The ULTIMATE SS help thread! First Time flyers please read! - RC Groups
Thread Tools
Jun 04, 2003, 07:03 PM
Who Says Penguins Can't Fly?
aeropenguin's Avatar

The ULTIMATE SS help thread! First Time flyers please read!

Hello! I do not have the fingers to count the number of people who have asked about the slow stick, and what to buy, and how, and why, etc. So, one day, I typed this up, and later thought it deserved a thread of it's own. I know it is long - but for those considering buying their first airplane, PLEASE read this! Do *yourself* a favor. And now, site back, and read on!

I say that if you buy a radio, none of them better AND cheaper than a Hitec Flash 5X. First of all, it's got loads of features, and you can get one here on the ezone from somebody for about $65. I got mine in a crazy good deal, for $30, but that's the cheapest that one has ever sold in history. Manufacturer?
Let me tell you a true story:
A man buys a complicated Hitec radio.....
Keeps it somewhere, forgotten for 3 years; looses all proof of buy.
Discovers it finally, it is still one of the top radios, and starts using it - to find that is broke over time, and something is wrong.
He ships it to Hitec, and in 4 business days, it is returned to him, free of ANY charge, all fixed and working.

That is what I call service!

Any pack can "fit" on a SS! There really aren't any guidelines!

Buy the kit, for $30, from - they are the official GWS distributer, or, from your local hobby shop (abbreviated as LHS on the zone) , or any other place for around that price. $30 is the "official" price, so don't buy one for $50, keep looking...

I recomend buying something like a Hitec Flash 4X, 5X, or Futaba 6XAS Super, or a Hitec 7 channel (forgot the name, there's only one), or Futaba 9C is you want a crazy cool radio that professional flyers use, or, if you are filthy rich, go with the Airtronics 10X, 10 channel transmitter, for about $1,200, which is what the pros of the pros use.
Just get a Hitec Flash 5X
There are many radios out there, and all have their pluses and minuses. I see a lot of people using GWS transmitters, but in my opinion, anyone who is serious about the hobby will crave a better one soon. They are very cheap. Futaba and JR also make a lot of good transmitters, but I am not familiar with them.

For flight packs, I'd say order something like a flight pack from with an upgraded batt and ESC. Okay, well, you see, there is never the flight pack that is perfect for your exact model and needs. Here is what I, personally, myself, recommend. There are many, many other good items out there, and they might even be better than these, but the following are the best I've heard of, and I can recomend them myself from either seeing them in use or using them myself. All can be bought; for one of the cheapest prices, at or

GWS 4 channel receiver, the R4P (this is only 4 channel) is a good one, although some say that it is not as "trusty" as others. It is, again, one of the cheapest ones available. Very fine for those who really need to save...
Hitec 555 (very long range, and is very well known for it's trusty-ness) I haven't heard of anybody losing range with this receiver - SUPER long range! OR, even better - cheaper, lighter, smaller, and even more reliable,the Berg 5DSP. I'd say just get one. Most will NOT regret it!

Hitec HS55 if you do not plan on installing a really powerful motor, and if you like doing long power dives and pulling out super fast or want to upgrade the motor, go with the Hitec HS-81. Both are great matches for the SS. As before, there are hundreds of good servos out there. These seem to be the most popular. Anything works on a ss, and no modifications are usually needed to mount bigger servos, but the SS can probably take them easily.

ESC: I highly recommend getting one that you'll use for most of your other models, so it has to be able to handle a lot of amps - or at least the most you think you'll need in the near future. I highly recommend Castle Creations ESC's - get either a Pixie 20 or Sprite 35, depending on the max that you think you'll ever need in the near future. I own a Sprite 25.

Battery? Oh man, toughie too:
I say that if you want super long flight times and have a Lithium Polymer charger, but will sacrifice some power, a 2s E-Tec 1200mAh pack - would fit the bill perfectly.
OR, if you want more power and smaller flight times, or do not want to buy another charger, get a KAN-1050 8-cell pack. This is really cheap and is considered among the best! As always, this plane can haul up almost any battery. I'd say that anything approximately anything from 10 ounces in weight down, 7-9.6V, and 300mAh or higher, that works, will be fine in the slow stick.

