December - Fixed Wing UAV Build Party+Classes!

We've decided to have a class/build party once every 3 months, so without further ado we would like to host our very first FIXED WING UAV build-a-thon!

CHANGE OF VENUE --- Bigger, nicer and very close to the previous build space!  Dialexa LLC has volunteered their office space to us for this build, your gonna LOVE it!  This is the pic mentioned in the email that went out early Tuesday, notice the 5 black cars in a row.  BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!!


Due to a potentially more complex build (and lessons learned from the August build) we will limit this class to the first 7.  We have 5 instructors to lead you through the build.  Build time will be longer than our last one so we can be sure that everyone goes home with an functioning aircraft.

*REPLACED DUE TO FAA CHANGES, MAYBE* Overseas Jobs with Drones - 9:00 AM to 9:45 AM - Tony White and Chad Frazer

This will be a brief introduction to the experience that it is to be a drone operator and mechanic for various drone platforms in a modern theater of war.  We will describe to you how we applied for and got the jobs as well as what happened on the way.  We can give you a good idea of what it is like to use drones in a military fashion and why they are so important to our modern military army.  Guided discussion format. 

Farmers and Hunter and UAV's - 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM - Tod Timbke and/or Guy Compton

We are substituting this topic in light of the FAA endorsing the use of sUAV's on private land for personal use for the agricultural business.  This is a huge deal for UAV enthusiasts because it offers us the first LEGAL use for our hobby.  Since most of us are not hunters or farmers we have invited these two gentlemen to bring us up to speed on farming, livestock issues, growing food, hunting hogs and counting wildlife.  These speakers will have free reign to brief us on how they see UAV's helping in the farming and hunting communities. I highly recommend attending this brief as it offers even a serious UAV hobbiest a challenge to meet. 

Battery, Batteries and MORE BATTERIES! - 10:00 AM to 10:30 AM - Tony White

This will the class you want to take if you want to know how to go about selecting the right battery for your platform.  We will also go over how to charge them, safety and the pros and cons of LiPo, LiFE, NiCD, NiMH and any others we can think of!


Basic RC/Electronics - 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM - Romeo Espana

This class is designed to introduce and explain all basic Radio Controlled equipment and cover basic electronics skills as they pertain to Fixed Wing aircraft.  We recommend watching this video about basic soldering if you have not done it in awhile (3.18 minutes).  This class is a must for all those who wish to do the drone build class but have never built or flown a hobby level aircraft.  If you just want to come and brush up or even just want to get up to date on modern equipment then you should go ahead and grab a seat here.


Lunch - 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM

Dallas Makerspace is located next to fast food restaurants as well as some sit down restaurants.  Take your pick.


Slow Stick UAV Build - 1:30 PM to 8:00 PM - Chad Frazer, Tony White, Romeo Espana, Nolan Henley

The Slow Stick airframe has been chosen for multiple reasons.  First, it is a beginner level airframe that can also be built within the time allotted.  Second, any beginner pilot will have a much easier time learning to fly with this bird. Third, this aircraft has an amazing amount of mods available!  You can find the Slow Stick in many places some as low as $30.  Please use this website to get started with picking out your airframe and then your mods: Check out the Slow Stick.  Shipping is very cheap with that site and support is available should your order go wrong. 

At our September Fly-In we had one of these doing waypoints with a camera attached so we know this one works well.   Top speed was around 42mph (single engine ParkFly 480) and a reported stable flight of 15mph.  Get whatever mods you want, we will help you figure out the build and then figure out how to slap on an APM 2.5 or 2.6! Decals are welcome!

Please be sure to read the Slow Stick Hop Up descriptions provided by this particular website, they are very helpful in understanding which mods to pick and they provide a list of required parts.  You MUST get at least:

1) The airframe

2) Motor (004 option from Radical RC, I'd recommend a ParkFly 450 or 480 instead)  Pay attention to the motor mount, the diameter of it is critical.

3) Servos (2 minimum, 4 if you want Ailerons)

4) ESC, mine is 18A continuous with the 004 option (10x7E or SF) from Radical RC, use a 40A ESC with a ParkFly 480 motor (11x7E prop).

5) Transmitter and receiver (NOT a park flyer mini receiver, they do not have the range that a drone is capable of going, get a small fully functional receiver instead)

6) LiPO Battery to match your engine (3 cell, 2200maH is nominal, 4000maH possible

7) An APM 2.5 or 2.6 from 3DR Robotics or from RC Timer

8) I would also suggest picking up an air speed sensor kit from 3DR Robotics as it will greatly improve autopilot flight characteristics.

