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Bob's Little Airplane Company Gymallo Park Flyer Review

The Gymallo flyers are simple and easy to build. At 2.3 oz/ft wing loading you are sure to have some slow flights and a lot of great flying fun.

Splash

Introduction


Wingspan:36"
Wing Area:432 sq. in.
Weight:5.0 oz.
Length:24"
Wing Loading with battery:2.3 oz/sq. ft.
Servos:2 -Bluebird BMS-371 micro servos
Transmitter:Esky 2.4 GHz 4-channel
Receiver:Esky EK2-0424 6 channel
Battery:1300 mAh 7.4v 20C
Motor:BP 8Y - BM 2410 - 08
ESC:BP 10A
Manufacturer:BLAC
MSRP Kit Only:$39.95

Bob Anderson, also known as the "Gymallo Guy", is the owner of Bob's Little Airplane Company, a family run company that is all about fun flying and providing the variety thatís important to this hobby. The Gymallo is a hybrid of the Rogallo style sail wing. Bob's design is for indoor as well as outdoor flying, and believe me, it has fantastic flight characteristics. This review is of the "P" or park flyer version, but Bob also offers the "I" or indoor version which I will review at a later date.

Bob's early experience with the Rogallo wing from an 18-foot wing span hang glider he built over 30 years ago. Some years later, a friend of his, Bob Higgins, came up with electric power for a previously rubber powered Rogallo winged model. Bob was intrigued with the concept and began building various designs. He experimented with folding wings, weight shift control and various sail configurations but he eventually settled on the basic design he prefers to this day. The first Rogallo winged plane he produced was most suited to fly in a gym, so the name "Gymallo" was coined. The early kits were produced with brushed, geared motors and NiCad batteries which were the best technology available. His Gymallos have evolved through the NiMH era to the current LiPoly batteries and brushless outrunner motors but the airframe design has not changed. The early Gymallos were great for indoor flying or very calm days outdoors. He has now added a second option for park flying which is heavier and more powerful. It increases the wing loading enough to handle significant wind, but still performs well indoors in a gym sized venue.

I think of helicopters, harriers, F-35s and Ospreys (and maybe others I mightíve missed) as being zero takeoff and landing roll aircraft. I can now add with confidence the Gymallo. While it has wheels, it only needs them on occasion.

Kit Contents

Bob is all about customer service. He goes out of his way to make sure you have everything you need to complete the kit and even offers free shipping via USPS Priority. Offered as a kit or with all the necessary components including brushless motor, ESC, prop, battery and even the 2.4 GHz receiver and transmitter, the complete product is excellent.

Gymallo Kit Includes:

  • All balsa components
  • Logo'd sail (available without logo)
  • Wheels and landing gear
  • Hook and loop
  • Absolutely excellent instructions
  • Linkages
  • Micro linkage connectors and control horns
  • Hinge material
  • Thread
  • Landing gear and 2" wheels
  • Double stick tape

Just a word on the instructions: Each step of the instructions has text and a diagram. The drawings are easy to read and enhance the text.

Gymallo kit build requires:

  • Medium CA
  • Sandpaper
  • Sharp Excel knife blades
  • Long straight edge

Power Kit Options, $99.95:

  • Outrunner Brushless Motor
  • ESC
  • Prop
  • 2 sub-micro servos

Battery Kit Options, $44.95:

  • 7.4 volt 1300 mAh 20C LiPo
  • 12 volt LiPo charger
  • 115 Volt power supply

Transmitter Receiver Options, $89.95:

  • E-Sky 2.4 GHz 4-channel transmitter
  • E-Sky 6-channel receiver

Bob's Little Airplane Company also has available all of the above options in one of two combo deals: You can get either the park or indoor flyer with power kit for $139.95, or either kit, power and transmitter/receiver pack for $224.95. Basically, you can get whatever you like to complete the kit.

Assembly

Even if you are dyed in wool RTF or ARF hobbyist, the Gymallo is fun to build. The steps are simple and take just an evening to complete. It is a fun to build, well engineered and designed plane that is built of balsa and basswood. When youíre finished, you have a great little flyer thatís well worth the time invested in the build.

Fuselage

If you can call it a fuselage, the stick requires a few steps to complete. The sail post and battery mount are glued to the stick. The tallest portion of the sail post is forward. Marks are provided on the fuselage stick for the location of the post and the battery mount.

Tail

The tail is your first experience with the laser cut balsa parts. The laser cut balsa parts are so well done that in some cases they have to be taped in place so they do not fall out. Holes for the control horns are also pre-cut.

I had to bevel the edges of the elevator and horizontal stabilizer to ensure easy movement of the surface when the hinge tape is applied.

