcome is a
really good experience, and I will be progressing cutting the Elevons
and matching it up with the
fuselage and get it flying.
A Second lighter wing to follow.....
Well, time has literally flown by
with lots of time on the slopes always having the X-1 with me
and it has got a lot of people talking, which is encouraging
with the model being flown on different slopes and in extreme
condition, light winds to gusting 30+mph all with good results.
The second moulded wing has
been made but like the first, it came out a little too heavy,
albeit an improvement on the first shaving almost 100g off the
weight (#1 = 387g, #2 = 294g)
I was still not happy with the outcome so I have now moulded a 3rd
wing and again a significant weight saving at 230g. Whilst I
feel that there is more weight to save in the lay up I have now
been progressed this latest wing and mated it with a fuselage.
The basic airframe comes out at a respectful 319g, it just needs
kitting out with radio gear once I've added a splash of colour.
have been painting the airframe over the past week and today, I
have finally finished fitting the model out and I am really
please with its look and feel. Compared with the X1, the X2 is
slightly heavier but I feel that there is more to do to improve
the lighten the lay up as it still feels a little over
engineered, but with the AUW at only 80g heavier than the X-1, I
believe that this is an acceptable weight to commit to the
slopes this coming weekend - weather permitting of course. I
hope to bring you new very soon.
The time has come for the first full moulded model (X2) to be test
flown, however, today at least, I do not seem to have been in
favour of the weather gods.
I went up to my local slope
today given a northerly wind that was supposed to be blowing 12
-20 mph. No such luck, this was a cold day with snow
on the distant hills and ice in the local area but I wasn't cold
having bought myself a insulated all in one suit to keep me warm
in such conditions. There was a very light breeze that only
allowed me to have a few test launches on the flat area behind
the slope. The
results were encouraging noting that the model seemed quite in
trim and not overly sensitive to control inputs. I just need to
get a decent blow so I can fly it properly.
During today's activity I also
noted that the balancing lead in the nose had come loose, so
back in the workshop, I took out the gear and fixed the rattling
lead weight, I also decided that I might be able to rearrange
hte radio gear in the nose. I changed the battery pack for an 800mAh Eneloop which allowed it to be further forward than the previous
larger battery and consequently the Rx could also be positioned
further forward. The outcome is that it now weighs in at 534g,
just 30g heavier than the X-1.
Project X journey began with the first model, a swept back wing
design which I have written about on the other web page but the
journey has evolved and has culminated in the
X2. Seeing the 3 models together really paints the pictures
of the journey so far. Lets hope that we get some good weather
It's the next day
(Thu, 28 Dec 17) and yes, I'm rather lucky
that I got the week off work over the festive period. So when the wind
was still blowing from the North this morning, I decided that a trip back to Jeffery
Hill was on the cards but I was willing to wait until later in the day
when hopefully conditions will have warmed up a
little as everything was white outside with quite a severe frost. To get
to the Longridge (Jeffery Hill) site means using a lot of country roads,
some of which do not
catch the winter sun at all. Because of these conditions I decided to
take the long way round to avoid the more precarious untreated
country roads and consenquently arrived at around 13:00hrs.
Indeed the wind was blowing -
gusting around 20mph but not quite on the slope, but I did not have a choice of
another venue so I decided to have a go anyway. Whilst the conditions were far
from ideal, the slope was working of a fashion, the wind was bitingly
cold and there was a threat of snow showers. These turned out to be more
hail than snow, which made my face sting in the harsh conditions, The
wintery showers came and went and the
snow turning to ice on my wings, but it did not stop me test flying both
my new Midge and the new X2.
First up was the Midge and I was not
disappointed, it flew straight and true with the balance being spot on.
The split rudder
airbrake was quite effective especially when coupled with up
Ailerons(Crow). I just need to tweak the differential aileron throws a
little and add a some down elevator when the airbrake is deployed.
Next up was the X2 and after range
checking, ensuring that the controls we correct again I decided to give it a go. To say
I had a big grin on my face is an understatement, it could have been a
grimace given how cold it was, but not so as I'd got my quilted romper
suit on again and two pairs of socks so I was dressed for the occasion.
First flight was as built but felt that
it possibly needed a little more nose weight. Having been forced to land
due to reducing visibility and to shelter from the worst of the hail and
snow, I tweaked the balance by adding a small lead weight to the nose
and launched again. It seemed a little more sure footed and I flew this
around for a good 10 minutes. I then removed the additional balance
weight and tried again, and having got a feel for the model it now
seemed to groove just that little better without the additional weight.
It is however, early days yet and the conditions were not the best to
make the judgement call on this or other elements of fine tuning.
The model flew well and in keeping with the
X1 performance, rolls were good and crisp, the stall was essentially non
existent if entered slowly, the model just nodded in level flight with
full up elevator.
The video of the first flights is now
available on youtube
I'm now just waiting for a decent westerly
wind so I can get this little gem up on Parlick my other local slope to
see what it can really do but it may be a few days to wait as the
imminent forecast is for rain, low cloud and rain. Ah well, back to the
workshop and finish off the two other models currently on the work
bench; Electric Midge and a new Evolan.