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Weekender by Hitec Zipper P2GO Review

Not only has Hitec has created an entirely new class of club racer, they've created an entirely new benchmark in small EPO planes.

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Introduction


Weekender by Hitec Zipper
Wingspan:23.6" (599.4mm)
Weight:5.3 oz (150.25g)
Length:21.3" (541mm)
Construction:Expanded polyolefin airframe; steel elevator pushrod and steel aileron pushrods with nylon clevises; nylon control horns; plastic propeller with EPO spinner; machined aluminum propeller adapter
Wing Loading:8.2 oz/sq ft (2159g/sq dm)
Servos:Three Hitec/Multiplex analog nano
Transmitter As Tested:Hitec Optic 6 Sport 2.4GHz six-channel spread spectrum
Receiver As Tested:Hitec Minima 6L 2.4GHz AFHSS park flyer
Battery As Tested:Mad Dog 450mAh 3S 40C lithium polymer
Motor:Multiplex WB1605 brushless outrunner; 2500Kv
Propeller:Multiplex 4x3
ESC:Multiplex WE10A
Claimed Flight Duration:6+ minutes
Operator Skill Level/Age:Experienced beginner/intermediate; 14+
Catalog Number:13605
Manufacturer/Distributor:Hitec RCD, 12115 Paine Street, Poway, California 92064 USA
Available From:Any hobby shop which stocks Hitec products
Price (USD):$109.99

Conventional wisdom states that very small planes are supposed to be relatively sedate, good for little else than a bit of relaxing Sunday flying at the park.

It's clear that Hitec didn't get that memo and that is a really good thing.

Their latest addition to their new Weekender line of EPO planes is the brand new Weekender by Hitec Zipper P2GO and believe me when I say that what I'm about to share with you may well be the new standard in small R/C planes.

Here's a small, nimble, three-channel model which packs some serious "big boy" features including a 2500Kv outrunner, individual aileron servos and up to three cells' worth of lithium polymer power.

That power will be coming from Mad Dog 450mAh 40C three-cell li-pos provided by Mark Grohe of 2DogRC.com in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Not only am I about to spill the goods on a terrific little sport model provided by Hitec's Suzanne Lepine, I'm about to spill the goods on an entirely new class of club flyer, one which can be painted and customized to the end user's content. The "P2GO" designation is Hitec's way of saying "receiver ready."

The motor, ESC, servos and even the prop are already installed, so after a bit of paint, some incredibly easy screwdriver assembly and the addition of the aforementioned receiver and a battery, the aptly named Zipper stands ready to cover a whole bunch of real estate.

Time to get started!

Kit Contents

The Zipper comes complete with:

  • EPO airframe with preinstalled servos, ESC, motor, propeller and elevator control horn
  • Spare propeller and spare EPO spinner
  • Sticker sheet
  • 2.0x16mm phillips screw for attaching the wing
  • Double-sided tape and Velcro brand hook-and loop tape for the receiver and battery respectively

Items needed to complete the model include:

  • Three-channel or greater 2.4GHz aircraft radio with micro receiver; six-channel or greater computerized system recommended for best results
  • 400 - 500mAh 2S or 3S lithium polymer battery with JST connector and suitable charger
  • Acrylic or enamel hobby paints and equipment (optional)
  • X-Acto #11 hobby knife or equivalent
  • #1 phillips screwdriver
  • Regular CA and kicker (optional)

The display box is, quite simply, first class. So too is the packaging, with the contents carefully and attractively packed. Not only that, Suzanne was kind enough to send me a beautiful Hitec T-shirt!

Those contents are exceedingly nice with Hitec/Multiplex's usual eye for detail. I mentioned in my review of the new Weekender Extra 300S that those who've never owned a Multiplex - or now a Hitec - model are in for a real treat. These may well be the gold standard of molded EPO models with their smooth finish and excellent craftsmanship.

