DIY Plane from a Broken Helicopter

I had a toy helicopter that had lost it’s tail rotor in an unfortunate accident. I didn’t want to part with it because the main rotor still spun and heck it’s a remote control helicopter. I proceeded to turn the once state of the art in toy chopper technology (OK, once of state of the art) into a regular airplane. This is a photset of my ‘proof of concept’ adventure.

I needed to cut some foam packing material that I had salvaged from a box. I knew I had some nichrome wire but nothing to make a bracket out of. I naturally used LEGOs as my solution.

You can see the cut foam. I used about seven inches of wire and 4VDC at 150mA. I’m glad I kept those ceramic insulators from a previous project!

The foam. I had to cut quite a lot off to get what I wanted. I just kept cutting away until there was nothing left but plane.

I didn’t want a fancy motor mount for my initial test so I just pulled half the original foam off and pinned it to the nose. I offset ti a little to compensate for the tail boom. Like that’s going to help any… Calling Dr. Frankenstein to the flight line!

I adjusted the pitch up so it would counter the piss poor glide slope of my foam brick, er, plane.

I used frame ‘velcro’ stuff to mount the wing. Better than pins I think.

There you have it. Cobbled together well enough to actually work. The plane has better glide profile with the motor on that off so I’ll call it a success. I need to trim the extra weight off and maybe mount it in a high start over wing configuration. Replacing the prop with a regular one would help a lot.

** Update **

I need some lift, real bad! Old file folder and double sided tape.

I figure the plane will work better if the power plant is above the wing and farther back. At least it saves the moving bits from auguring in and breaking.

More of that frame stuff. Works well except when you exceed the strength of what it’s attached to.

The tail boom is, I think, carbon fiber. It crushed rather than ‘snapped’ when I cut it. Strong as heck, there might be something to that stuff after all. You can see my bodge job to stick the mast to the wings. Paper washers (file folders) and pins. A little zip tie to keep the battery in place and it’s ready to fly.

The flight characteristics of this airframe are laughable at best. With power it will do an extended decent but level flight or even a climb is not possible at this time. I suspect that with a pre-built plane made of foam or something built of balsa strips and tissue might be a bit more robust. The issue of sunlight swamping the IR receiver is a big one. It might make this a sunset/evening plane. I’ll have to work on a little sun shade, that might help.
Obviously I’m on to something here but It, as with most things, will require more tinkering to get it right.


Want your own helicopter to hack up? Go get one over at Amazon, tell them I said it was an awesome toy.

3 thoughts on “DIY Plane from a Broken Helicopter”

  1. check out the DIY-build a glider from a fast food container. How would you control rudder with a broken tail rotor?

Comments are closed.