Almost majestic looking!
|Receiver:||Hitec Micro 555|
|Battery:||Common Sense R/C 15C 3S 2100|
|Gearbox:||Cobri 20mm @ 3.9:1 gear ratio|
|ESC:||Castle Creations Phoenix 25|
|Available From:||Millennium RC|
There is a natural progression in aircraft as RC pilots advance. Most flyers begin with a sedate trainer and slowly work their way into something with a bit more pizzazz.
James Karpy at Millennium R/C has found a way to take one of the "staple" trainers in e-flight, the GWS Slow Stick, and add that pizzazz. The Millennium RC Slow Stick X Kit is a balsa wing and tail upgrade for an existing GWS Slow Stick powertrain. It’s a makeover of sorts; a little nip here, a little tuck there, and you’ve got a brand new toy!
The kit arrived on my door step very well packed and had no missing parts.
I gave the instruction manual a quick perusal first to keep from having to search for the debonder later.
James told me the build was a quick one, and I love a quick build! I decided to set a clock and see just how quickly this wing could be thrown together. Gentlemen, start your engines!
The most important thing to note in this build is that NOTHING should be glued until the instructions tell you to do so. In fact, I went so far into the build with no glue, that I started to wonder if I had skipped a step.
Per the manual, I gathered up all the needed parts and went to work on the wing construction. The wing is a very straightforward build and can be built in your lap. I built the entire thing sitting in my computer chair.
The wing comes together very quickly and very easily. So quickly and easily in fact that this would be a great foray into balsa building for those who have never given it a shot!
I have done an aileron servo modification to the kit (which you can find here on RCGroups), moving the servo from outside and on top of the wing, to the inside of the wing.
Once the wing is complete, assembly moves to the rear wing saddle. I took care to make sure I built this piece up as strong as I could, since this assembly takes quite a bit of stress in flying. There is nothing special that needs to be done; I just used a little epoxy on the joints of the saddle.
Well, lets see... it took me roughly 55 minutes to build this wing, including the photos and the notes I made during construction. James was not kidding about that quick build!
Have you ever heard anyone describe a build as "throwing some glue into the box, shaking the box around until out pops an airplane?" We all know that very few kits assemble this quickly, but this might just be one of them. The entire tail section of this airplane only required roughly 25 squeezes of the CA bottle.
Tail assembly begins with the horizontal and vertical stabs. Six squirts from the CA bottle joins these.
James has included some slots for a little rigidity in the rudder and elevator. These can either be filled with epoxy or carbon fiber rods or strip. I had some carbon fiber strips left over from a previously sacrificed airframe so I chose to use that. Simply measure the strips to the length needed and glue them in.
One of the biggest annoyances with my original Slow Stick was the method used to attach the vertical and horizontal stabs to the fuselage. James has also solved this! Using left over balsa, the kit gives us instructions for a sturdy, good looking, “new and improved” tail mount.
With the scrap balsa, I built a 3-sided box. The tail boom is useful for dimensions.
Radio and motor installation is very straightforward, being this is the upgrade for the Slow Stick, you should have completed this step atleast once before.
Since this kit is an upgrade to a preexisting airframe, it is assumed that the stock Slow Stick radio equipment is still installed. If you are upgrading the power setup, this is the portion of the build to install the motor into the gearbox and install the gearbox onto the fuselage, but first the motor has to be set up for the gearbox.
Since we are using a fresh gear box for this plane, we need to seat the pinion gear onto the Himax; a very simple process with a shop vice.
To install pinion gears easily, find small socket set that has an end closed enough to keep the pinion gear from going through it, but that will still allow the motor shaft to move.
Once you have found a socket that will work, install this entire setup into the vice. Check the depth of the pinion onto the motor shaft frequently against the spur gear on your gearbox to insure you will get a good mate. With this pinion on the motor, install the motor to the gearbox.
Installation of the motor is also very straightforward. I took my Cobri gearbox and slid it onto the fuselage boom, then I drilled a hole straight through the gearbox and the fuselage boom so that I would have a secure mount for the motor. I ran a small bolt I had in the parts bin through the fuse and out the other side. I used a lock washer, nut and some LocTite to insure the motor mount screw would not come up missing.
The quality of of laser cutting coupled with the 3D images in the manual make this a very quick and accurate build. Remember - ONLY GLUE WHEN TOLD TO DO SO!