The electronics looked pretty darn good as well. They were neatly installed, although the ESC had come loose in transit. No big deal here since I planned to remove both it and the preinstalled motor in order to paint the front of the fuselage.

Speaking of paint...

Assembly

Painting

As noted on the website and packaging, the Zipper is shipped unpainted. While it might be an inconvenience to some to have to paint the model, I think it's a great idea given its club racer nature.

Hitec's magnificently painted example shows off the model's curvy lines to perfection, but that's a scheme which likely took hours and hours to pull off. My guess is that a lot of Zippers are going to wind up with a painted canopy, a couple of strips of fluorescent tape on the underside of the wings and maybe a couple of the provided stickers and that's it.

I already have an unpainted foam plane which fits that description.

Though complex, I still liked the red and black color scheme and I thought a simplified version would look fine.

Paint adds weight to a small model, so simplicity is a must. I opted for Testors Model Master Acryl in Guards Red and Gloss Black (the latter of which I had on hand anyway) backed by their white primer and shot with my trusty old Badger mini spray gun. The manual says enamels may be used, but I didn't want to have to clean enamel between uses and I've had good luck in the past spraying foam with that same acrylic.

Even that simple scheme I concocted took a lot of masking as well as a reshoot or two due to the Scotch low-tack painter's tape taking up the edges. Mishandling on my part also left a thumbprint which needed fixing. The fix wasn't perfect, but it's acceptable on an operating model which is going to be subject to wear and tear anyway.

The end result actually looked good, it matched the color scheme of the decals and is very similar to what a club racer might do, so it's off to perform the simple assembly steps to get this model flying.

Tail

The horizontal stabilizer goes on first; it's as easy to install as that of a toy balsa glider.

It simply slides into the rear of the fuselage and locks itself in place. Once the elevator pushrod is installed, the tail is complete.

The manual states that some CA may be used to hold the stabilizer in place, but it holds rather well without it and can still be removed if the fuselage ever needs to be replaced.

Wing

Since the servos are already installed and their leads routed, installation is a breeze. Naturally, the wing is installed like that of most R/C models. I'd removed the leads from their channels in order to paint the wing, but if painting one's own Zipper isn't in the cards, the leads simply route up through the hole in the fuselage.

I noticed there was no typical carbon fiber reinforcement spar, but I would find out later that one simply wasn't necessary. The wing is more rigid than it looks.

It's held in place by a combination of an integral tab up front and a 2x16mm screw out back and while the manual states once more that the wing can be held down with CA, it's totally unnecessary unless one wishes to either add a bit of strength or to never remove the wing.

That's all there is to it.

Completion

The Zipper comes with two foam spinners molded together on a common runner. The runner is far too thick to allow a spinner to be broken off, so it must be cut off the runner with a hobby knife.

I'd painted both spinners with the spray gun at the same time that I'd painted the wing and fuselage, so once I'd cut one off of the runner, it was a simple task to touch up the paint with a small brush. I also reinstalled the motor at this time since I'd removed it in order to spray the fuselage.

Now is when I discovered that I'd need some sort of adhesive; the spinner had far too loose a fit over the prop adapter.

This was a problem easily solved with some contact cement I had on hand from previous RTF models. Once cured, the cement held the spinner firmly in place.

Installing the receiver and positioning the battery are next, both aided by the supplied double-sided tape and Velcro hook-and-loop strip.

The Hitec Minima 6 receiver is a perfect match for the Zipper, but the rather long twin aerials made it difficult to align them at the recommended 90-degree offset from one another.

Difficult, but not impossible. Some hinge tape did a superb job of holding one of the aerials at the 90-degree offset within the inside of the turtle deck and a later range check showed the system worked perfectly.

The ailerons and elevator need to be cut perpendicular to the hinge line since they're integral with the wing and horizontal stabilizer. Out came the hobby knife and they were free to move with just a few moments' work.

