RCU Review: GWS Slow Stick


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    Contributed by: Erick Royer | Published: January 2003 | Views: 150300 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon



    SLOW STICK

    By
    RCU Member: Erick Royer
    eroyer@rcuniverse.com




    SPECIFICATIONS

    USED IN THIS REVIEW

    Wingspan:
    Length:
    Wing Area:

    Weight:
    Wing Loading:
    Retail Price:
    Manufacturer:
    Distributor:

    46.3" (1176 mm)
    37.6" (954 mm)
    505.9 sq. in. (32.64 dm2)
    12.5 oz.
    3.4 oz. sq/ft.
    $34.99
    Grand Wing Servo (GWS)

    HORIZON HOBBY

    Motor:
    Receiver:
    Servos:
    Prop:
    Radio:
    Battery:
    Speed Control:

    GW/EPS-300C (Included)
    GW Micro-R4-N
    GWS Mini Servos (Rudder, Elevator)
    11x8 (included)
    Hitec Eclipse 7
    GWS 6 Cell 400 mAh

    GWS ICS-100 ESC

    I N T R O D U C T I O N

    Today SPEED is one of the main topics of discussion within the radio control hobby. Manufacturers are making boats, planes, cars, and jets that push the envelope more than ever before. To fly fast, you also need a lot of room. While I myself like to rip up the sky, there are some days when I just want to toss a plane in the air and take a calm relaxing flight without having to drive all the way down to out local field. GWS recently released their new SLOW STICK park flyer which is just the ticket for a relaxing day at just about any ball field or park.

    The Slow Stick arrives in a small, very colorful box. The contents are well packaged in plastic bags. The wing comes in one piece that is folded in half. The kit includes everything you need to get started except for the radio, servos, electronic speed control, and battery. The kit includes a 380 size motor with gearbox and 11x8 propeller. At first glance I was impressed with the manual as it includes many full color pictures along with written instructions.

    The best part about the GWS Slow Stick is that you can go from box to the air in a matter of a couple hours with a few basic tools. Lets start the assembly process!

    COLORFUL BOX THAT THE SLOW STICK COMES IN MAJOR COMPONENTS
    FLIGHT PACK BOX FLIGHT PACK COMPONENTS


    C O N S T R U C T I O N

    TAIL SURFACE ASSEMBLY:


    Having assembled this model exactly as the instructions state, I feel that the assembly could have gone a bit smoother by rearranging the assembly order a little. I will indicate where I feel the changes should be made in my review.

    The first step is to locate the horizontal stabilizer. On the decal sheet you will see several long and short strips of clear plastic tape. Using a piece of long tape, place it centered over the hinge line on top of the stabilizer. Use a hobby knife to remove the excess tape from the edges. The tape will act as your hinge for the elevator.

    Next, bend the elevator opposite the tape that you just applied to expose the end of the elevator that meets the stabilizer. Use a hobby knife or a sanding block to cut a 40 degree bevel on the edge of the elevator. I was able to rough cut it with a razor knife and then I used a 220 grit sanding block to make it smooth and even. Removing this wedge will allow the elevator to pivot down.

    APPLY CLEAR TAPE TO HINGE LINE
    AND TRIM

    COMPLETED BEVEL ON THE RUDDER

    USING A RAZOR KNIFE, ADD A
    BEVEL TO THE RUDDER

    COLOR WHITE EDGES WITH A RED
    SHARPIE MARKER

    Now you will need to locate the vertical stabilizer. Using a piece of short transparent tape, place it centered along the hinge line of the rudder and vertical stabilizer and remove the excess tape. Bend the rudder opposite the taped hinge line and cut a 40 degree bevel from the rudder just like you did with the elevator.

    Using a ruler, make a mark on center on each side of the horizontal stabilizer and then draw a centerline on each side with a triangle. Stick one end of the supplied double sided tape directly over the center line and cut to the proper length. Next, attach the horizontal stabilizer to the fuselage (aluminum tube) making sure the end of the tube lines up on the hinge line.

