A Remote Control, Swing Wing F-14

Anyone can build a remote control airplane with a sheet of foam, some glue, and a handful of servos. Building an F-14, complete with the swing wing mechanism? [Thomas] found built one that’ll take you right into the danger zone.

This was [Thomas]’ first go at scratch building a RC airplane, and wanted a lot of electronics inside. His choice of airframe was the venerable F-14 Tomcat, complete with wings that swing out for landing and swing in for high-speed flight. This isn’t just taking off-the-shelf receivers and putting them in a fancy airframe, either: [Thomas\ is reading the PWM signals from the receiver with a small electronics board, mixing the elevons with his own code, and implementing an auto stabilization system with an accelerometer.

Most of the work on the airframe was done by [Maybz] over on the RCGroups forums. That’s an impressive thread spanning seven years of posts. [Thomas] doesn’t see his F-14 as an end goal, though: he’s using this as a stepping stone to learn about building unstable planes for a more complex UAV.

Videos below, with a warning to headphone users.

19 thoughts on “A Remote Control, Swing Wing F-14

  1. I have a hard time telling from the guncam footage if the platform is stable or if the pilot is giving a lot of input…

    The hacker mentions dirigibles in one of the comments on the project page. They could potentially be quiet enough not to be a bother when flying low, and controllable enough to be used indoors. I would love to know if hydrogen could be used in UAV-scale airships.

    1. I would say both :D
      It is the very first RC-Plane I ever build and also the first one I ever flew, for a F14 this is not the best situation.
      On that day it was very windy too which caused some turbulences.

    2. Helium is probably easier, you can buy the tanks at the party store. Hydrogen is easy enough to make too, but somewhat messy. Whether either “works” would require a calculation of buoyancy from your dirigible envelope and the weight of the aircraft. It could be a semi-buoyant dirigible though, with a lifting body shape or copter blades for lift, like a multi-copter with the dirigible. Might get blown around a lot outdoors though. There are lots of designs for small indoor blimps that are filled with helium.

  2. why is this here? really. there’s way much more interesting things in rcgroups forum than this piece of shit.
    all he did differently was to remote control a swing wing. it’s not rocket science. how hard is that?! it’s not a hack whatsoever. not worthy to be here. slow day at hackaday office? please avoid spam. if you don’t have interesting things to post, then don’t. readers appreciate. a lot.

    1. In case someone is reading this and doesn’t realize it – Pedro is just a troll. [Thomas] not only built the mechanical swing wing system, but the the ARM processor based stabilizer which helps him fly the plane. It’s great work!

      1. The second best way to handle it is to see a whole stack of comments telling the troll that what they think doesn’t matter. When they have editorial control they can post what they like. If they don’t like it they are under no requirement to read it :-)

        And yes. The plane is cool. Kudos :-)

        Ignoring the trolls can be demoralising for the person, so the best form of defense can be an offense.

      2. Hey guys,
        thanks for the nice words!

        I think he is not completely wrong:
        – there is a LOT of interesting stuff going on in RC forums
        – Its my first plane so it is not very advanced or good
        – Its not rocket science and the swing wing is nothing I invented

        BUT:
        It’s the first of its kind on hackaday (and of course as it is hackaday it comes with some hacks). If this article is encouraging a few people to have a look into the RC forums and maybe build their own Foamie/plane whatsoever then it is not nonsense to post a article like that but a success.

  3. Can you remake your video of the self-stabilizer feature? It is difficult to get any sense of it’s functionality from your current movie. Perhaps get a tripod for your camera and move the jet around more slowly so we can see the control surfaces reacting to the input.

    This is a very interesting project. I’d be fascinated to know what happens to your flight characteristics if you were to put a tiny lead weight in each of the wing-tips. I think this might dampen some of the high frequency roll jitter and also make it feel like a more realistic swing-wing jet. Maybe use a few (3 or 4) air-gun pellets in the tip of each wing to add a bit of rotational intertia.

    Great build and I like your light-weight FPV setup, works well.

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