I was excited to see how this upgrade kit would effect the once stock Slow Stick’s flight and I could not have been more pleased. This upgrade brought a whole new dimension to the Slow Stick. With an all-up weight of 17 oz. the SSX is a very nimble aircraft.
The maiden flight was on a sunny day with 7-8 mph winds. I lined her up with the winds, eased the throttle forward and away she went! I could tell this was going to be a great flying airplane!
The SSX is very well-powered with the Himax 2025-4200 geared at 3.9:1 with a 10x7E prop. With full power applied, the takeoff roll was extremely short. The SSX had no trouble getting off the ground and almost pure vertical was sustainable.
Landings are a non-event. Simply pull some power out and stick it where you want it. The speed envelope on the Slow Stick X is one of the best things about this upgrade. You can cruise around with very little power on the plane or put the coals to it and rip up the sky.
The SSX is pretty difficult to stall. In fact, it's more of a gentle drop of the nose than a stall. It recovered very quickly when any amount of power was applied without a hint of a wing tip dropping.
The SSX was made with aerobatics in mind. The large symmetrical wing lends to negative static stability - it is not self righting and will continue in the direction you push it.
Loops are made to order - do you want them big and easy or do you prefer trying to nip at the tail feathers?
Spins can be accomplished with enough rudder authority. Hammerheads are also a blast with this airplane. I found myself coming across the field, pitching up into a hammerhead, back down across the field in opposite direction and doing it all over it.
Due to its light wing loading, it flies well at slower speeds.
The recommended power system is an ideal setup for the SSX. The APC 10 X 7E propeller produces plenty of thrust while providing good pitch speed, which gives the plane good motivation. The SSX is not a speed 400 racer, nor was it ever intended to be, but it does move out at a fairly good clip at full throttle.
|Loops||A||Loops are nice and crisp with the SSX!|
|Rolls||A||The SSX has a decently quick roll rate.|
|Inverted||B||Inverted requires a bit of nose down to sustain.|
|Slow Flight||A+||It is a SLOW Stick X.|
|Knife Edge||C+||What do you expect from a bird with no fuselage?|
|Stall Turns||A+||Tons of fun with the SSX!|
I would be mildly hesitant to suggest this bird to a novice, due to the ability it has to cut up as much as your thumbs (or forefingers for you pinchers) desire. However, I do think it would make a great step up from a primary trainer.
It has no bad habits and it is VERY durable. I had one of the hardest crashes I've had in recent history with the SSX. I rarely stuff them in hard enough to hear the wing "pop" when it hits, but the SSX sounded like a balloon popped in the wing. I thought she was totaled, but I brought her home and had her flying again after about an hour’s worth of work.
If you are currently looking for that "next" airplane and already have a Slow Stick setup lying around, I would suggest you give the SSX a shot. I don't think you'd be disappointed. For those of you who may not be interested in building your own set of wings and tail, Millennium has PARFs and ARFs on the way!
Last edited by Angela H; Jun 01, 2007 at 02:39 PM..
|Jun 01, 2007, 08:35 PM|
James let us fly it (and the micro ssx) at SEFF, these are some awesome handling planes! No bad habits at all. I'm currently working on a night version of the SSX! If you'd like to see my progress, check out my blog or jkarpy's SSX build thread.
|Jun 02, 2007, 09:39 AM|
Kits can be purchased from the following dealers.
Or direct from millenniumrc.com.
Link to the SSX build thread:
|Jun 02, 2007, 11:09 AM|
Hey james...when I get mine flying and people at Hodges Hobbies start asking where to get it, and I say from right inside the shop, AND they start selling like hot cakes, Does that entitle me to some kinda commission or free parts or something???? LOL Just Kidding!! "Official SSX Demo Pilot" recognition would be nice LOL!!!!! Just cuttin' up! I'm saving up for the micro already. Gonna cost me though, everything will have to be new! I'm outta spare equipment!
|Jun 02, 2007, 11:22 AM|
lol! if James will send me a small Millennium RC decal I'll put it on my SSX too! I'll be glad to advertise! I just fell in love with the demo models he had at SEFF! I'll have one or both as long as they keep making them!
|Jun 02, 2007, 09:08 PM|
Joined Oct 2002
Having tons of fun with mine....
If you still have a decal sheet to spare then, leave it at Bob's Hobby Center with my name on it.
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