RCU Review: Great Planes Mini Slinger

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    Contributed by: Don Sims | Published: July 2006 | Views: 61799 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon

    Review by: Don Sims



    distributed exclusively by:
    Great Planes Model Distributors

    P.O. Box 9021
    Champaign, IL 61826-9021

    Ease of Assembly

    Mini Slinger

    Great Planes has had the large version of the Slinger in production for a few years and now has designed us a smaller version called the Mini Slinger. This little 180 powered plane can be tossed in the back of your car and taken along for those quick flights you sneak in whenever given an opportunity to fly. Build time is short and stock the plane exceeded my expectations in flight. For less than forty bucks for the plane and motor, the price is right too.


    Wingspan: 805 mm; 31.5 in.
    Wing Area: 14.8 dm squared; 230 square in.
    Weight: 215-240 grams; 7.5-8.5 oz. (As per Great Planes)
    Actual Weight: 262 grams; 9.25 oz. without battery.
    336 grams; 11.9 oz. with battery
    Wing Loading: 14-18 g/dm squared; 4.7-5.9 oz/sq ft.
    Length: 380 mm; 15 in.
    Radio: Polk's Hobby Tracker II
    ESC: Great Planes Electrifly C-12 with BEC
    Servos: 2 Hitec HS 55's
    Motor: Included speed 180



    Have you ever gotten a box dropped off by the big brown truck and said; "Ohhhh nooooooo crushed box?" That's what happened to me the evening I got home and saw the box that this plane was in. What made matters even worse was that the delivery person left the box outside the gate on our porch and we have two teething puppies that run lose around our place who have eaten several of my things the past few weeks. I opened the outer box and found the inner box was also crushed. Now I was expecting to open the box containing the Mini Slinger and find it crushed. Luckily all that happened was that the motor mount was slightly damaged and one wing had a slight crease in it which came out with a quick pass of my heat gun.

    Once this was sorted out, I got on with the build. The instructions claim that it would take less than an hour but I ran into a few more difficulties and ended up putting in close to two hours on the build time. I'll discuss the major difficulty I had in this review when we get to the wing spars. The hardware is fairly good quality considering the price and I didn't need to go out and purchase any extra items for the plane besides what Great Planes suggested that I needed.

    Great Planes provides you with a 12 page instruction book and it had two features that I liked. One was little boxes to check or X as you assemble the Mini Slinger and the other is a lot of black and white photos to help ease you through the building process. I used five minute epoxy and foam safe CA glue for the build.

    The servos were easy to install and Great Planes left strings inside the holes to pull the servo leads through the wings. Joining the wing halves together is where I ran into problems. When the wing got crushed, the tube that the joiners went through also got crushed so I ended up pulling the tube on one side back out, cutting out the bad parts, and glued the joiner back in the tube with foam safe CA. Then I put some five minute epoxy on the tube and shoved the whole thing back into the Mini Slinger. I hated to add the weight of five minute epoxy to the wing but felt that foaming glues would eat the foam on this plane. After the wing halves dried next was gluing on the control horns and hooking up the rods. It took me longer to figure out how to get around the crushed tube than it did to put the entire wing together. The Mini Slinger has a pre formed tray for your radio components and a sling handle which need to be glued in the plane. Great Planes recommends making a slit just aft of the leading edge to run your antenna but I chose to add a few pieces of tape on the underside of the wing to run my antenna. Running my antenna was the only deviation that I made to the instructions. (Not counting the crushed wing joiner rod!)

    Power UP!


    The Mini Slinger already has a 180 motor pre installed in the pre formed radio tray. There are also cooling vents pre formed in this tray so you don't need to worry about cooling the motor. One thing that seemed strange to me was that the connector for the motor was different than the speed control. As a solution, I just clipped them both off and soldiered on Deans connectors. I already have Deans connectors on my chargers and other electronics so that worked out "right fine" as my neighbors would say. As I was soldiering the connectors on, I put the suggested Great Planes 8 cell 2/3 AAA battery pack on my Triton charger. The battery connector didn't fit the speed control either. I had already converted it to a Deans. After the pack was charged up, I loaded the speed control, battery, and receiver in the tray and checked the Mini Slingers center of gravity. The CG was right on at 137 mm or 5 3/8 inches from the front of the plane. There seems to be enough room in the compartment for a lipoly battery if you want to try one you may have to put a few coins up front if the center of gravity is off.

    Flight Report

    The first thing that I did with the Mini Slinger was an antenna down ground check. I couldn't believe it, the control surfaces were correct the first time and I didn't have to reverse any servos. If your radio doesn't have computer elevon mixing, you'll have to purchase a mixer in order to fly a wing.

    Once the ground check was done I did a glide test. I had to give the Mini Slinger a bit more up on both sides to make it glide several feet forward. Once the gliding went well it was time for a power up throw.

    The Mini Slinger is very light and throws easily. I liked the grip that is on the underside of the plane. Instead of trying to avoid the prop when throwing, the grip provides a margin of safety on takeoff. Watch the video for totally stock performance, the plane has enough power to loop at the beginning of a flight and rolls well throughout three quarters of a flight. If you have a less than perfect landing, the plastic covering on the wings provide a bit of additional protection to the foam. It flies well in the area the size of a soccer field and could be flown indoors in a basketball gymnasium if you so desire.

    Stalls are straight forward and easy to recover from. Stock the Mini Slinger doesn't fly as fast as some other mini wings that I've flown in the past but it is still a lot of fun to fly for the money. The plane flies inverted well and quite frankly, I couldn't find any bad habits that the plane has. It flies where you point it, is very stable, and a nice stock flyer.

    The Great Planes speed control has a purple LED bulb on it so I tried to fly the plane at night by hanging the speed control out of the hatch a little. As long as I kept the plane low to the ground this worked well but when I got it above eye level, I couldn't see the light. With a couple of more LED's in the wings this would make a hoot of a night flyer.

    Watch the Video of the Mini Slinger

    Low | High

    Wrap Up

    My only complaint about the Great Planes Slinger was the electronic connectors provided by Great Planes. The connectors that I got for the motor, battery, and speed control were not compatible and would really confuse a new pilot. Hopefully GP plans to address this issue in the near future. The Mini Slinger is a nice little wing and a good value for the money. It flies well stock, is compact, and a lot of fun to fly in a small area. If you have any comments or questions then please feel free to post them over at www.wattflyer.com I hang out over there with that great bunch of knowledgeable electric gurus.

    Mini Slinger

    Manufacturer and Distributor Info
    distributed exclusively by:
    Great Planes Model Distributors

    P.O. Box 9021
    Champaign, IL 61826-9021

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    The comments, observations and conclusions made in this review are solely with respect to the particular item the editor reviewed and may not apply generally to similar products by the manufacturer. We cannot be responsible for any manufacturer defects in workmanship or other deficiencies in products like the one featured in the review.

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