Checking the center of gravity is next and while a specific number isn't given, the location is easy enough. The Zipper balances at the servo leads beneath the wing with the help of the Mad Dog 450mAh li-po. While the Zipper will fly on a two-cell pack, Mark Grohe of 2DogRC.com forwarded some three-cell packs at my request since I wanted to wring the maximum performance out of it.

No control throws are given, but since this is a high performance sport plane, I set up the Hitec Optic 6 Sport radio with 100 percent throws on the high rate, 75 percent on low and 35 percent expo all around. The ailerons were each plugged into their own channel, eliminating the need for a Y-harness and allowing for any fine tuning later on.

Now the fun could begin.

Flying

Since I'd painted the underside of the nose and wing, I'd hoped to do the maiden flight over grass. Time didn't permit it, so I met my buddy George Muir over at the Coachella Valley Radio Control Club in the desert east of Palm Springs. George is the club's official videographer and he's always happy to accomodate me.

After a range check, it was time to fly. I throttled up, gave the Zipper a little underhanded throw...

Weak sauce, baby.

I assumed the Zipper would simply fly out of my hand as do many of my small models, but no go. It belly-flopped in, scraping some paint and breaking the prop.

And here I was without the spare propeller.

Before getting together with George the following Sunday, I decided to get the Zipper dialed in. On went the new prop, but I didn't touch up the paint just yet. Instead, I took it as is to Demuth Park in Palm Springs which has a number of grassy soccer fields.

This time, I didn't hold back. Once more, I throttled up and gave the Zipper an overhand javelin throw.

What I saw almost defies description, but I'll try.

A plane as small as the Zipper had no right whatsoever to be as fast and as stable as it was. Not only did it rocket from my hand, it kept on accelerating to what looked to be a good 55MPH (88km/h), maybe faster.

The motor and propeller are a perfect match; the Zipper zipped about the field in near silence. The field proved to be a bit small given the incredible top speed of the Zipper, so I kept the aerobatics to a minimum of a couple of loops and rolls.

Since the model is barely larger than a toy foam glider, it can be slowed to fly like one. Even at "slow stick" speeds, the Zipper simply went about its business with pure accuracy. No electronic flight aids needed.

The Zipper loves to glide, so much so that it overshot the mark I'd chosen. No problem, thought I. Off it went for another ride around the "pattern" for a smooth, perfect, left-right landing which drew cheers from a young couple who'd stopped to watch the action, who were enthralled by the model and who rattled off a series of questions which I was more than happy to answer.

This was early in the week; I really had to assert some self-control not to fly it again before the video shoot, especially with only one propeller and no spares in the parts pipeline as yet.

Back to the field I went that next Sunday with the paint job touched up and looking pretty good, although it might have looked better with a bit of light sanding beforehand. What happened during that flight for the camera is documented in the video - which belies how fast the Zipper really is. It actually appears slower in the video.

I switched the Optic 6 Sport to high rates almost immediately after takeoff and with the vast amount of airspace now available, I had no qualms about looping, rolling and even pulling off a couple of split esses. There was simply no need for the extra weight of a rudder servo; the Zipper needs no yaw correction whatsoever in turns. It turns in fast and straight at any speed.

The picture-perfect, power-off landing did indeed scrape some paint off of the underside of the wing, but I didn't mind.

I still had plenty of paint back at the house.

And yes, it's been touched up since.

Aerobatics and Special Flight Performance

With full control rates tamed with a bit of exponential, the Zipper is capable of any and all aerobatics which don't require rudder input. That eliminates knife edge and multipoint rolls - although a fast four-point roll may be possible - but virtually anything else a sport plane can do can be done with the Zipper.

Is This For a Beginner?

Things happen really, really fast when flying this model. It's far too much model for a raw beginner, but an experienced beginner comfortable with flying a low-winged, aileron-equipped model should do just fine. The Zipper simply has no bad flying habits and while it won't recover like a trainer might, recovering from mistakes is easy if one is the customary "two mistakes up."

