Wright Flyer
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Ted's High School (Columbus East), has a Senior Project program in which a senior must complete a project of their choice (with school approval) as a major part of their Senior English grade.

In honor of the the 2003 centennial of the first powered, controlled flight, Ted chose to build and fly  scale R/C model of the Wright 1903 Flyer.  Ted also had to submit a research paper defending the Wright Brothers claim that they were indeed the first to have a successful, heavier than air, controllable flying machine.

Ted chose the 1/12 scale Dare Models "fun scale" kit. We're talking "stick and tissue" here, not that much different than the wood and fabric Orville and Wilbur used. The flyer will be powered by two electric motors and will have have a micro R/C receiver and micro servos.  Construction began during Christmas break in Dec. 2002, with a goal of completion by the middle of April 2003 (a little optimistic Ted found out).. 

Here are some pictures of his progress. Ted may add his own commentary and more build notes at a later date.

Click on the image to see them larger

Flyer1.jpg (23466 bytes)
December 26, 2003

Flyer2.jpg (10665 bytes)
This will fly, huh?

Flyer3.jpg (19329 bytes)

Flyer4.jpg (16296 bytes)
March 30, 2003
Major assemblies completed

Flyer5.jpg (9955 bytes)

Flyer7.jpg (10247 bytes)
Canard up close

Flyer6.jpg (21657 bytes)
It's starting to look like something!

Flyer8.jpg (16393 bytes)
Dope and tissue. The old fashioned way.

Flyer9.jpg (17146 bytes)
Hmmm... I wonder why it's called Dope?

Flyer10.jpg (19014 bytes)
Minor "oops" repair.

Flyer11.jpg (15526 bytes)
Installing wing struts

Flyer12.jpg (11390 bytes)
They've got to be right.

Flyer13.jpg (20413 bytes)
We have wings!.... And I'm going to bed now.

Flyer15.jpg (20931 bytes)

Flyer16.jpg (19147 bytes)
Crunch time!

Flyer17.jpg (16067 bytes)
April 30, 2003
The airframe is finished!

Flyer19.jpg (20949 bytes)

Flyer20.jpg (16220 bytes)
Soldering motors in.

Flyer21.jpg (17066 bytes)
Motors ready to go.

Flyer22.jpg (14592 bytes)
Servos, Speed control and receiver installed

Flyer23.jpg (20007 bytes)

Flyer24.jpg (16374 bytes)

90 hours of construction work Ted put in his Wright Flyer.  Now, it just needed to fly........

Ted-flyer.jpg (12135 bytes)
Just prior to ill-fated first attempt.

May 18, 2003- First flight attempt! 
The Flyer definitely does not want to turn right well, just like most kit reviews said it wouldn't. A very brief flight resulted in major damage to the left engine strut.  He (with some help from dad)  worked on it until 10:00 PM to get it ready for a shot the next day, and beefed up the motor mounts and re-rigged the left motor.  Sure hope the weather cooperates.

May 19, 2003 - It Flies!

Flyer25.jpg (7833 bytes)

Flyer26.jpg (6223 bytes)

Flyer27.jpg (7898 bytes)

Flyer28.jpg (3446 bytes)

Very calm, cloudy skies, with a chance of rain on the way. This was it -- probably the last attempt he'd have to test fly it before his Senior Project presentation (in two days!). The first flight was slightly better than the previous day. BUT IT FLEW! Still little response to right rudder. Too much torque!* Taking a cue from one of the build articles he had read, Ted tried decreasing the diameter of the right prop to try to get to less left torque. There was a small improvement. A total of 7 short flights (including the one the previous day), totaling  2:13 were made . This is not a great flying airplane (it may never be), but  it sure looked magnificent in the air! And Ted's grin from ear to ear was great! Unfortunately, damage to the tail struts was sustained in the last "landing". Minor repairs had to be made for his Senior Project presentation (in two days). Ted has decided not to fly it for the demonstration portion of the project (a wise decision). He would have to fly it in the gym, and at this point, it's not flying well enough to safely fly in such a restricted location.  There are a couple of things he'll try soon (possibly a second speed controller** or different props) that should make the Flyer a better flyer. There may also be the possibility of an erratic rudder servo causing some problems.

Mom and Dad are very proud and impressed by this whole effort.  Very.

* The original Wright 1903 flyer had contra-rotating propellers ( they rotated in opposite directions), thus eliminating torque issues.  This model doesn't have that capability (the type of props needed are not available, that we know of, unless you hand carve them). 

** One person we know of  has a speed controller hooked to each engine, and has the motors slaved to the rudder channel. This  allows the motors to vary in speed independently with rudder input, helping the Flyer turn more efficiently.