9) Connectors!  If you can, go for "Deans" style.  You might also need servo cable extensions and a Y splitter if you go for Ailerons.

I spent about $200 getting all the parts I needed for the airframe, including 4 servos (the most expensive items).  The autopilot is about $350 from 3DR Robotics and $150 from RC Timer.  Bring your laptop preloaded with the APM Mission Planner and any build tools you think you will need. If you want to get the balsa build kit for this aircraft you are welcome to do so, but please keep in mind you might not be able to finish it in time (very nice upgrade though, it is made for carrying a larger payload).

We will discuss during class the need and want to meet somewhere to test fly these birds.  We could meet at a field on Sunday or just skip it.  We will decide based on who shows up and what they need.


This event is rain or shine. If our venue is a wash-out, for weather or politics, an alert will be announced/posted. If our site selection committee has been successful, we'll have a high-ceiling indoor location on standby. If that happens, apologies in advance to our fixed wing flyers. If we get enough weather-resistant flyers, we can consider using both locations.

The site selection committee has yet to meet on this schedule. Please send me a message to add a site to the list. If possible, please provide a description of the field, a google/bing map link, and a point of contact for that location (if there is one.)

Please send me a message if you would like to serve on the site selection committee. The committee will meet briefly, via WebEx, twice a month to consider and select locations for the group.

Keep it safe, I look forward to seeing you (and all of your fingers) at the flight line.

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  • Nolan H.

    Today I flew my black x8 for the first time. It was a bit rocky the first time and I bellied in to a puddle... The second time it worked out well! I need a better esc, this one is not consistent and I cant program it. Needs more control throw also. Liked it!

    December 15, 2013

  • Brian M.

    I had a great time meeting new flyers and learning more about RC. I hope to see you all and fly with you in the near future. Dialexa is an awesome place and it was cool to actually see the technology that they work on there.

    December 14, 2013

  • Chad F.

    Change of venue, this place is VERY nice and much bigger! It is very close to the Dallas Maker Space where we were going to host this event. The company's name is Dialexa and they are located in downtown Dallas area. This is a nice step up for us! Please don't overlook this change, tell your friends!!

    December 10, 2013

  • Nolan H.

    Well it looks like I wont have a quad to use at this meetup! I was flying it outside yesterday to see all of the snow and ice and I busted my ass and couldnt get it to gps hold. Here's a video of the whole thing if you look you can see me fall down..
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwJZPBShMn4&feature=youtu.be

    haha looks like the x8 will be my showbird. Im gonna bring my old trusty slow-twin too! Maybe an rc car or two

    December 8, 2013

    • Don Y.

      crashing into the trees in the woods across from my house. Seems the new version of software (3.0.x) has a bug and is causing a lot of run away. Took me 2 days to find it. Don

      1 · December 8, 2013

    • Nolan H.

      Well after I got butt hurt, literally, I just decided to retire the frame altogether. It was a bad day lol

      December 8, 2013

  • Chad F.

    We had to change the format for the 9:00 class. We did this to highlight the recent FAA regulations change dealing with the agricultural business. Believe me, they can greatly benefit from our hobby, so I'd like to have them come and tell us what they need. If enough people want to hear the Overseas Military Jobs brief from myself and Tony we can swap out the Battery class for that or start 30 minutes sooner. Please let me know if you guys want to start sooner.

    1 · December 3, 2013

    • Brian F.

      Chad,
      Roger that, I am good either way. If it's just me then I will catch up with y'all during the build or battery class, shouldn't take long. I will bring a notebook and take notes. The basics are who is the major contractor hiring techs, and how much experience/degrees are they looking for?
      Thanks, see you December 14th

      December 3, 2013

  • Brian F.

    I am interested in the 9:00 am class being hosted by Tony and Chad, as well as what I can contribute to the group from personal experience.

    December 2, 2013

  • Tony W.

    For those of you wanting to come but do not want to build we have plenty of space. Do not worry about taking anyone's build spot.

    November 30, 2013

  • Chad F.

    We have an experienced rc airplane builder coming in addition to the four of us. Please say hello to Gary when you guys can! Btw, I'm courting a farmer type to brief us on what he thinks operators can do for him. Thus should be an interesting day for all!

    November 29, 2013

  • Jay C.

    I also want to be there, but do not wish to take any place of a builder...It will be a few months before I'm ready, I think.

    November 29, 2013

  • Gary J.