This is an area where a lot of variety is available, and everybody has his or her preferences. The main thing to look for in a charger is the maximum amount of cells it will charge, and if it will peak charge. Peaking is when it does not charge for ever until you take the pack off, not on a timer so that it will always charge for, say, 2 hours (timer charger), but it sees how much juice is in the pack, and then just adds on how much is necessary to fill it up to the top without spilling over. This is called a peak charger. Lithium polymer (known as lipoly or lipo) batteries are growing at a giant rate, because they are a *lot* lighter, and have more voltage - 3.6 volts per cell. Get this: three nicad or Ni-mh cells have the approximate power of one lipo cell, but that one lipo would have about double the mAh for the same weight as maybe 2 of those cells. So, for extremely lightweight or small planes, li-polies are the way to go. The only minus there is - they cannot take much current. The latest cells on the market are called E-Tec's and they take more amps for their size than any available cell that I know of. For the Slow Stick, an E-Tec 1200mAh 2s pack is extraordinary. It weighs about 2 ounces (as a pose to 8 with nicads or Ni'Mh's, yields about 45min run times (As a pose to 10), and even makes the plane more nimble and a bigger joy to fly because it weighs less...OOPS, getting into battery talk. Anyway, if you plan on one day using Li-poly cells, get a charger that can accommodate them as well - I own the Maha C777 PLUS which charges anything you will ever think of. If you'd like to only charge nicads or Ni'mh's, then I do not really see a point in buckling down giant money for a good charger - the Hitec CG-340 does everything you'll need, for a very, very good price. ServoCity sells them at the lowest price - $35 shipped if I remember correctly. Check out a few other Hitec chargers, and see which you like best. Again, every dollar you spend will be very worth it in the long run.

Crystal? Yes, you have to get the exact one necessary for each transmitter, and the channel of the transmitter and receiver crystal needs to match. Ex a ch29 tx Xtal (crystal) goes with a ch29 rx Xtal. You see? For the Hitec Flash 5X, you'll need a Hitec dual conversion transmitter crystal, whatever channel you choose, and for the 555 as an example, you'll need a Hitec dual conversion receiver crystal to match the channel # of the tx.
All transmitters come with a crystal installed, so just choose the channel # on your transmitter, and use it for ever after, on every other receiver. All crystal #'s are equal; none are better or have better range.

Oh Man, this is a really hard question. For general building, you'll need one hell of a load of tools! For the Slow Stick, I'd recommend the:
builder's triangle (nothing fancy, just cut a right triangle out of thick wood, to aid in making control surfaces perpendicular - I've even seen guys stack a few lego pieces, and it works great!)
Wire cutters (small, the cheapest avail will do just fine)
Pliers (same as wire cutters)
A screw driver (you should have a good set anyway)
A larger cutting knife (at the local hardware store, tell them you want a black utility knife; this is cheap, the best, and they'll know what you mean)
And you'll need very strong fingers to get the plastic mounts onto the shaft (very tight fit)
Oh, and VELCRO, that's a biggie. Make sure it says "industrial strength". This is better, and a lot stronger. If you cannot find anywhere, anything will do, really...
Deans Ultra connectors (overkill, but trust me, wait till your friend is flying with Tamiya style, and midair, everything turns off and he crashes for good; I am serious). But, as always, anything will do. As long as it doesn't weigh 5 ounces per pair :-)
Soldering iron (30 watt will do, anything - even that $2 iron will work great) and heat shrink wire tubing...
you probably already have most of the above, so you won't have to worry about that.
Last edited by aeropenguin; Jun 05, 2003 at 11:14 PM.
Sign up now
to remove ads between posts
Jun 04, 2003, 07:05 PM
Who Says Penguins Can't Fly?
aeropenguin's Avatar

Glues? You can get away with none of these at all, but you'll quickly find you're glad you bought them.
Thin CA
Thick CA (both should be odorless foam safe CA). Even though these might not be extremely useful for this plane, I assure you you'll use them a lot in most other planes. In balsa planes, I usually drain a bottle of each per model .
5min epoxy
20min epoxy (I recommend only buying modeling epoxy, it does not shatter, stronger, etc, such as Great Planes pro epoxy)
De-bonder (a small bottle will do - again, not neccessary, but you it's nice to know you don't have to cut your fingers apart - you can just de-bond them. Don't try though, it feels weird - don't ask how I know )
Accelerator (for when the CA is not drying for some weird reason, but you can do without this and the above. This is just "auxilary", but very much not needed. I keep some around because usually I am impatient.)

How hard to install/remove electronics? Put everything but the servos and motor on velcro, and all it takes is to un-velcro everything off.

Ask more, all you want. Every question asked is every gram of frustration relieved later on, and one crash less in the long run. Ask away, buddy, don't feel shy! Not just me, anyone at your club or ezone will help you - we were all helped when we began, and most people in this hobby feel good doing it for others.

How much will everything cost you? This will vary depending on what products you will choose, but I'd say that if you stick with fairly good equipment, $250- $300. Trust me, that is not too bad - some planes alone - just the airframe, cost $1K. Some transmitters cost $1.2K. So, gulp it down, don't show your wife, save up a week or two, and get it over with!

