Parkjets

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BARRACUDA UP CLOSE

InterviewParkJets

We recently got a plan submitted to parkjets.com via E-mail that caught our attention, the EADS Barracuda. Being that it was all the way from Germany, of a German design, it was immediately pretty unique. Here is the meat of it:

Hi...a few weeks ago I got bored of flying RTF-models, so I decided to design and build my own aircraft. Parkjets.com helped me a lot in that process so thanks for that. I based my design on the EADS-Barracuda, a prototype drone aircraft. It ended up working better, than i thought it would, and the final model is an easy to build, unique looking EDF....Sabastian.

We decided to talk to the designer a little bit more about his design and got some excellent feedback. We think it will provide you with some insight and ideas about designing and flying. So here we go.

Before we get going, can you tell us a little about yourself?

My name is Sebastian, I'm 29 years old, living in Germany and working as a helicopter pilot.

A helicopter pilot, wow. Okay, how long have you been in the RC flying hobby?

I've been into RC for a long time but just recently started with RC-flying. I own some RC-Helicopters, thinking i could control them easily, since i fly a real one for a living … but that wasn't the case. So I moved on to RC-planes. I'm still not an expert RC-pilot, but i can manage to keep a plane or a helicopter in the air now... mostly.

For the record, we can't fly helicopters very well either, real or RC!

It's a very unique looking drone and the design you have created looks very simple to build.  And its an EDF, something that a lot of RC pilots are getting into now. We have not seen the Barracuda modeled before and we think you really captured the look of the real aircraft.  You mentioned to us that you started to get bored with out of the box solutions so you decided to design your own airplane.  What made you decide on the Barracuda?

I just think the original Barracuda is a great design. It has the futuristic looks but was still simple enough for me to try to build it as my first scratch build.

What computer program did you use to design the EADS Barracuda because the build instructions and plans are very well documented.

I used solidworks for the 3d model. The instructions and plans were then made with Gimp and Acrobat Reader.

Your EADS Barracuda is an EDF, and our experience is pretty limited with EDF, just from a personal standpoint.  We tried it a few years ago, but really thought the performance was not as good as a propeller.  But today, things are getting cheaper and with a larger 70mm fan, EDF seems to be performing a lot better. Is EDF what you prefer?

The possibility of having a turbine-like drive at a tiny fraction of the cost convinced me of EDFs very early. You could probably get better efficiency using a pusher prop with the Barracuda, but that would not do the real jet justice, and I'm not even talking about the sound.

Any advise for people just getting into EDF?

They are way easier to use than you would think. You don't have to worry much about motor mounts, pitch etc. Just build a thrust tube and have fun. When first launching/throwing an EDF, you have to be aware of the lower static thrust. EDFs really shine once the plane reaches higher speeds, so throw a little harder.

You know, I'm glad you mentioned the learning curve, because with RC, there is so much information out there, and once a pilot has a good understanding of one type of power system, like a pusher prop, it can be a big leap of faith to try something like EDF. Especially because you already have money and time invested in another system. It's good to hear from someone that it's just not that hard.

Okay, tell us a little about your Barracuda. How long does it take to build?

Since it was my first build it took a little longer. I read a lot of the "Building" and "Getting Started" sections on parkjets.com … great help. I guess the pure build time to be around 20 hours for a beginner like me.

That's not a long build time at all, especially going from nothing to a fully flying machine. It looks like it involves some beveled cuts, any advise on how to achieve good beveled cuts?

I did build a hot wire cutter, however I noticed later that a utility knife and sanding paper works just as well if you take your time and mark the cutting line before. It is best to first cut out the part straight, and in a second step do the beveled cut.

What material did you use for your thrust tube?

I cut open a PET-Bottle, formed a cone to get the desired exhaust diameter and taped it back together.

That's a great solution, using a little material that you already have laying around. Nice tip. Does the Barracuda have any unusual flight characteristics?

It is very stable. It even tends to roll back to horizontal when letting go of the controls. As with any jet you have to maintain speed in turns to not risk a stall.

You built yours out of EPP foam, do you prefer EPP foam for your scratch builds?

It is my only build, so i can't compare EPP to other foam, but I'm more than happy with my choice since the Barracuda has bounced off the ground with no damage quite a times now.

Lastly, can we expect more designs in the future?

Yes, the building virus got me. My next project is already planned and I will start it as soon as I've finished the small version of the Barracuda.

That's exciting to hear, the Barracuda is already a highly downloaded plan on parkjets and I suspect your next design will be even better. I want to thank you for taking a few minutes to help fill in our readers on your design. We hope you allow us to post the plans to your future designs as well. Thanks again!

A lot of readers might be wondering how they can learn more about EDF systems and even learn a bit more about how they can learn how to design some parkjets on their own.  Parkjets recently took a good look at a product out there on the market that is by far and away the best tool out there for beginners in RC flying.  RCPowers has put out an excellent E-book series that answers just about all the questions you might have regarding EDF.  There is an entire section on it.  We liked the product so much, we became an affilliate for the product.  We recommend you check it out, and if you buy it through Parkjets, we make a little money on it.  We are confident you will find it well worth the money.  So check it out. Just scroll to about the middle of the page or so, and check out all the different moduals.