Articles

Thrust Vectoring Made Easy

Put a new twist on your 3D flying with a home-brew Thrust Vectoring modification.

By Jim Bonnardel


Recently, the Hyperion line of airplanes introduced a new model named the Enigma.  It uses a cleverly designed motor mount that allows the motor to pivot, and give the aircraft thrust vectoring.   I stumbled across a you tube video showing it in action and was instantly amazed.

TV Mount sm

 

It seems that the ideal of using thrust vectoring on the front of an aircraft is fairly new compared to using it on the rear of the aircraft, and even more so using a propeller instead of a ducted fan, which made the idea more intriguing to me.  I quickly found where the kit was available, and put it on my wish list.  It is affordable, but my hangar is pretty full at the moment.

I went to bed that night thinking (more like obsessing) about that thrust vectoring.  Man,  I wanted that plane.  In the early AM, I snapped awake with a crystal clear idea that was very simple and used off the shelf parts to give me thrust vectoring. I had no other obligations for time so I grabbed a cup of coffee and headed to the workbench. Having all the parts I needed I quickly had a plan and before lunch, I was at Mission Bay getting ready to test my new device.

For years, I have seen how we mount tricycle landing gear nose wheels to the aircraft firewall. A plastic ‘block’ with a raised vertical hole, that with two blocks, you secure the landing gear leg (wire).  The blocks let the wire pivot, which allows you to steer.  With that picture in my mind I thought about putting another block, opposite of the two on the firewall to provide a pivot point.

 

TV Mount


Its very simple indeed. Using off the shelf parts you can add Thrust Vectoring to a very wide selection of aircraft with little to no modification at all. Using firewall mounted nose gear blocks.  You need at least 3 blocks.  4 blocks can be used for larger applications but I have not done that yet!

I mounted one of the nose gear blocks directly to the back of the motor as the holes lined up perfectly (on both the Dualsky and Hyperion motors, probably more) and I sandwiched the original mounting plate to provide a location to attach a plastic aileron rod clevis holder I had in my junk parts box. I then used a section of landing gear to be the pivot pin.  I glued the pin into the top block only to secure it, leaving the others free for an easier installation.

 

TV Mount 2


The pivoting set adds about ½” to the overall length of the motor from the firewall.  In both of my planes I did not modify the firewall, with the consideration that I might remove the TV set,  but in the future, I’ll modify the firewall back so the motor is more flush as it was before the additional components were added.  I used a control rod from an airplane’s rudder control that met an untimely demise,  but salvaging parts is always part of the hobby.

 

TV Mount 3


I used a separate servo with a switched mix to rudder with as much throw as possible. The foam airplanes allowed me to simply cut a well and secure a servo in the location I desired.    With the Thrust Vectoring switched on, the plane is amazingly capable of some pretty crazy rudder maneuvers.  Knife edge flight can be crazy slow, and hovering control is enhanced.  Knife edge loops are almost within its own length now and flat spins are crazy cool.

I have a couple of videos, not the best quality but you can get the idea:

http://vimeo.com/21826833

And

http://vimeo.com/22136870


In summary, for the low parts cost (under $5 from DuBro) you can add thrust vectoring to your foamy for some real neat 3D performance.  I highly recommend you give this a go!


In summary, for the low parts cost (under $5 from DuBro) you can add thrust vectoring to your foamy for some real neat 3D performance.  I highly recommend you give this a go!