We tend to think of airplanes as extremely complicated vehicles, which is really only true because we want to make them fly efficiently and comfortably. If all you want to do is get a plane in the air, you actually only need propulsion and some vaguely wing-shaped things. If you want to get fancy, you can add some flaps or a rudder for steering. To prove how simple a plane actually is, YouTuber PeterSripol converted a leaf blower into an RC airplane.
Sripol is well known for creating flying contraptions, and we’ve featured a number of his builds in the past. For his newest video, he wanted to see if it would be possible to build a flying leaf blower. The primary challenge, as you’d expect, is that a leaf blower is fairly heavy relative to how much thrust it can provide. To get started, he purchased a gas-powered leaf blower like the kind you can find at any hardware store, and then removed as much extraneous material as possible to make it lighter.
He attached some wheels, and wings made from wood and foam clad in plastic sheet. To steer the plane, he used a rudder actuated with a small hobby servo. That was able to fly, in the most basic sense, but the gas-powered leaf blower was just too heavy and produced too little thrust for stable flight. So, Sripol switch to an electric leaf blower that weighed significantly less and produced more thrust, but at the expense of overall flight time. The new version flew a bit better, but Sripol says there is still room for improvement. Either way, this proves that the Wright brothers would have found success more quickly if leaf blowers had existed at the time.