    APPLY DOUBLE-SIDED TAPE TO THE
    BOTTOM OF THE HORIZONTAL
    STABILIZER

    AFFIX THE VERTICAL STABILIZER TO
    SIDE OF THE ALUMINUM TUBE WITH
    DOUBLE-SIDED TAPE

    Flip the assembly over so you are looking at the bottom of the horizontal stabilizer and line up the plastic gusset to the center line. Use a fine point marker to draw the outline of the gusset. The gusset is attached to the stabilizer with the supplied rubber cement adhesive. If I were to build this kit again, I would use 5 minute epoxy instead of the supplied adhesive because it took over 12 hours for the glue to cure. You need to drill two 1mm holes through the gusset into the aluminum tube and fasten the assembly with the supplied self-tapping screws. In effort to save time, I attached the screws while the glue was curing.

    APPLY PLASTIC GUSSET TO THE
    BOTTOM OF THE HORIZONTAL
    STABILIZER AND AFFIX WITH GLUE
    AND 2 SCREWS

    APPLY THE PLASTIC GUSSET TO
    THE VERTICAL STABILIZER AND
    AFFIX WITH GLUE AND 2 SCREWS

    Place another piece of double sided tape to the lower edge of the vertical stabilizer and trim it to fit. Join the vertical stabilizer to the aluminum tube so that it is 90 degrees to the horizontal stabilizer. Again the tube should start at the hinge line. Attach the plastic gusset to the stabilizer with the supplied glue and drilled 2 1mm holes and fastened with screws.


    MAIN WING ASSEMBLY:

    To assemble the main wing you must first unfold it. I used a small clamp underneath in the center to hold the wing with the proper dihedral. Using a piece of long clear tape from the decal sheet, place the tape on the top of the wing in the center seam. The tape is difficult to place near the curved ends of the wing. It may have a couple wrinkles in it. I used a heat gun on a low setting to soften the tape before I applied it. Note: do not use the heat gun near the foam wing, it can melt it. This allowed the tape to adhere a little neater.

    Next, locate the 2 long and 2 short fiberglass rods and the 2 aluminum joiners. Slide the rods in the joiners making a long and short set. I placed the shorter reinforcement rod on the trailing edge of the wing and centered the aluminum joiner. Make sure that the rods follow the edge of the wing. If they do not, you can bend the aluminum joiner a bit to line them up. Attach the rod to the trailing edge of the wing with 2 pieces of clear plastic tape. I repeated this procedure with the longer rod on the leading edge of the wing. That is all there is to it. It is really a very simple process, just take your time to ensure that you apply the tape neatly.

    FIBERGLASS RODS FOR LEADING
    AND TRAILING WING EDGES

    TOP VIEW OF THE LEADING EDGE
    OF THE WING.

    LEADING EDGE ATTACHED TO WING
    WITH CLEAR TAPE

    TRAILING EDGE OF THE WING

    I noticed that the edges of the main wing and the tail surfaces have the white foam exposed. Using a red Sharpie pen, you can color the edges of the wing and tail surfaces. The color is almost an exact match. This was just a personal preference to improve the aesthetics of the model.


    FUSELAGE ASSEMBLY:

    The next section of the manual shows you how to cut the fuselage and add a coupler allowing the plane to break down into smaller sections. I skipped this step entirely. The overall size of this aircraft is not that great to begin with and I did not want to disrupt the structural integrity of fuselage.

    Locate the black plastic parts from frame "D". You will notice that there is a tag with a number next to each part. Note: Do not cut all the parts out until they are called for in the assembly instructions. Insert the plastic parts starting with the one that goes closest to the tail and work forward from there. The parts should be placed on the fuselage in the following order: #5, #2, #3 x 2, #4 x 2, #1. Locate part #1 120mm (4 3/4") from the leading edge of the fuselage for starters.

    PLASTIC PARTS FOR THE
    FUSELAGE

    PARTS INSTALLED ON THE
    ALUMINUM FUSELAGE TUBE


    The manual does not tell you exactly where to locate the remaining parts in relation to the first one. Their position can vary a bit depending on the servos, receiver, and battery that you choose.

    MAIN LANDING GEAR INSTALLED

    TAIL WHEEL INSTALLED


    Next, I assembled the landing gear and tail wheel. The wires come prebent to the proper specifications for the kit. All you need to do is place the main wheels and the tail wheel on the respective wires and place the stoppers on the end of the wires to hold the wheels in place. The stoppers can be found on the white plastic parts frame "A-3". The main landing gear slides into the front of part #1 on the fuselage. The tail wheel support slides into the rear of part #5.


