Archive for the ‘Build Blog’ Category

BA Inaugural Flight Class in McCarren Park.

July 19, 2012

Here are a few images of the Adult/Child teams in the park for their first launch.

Breck buddy-boxes with all teams for more practice time in the air.

Retrieval and repair are half the experience in the beginning…

Wrenching in the field

…and innovation abounds!

Innovative tape strap.

Our Maker friend Rick was in town with his air-powered rocket so much aerodynamic fun was had by all:

Rocket Rick!

Due to popular request, Breck gave a demo on El Wire for night flying at the end of class:

Breck wraps up with el wire

Video of this class will be embedded here and available on YouTube asap, thanks for your patience!

Images and video of our Adult Build and Night Fly class from the last 2 Tuesdays are COMING SOON.

The next 2 weeks are busy with BA prep for Maker Faire Detroit happening July 28th-29th, but we will be back with more classes in mid-August so anybody stranded in the tri-boro area for the summer take note!


Brooklyn Aerodrome’s Inaugural Round of Classes

July 18, 2012

BA has completed its first round of classes and we have had a
ball. A visual narrative of the classes below and video of all
the fun coming up…

First up, the Adult/Child Build Class:

The teams in this class were quite the speedy builders! Very impressive.

Radios out! Very exciting.

First flights to follow!


Build Nights in Brooklyn

April 15, 2012

We will be starting the build sessions again. Still have some details to sort out.

The initial structure will be evenings starting at 6pm, going out at 9pm to fly. You can expect to take 1-3 sessions to build a plane. Session pricing is $60/session until you complete and fly your Towel. We will help you with the build, provide tools/supplies and replacement parts at our cost. We will also help you learn. Once you are flying shop fee drops to $20/session.

We may or may not have kits available. We will have blue foam, coroplast, coat hangers etc.

Be aware that we will be night flying. Night flying parts are around $20 depending on how fancy you want to get.

These build nights are for adults. A parent can bring one child over 10 and build with them if they can handle anĀ adult environment.

Send email to if you want a reminder when build nights start and how to sign up.


Up To Date Parts List for Flack (Flying Hack)

July 7, 2011

Below is the current parts list as of Oct, 2012. Often parts are on back order so I have attempted to provide substitutes. Hobby King is officially in the dog house because several folks are reporting problems with getting orders. We, of course, do not know if the problems are with Hobby King or not but be warned.

A Freshly Built Flack

A Flack built by Bethany

I fear that the days of a $100 Towel are gone due to chronic back order issues but I am still working on it. Kits are now available from Maker Shed for $249. Spendy but the gear is way better than the cheap stuff for the $100 version. We are sourcing the kits so I know.

Home page for the project that is a good starting place.

Folks have started their own build blogs. They are doing a good job of reporting on where to get gear etc. Email me ( if you want your blog listed here.

We are starting build sessions in October for folks that want some help with the build and flying.

I have provided a bunch of links to Amazon sources. I have not confirmed the vendors integrity or tried to see how much shipping is etc. Someone noted that a $3 part had $8 shipping and handling. It would be nice to have a single good vendor for the parts–I am working on that.



You will need two servos per towel. But they can break/strip so ordering a few spares is not a bad idea.

Speed Control/Motor combos

I prefer combo packs because you know that the motor/speed control are appropriate for each other. But you can buy them separately as well.

  • This combo is my current go-to setup for $18. Has motor connectors. Get GWS props. You want the 18amp speed control and 1800kv (means how many rpm you get per volt).

The propeller

Get at least 3. Be mindful that the prop fits the motor. The grey APC props have a bigger hole than the
GWS style props.

Motor/Speed Control Connectors


You will want at least two batteries. 6-10 minutes flight time per battery.

Any of the LiPo packs with 2 cells in parallel (2S1P), a 10c or greater rating (max discharge is 10 times the capacity of the pack) in the 1500 to 2200 mAh range.

Charging Options

There are tons of alternatives for charging. I have identified the easiest/cheapest solutions. Ping me if you need to know more.

