C18 Project

One of the reasons why I decided to come back to the hobby, was to try out FPV (First Person View) flying. With the A1-C getting close to its first flight, I started to think of a plane to properly experiment with flying through a camera (or more than one), but not only that.

By far the biggest limit I had was space, for storage, for transport to the field in the cabrio, for eventually ship everything to the new country the day we will move again. This not only limits the overall dimensions of the future project, but it also means I can’t mantain a big fleet of planes with different uses.

So, in the first iteration, the project “18” (a little pun with myself, to remember the year I started to work on it this time), i was aiming at a plane which had to:

The return of the broken plane

About ten years later, I briefly took it back from the dust trying to complete it to a flying condition. Progress in electric models technology suggested to convert it to electric propulsion for ease of use, and years of aeronautical institute helped in re-design the whole fuselage in a much lighter balsa construction.

I restored and reinforced the wing for better rigidity, but even with the added bracing it was not completely satisfactory. So I ended up drawing a new wing with improved structure.

Unfortunately, after completing the second fuselage and set of wings, I had to move abroad and once again, i had to pack everything for a long, long term storage.

The A1-C

Fast forward another ten years, I was back in Italy and in a semi-stable situation at work, it was time again to recover the ancient remains and make a plan.

The situation was a bit worse than before. The fuselage was broken, the wings were damaged, the stabilizers were gone and a lot of other minor issues were found.

While the wings were considered damaged beyond repair, I decided to try to repair the fuselage, adding reinforcements to avoid future breakdowns in the same sensitive area. A number of improvements were also included, requiring some extensive reconstruction, which in turn removed damaged areas. The result was a mostly new design, the third one (hence the “C” in the name). The A1-C project will soon be ready to fly, follow its progress on the main page of the project here

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C18 Project

One of the reasons why I decided to come back to the hobby, was to try out FPV (First Person View) flying. With the A1-C getting close to its first flight, I started to think of a plane to properly experiment with flying through a camera (or more than one), but not only that.

By far the biggest limit I had was space, for storage, for transport to the field in the cabrio, for eventually ship everything to the new country the day we will move again. This not only limits the overall dimensions of the future project, but it also means I can’t mantain a big fleet of planes with different uses.

So, in the first iteration, the project “18” (a little pun with myself, to remember the year I started to work on it this time), i was aiming at a plane which had to:

  • Be easy to fly (and land)
  • Be able to carry the FPV equipment
  • Have good visibility to allow for in-cockpit camera footage
  • Rugged and able to withstand a little abuse
  • Allow other cargo like cameras or little droppable objects
  • Semi-scale looks

Putting all together, my research went to planes designed in the 20’s to late 30’s, with their simple but elegant lines, generous surfaces, forgiving flight characteristics. After few weeks I went for the Stinson Reliant, starting to design a possible fuselage structure and feasibility of the whole fpv installation.

In an effort to increase payload, improve reliability and performance, I then opted for a twin engine design. The construction gets more complicated but it’s a little price to pay for having a much more interesting plane to fly both in line of sight and first person view.

Back to study, the choice was once again a plane designed in the 30’s, the beech model 18. 

Looking for informations on the Beech, I found out about a particular version which was developed to train crews for the  WWII bombers. Called AT11 Kansan, it featured a glass nose and two gunner positions, one on the top of the fuselage, one below the tail.

Since the two versions are identical except for a few sections, I am currently trying to design the plane with replaceable hatches to switch between them. This way you can have the lighter and more aerodynamical standard d18 and the better camera positions of the At-11.

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