FPV Warbird - Project

by JamesWhomsley | April 26, 2015 | (14 Ratings) Posted in Projects

Around Christmas time of 2014, I crashed my FPV plane, the FT Blunt Nose Versa Wing. I desperately needed a new platform for flying FPV. Inspired by those who were putting FPV on warbirds, like David Windestal, I decided that I should scratch build some sort of scale FPV plane instead of another wing.

 

The Twin FPV Warbird was born. Here are two films, to show what it does, and the build log to show how I made it.

 


The Films


(First action packed one)

(Second more relaxed one)

 

The Build

After coming up with some concept sketches, I cut out and built some simple engine pods. This was to be my first twin engined plane.

 

 

I then progressed to cut out a fuselage. I basically came up with the shape by drawing shapes onto the foam with templates. A very simple technique. 

 

 

I made the wing with quite a thick airfoil and under cambered wingtips. The engine pods were glued onto the bottom, wires going into the wing and out of the centre. The wing was then glued onto the fuselage. Again, very basic and not that complicated. 

 

 

After finishing the control surfaces and wiring, I decided to do a quick maiden flight to see how it flew. 

 

 

Lets just say it didn't go great. 

 

 

I had rushed the last stage of building and making sure everything was right. I had given too little elevator control. The plane had pitched up from a bad hand launch. It then stalled and smashed into the field. Anyway, I fixed it. 

 

 

I did a second test flight which, thankfully, was epic. I therefore rewarded the plane with some decoration. 

 

 

I had based the design on a twin engined plane from the Soviet Union during the Second World War, so I went for that theme to be a bit different. 

 

 

Here it is on the third test flight. 

 

 

After adding some weathering to give it some character, I experimented with the camera gear. I made a camera anchoring mount for my GoPro Hero, and looked into attaching the FPV gear. 

 

 

Here is the viewing window I cut into the bottom. Like the plane this aircraft is based this on, it allows for a greater field of view from the cockpit.  

 

 

Previously the field of view had been too small during the first camera test flights. 

 

 

This is why I cut the viewing window in the floor and positioned the camera slightly further forward and slightly higher up. I also added a canopy frame made from some sort of thick card. 

 

 

The result was pleasing. 

 

 

The engines make a nice synchronised whirring noise too.

 

 

Here how the plane looks now. I replaced the three bladed props with simpler two bladed ones in order to attach some nice looking yellow spinners. I essentially 'pimped my warbird'. 

 

 

On this design of mine, I've found I really love the contrast of shapes. The rounded yet triangular wing tips, the curved engine pod tops, the square fuselage and oval vertical stabilizers.

 

 

I also like the cockpit detail, which contrasts with the simplicity of the shapes in the airframe. 

 

 

In the future I am going to use this plane for all sorts of things. I may add a joystick that moves with paired servos. I may also add a bomb drop and cool features for the cockpit such as lights and gun and bomb aiming sights. I may do smaller articles on these developments too. 

 

 

Here is my previous FPV experience in the form of the FPV Versa Wing. The unrestricted view is nice for some purposes, but it doesn't have quite the same feeling. Having a cockpit where you can see controls and dials is nice as it feels like more of an actual complicated machine. 

 

 

I hope you enjoyed this article. If you did, maybe you could check out my Youtube Channel for more content. 

 

Thanks for reading!

 

 

COMMENTS

FTprime on June 17, 2015
Hey James This plane is BEATIFUL! (Please excuse my spelling). I would to see plans also, and just had a couple of questions. Does this have rudder and /or diff. thrust? If it did, then i would probably do a crazy flat-spin! One last thing, do you mind if I build one, but make some changes? I have an awesome idea, this plane would be a great way to test!
Thanks,
Colin
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winglet on June 7, 2015
Wow! Awesome job all they way around. The windshield and cockpit detail is really cleaver. Thanks for writing the article.
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JamesWhomsley on June 8, 2015
Cheers man, no worries.
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JackJonesGT on June 8, 2015
A nice plane. What wing profile have you used? How does it fly?

Would you recommend the FT Blund Nose Versa Wing for flying FPV or do you prefer your new plane? I mean in fact of the flying characteristics.
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JamesWhomsley on June 8, 2015
Thanks man. I'm not too sure what you mean by wing profile, but I made my own wings with a way of adding the ailerons afterwards.

I think both are quite similar actually. They are both stable. I would say that the versa is probably a simpler option. It depends weather you want to feel like you're inside a full scale or not :)
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Flyingninja on June 8, 2015
Dude this thing is sick!!! Awesome job. I love the spinners.
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JamesWhomsley on June 8, 2015
Thanks :)
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WhiskeyJack on June 8, 2015
Ok, here's the thing James, that is the best FPV video I have ever seen. As a full size pilot everything is retaliative to the horizon. By placing the camera in the cockpit, with the framing visible you can then see the horizon and know if you are nose up, down, transitioning left or right, simply brilliant.
So I say to you young man, if you can add tilt and pan to your set up, maybe from accelerometers in your goggles, you can achieve absolute FPV because at that point you would really be "in the cockpit".
Good luck and fair winds young man. WJ.
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JamesWhomsley on June 9, 2015
Hey WJ, thank you so much for your comment! It means a lot to me, especially as you are a full scale pilot. I hope that soon I'll be able to do the real thing by getting a 3 axis microlight licence.
In terms of the pan and tilt, hopefully that will be coming soon enough. I like your idea about the accelerometer set up.