Flight Video and Photo Gallery

I had a blast flying the Zipper for this video, which appears to be only the second video of this model in flight on YouTube:

Weekender by Hitec Zipper (1 min 55 sec)

This one may be the first by Geoff Barber on behalf of the AMA:

Hitec Zipper (3 min 41 sec)

Hitec's Suzanne Lepine talks with 2BrothersHobby about the new Weekender line and other new Hitec offerings at the 2013 Weak Signals show in Toledo, Ohio:

Weak Signals 2013 Hitec New Products (8 min 26 sec)

Conclusion

I'm going to simply come out and say it: The Weekender by Hitec Zipper P2GO sets an entirely new standard for small molded EPO models. Period. It flies with the accuracy of a simulator without the need for electronic flight aids and it does so with absolute authority.

I am beyond impressed. Two thumbs way, way, WAY up is an understatement. Whenever I plan to fly anything off of a grass field, the Zipper will be making the trip with me. It's just that great a model.

Many thanks go to Suzanne Lepine, Bryan Shaw and Shawn Spiker of Hitec RCD not only for this model and its receiver, but for the incredible professional courtesy they extend to the folks here at RCGroups. Suzanne's witty email telling me that I'd be getting the Zipper for review put a real smile on my face. Suz, you are the greatest.

Mark Grohe of 2DogRC.com is another good friend and supporter of this site. He's supplied countless Mad Dog li-pos for reviews such as these and I urge everyone reading this review to think of him the next time you need batteries.

Angela Haglund crosses T's and dots I's before these reviews go live for the benefit of you, our worldwide audience. Thanks for stopping by the greatest hobby site on the internet and I'll see you at the field with your own Zipper!

Pluses and Minuses

It's hard to know just where to start when listing the pluses, but here goes:

  • Outstanding flight characteristics
  • Outstanding quality
  • Outstanding documentation
  • Outstanding customer support from one of the most established and trusted names in radio control
  • Incredibly easy to assemble and to set up
  • Fast, fun and easy to fly
  • Quite literally in a class by itself; it's an entirely new benchmark in radio controlled model aircraft

The only minus?

  • The spinner fit too loosely. Whee.
Last edited by DismayingObservation; Nov 10, 2013 at 12:42 PM..

Discussion

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Old Nov 18, 2013, 08:09 PM
Same Day Delivery
mike3976's Avatar
Economy, Pa.
Joined Mar 2002
3,353 Posts
Cool little plane for a over the winter flyer! Anyone know what size outrunner is supplied? looks like the e-flight 180
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Old Nov 18, 2013, 08:10 PM
Same Day Delivery
mike3976's Avatar
Economy, Pa.
Joined Mar 2002
3,353 Posts
dbl post !
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Old Nov 18, 2013, 08:12 PM
Registered User
MRGTX's Avatar
United States, CT
Joined Aug 2005
1,921 Posts
Great write-up!
I have been looking forward to this one for many months...this review says that the plane is everything we could hope for.

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Old Nov 19, 2013, 12:09 AM
Registered User
Eclipse_7's Avatar
United States, TX, Houston
Joined Nov 2003
1,475 Posts
I have to say the first two videos are quite different. The fist video the plane looks awesome, proper CG and well trimmed. The second video looks like the pilot could not keep the plane level through a turn to save his life.
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Old Nov 19, 2013, 10:16 AM
In thrust we trust
phoam's Avatar
Aguanga, Ca
Joined Mar 2010
1,223 Posts
Vids look good to me, aside from the asphalt belly landing. Ouch!

The airframe profile is practically a carbon copy of my Millennium Master, scaled down as a mini. So I suspect it will be no slouch. I've already got heaps of 3S 450mAh packs for this one and have been awaiting its release.

