FinWingHobby VTBIRD1.5

Here is a new RTF VTOL platform soon to be released from FinWingHobby. The VTBIRD 1.5 looks to be quite versatile for different types of VTOL setups. Not sure what flight controller is being used but it sure looks like a good candidate for an APM replacement controller to add autonomous capabilities.

Nice. That looks quite promising!

I was literally – and might still – going to ask the community if there are any ARF/RTF/PNP VTOLs with an ArduPilot compatible flight controller – do you know of any ?
I’ve read quite a few of your conversion threads while researching the topic – all very impressive work!

Hi Loic,

Thanks for the kind words!

There are some ArduPilot VTOLs for the commercial market but I am not aware of any for the hobbyist. We tend to look for designs that can be easily modified and reproduced without breaking our limited budget. I hope that more will arrive in the near future.


Gotcha – if you have some examples of those, even commercial ones, I’d be interested.
My interest is eventually commercial but at this point it is a budding project in my startup so our monetary and time budgets are more akin to hobbyists than commercial entities at the moment :wink: In fact time probably more so than hobbyists lol.
Especially since the VTOL would only be one of several components, including a fleet of autonomous quads for precision ops while the VTOL(s) would provide support imagery to the humans and the quads. I am bootstrapping the quad side of things with some SkyVipers and used f450 / Iris+ little guys.
Anyways, I am right now reading your thread about the E-flite convergence and that seems like it could be a good candidate, albeit the conversion part that is a bit scary as I am new to all of this fun.

I take it the Foxtech Nimbus is one of them… $2200 is not horrible but certainly past the “R&D proof of concept” budget…

The Nimbus VTOL is probably the least expensive one I can think of. FoxTech does have larger more expensive VTOL models. Something like the FireFLY6 Pro is another example for a RTF $6K entry fee. Most others are $10K plus.

Aye – I did come across the FireFly6. Certainly a nice machine. But yes, at this time I am looking at an order of magnitude smaller in budget…

Thoughts on tailsitters? I am now discovering them…

Your preferred design will depend upon your goals. Are you mapping? Transporting payload? Controlling insects or weeds? Flight times? Wind conditions? Critical surroundings? Etc. One design will probably not fit all applications. There is also a grey area between using a copter or VTOL where the latter excels in larger area coverage.

For my hobby use, I have preferred a traditional Quadplane design with a separate forward flight power system. The traditional QuadPlane can blend vertical and horizontal vectors simultaneously and seamlessly. It allows for more efficient position control in wind. It is also easier to find the right props for hover and for separated forward flight motors. On a traditional QuadPlane you can have a very coarse pitch horizontal prop which is optimized for forward flight.

Here are some design examples from ARACE UAS.

And that makes sense of course, and it was quite a vague and naive question.
My interest in “planes” comes from the concern of quads suitability to longer distance/area coverage both for imaging/mapping and payload transportation/delivery.
However, the application I’m looking at would likely require many missions and in challenging ground environments, so a traditional fixed wing – mostly because of landing – may be impractical. Hence VTOL. Which specific design though, I have not yet gotten there…so thanks for sharing the presentation :slight_smile:

Do you think a Convergence could carry a small payload? I don’t suppose it’d be an issue of raw power but I’m not versed in the transition dynamics and I’m guessing that would be the critical point. Might be fine if the payload is rigidly attached to the fuselage but I’m also considering a payload hanging from a line.

Dang those ARACE planes look nice. Their website is very minimalist and no indication of cost … I’m guessing those are not cheap.

The Griffin advertises 4 he flight time … That’s insane for a VTOL isn’t? Given that you mentioned a 8 minute flight time for the Convergence…a problem for mapping.

It seems like you have already started to see the compromises. VTOL designs are full of compromises.

I wouldn’t count on the Convergence to carry much weight in flight due to its small wing area. Even a 1.5 meter span FireFLY6 Pro is only rated for a payload capacity of 1.5lbs (0.7kg)…which is fine for mapping.

The 2 meter span Griffin can fly long but can only carry a 2.2lbs (1.0kg) payload. The VTO Pro has a bigger wingspan and can carry three times the payload. It is basically a Mugin airframe.

Anyway, to get back to the thread topic, it will be interesting to see the price on the VTBIRD 1.5 if it is meant for the hobby market. FinWingHobby has been around for years with their FPV Airplane Penguin design.

Yup Yup – all sensible. And also sorry for temporarily hacking the thread. I am on the verge of pulling the trigger on a Convergence if my online research does not yield a better candidate for entry level. I do agree with your point on classic quadplane advantages, but it only seems achievable through manual conversion, no kits available as far as I can tell.

And so back on the VTBIRD 1.5 which in light of all that discussion does seem like an awesome kit – assuming a reasonable price point.

I am working on converting a finwing transformer into a VTOL for use by a search and rescue team. my goal is to create a “kit” that can be 3d printed that will bring the price for an equivalent to the foxtech nimbus down to within the reach of most of us peasants. the SAR folks can probably afford the nimbus but it will be a lot less painful to crash a $500 investment than a nimbus. i haven’t flown the transformer yet but from most reports it has good flying traits and endurance. my SAR group needs a vehicle that can operate without a runway and needs good endurance. here is a link to some pics and all the stl files necessary (they are 90% final but minor changes will still occur). i am about to install the electronics and get into flight test. feel free to contact me at if you have questions or suggestions.

the only thing i cannot change about the finwing transformer is it’s looks - it is ugly but it grows on you. it does look good in the air…

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That’s awesome!
My application is not too far from yours, we are looking at UAVs to combat/assist with wildfires – especially here in California – on multiple levels. So I have some of the same constraints in terms of runway and endurance. Would love to hear more so I’ll shoot you an email so I don’t hack this thread too much more. We do have a 3D printer that we’re using for prototyping some of the stuff for this project already so it would be really cool to actually print the parts for the vehicle as well!

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i am looking forward to talking to you - it sounds like you are on the same journey we are. i REALLY like the finwing transformer because it is SO modular and easy to modify. it’s also CHEAP which will cause the post crash parties to be less painful…

So far the pricing seems reasonable. Here is a quote from the rep on one of the RCG threads.

Dual Motors and Single pusher kits: Estimated more or less around $99.9, VTOL CNC parts in options’ listing only.

$99 ??? Is that for frame kit alone?

That would be my assumption but I do not know for sure. I have invited the FinWingHobby rep to post here so maybe we’ll get an answer.