Ultra - stick style UAV platform


Thought I would share one of my recent projects. I am designing an ultra stick style UAV platform designed to carry a 3 axis mini 3D pro brushless gimbal for smooth fpv video while the aicraft carries out an autonomous mission. 

The construction uses lasercut balsa and lightply so it will be extremely cheap and easy to make, while the wing is hotwire cut out of eps and then skinned with a sheet of 1mm balsa for stiffness. 

I designed the wing using a constant airfoil section (NACA2414) with washout towards the tip so wing produces an elliptical lift distribution which will greatly improve stall characteristics. 

The wing is designed to fly at 16m/s (around 60km/h) if the airframe is kept at 2kg. so things need to be kept light. 

3689697513?profile=original3689697569?profile=original3689697534?profile=originalLet me know what you think!

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  • I have two planes I'm wanting to convert: one is a PT40 I'm looking to make a low-budget mini-Gemini type plane, and an Ultra-Stick 40 I was wanting to use for something similar to what you've described above. The airframe is already complete, but I suppose having a second, flat-bottom wing wouldn't be out of the question. I do have a stabilizing receiver (OrangeRX) that I was hoping would take care of any issues with stability. 

    I have a Turnigy G46 670kv motor for this airframe, and wanted to build it as a "fire watch" demonstrator for our local VFD, among other things.

  • Hey Ted, yeah its a 3 axis gimbal, i dont want to see all the shake and bumps of the aircraft while it flies, this plane needs to be able to fly slowly and loiter around while I pan the camera. not to much of an issue seeing the plane in the video because I think there will be a wide field of view as is 

  • I would suspect you need some kind of wind shielding around the gimbal. You fly much faster than the most multicopters.
  • T3
    Looks super cool, the ugly stick is such a classic, great-flying plane. Are you going to use a 2 axis or a 3 axis gimbal? If it's 3 axis for looking around it might be worth considering the length of the nose to limit seeing your wingtip.

    There aren't enough people flying gimbals on airplanes, the footage is so cool.
  • Moderator


    Read RC Groups forum, you will find lots of interesting solution. :)))

    For template use a birch ply - absolutely enought, balsa skin is better glueing by PU ( Gorilla or similar ) glue.

  • Developer

    @Gary. For the average diydroner I would have thought a hot wire wing cutting tool would be very simple to make:

    For the power I use a 24 volt 5 amp transformer and a Chopper circuit consisting of a 555 timer and a big transistor and a potentiometer.

    The wire I use is 0.5 mm stainless model yacht rigging wire. The bow is made from 2" by 1" softwood tensioned with a tourniquet.

    You can get various densities of foam from builders merchants. 

    For templates I use formica and I wrap the edges in aluminium tape where the wire will travel, which prevents burning the template.

    For skinning I use 1/32" or 1/16" balsa. I have found Iron on Glue film works well and is very quick. e.g.


    (I dont know what happens in very hot weather though :) )

  • Developer

    I say go. This looks great. Nice and simple to build. I am a great fan of hot wire foam wings too. They are much quicker to build than built up wings. They are generally heavier but stronger and quicker to repair, and that counts for a lot.

    The wing design wing section, planform washoutetc, ect can all get very involved.

    For simplicity, a constant chord wing with one wing section and no washout will give good anti tip stall characteristics. For more info as to why this is so I would highly recommend Martin Simons Model aircraft aerodynamics. It is a classic. 

    Anyway best of luck. This looks great!

  • Thanks for the advice guys, I'll look into different ways on building the wing. will be a cool challenge. 

    @Hugues That could potentially be a problem but from experience with the gimbal it seems to be super sturdy in strong wind. will have to re-evaluatethe design if its an issue 

  • MR60

    Being a noob on plane design, my sugegstion might be stupid but having your 3D gimbal so close to the front propeller, will you not get propeller air turbulences on it?

  • Hi Aidan,

    In case you don't know about them, flying foam can supply CNC cut foam wing cores very reasonably priced and they are very precisely cut.

    And you can specify the airfoil and dimensions, although they don't list 2414, you can type it in and they will make it.


    Of course shipping to Cape Town may be a bit prohibitive.

    Best Regards,


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