    MOTOR INSTALLATION:

    I located the motor assembly, propeller and spinner. The motor comes already attached to the gearbox. Place the propeller on the prop shaft and fasten with a nut. The rubber spinner simply presses over the prop shaft.

    I attached the motor assembly to the front of the fuselage. The fit on all these plastic parts are very snug. They did a really nice job with the manufacturing of this kit. I used some of the supplied cement adhesive to ensure that the motor would not come loose off the fuselage. You could also use a screw, or some 5 minute epoxy.

    I installed the motor assembly with the motor facing up. I do not see any reason why you could not have the motor on the bottom if you prefer.

    MOTOR IS INSTALLED ON THE
    FUSELAGE TUBE WITH CEMENT
    ADHESIVE.

    COMPLETE MOTOR/PROP
    INSTALLED



    RADIO/SERVO INSTALLATION:

    I used a GWS Micro Flight Pack for this model. It consists of a micro receiver, 2 mini servos, a 6 cell 400 MAh battery and an electronic speed control. I started by attaching the servos to plastic parts #3 on the fuselage using the screws that come with the servos. The control horns are located on the plastic parts frame "A-3". You will need 2 control horns and 2 keepers. The holes have already been punched into the control surfaces. You may have to remove the foam with a hobby knife to open the hole. To attach the control horns, simply slide them through the holes and press the keeper on the back. I added a couple drops of glue to the back of the keeper to ensure that they do not come off in flight.

    COMPLETE RADIO SETUP

    SPEED CONTROL

    SERVOS INSTALLED

    RECEIVER

    At this point they will have you attach the control rods. The control rods attach to the servos and the control horns with a Z-bend at each end. Because of this you can not adjust the length once you make the bends. I assembled the pushrods and then later found out that the plane was balancing tail heavy. To compensate for this would would move the servos forward more on the fuselage. Because I cut and attached the pushrods, I was not able to do this. So I went to my local hobby shop and bought some new wire. This time I attached the main wing and the battery with the supplied elastic bands. I set the plane on my Great Planes CG Machine and set the starting CG location to 100mm, which is the middle of their recommended range. This allowed me to adjust the servo and battery position to obtain the correct CG before cutting and installing the pushrods.

    With the plane now correctly balanced, I made new pushrods and attached them to the aircraft making sure the servo horns and control surfaces were centered. Next I attached the electronic speed control on the top of the fuselage just behind plastic part #1 using some double sided tape. I attached the receiver just behind the speed control on the top of the fuselage also with double sided tape.

    2 PUSHRODS SLIDE THROUGH THE
    PLASTIC SUPPORTS ON THE
    FUSELAGE

    PLASTIC CONTROL HORNS

    ELEVATOR AND RUDDER CONTROL
    HORNS

    COMPLETE TAIL SECTION


    CONTROL THROWS:

    I used a Hitec Eclipse 7 channel radio for this model. While this is a bit overkill for this type of plane it does have some features that make setting up the control surfaces much easier. I used the outer hole location for the pushrods on the servos and the inner locations on the control horns. This will give me the most mechanical advantage and provide me with maximum deflection.

    Using the adjustable travel volume (ATV) setting on the radio I was able to adjust the maximum elevator deflection to 20 degree and the maximum rudder deflection to 35 degrees. I can also program in dual rates if I need to soften or hotten up the controls after flying it.

    If I were using a basic 4 channel radio without ATV adjustments, I would have to experiment with different hole positions on the servo horns and control horns until I got the correct deflection.


    DECALS:

    The last step is to install the decals. This is one are that really impressed me with this kit. The decals are all die-cut. All you have to do is peel and stick them on the aircraft. Installing the decals on the top of the wing did present some challenges. Because the wings surface is curved in 2 different directions, you really need to take your time and work the decals correctly or they will bubble and wrinkle on you. I used my heat gun briefly on the label before I applied them to the wing. Doing this softened them up making then a little easier to apply.


    POSING TIME



    F L I G H T R E P O R T

    Video Montage of GWS SLOW STICK
    (Windows Media File 2.0 meg.)

    I finally got a day where there was hardly any wind. In fact, there was no wind at all! It was perfect conditions for the Slow Stick..

    TAKEOFF:
    The Slow Stick can be taken off either from a hard surface or it can be hand launched. My first flight I hand-launched it by giving it a gentle toss with full power applied. It did not even drop, it just kept flying straight ahead. No trim was required.