    I'll be there. I'm a first time drone builder, but a very experienced RC modeler. I'll have my Slow Stick airframe built in advance, so that I can help others finish their's. I will need some guidance on the UAV aspect of the thing however.

    November 29, 2013

  • Nolan H.

    What to bring...What to bring...What to bring...

    November 25, 2013

  • Chad F.

    Due to unforeseen circumstances we are forced to move this build from November 9th to December 14th. It could not be helped, my apologies everyone.

    November 7, 2013

  • Jim P.

    I'd like to attend for the education, but don't want to build. I have used the APM autopilot (and have a few) on a couple of crawlers and boats, though.

    November 7, 2013

  • Michael D

    Hoping to attend the training, not ready for a build.

    October 28, 2013

  • Don Y.

    Would like to attend just for the education. DO NOT want to take up one of the builder spots.

    October 27, 2013

  • Chad F.

    We test flew two Slow Sticks at the October fly in. With the 004 motor from Radial RC there is JUST enough power to fly in light winds, I'd recommend the next upgraded motor they offer for good autopilot behavior. If you go with what we know works, pick up a parkflyer 480 motor, NO problems with power on that motor!

    October 13, 2013

  • Chad F.

    There is about 4 weeks left...you sure Gil?

    October 10, 2013

    • gil w.

      Yea gonna have to cancel. I realized I need a laptop for this and I don't have the budget to invest in a laptop just yet. Thanks

      October 11, 2013

  • Chad F.

    Just flew my slow stick in manual mode, it has to be the most stable and smooth rc I've flown yet!! Get the 004 motor option or the next higher one. I don't recommend the carbon fiber landing gear as it distorts on landing. The 2.5 inch wheels are great, keep the 10 deg dihedral and get get the extra reinforcement rods and packing tape. I can carry a 3s 2800 lipo with all apm gear. I've not put a camera on it yet. I got the one inch riser kit and it allows plenty of room for all the apm stuffs. I also recommend the rudder centering kit, 4mm version worked for mine but yours could be 5mm. The 9x5 props are underpowered for the 004 motor option. A 10x7 sf prop maxes it out.

    1 · October 7, 2013

    • Nolan H.

      That is awesome chad! Can't wait to fly on Saturday with you! Red and blue are gonna look awesome lol

      October 10, 2013

  • gil w.

    Sorry had to change my rsvp to no at the last minute because i dont have all the parts i need.

    October 10, 2013

  • Chad F.

    Yup there is still room.

    October 2, 2013

  • Luke B.

    Is there still room in the build class?

    October 2, 2013

  • Chad F.

    Welcome to the group joe, it's no problem, cya up there!

    September 27, 2013

  • Trent L.

    Great event! I just built 3 Skywalker mapping planes in the last two months and have two more underway now. Once you're on top of the autopilot learning curve - they are some of the easiest planes I've built in my 15 years of experience.

    September 27, 2013

    • Nolan H.

      I wanna ask you some questions about your skywalkers! What size batteries do you use and what kind of flight times are you getting? Also where is a good place to get them in the US? I think I've decided that I want to try one out, I've seen some really cool videos!!!

      September 27, 2013

  • Chad F.

    Absolutely Randall, cya there!

    September 21, 2013

  • Randall B.

    Is there room at maker space for us to come watch (and learn) but not build? I'm not quite ready to commit to a drone type yet.

    September 21, 2013

    • Randall B.

      Plane v multicopter.

      September 21, 2013

    • Randall B.

      Plane v multicopter.

      September 21, 2013

  • Nolan H.

    If I have my way mine will be a twin engine with trike gear for the next meetup. I think I'll be pushing the limits of lifting capacity for this plane but that's half the fun ;). I'll have a kit that I can build for the classes too!

    September 18, 2013

    • Nolan H.

      Oh also, it'll have ailerons and flaps for super slow hi lift!!

      September 18, 2013

  • Chad F.

    OHH MAN, get it wherever you want, but DO check out the listed website...they have a twine engine version AND a ducted fan twin engine version! LOL I can't believe how fun this is going to be!!

    September 18, 2013

  • gil w.

    FYI, http://www.headsuphobby.com/GWS-Models_c7.htm has more color options in stock. I just purchased the yellow one! 32.95 with shipping.

    September 17, 2013

  • Randall B.

    I voted yes to a drone build in November, but I intend only to observe. I need to learn more about drones before I decide which type to commit to. I have an AR.Drone which is a nice toy, but I'd like to get something more "substantial" that can handle longer range and flight times, and some mild wind speed.

    August 17, 2013

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