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The Chris Stick: Part 1, the dream…

About six months ago someone brought an unfinished 3D printed radio controlled (RC) P-38 Lightning a world war two era twin engined multirole fighter aircraft.

P-38 Lightning

This inspired me to design my own RC 3D printed aircraft that I called the Phoenix IV. Unfortunately, I had no idea how to design aircraft and 3D printing is a terrible way to make an aircraft. 3D printed parts are too heavy and fragile. I also made the nose too short so it was tail heavy, so I had to make a nose extension and put a huge battery behind the motor to compensate.

My step dad put the machine together and my dad provided advice and piloting skills (he’s currently Australian champion, in his class, flying model aircraft) he told me it probably wouldn’t fly, but he would give it a go. Well it did get off the ground for 0.25 of a second before the left wing hit the ground and it smashed and broke apart into several pieces.

The Doomed Phoenix IV

I was shattered (haha get it?). Not really. As soon as I got home from the airfield, VARMS in Knox, I started studying model aircraft that were similar to the one I wanted to build – fully aerobatic, but relatively easy to fly and stable. One ubiquitous example is the middle stick and its many imitators.

So I copied the dimensions of the middle stick such as the wing size in relation to the length of the fuselage and size of the tail, the position of the wing on the fuselage and the size the control surfaces. I decided to put the wing on the bottom and increased the dihedral because um… I don’t know.

So, this aircraft would be made out of balsa wood and carbon fibre. It would be larger stronger and lighter than my first attempt.

Next it was time to start designing, so I booted up Fusion 360 and got to work.