Doing what she does best. Her fluffy finish partly inspired the poodle name.
Fifi is built from a kit that amounts to some sheets of 6mm EPP foam
from slofly.com. EPP and 3D are a terrific combination, but the
market has not yet figured that out. The only other such plane I know
of is the Blade 3D out of the Czech Republic -- it's an okay kit but
of course we all have our own ideas.
There are two big problems with EPP (and even foamie) 3d slaptogethers: wing stiffness and fuselage twist. Both those problems can be solved with .032x.310" carbon-fiber flat stock from Perry at Aeromicro. It's a little too wide for the EPP, but it also comes with a little nub on the edges -- just split it with a blade and peel the nub off. It will tear perfectly straight along the first cut.
It's glued on with Canopy Glue, which is light and dries slightly flexible. Rigid construction is less than ideal when working with the bendy EPP -- part of the idea is to be flexible and absorb shock in the inevitable crashes.
Span is 24" and root chord 9.25" with a rear-only taper to 8.25" much like Akkana's Edge Extreme, a very nice flyer. Fifi is not a terrific floater or flyer, but does do some amazing small-area aerobatics and is an adequate hovering machine.
The motor is a Feigao in a GWS IPS "B" gearbox. I experimented with both "A" and "C" boxes as well. The "A" is essentially useless for 3D (in my opinion) but the "C" works very well. I'm using the "B" ratio partly because it's easier to fly -- the "C" requires a larger prop that introduces more torque effects (which make for some cool stunts, but also a severe tendency to roll out of hover).
Note the top of the fuse does not come up far above the fuse "T" and is truncated before it gets to the aileron servo. This makes fooling with (or replacing) that servo much easier than typical 'buried' setups and seems to have no ill effect on flying.
Another useful innovation (that you can't see) is the 'loose' crossing of the landing gear struts. They are not glued to the bottom of the fuse, but rather allowed to 'float.' I've had several gearsets break at that point, and this setup has lasted through a lot of hard smacks.
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Copyright 2005 by David Mark North