Date:19 May 2017
Capetonian Charles Stevens has set a world record for flying the longest RC foam plane. At 4 metres in length the paper plane look-alike took to the skies last month.
The idea of building a foam plane started some 20 years ago when Stevens’ son saw a video of something similar and wanted to start flying RC planes. “I designed it myself and over the years I perfected my design. With this big (plane) I obviously had to reinforce and calculate the amount of power I needed to make it fly successfully,” says Stevens.
About a year ago a challenge from Walker Bay Radio Flyers club members prompted the foam plane’s fabrication. Without much convincing Stevens took to a friend’s workshop to build the plane.
The body of the RC foam plane was constructed from extruded polystyrene insulation board that is commonly used for ceiling insulation. And the panels were put together using glue and fishing cable for reinforcement.
Stevens said there were some naysayers: some club members believes it couldn’t be done. But as you can see in the video above they were all proven wrong in the end.
The record attempt was originally scheduled for the 29th of April, but extreme heat and wind pushed out the attempt to the 30th. On that Sunday, at the Walker Bay Radio Flyers club in Hermanus, the plane took off and flew for 5 minutes and 30 seconds.
– The RC foam plane was hand-launched;
– It had to fly for at least five minutes and land without breaking;
– It had to follow the form of current world record holder; and
– Video evidence is critical.
And in case you were wondering, we did ask why he used foam in stead of paper. To this Stevens answered a paper plane of this size would have been much too heavy. This is quite true. A 2012 world record attempt saw a 363 kilogram paper plane fly over the Arizona desert with helicopter assistance. But really, who has that kind of money these days?
What’s next for Stevens? He says he simply wants to break his own record and hopes to build a 5 metre RC foam plane next. So watch this space!