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Foamies Do's and Don'ts

8/5/2005 by

Copyright:© 2005 Horizon Hobby, Inc.

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Foamy Do’s and Don’ts

Unlike other aircraft made of composites or balsa, there is particular care that must be taken with planes made from flat or injection-molded foam, more commonly referred to as “Foamies”. While it may seem that it is simply a lighter and less expensive way to make a fuselage, there are some things that you must do differently with a Foamy.

Glue Do’s and Don’ts:

When you start to assemble your Foamy, the choice of glue is very important. Also, from time to time, you’re going to crash your Foamy or you might have a rough landing. It happens, but in an overly rough situation you could cause actual damage to the wing’s leading edges or other parts of the plane. In a pinch, you could glue it back together, but be careful. The chemical make-up of the material used to make foam does not react well to CA (cyanoacrylate) glues, and if you use the wrong kind of glue the results are not pretty. The glue you use must be foam-friendly or odorless, such as the 1-ounce bottle of Foam Compatible CA from E-flite, available in thick or medium viscosities (EFLA206 or EFLA209). Add a bottle of Foam Compatible Activator (EFLA207), or buy the combo pack (EFLA208), and you will have everything you need for assembly and repairs. However, planes made from Z-Foam, such as the ParkZone Typhoon 3D (PKZ4100) don’t require the use of Foam Compatible CA.

The Right Conditions:

Some Foamy slow flyers require completely calm conditions with no wind if you choose to fly outdoors, while others are sensitive to the wind but generally can be flown outdoors in under 5 mph winds. Some planes that are injection-molded, vacuum-formed, or have built-up fuselages are much stronger and can be flown in conditions under 10 mph. You always want to handlaunch, take off, and land into the wind and not with the wind for the best results.

Avoiding the Heat and Sun:

The foam materials that are used in the construction of Foamies don’t fare well when left sitting out in the sun, and extended sun exposure can cause a number of problems. While sun fading is a minimal concern, extended exposure to the sun can cause the decals to bubble or no longer stick to the surface, with even longer exposure leading to problems with the wings bubbling and distorting, effectively ruining your plane. While you’re at it, don’t forget that direct sunlight can cause problems for electronics, chargers, radios, and batteries. When your Foamy is not in the air, remember to keep all of your equipment in the shade.

More Channels Equals More Challenging:

With the explosion of RTF (ready-to-fl y) aircraft that have burst onto the scene over the past few years more people are being exposed to our wonderful hobby. One of the most common mistakes people make is that they try to progress from one aircraft to another long before they are ready for something faster and more complicated. This is where going into a qualified hobby store can make or break the hobby for you. When you go from a plane with two channels up to something with three, four, five, or more channels, the planes become increasingly more difficult to fly and master. You need to judge your abilities fairly before you move up to the next level of plane or, better yet, have someone observe you and give you feedback. A club, flying field, or local hobby store would beable to steer you towards finding someone who can critique you and offer some friendly, helpful advice.

Foamies, such as the HobbyZone® Stryker, P-51 Mustang, or E-Flite™ Ultimate FX, are all very durable planes, but they can’t withstand constant nosedives from 200 feet into the ground. These planes will still be there when you are ready to make the next step up. Just take your time and be patient. You will be rewarded in the future.