Thanks again!
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cwills on June 19, 2015
hi
i notice that you are from the uk and was wondering what foam board you use to make your awesome models as i am struggling to find foam board in the uk
cheers

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JamesWhomsley on June 23, 2015
Hey, I use some foam board that I found on amazon. I use 3mm instead of 5mm though. It's cheeper. Try here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Foam-Board-White-3mm-Packed/dp/B005BCS3EM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1435073084&sr=8-1&keywords=3mm+foam+board
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alibopo on June 8, 2015
Hi, great work - it looks a beautiful plane. My only gripe :( I'd love to see it flying! Any chance of some non-FPV video? :)
Cheers.
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JamesWhomsley on June 9, 2015
Thanks man. I will be doing more videos with this plane so you will be able to see it from an external perspective at some point :)
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fraazen on June 11, 2015
Great construction, great idea! Thank you!
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JamesWhomsley on June 13, 2015
Thanks!
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jrvalentin62 on June 8, 2015
Very interesting article. Is this a one off? Will you be considering sharing plans? Best of luck with your future endeavors. Cheers!
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JamesWhomsley on June 9, 2015
Thanks. Yeah it was intended to be, but I might release some plans as it is a pretty simple airframe geometry wise. Depends if enough people want them. I need to finish my 'Swappable JW Vampire plans' first though. :)
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nw0710 on June 11, 2015
I would really like to the plans for this awesome job you have don (only if you have time ;-).
Good luck whit the rest.
Cheers
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ghostbear on June 13, 2015
Great job!Need to ask what plane yours is based on?
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JamesWhomsley on June 14, 2015
Thanks :) It's not really based on anything in particular. It just had to look vaguely like a WW2 fighter bomber whilst being able to fly well!
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FTprime on June 18, 2015
Hey James This plane is BEATIFUL! (Please excuse my spelling). I would to see plans also, and just had a couple of questions. Does this have rudder and /or diff. thrust? If it did, then i would probably do a crazy flat-spin! One last thing, do you mind if I build one, but make some changes? (I don't want to build one without your permission);)
Thanks,
Colin
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JamesWhomsley on June 23, 2015
Hey man, thanks so much! Yeah sorry about not making plans from the start. Might do soon, but the thing is I've been working on another project. It is very simple though. At present there isn't any rudder or differential thrust. It would be simple to add in a mk 2 though. You don't even have to ask! Just go right ahead and build one and send me some pictures!
James.
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FTprime on June 23, 2015
Will do! I was just wondering three things about the design,
1. How long is the fuselage on your model?
2. How far back on the fuselage were the wings?
3. How far from the front of the wing was the CG?
Thanks!
Ps. Saw the crash on your youtube, sorry to hear about that. Hope fully it is reparable.

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JamesWhomsley on June 24, 2015
1. The fuselage is 31 inches
2. The Wing leading edge is 10 inches back from the nose
3. The cg is about 2 inches from the front of the wing.

No problem! And yeah, that was a bit annoying, but it's well on the way to being mended. Gonna post a new article about the 'rebirth' of the Twin Warbird. Might paint it in a different way and add some new features too, so watch out for that :)
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FTprime on June 26, 2015
Thanks for much for those specs! I just wanted to let you know that I have completed a plan for this plane, with many changes. For example the wingspan is 25 inch instead of 47. I just wanted to show you it and make sure it is OK if I share it. I made it originally just so I could build one myself, but it turned out good, so I thought other people might want to see it. If you do not want me to to share it though, then I will not. Here is the link. file:///Users/Colin/Desktop/Colins%20Stuff/Planes/Plans/MPE-2:FPV%20WARBIRD/MPE-2%20full%20size%20plan.svg
Fee free to give me any tips or feedback.
Thanks, Colin

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JamesWhomsley on August 4, 2015
Hey man, sorry about not seeing this for so long! I've not got email updates or notifications for when someone posts a comment on this. Thrilled that you went to the time to reproduce it. Think of the design as your own, if I design something, I want everyone to enjoy it for free :) Great work.

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JamesWhomsley on August 4, 2015
One problem is that I can access it because that isn't actually a link haha :D Post it on the forums man! :)
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Amdaylight on June 14, 2015
Wow, I really like the look of your FPV with the cockpit in the view, as you say it really does give you a sense of being in a full size airplane.
Thanks Again
Andre
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JamesWhomsley on June 23, 2015
Thanks, yeah I'm really pleased how it turned out.
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spastickitten on June 25, 2015
On the back of the wings, instead of a straight line from the curve to the aileron, give it some outward curvature. Are you thinking of making more of these? single engine?
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JamesWhomsley on August 4, 2015
Yeah I think thats a good idea for the future. I quite like the look though in some cases. I reminds me of a Seagull or something!
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