Parkjets

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ALPHA JET - IN DEPTH

InterviewParkJets

Last week we got an E-mail from another designer with another excellent plan up for posting.  You might remember the last plan submission via E-mail, the EADS Barracuda from Germany.  This plan comes all the way from the U.K. and is one-of-a-kind unique.  We asked the designer for a quick interview and he was kind enough to help out.  Let's get to the interview.

Before we get started talking about your design, tell us a little bit about yourself?  

OK, so I live in North Wales U.K, and I have been building and flying radio controlled planes for allmost two years. I started with a profile Extra300 style depron plane and flew it until it was more tape than foam.  I then moved quickly onto the parkjets that I fly today. I first saw the parkjet style plane on the RCPowers forum and a YouTube channel gstrysky. Those two things really got me hooked.

Alpha JetJamie, you sent Parkjets an E-mail with your designs.  First off, thanks so much for sharing your plans with the RC Community.  But we have to ask, what prompted you to send us your plans?  

I started to put my plans on my own blog page, frcfoamies.blogspot.co.uk, and I was doing okay.  I have been on parkjets.com a few times and thought I would send you the plans to see what you thought.  I never thought you would put them on your site so I was very pleased when I got the E-mail saying you were putting the plans up.

That's pretty funny.  We actually don't get that many plans submitted via E-mail and am happy to post just about any plan that has some good documentation (PDF plans, pictures, video, instructions, etc).  The Alpha Jet certainly meets those qualifications.  Is this the first Parkjet style RC plane you have designed?

No, this is the sixth out of seven planes I have designed. I started with a profile Euro Fighter, profile F-16, profile SU-30, and a profile A-10 Warthog. Then I designed the cargo twin and then the Alpha Jet. My latest is a 3D scale F4F Wildcat warbird.

Wow, we are going to have to take a look at your other designs.  They sound great and would have a nice home on Parkjets!  Your Alpha Jet is a very unique design. First off, it doesn’t require carbon fiber rods because of the design: it has two wings, the motor mount is adjustable and its a simple looking build.  I mean, this has to be one of the most unique and original designs out there.  Can you briefly walk us through the design process?  How did you come to the design conclusions you did for this design has to be a story in itself. 

Alpha JetThat's correct the Alpha Jet is designed in a way that does not need any carbon as the two wings support each other. I wanted the motor to be mounted between the two wings. So that meant there had to be a propellor slot in the top and bottom. I wanted to keep the slots as slim as possible and the only way around that was to make the mount adjustable. The original design had a cheese wedge style nose with a air intake on the nose, but straight away that caused problems.  So the new slim line nose was designed and fitted. Additionally, the air intake for the prop was a big problem in early designs, so triangular intakes were cut into the centre section and almost doubled the performance. After many hours making small changes I finally had the plans ready.

What computer program did you use to design the Alpha Jet?

I use Google Sketchup to design all my planes.  It's free and very easy to use.

You have some videos on the Alpha Jet, the incredible high angles of attack and the ability to flip on itself immediately grabbed our attention.  Why does your design have the wide range of flight characteristics that it does? 

The alpha jet is amazing at loops and acrobatics because of the large thrust vectoring elevons. The incredible high alpha is achieved because the leading edge of the top wing is slightly in front of the leading edge of the bottom wing.  So when the plane is in high alpha, the top wing is scooping the air over the bottom wing and the propeller is also pulling air through the air intakes,  which are in the middle of both wings.

One thing we like about the Alpha Jet is the unique motor mount design.  And although the builder can adapt the motor mount to just about any size motor, have you found a sweet spot in terms of set-up?

Yes, I have been using a light 2600kv motor and I know the Micro Jet v3 works very well with a 2200mah 3s mounted up front.

We have noticed a lot of builders, especially new builders going for EPP foam because it is so forgiving when it hits the ground.  And a lot of hobbyists are using simple foam board with paper on both sides.  Have you tried to build your Alpha Jet out of any other material other than Depron?

To be honest, no! I've only ever used depron, but I've seen the alpha jet being built out of other materials and has worked very well.

What is the build time for the Alpha Jet?  

The Alpha Jet can be cut and assembled in 3 to 4hrs.

Only 3 to 4 hours!  That is a fantastic weekend project.  I know a lot of builders like the short build times. Another great thing about the Alpha Jet is that a normal set up requires just two servos, that is very appealing from a cost and set up perspective. However, we have found on a lot of parkjets, the inclusion of a rudder really helps performance.  Do you recommend a rudder on the Alpha Jet?

On my model i did not install a rudder, but Greg strysky installed a rudder with great success but is definitely not needed.

Okay, that is nice to see.  Like we said, some park flyers just perform a lot better, but it looks like on the Alpha Jet it's totally optional.  Are we going to see more designs from you in the future?

Definitely i will be designing more planes.

Awesome, we can't wait.  Hopefully you will let us post them.  Okay, thanks so much for your time!  Keep flying!

That's all folks.  One thing we do want to mention is that designers like Jamie are posting their plans for free so be sure to donate to all the designer on the site if you enjoy their plans.  At the top of every plan page is an opportunity to donate.  Parkjets doesn't get any of the donation, but it keeps the designers posting new plans. So be sure to send Jamie a few bucks for his hard work.

One other thing Jamie mentioned is the RCPowers forums.  You may have seen recently that Parkjets has been promoting the excellent E-Guide for parkjets that was developed by the folks at RCPowers.  If you find yourself wanting to design some parkjets, there is a whole module on designing parkjets in the E-guide, so pick it up. We are an affiliate so we do get a little commission, but you know by now we only promote products and plans we stand behind.  The RCPowers E-Guide is excellent.

Anyway, if you have any park flyer plans you want posted on Parkjets, send us an E-mail and we can get them up in short order.