Misc parts

You will also need

A few tools are required for a reasonably easy build. They include:

    • Razor blade/razor knife
    • Ruler
    • Felt tipped pen
    • Soldering iron
    • Solder
    • Needle nose pliers with wire cutter
    • Soldering station helping hands
    • Small philips head screw driver
    • Drill with various small bits (1/8 inch, 1/16 inch)

3rd Ward Class

December 2, 2010

We had an excellent class at 3rd ward where we met some very fine folk and got them all flying. The goals of our class are to introduce three skills:

  1. The ability to build an airplane from scratch in under 3 hours
  2. The ability to fly that airplane independently
  3. The ability to design whatever they want and make it fly

Good progress was made on all three fronts. The build times were a bit more than 3 hrs, and all flew. I wish we had more time for theory. The innovation for the next class – yes, 3rd Ward wants us to do another one – will be to have the decks pre-made and the students simply attach them to the airframe. The deck takes too much time and is not that hard to make so the students will get the raw materials to create their own deck but will build/fly with a loaner. Makes materials fees much less as well.

Our students were Jim, Tony and Launa. Jim and Tony were there for the airplane flying/building dimension with horror stories of expensive airplanes destroyed on first crashes. Launa was an artist wanting to get some interesting shapes into the air. Also in attendance was Mark from Air and Space magazine doing a story on us with Breck and Karen holding down the Brooklyn Aerodrome side of things. Thanks to Karen for all the pics/video.

Tony Launching

Tony Launches while Breck Looks On


Here is Launa doing the Splinter method at night and doing very well.

Some pictures of building.

Launa, Tony and Breck working on planes

Intense plane building.

Couple of Towels in McCarrent Park.

Breck, Mark and Jim Getting Ready to Fly

Brief moment of light during night flying session

Two towels on the ground about to be flown. Launa's flying session

Programming the Hobby King T6a radio

October 18, 2010

Check out the new build forum for latest updates on programming this radio. The links below are broken or out of date.


The radio on our parts list on the build overview is a real
hassle to program. The radio is an amazing value which is why we use it but it took a while for us to master it. Programming is necessary to get elevon mixing working.

Here are some links to resources for working with the radio.

  • 3rd Party software and some instructions. People seem to like it.
  • A thread on rcgroups about the radio and how to get it working
  • A link to the configuration I use to program delta wings: HK_T6a_programming_for_Towel. It is a binary file so save it to disk and load it into the folder that the t6config tool stores configuration files in. The above software, Digital Radio, has an import feature for this file format as well. One notable feature is that the right hand switch is now a dual rate switch, back is for low rates, less throw or Granny Mode as we call it. Forward is full rates.
  • Manual for the A version of the transmitter–I don’t think there is much difference between this and the B version.

Please keep me up to date on the accuracy of the above information.


Elevons and Control Horn Instructions

October 4, 2010

The video instructions including clear steps for cutting, attaching and
connecting control horns are here.

Part 2 is here:

Towel Kits, Builds and Instructions Update

September 28, 2010

Update on kits: We are not going to be selling kits. It is just way too much work. If you come to a build session we
have a bunch of used gear that we will sell but that is pretty much it. All the information you need is on the
blog and website to get the materials/parts and instructions. Let us know if you need clarification on how to build
your own Towel.


We have been getting lots of requests from folks after our appearance at Maker Faire in NYC. That is great. This is the deal on our inventory, kits and instructions.

1- We shot a “making a deck” video. It covers the most complex part of creating the Towel. There are other vids on the blog as well now that cover the other bits.

2- This is the parts list from Hobby King. With shipping it will be about $100 for all the gear. We strongly recommend that you buy spare servos (2), props(5) and batteries (around 3).

Parts List

3- Stay tuned for monthly build/fly dates.

How to Make a Deck and Airframe for the Towel RC Plane

September 27, 2010

The complete video build sequence for the Towel 1.2. This is a little different than the Make Magazine Volume 30 plane. Most notably the motor mount is different.


The Flaming Towel in Development

August 17, 2010

I want to have an artificial flame effect airplane that I can fly at night. The idea is to recreate the fake fireplaces that use lights and silk to create a flame effect without a flame. They look great:

The trick is to get red/yellow/blue lights on a layer of silk fabric that is blown by the wind. We have
tons of wind on an airplane so the hard part is creating a place to hide the lights–in the above video the lights and fan are hidden in the suspended vessel.

My approach currently is to create a bi-plane towel that hides the lights between the two delta wings with the silk streaming out the back.

Flambeau Towel

A Biplane made from joined towels

Side View of Flaming Towel

Side View of Biplane Towel

The flight dynamics are not great. The plane flies, but with a significant pitching up moment which I think is due to the motor being on the lower wing.
Also the wing loading is so low and the plane so underpowered that the plane flies very slowly so I think a second motor is called for. I am just going
to add a motor to the top wing (same configuration as the bottom one) and see what happens. Hopefully the pitching will cease and the airspeed will
go up which I will need for flying at Burning Man this year. More as I learn more.

%d bloggers like this: