There was a little time between Christmas and New Year when it was possible to nip out for a test flight of a new trainer plane.
The trainer is exactly as it sounds: a plane to aid the training of new pilots. This would potentially help both of us (Tom M and Tom A) to be able to fly and aid the training of others who wanted to invest in their very own bat drones (we're not aiming to sell anything but we can help people with building aircraft or provide advice on what to buy).
It's worth pointing out that we would always recommend that people start out with a simulator on a computer and then move onto a trainer plane. The first plane that we flew, the Bix 3, is actually a trainer. Check out one of our first blog posts here to see more about it.
There was a little spare foamboard left over after the build of the Mark 3 plane so we thought it would be useful to build a trainer aircraft with it.
The maiden flight of the plane was successful in that the plane landed in one piece. However, the weight of the plane is quite high relative to the wing area leading to a high wing loading and therefore relatively high cruise speed. This doesn't make for a perfect trainer and a lighter plane would be more desirable (either bought or built).
The design used was one from experimental airlines on Youtube; have a look at their channel here if you're interested. It was discovered recently that the foam we're using is circa 2.5x heavier than the foam experimental airlines uses which has lead to heavier than expected aircraft.
There's not many photos of the completed plane unfortunately so here's one of the better ones:
And, getting to the bit where it all went wrong, take a look at the video below:
So at least we know what the issue was and have learnt a lesson or two.
For a trainer we'll probably fix up one of the Bix 3's that we've been using as these are light and fly well.
When building further aircraft we'll use lighter foamboard. There's some available on Hobby King which is even lighter than the experimental airlines foamboard so this seems like a good option.
And finally, we'll not fly too far away from our transmitter without an autopilot failsafe in place! The flight controller for this plane doesn't have the ability to return to launch so this was not an option in this case.
Next up, we'll be test flying a new airframe - the Talon! Watch this space....