"I want a GWS Tigermoth. Please talk me out of it!!!"
Well, the SS is THE best plane, is what I think. A few reasons...
Easy build
Takes a fair amount of wind (but for the first day, no matter what, ONLY fly if there is zero wind!)
It can turn on a dime
Slow flying - gives you lots of time to react and decide where to go.
It flies very solidly - very easy comparatively. Too easy? Naah. Put on a bigger motor, and go have some fun! This plane can get very aerobatic! Out of ideas? Look here:
It can carry a gigantic payload
It flies even when you can't tell it is a SS any more!

"It is too beat up! I need a new wing!"
OH, no you don't. First, master the slow stick until you are a professional SS pilot, and then do it. Yes, I know it is beat up. BUT, I'll bet ya it isn't more than this Wingo: he says it flies like a charm, even though it looks more like a blob to me (no, I'm joking flyandcrash, it is beautiful).

"The Wings ripped in flight (that is called folding)!!! How can I reinforce it?"

"Darn! I cannot find the right info in the above link, and want to hear it from you..."
Here's my list of modification MUSTS, that I chose and that I think are neccessary for a good plane. It'll be too good stock, but it'll blind you with all these mods! Do these *before* test flight. Guys, just please, don't wait thinking, oh, it'll be okay...then crash and do the mods, do them NOW!
MUST mods!!:
1. screw on the motor, not glue. The best way I've found is to have a long M-3 metric screw or something similar in standard go all the way through from one side to the other, and a nut at the end. that way, you don't have to worry about wood screws coming loose, and there is only one to worry about.
2. on the dihedral joint/alluminum bent tube into which the fiberglass rods slip into, replace it with a much heavier material. Everybody who I've ever talked to used brass, which is approx. twice the strength, but, while I was at it, I might as well use stainless steal, so I did. Also, which you're at it, you might as well make it a lottle longer than the stock alluminum part.
3. use epoxy, thoroughly, to glue the fiberglass and brass/alluminum/stainless) stiffeners onto the LE and TE of the wings. That tape isn't good enough.
3. substitute ALL tape provided with your own, ultra strength packaging tape. That stuff is really bad!!
4. on the tail feathers, it tells you to either double-sided-tape them on, or screw them on. Do both, but instead of double sided tape, use epoxy. Well worth it, and one of the most important mods.
5. use velcro - not some junk, but look for "industrial strength" velcro. This stuff is better.
6. use a prop saver - see above

Still-very-worth-it mods:
7. replace the fiberglass shafts with carbon fiber. This is probably the least neccessary modification of all these ten.
8. add about 3-4* right and down thrust differential. That means that from straight and level, the motor should point 3* or 4* down, amd 3/4* to the right. This might sound ridiculous, as it did to me, but a lot of planes have this to correct out the motor torque spinning it to the left ( on other planes it is usually left as well)
8. use a strap of velcro around anything even just slightly loose (the reciever in my case, since it was mounted on the bottom surfaces of the servos), so that it wraps around it from the bottom, and attaches by the ends with the other end of the velcro on the metal stick (or servos in my case).
9. place a steal wire or thick string in between the main wheels from keeping them from sliding apart on landings, and replace the tailwheel wire with some stronger material or coat it with flexible epoxy or something of the likes. I see some very heavily upgraded planes that weigh about 40oz or so, and their entire weight in the back area is nesting on the poor elevator, becasue that little wire cannot hold anything!
10. replace the wheels with something sturdier or prettier (or both ). The most popular ones for the SS are the "parkflier wheels" sold at aircraft-world, or here for a direct link:
scroll down to the last products. But, any other wheel will work great. Anything from the above link works great...
>AND<, there you have it! My top ten mods list!!! If I were you I would not even consider thinking about not thinking about not doing these ten awesome mods!!!

"Will I need a flight simulator?"
Well, some swear by sims, and some hate them. I think that you should not pay for a sim, because it is a waist of money. They are not very realistic and do not fly like in real life, although they help with other things such as orientation and that when going inverted towards you, left makes the plane go right, and even more importantly, up makes the plane to down . The most I'd do is download the free one: , get used to it for about 2 hours, and I'd say that it won't help you at all after that. That's enough - you'll fly fine! I haven't even downloaded that one because it might be bad for the computer, takes up space, and it is not worth it for me.

Your propellers will break at the speed of light - TRUST ME! Do this!!!!! :

When people say fly for the first time, fly with someone experienced helping you, *they mean it*!!! If you have to drive 50 miles to see your friend who is good at flying, do it! It will take a long time to find out by experimenting what he can tell you in 10 minutes.