    My second takeoff was from a parking lot. After applying full throttle, the Slow Stick was off the ground in about 3 feet. Climb out is nice and gentle.

    FLIGHT PERFORMANCE:
    I do not think I have ever flown a plane with such incredible slow flight characteristics. Now I know that is what this plane was designed to do, but until you get the opportunity to fly it, you have never experienced true "slow flight".

    I kept the controls on high rate which allowed me to fly tight circles and figure-8's. I am very confident that I could fly this plane on the street in front of my house, in a tennis court, or indoors in a gymnasium.

    Most of my flying was done at half power. That was enough to hold the plane at a level altitude. The Slow Stick flies more like a kite than an airplane. The wing is doing all the work and the motor just keeps you moving forward. When full power is applied, the climb rate is pretty good. I would climb up to about 100 feet and then take the next few minutes to glide down with the power off. This plane is a blast to fly. You can be completely comfortable as you would almost have to fly it into the ground on purpose to damage it.

    AEROBATICS:
    The Slow Stick was not designed for aerobatics although I was able to perform a loop by climbing to 100 feet and with full power dive and at about 50 feet pull full up elevator. The motor does not have enough power to perform a loop from level flight.

    Stall turns were really nice. Fly level and pull to a vertical up line and when it stops all forward motion, apply full rudder.

    I tried a roll but was unsuccessful. It did a large barrel roll instead.

    UPDATE: I fellow RCUniverse member suggested that I max out the elevator throws on the plane and that should improve the ability to loop from level flight.

    Taking that suggestion, I did just that. With the elevator just about touching the rudder, I was able to perform 3 consecutive loops from level flight.

    LANDING:
    To land the plane simply point it into the wind and cut the power. She will calmly settle onto its mains. There is practically no rollout on landing. In fact I would say that from when I started to land to the time the plane was on the ground, I used up maybe 20 feet. Try that with an Extra 300!

    CONCLUSION:
    The Slow Stick is perfect for anyone who wants to learn to fly. It has excellent flight characteristics that make it almost impossible to crash (I said Almost!). I would not recommend flying this plane on a day with more than a 5 MPH wind. It is very light and the low wing loading will cause it to get blown around a lot. In fact, one of the flights the wind picked up to 8 mph or so, and the Slow Stick would not even fly forward. With full power the plane would just remain stationary and hover. It would even fly backwards.


    S U M M A R Y

    1-POOR 2-NEEDS IMPROVEMENT 3-AVERAGE 4-VERY GOOD 5-EXCELLENT

    Take-Off:

    Packaging:

    Landing:

    Construction:

    Basic Aerobatics

    Hardware:

    Low Speed Flight:

    Instruction Manual:

    High Speed Flight:

    Ease of Assembly:

    Stall Characteristics:

    Kit Completeness:

    Covering Quality:

    N/A

    HITS

    MISSES

    • Fast Easy Assembly

    • Die-cut Decals

    • Excellent flying characteristics

    • GWS Flight Pack Came All Prewired

    • Excellent Value

    • Decals were difficult to apply to the main wing

    • Order of instructions could be better (See text)

    • Foam will ding and dent easily

    GWS SLOW STICK

    If you are new to the world of Radio Control Models and do not have access to a flying club or an instructor, the GWS Slow Stick will have you successfully flying in no time. I would start up in a ball field and give yourself plenty of room until you get used to how it flies.

    I like the Slow Stick because it allows me to fly in my yard on a day when I do not have time to pack up and go to the flying field. This plane will probably remain in my truck in case I every get the urge to get a couple flights in no matter where I am.

    The GWS Slow Stick is very nice model that assembles quickly and flies really well.


    January 2003

    P R O D U C T I N F O R M A T I O N

    Horizon Hobby
    4105 Fieldstone Rd.
    Champaign, IL 61822
    Phone: (217) 352-1913 Fax: (217) 352-6799
    Website: www.horizonhobby.com

    Comments on RCU Review: GWS Slow Stick

    Posted by: layback2 on 04/19/2008
    What does this mean quote Taking that suggestion, I did just that. With the elevator just about touching the rudder, I was able to perform 3 consecutive loops from level flight.
    Posted by: Myron Low on 01/25/2009
    The version I have has a black tube/fuselage, also a clear plastic piece to glue in between the wing halves that gives the wings more stability and accuracy that really makes you feel more connected to the Slow Flyer.
    Page: 1
    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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