London Academy of Excellence 2016

Tarik Khemlani

‘rc plane from scratch’

His story, in his words…..

“I have always been obsessed with RC vehicles, especially with planes. I have owned a couple of RC planes as well as helicopters, but at this stage I became very curious and really wanted to understand the mechanics of flight. After months of planning and researching about it, I decided that it was time for me to build one myself and see what was actually going on in a RC plane. When I first heard about the MEF in my college I decided to take the opportunity and fulfill my desire.

This wasn’t an easy process at all, it involved quite a lot of research into aerodynamics and a lot of patience in order to start up correctly.

I decided to build this plane using a light polymer known as Depron. It was mainly used to build the fuselage and almost two meters long of wing. I would say that constructing my own design was one of the hardest and most time consuming periods during the construction of the plane, as I had to change and modify the original plans more than three times! But finally after three weeks I finished the blue fuselage and the red wings. However my job wasn’t done just yet. I still had to adjust the moveable front gear, the double landing gear, lights on the model, install the engine to the wooden nose, set the LiPo battery in and finally programme the RC transmitter.

One of the major challenges I faced at the beginning was when it came to set the rotatable front gear. The problem was that it could stay strictly vertical due to the weight of the front of the fuselage. This was causing problems because it didn’t let the plane to stand straight and balance itself, but also it wasn’t able to run in a straight line and it kept on turning sideways, this didn’t allow the plane to gain enough speed to take off. After replacing the gear a couple of times it finally managed it to do its job, and now it was the time to try it out on the field for its first flight. This is when my second major problem aroused. At the point of taking off, the plane would perfectly leave the ground but it would instantly rotate 180 degrees anticlockwise and hit the ground. In the attempt to fix this issue two things happened. One, I worked out that the problem now had to do with the weight balance. Second, I ended up breaking the whole front side (nose) of the plane as well as the overall shape of the fuselage. However I never gave up and so I decided to build a brand new fuselage, and this time I made sure everything was correctly measured, even the weight balance. I can now say that I successfully made it fly!

In the future, I might change the design a bit in order to get a more efficient flight, for example by adding some dihedral to the wings, and maybe using a three bladed propeller instead of two in order to increase the thrust force per revolution.

Overall, it was a great experience to work in a completely new field, to use new tools such as iron soldering, to face a lot issues and trying to solve them all. This opportunity not only gave me the chance to fulfill my desire to build an RC vehicle but also allowed me to have an amazing time and to broaden my knowledge. For all this I would like to thanks the Mark Evison Foundation because of what they offer for people like me.”