Do the same beveling with the vertical stabilizer and rudder.

I placed the horizontal stabilizer UNDER the fuselage and squared it with the fuselage. I placed the hinge line at the end of the fuselage. There is an alignment tab and a notch to aid in positioning the stabilizer.

Landing Gear

The landing gear fit perfectly into the slot provided just ahead of the sail post. I slipped it over the fuselage and secured it with the supplied thread. After I wrapped it, I sealed the thread with thin CA and did the same for the tail skid. A hole is provided for the skid just ahead of the tail.

Wing

The wing requires a large area to spread the sail material out flat and to tape all four corners to the table.

I started with the two leading edges and center piece using medium CA. After the glue had set, I trimmed off all the extra material using a straight edge across the aft portion. I marked the spar on the leading edges since I was going to remove the material showing the mark.

I marked the center of the spar so I had the sail proportioned correctly. When the wing was complete, I used the small lite-ply triangle to secure the nose joint.

Sail Support Socket

The sail lifts off the sail post for storage if necessary, but does not collapse. A small socket holds the sail and slides up and down on the sail post which is held in place by hook and loop material.

The socket attaches to the sail with CA. Make this connection off the sail post so glue does not bleed onto the post and lock the sail in place.

I had to sand the post slightly to make sure the socket moved easily on the post.

Radio Installation

The E-Sky 2.4 GHz system was easy to bind. The servos mount to the fuselage stick just behind the battery tray. Linkages are provided and so are micro control horns and connector. I chose to use EZ connectors for adjustability.

I installed the receiver with hook and loop and used some thin CA on the balsa first before installing it.

The brushless motor includes a stick mount for easy installation. Using a 10 x 4.7 prop the brushless motor provides plenty of power.

Completion

When complete, the pretty little Gymallo stands proud. On the runway you have to keep the sail into the wind, but as they fill it looks great.

I centered the battery under the sail post for correct CG for the initial flights, and it worked perfectly.

Flying

I thought that in spite of the instructions to keep the power on during turns and the use of elevator and rudder plus power in steep turns, the Gymallo flew very well without any problems. In fact, I loved the way it flew. It was easy to control, almost hovered into the wind and with the sails full it looks very cool in the air.

Basics

The Gymallo seems pretty durable. I would guess anything that breaks can easily be fixed, the airframe is so lightweight. The Gymallo climbs well and will glide once you have the CG correct.

Taking Off and Landing

If you hit the throttle full it will just lift off with no roll whatsoever. The Gymallo does need to takeoff into the wind, but cross runway takeoffs are no problem. If you get the wind to the side the plane will tip over. Landing with some gentle throttle control on approach will settle it to the ground with no landing roll.

Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

It will loop with no problem and might fly a little inverted but it will not sustain inverted flight. Because the weight is so high above the wing it will tip back over. Slow flight is a blast. I think it operates a lot like a helicopter with just a little head wind. It is fun to see if you can do zero roll landings.

Is This For a Beginner?

Yes! It has a throttle plus two-axis control. The slow flight is a definite advantage, and keeping it close will allow street, backyard, park and schoolyard flying.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery

Downloads

Conclusion

I tell you, this is one fun plane to fly. You have to experience the Gymallo to appreciate it completely. If you are looking for a great flyer that will also fly indoors, consider the Gymallo. I am sure Bob and his family will take great care to make your interaction with them satisfactory. I can also assure you others will want a turn at the sticks, so be prepared with extra batteries! What are you waiting for? The Gymallo also includes free shipping.

Pluses:

  • Easy build
  • Slow flight
  • Loops
  • Landings

Minuses:

  • None noted!
Last edited by Angela H; Jan 13, 2009 at 11:45 AM..

Discussion

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Old Jan 13, 2009, 12:29 PM
North East England
Joined Feb 2004
3,181 Posts
Is this the same 'Bob' as in 'Techbob' on here? I built his smaller rogallo flyer for IPS power some years ago from the free plans on his thread, and what an excellent little model it was too; very controllable and easy to fly but quite aerobatic if you wanted it to be. Dead easy to build too...I used a plastic carrier bag for the sail

It looks like this is a bigger version in kit form..and with removable sail too, nice touch. I highly recommend it for a simple, no-nonsense flyer - definitely suitable for a learner too.

Steve
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Last edited by Redbaron25; Jan 13, 2009 at 12:38 PM.
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Old Jan 13, 2009, 12:36 PM
Geezer
Rickochet's Avatar
Central Kentucky
Joined Oct 2006
3,535 Posts
Very nice review. I have had a Gymallo park flyer model for about a year. It is a great park flyer and can be flown in small areas. It is great for new flyers and old as well. It is particularly good for when you have small children around who always want to fly and not just watch. I can take off, get some altitude and turn it over to my 5 year old grandson. If the ground and trees are far enough away there is little he can do to get into trouble. It can also handle more wind than most aircraft that size and weight.