Am surprised it will be sold as unpainted. Perhaps I will paint mine up as a Blackshape Prime
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Old Nov 19, 2013, 06:24 PM
Carbon fiber is our friend
Steve C's Avatar
United States, CA, Lodi
Joined Feb 2001
4,096 Posts
Neat looking little plane In the second video, it's very obvious that the plane could use a rudder or at least some right thrust. It looks uneasy doing right turns because of torque.
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Old Nov 19, 2013, 06:32 PM
Registered User
Las Vegas, NV
Joined Nov 2009
222 Posts
The first video was on 3s power, the second looked like 2s. Different piloting skills too. Still, for a plane without a rudder, it tracked the turns very well. I can see one of these in my hangar fairly soon. :-)
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Old Nov 19, 2013, 07:20 PM
Transmogrified.
DismayingObservation's Avatar
Southern California
Joined Feb 2006
2,655 Posts
Thanks, all! I greatly appreciate the kind words.

I made the boo-boo of letting YouTube "stabilize" my video. Not only was it shakier, the system cut out a lot of the background. I've gone ahead and undone the processing and it looks a heck of a lot better.
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Old Dec 09, 2013, 08:02 PM
in persuit of low wing loading
Gordon Johnson's Avatar
Boston, Mass
Joined May 2001
6,409 Posts
Yippee. Mine just came in off backorder today. It will be a nice winter project to paint it up really nice.

Gordon
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Old Dec 17, 2013, 08:10 AM
Flyr John in Floyd VA
United States, VA, Floyd
Joined Nov 2007
494 Posts
Just received one of these and thoroughly enjoyed the first flights this morning. Very responsive little guy. One question: has anyone tried alternative props yet? Static, mine pulls about .95 A/13W at 1/2 throttle and only 3.13A/38W at full. Seems to be a bit of headroom with a 10A ESC. Tempted to try a GWS4530, but curious if anyone has experience.

Thanks, John
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Old Dec 19, 2013, 07:21 PM
Flyr John in Floyd VA
United States, VA, Floyd
Joined Nov 2007
494 Posts
Not much activity here; maybe not many out there yet...

Are any rate, some observations:
1. LOVE this plane. Looks and flies great.
2. Kudos to Hitech for a non-warbird. Know that's heresy with some, but I swear everybody has a half-dozen small warbirds in their line.
3. Just amazed at its slow flight stability. I can putz around at 40% throttle for what seems like ages. Its sleek profile makes it look as though it's going by at 100, while it's actually controllable and very graceful at slow speeds.
4. Followed up on the prop change and can report the following. GWS 4053, 3 cell 450, static 1/2 throttle 1.45 a/18.7 w. Full throttle 4.5 a/55 w. Really perks it up. In actual flying, it's barely sipping an amp, so 20 minute flights are actually possible with throttle restraint. Would recommend not going any larger than the 5043. Tried and started getting nasty smells from the motor!

Cheers, John
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Old Jan 16, 2014, 02:19 PM
Registered User
United States, CA, Fontana
Joined May 2011
291 Posts
First flight this morning.
A little windy, but not bad (it handles light wind easily)
Controls set to 75% dual rates.
Elevator is a little touchy.
I will leave the Elevator alone next time & up the Ailerons to 100%.
I am going to have a lot of fun with this plane.
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Old Jan 16, 2014, 09:42 PM
Flew the prop off it.
Sabin's Avatar
Canada, BC, Sechelt
Joined May 2008
1,110 Posts
Looks like a good candidate for an as3x brushless board and maybe a rudder hack.
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Old Jan 16, 2014, 09:59 PM
Registered User
United States, CA, Fontana
Joined May 2011
291 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sabin View Post
Looks like a good candidate for an as3x brushless board and maybe a rudder hack.
Needs neither.
Tracks like it is on rails
Not difficult to fly (in my opinion, no need for as3x).
I would suggest no changes at all.
The added weight for rudder servo, linkages & hinges would probably not be worth it.
It is advertised as 5.3 ounces flying weight & that is exactly what mine came to with a 3 cell 450mah battery & the painting.
This is a well designed plane that you can have fun with just the way it is.
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