|Wing Area:||251 sq. in.|
|Wing Loading:||4.344 oz/sq. ft.|
|Transmitter:||Hitec Eclipse 7 Channel|
|Receiver:||GWS GWR 4P|
|Battery:||110mah nimh 4 cell|
|Available From:||Hobby Lobby|
RC discuss launch and side arm launch gliders have been gaining popularity quite quickly over the past year. So when the opportunity came along to build and review the MP models Hobby Lobby Zip Side-Arm-Launch glider, I just had to see what all the hype was about.
One weak spot was the included instruction summary. For an experienced modeler, the basics were there; however, for a newer modeler the manual did not provide sufficient information. In the downloads area of this review is a PDF I created to help newer modelers with this assembly. If you're looking for step-by-step of building this bird, I hope you find the PDF file helpful! For the main body of this review, however, I'll just hit some highlights and interesting points of the build.
After the wing cured I installed the dowel in the wing for launching per the reference drawings that came with the kit. I installed it behind the main spar in the area of the wing with the double gusset reinforcement, with the dowel sticking out equal lengths on both the top and bottom of the wing. The launching dowel could be installed in either the left or right wing tip depending on your side arm or discuss launching preferences.
On both rudder and elevator, I did not install the control horns at time of mounting. I held this task until the control rods were properly mounted to ensure ideal positioning.
Once the pod was mounted, I could have also installed the tow hook. I chose not to install it.
Now that the control rods were in place, I glued in the control horns at this time.
I gave the balsa a light coat of thin CA in the areas I was going to apply servo tape or Velcro so the balsa would not tear out if I ever had to remove them.
I balanced the Zip per the supplied drawing. I had to add 1/4 ounce of weight to the nose with stick-on lead to properly balance. Control throws were set at max.
I woke up Saturday morning to a beautiful day and rushed to get everything together so I could head to the field, since there was some rain in the forecast for later in the day. I arrived a the field and did a the dreaded trim toss. To my amazement the Zip went nice and straight, with no trim needed, and floated for a long long way across the field at about a walking pace. This affirmed my suspicion that the under-cambered airfoil would make for exceptional slow flight ability.
Next came my first half-hearted side arm toss. The zip went right on up pretty straight but stalled over the top. It recovered from the stall in about 6 feet very nicely and I made a few circles and brought it back. I made a few more of these small launches and got used to launching it and the stall over the top was no more. It was time to really put this thing in the air. I gave it a good heave and it went about 25 feet in the air or so. As the day went on my tosses got progressively harder and higher. It was at this point I started to notice that the wing was moving to the side from me tossing it so hard! I took a good look at the Zip and thought about tightening up the provided rubber band that holds the wing down. I already had this pretty darn tight. I then went over to my truck and found two #64 rubber bands in my flight box. I looped these together and used them to hold the wing on. Even during six or seven more hard tosses the wing still did not move. I was getting the Zip up over at least 30 feet now. I thought to myself "This thing should be able to take a harder launch!" It was discuss launch time!
I wound up, spun around and let the zip head skyward. It went aways up there, at least 8 feet farther that my hardest side arm attempt. I had now found my launching technique for the zip... "Discuss Launch"... Now it was time for me to see how the Zip actually was in the air. I started concentrating on flight times. I had many "launch...fly back down...re-toss" flights. Then the sun peaked out from behinds some clouds and I felt a small breeze slowly changing direction. I gave the Zip one of my best tosses of the day and went hunting for thermals.
The Zip was really impressive at showing me when it went through some lift, it would either balloon up or a wing tip would rise or wiggle on me. While I was seeing all these signs of lift I just couldn't seam to get into any thermals! About two flight later I got a big balloon up and in my excitement really turned it in hard. To hard, I at least thought. I Kept it in the tight turn to bring it back around toward me but noticed it was going up. Yes! I was in a thermal! I continued these 8 foot diameter circles and it just kept climbing. I stayed circling in thermal for about 2 minutes until I noticed I was drifting toward the houses on the one side of the field so I bailed out and brought it back to me.
Evidently in my previous flights I was trying to circle way too large for thermals that close to the ground. This may explain why I could never catch thermals with my larger sailplanes at very low altitudes!
All and all I had a blast of a time -- FUN FUN FUN. Mark me up as an avid hand launch glider pilot now! I actually lost track of time and I was out flying the Zip for four hours straight. It seemed like only an hour or two. Right now my body is telling me I was out flying the Zip for four hours straight. I have sore muscles where I didn't know I had muscles. I will bet you next weekend I will have them again too!!!
The Zip went well past my expectations for a conventional construction tip launch glider. The ARF is constructed very well from the factory. The flight performance is great. The slow flying under-cambered airfoil and self-recovering characteristics would make this a great ARF for the first time hand launch glider pilot. The fun factor was way up there and the cost is very reasonable.
My only dislikes were the fact that there is virtually no assembly instruction (when you buy one of your own, you might find helpful the downloadable, printable pdf assembly instructions I've written, available above) and the supplied wing hold down rubber bands are way too light for good launches.
So what are you waiting for! Go out and get into the great fun hobby of tip launch gliders!
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