My compliments on a nice review and a great little flyer from Bob.

Rick
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Last edited by Rickochet; Jan 13, 2009 at 03:09 PM.
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Old Jan 13, 2009, 01:27 PM
Dr. Dave
USA
Joined Nov 2005
1,316 Posts
Redbaron it sure looks like it. I agree, what a fun plen to fly outdoors. Slow and nimble.
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Old Jan 13, 2009, 03:43 PM
Registered User
Michael Heer's Avatar
Stockton, Ca. USA
Joined Apr 2001
9,378 Posts
Nice review Dave!
My favorite small Ragallo story involves one getting sucked up in a huge thermal and lead to a cross country flight and a car chase of the plane. Pilot got it back about a mile from where he launched. His flew too well that day. That obvious was an extreme situation. He still has his and flies it often. Mike
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Old Jan 13, 2009, 06:17 PM
Registered User
USA, CA, Westlake Village
Joined Sep 2004
1,791 Posts
What is the sail made out of?

Thanks,
Pete
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Old Jan 13, 2009, 06:31 PM
Geezer
Rickochet's Avatar
Central Kentucky
Joined Oct 2006
3,535 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by lovespicyfood
What is the sail made out of?
Thanks,
Pete
It's not plastic or nylon. It kind of has a reinforced paperish kind of feel but it is very tough. Seems like I remember the term Tyvek being used.
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Old Jan 13, 2009, 07:40 PM
Always looking UP
FANMAN's Avatar
Lilburn, Georgia, USA
Joined Nov 2000
2,361 Posts
Its nice to see my drawings after all these years with this kit. The Gymallo is a very nice indoor plane! I built and flew 2 of them.
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Old Jan 13, 2009, 07:49 PM
Geezer
Rickochet's Avatar
Central Kentucky
Joined Oct 2006
3,535 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by FANMAN
Its nice to see my drawings after all these years with this kit. The Gymallo is a very nice indoor plane! I built and flew 2 of them.
I just pulled the instruction book back out to find the sail material. I forgot how good the drawings and instructions were.

Nice job by you and Bob.
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Old Jan 13, 2009, 07:52 PM
Geezer
Rickochet's Avatar
Central Kentucky
Joined Oct 2006
3,535 Posts
Regarding the sail material I just noticed that on the instruction booklet I had written "Tyvek" on the sail drawing. I think I remember that from a posting by Bob.
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Old Jan 13, 2009, 08:37 PM
Registered User
Joined Nov 2004
101 Posts
Does the balsa need to be sealed or painted in any way? I would imagine that moisture would warp the wood if flown on a dewey morning. Can the structure handle the weight?

Just wondering,

Brian C
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Old Jan 13, 2009, 08:43 PM
Geezer
Rickochet's Avatar
Central Kentucky
Joined Oct 2006
3,535 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian C
Does the balsa need to be sealed or painted in any way? I would imagine that moisture would warp the wood if flown on a dewey morning. Can the structure handle the weight?
Just wondering,
Brian C
In the pic above I painted the fuselage stick and covered the flying surfaces and pylon with colored packing tape. This little dude can haul a surprising amount of weight.
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Old Jan 13, 2009, 08:45 PM
JOHN 3:16
Sammy70's Avatar
Central Ohio
Joined Feb 2008
6,206 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian C
Does the balsa need to be sealed or painted in any way? I would imagine that moisture would warp the wood if flown on a dewey morning. Can the structure handle the weight?

Just wondering,

Brian C

I wondered the same thing. If I built one it would have to have some paint thrown on to jazz it up a bit... Cool looking flyer!
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Old Jan 13, 2009, 08:57 PM
North East England
Joined Feb 2004
3,181 Posts
I never got round to it with mine, but I sketched up a more 'scale' body in Photoshop. If I ever build another rogallo, I'll do it this way - gives it a sort of 'autogyro' look

You could build the bodywork around an existing model with a bit of thought, make it from light 1/16" balsa covered in Litespan and there wouldn't be much weight increase.

Steve
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Old Jan 13, 2009, 09:12 PM
Geezer
Rickochet's Avatar
Central Kentucky
Joined Oct 2006
3,535 Posts
Want to spiff up your Gymallo a bit? Here is probably the best one yet. Sorry, but I can't remember who did it.

Indoor Electric Flying Witch (0 min 42 sec)
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