"Can you tell me just a few words of what to be thinking about right before the first flight ever?"
Yeah, sure. Here are the main points....
For the first flight, don't go for a time record. Just bring it up, do what you have to keep it up for about 20 seconds, and bring it down. THEN correct it by giving it a lot of right rudder and down elevator (actually, do that before hand, because trust me, you'll need it - about 15 points to the right, and the same with down).
Stay far away from trees
Fly only in NO wind for the first few flights - this is usually in the early morning and around sunset.
Give it VERY little control movement; it'll be way enough.
If you have ATV, move it down so that you have only about 70% rudder and 70% elevator. That'll be enough. Again, trust me. Also, I find it very, very useful before all flights after not flying for a while to just close my eyes, and while holding the transmitter, pretend the plane is on the ground and I wiggle the sticks and pretend I am flying. I give myself a lot of hard situations to make it harder...I did about 5 2-minute "flights" before my first, and I really think they helped. It is a lot cheaper, easier, and quicker than a flight sim, too!

Ask more, all you want. Every question asked is every gram of frustration relieved later on, and one crash less in the long run. Ask away, buddy, don't feel shy! That's what ezone is for!

I usually write, "Hope This helps!"
This time, I'm gonna write...

This Better Have Helped!

P.S. If you read all this to the end, you are a HERO!

****Whew! I'm done! Seriously dude, read it. It has some superb info in it, and I wish someone just splat out all this when I was starting. Do yourself a favor - this might save you money, frustration, time, and effort in the long run. Just read it...****
Last edited by aeropenguin; Jun 05, 2003 at 11:42 PM.
Jun 04, 2003, 07:07 PM
Lookin' Good. Real Good.
larsy87's Avatar
YOu should post this in Training forum as well.

Very comprehensive, AeroPenguin!!

Jun 04, 2003, 07:10 PM
Who Says Penguins Can't Fly?
aeropenguin's Avatar
good thinking...DONE!

Jun 04, 2003, 07:23 PM
Future is RTF!!
PCola-Flyer's Avatar
Very Good Information!!!


Jun 04, 2003, 07:39 PM
wild in the park?
wherndon's Avatar
dang Michael, and I thought I hung out on this forum too much
good post!
maybe should be a sticky?

- Bil
Jun 04, 2003, 07:41 PM
Who Says Penguins Can't Fly?
aeropenguin's Avatar
thanks all, I have thought about getting it stickied, but I din't want the embarrassment when he said, no.
I'll PM Tres or someone and ask...

Jun 04, 2003, 10:58 PM
Who Says Penguins Can't Fly?
aeropenguin's Avatar
I PM'd him - let's hope for the best!

Jun 05, 2003, 12:49 AM
Must cancel PayPal acct!
Drivie's Avatar
This should definately be stickied! Looks great AeroP.

EVERYONE should start with a Slow Stick!

Jun 05, 2003, 04:25 AM
Registered User
Do any of you guys put any kind or foam or rubber on the two wing saddles of the slow stick where the wing sits to improve grip/positioning?
Jun 05, 2003, 06:36 PM
Who Says Penguins Can't Fly?
aeropenguin's Avatar
Morb, thank you for the note about stickies. CAn you believe it - he said no
Morb, I'll be eternally grateful if you PM Tres as well, and tell him what you think!
For that matter, wherndon, please do that too!
Anyone who feels this deserves a sticky please PM Tres! MUAHAHA! Flood him PM box!
Tres, I'll delete this junk above if (I mean when) this get's stickied.

GUYS, please check PART II for a list of mods - I edited in some good stuff.

Also, in the training area, somone mentioned that most links do not work. I apologize to all of you who did not get to see them - I edited them and now they all work.

Thank you!
Jun 05, 2003, 07:45 PM
Registered User
avsjr's Avatar
Originally posted by aeropenguin
Morb, thank you for the note about stickies. CAn you believe it - he said no
Morb, I'll be eternally grateful if you PM Tres as well, and tell him what you think!
For that matter, wherndon, please do that too!
Anyone who feels this deserves a sticky please PM Tres! MUAHAHA! Flood him PM box!
Wow - you are way off base with this. I think Tres is right on with his decision not to sticky this thread. In my opinion, some of your post is good info, and some not really that good. Some of it is really off the wall. Example - Hitek 555 is a really good receiver - I own one - never had any problems. But- "Nobody has ever had recorded losing range with this receiver" - I find that hard to believe - and I doubt anyone else does. Example - "8. add about 5* right and down thrust differential. That means that from straight and level, the motor should point 5* down, amd 5* to the right. Sounds stupid, but every well designed plane should have this, or at least some both ways" every plane? I don't think so...

For you to ask people to pm him to reverse his decison is in my opinion incredible - good thing I'm not a moderator - I would consider closing the thread instead of making it sticky - you may have done yourself in here!

I do commend you for trying...

Andy S.
Jun 05, 2003, 07:49 PM
Lookin' Good. Real Good.
larsy87's Avatar
Andy S,

Aeropenguin is trying to be helpful to Newbies here. All newbies would appreciate this info, grateful ones, anywayz. This is a freindly site, lease don't flame or burn any one here.

Jun 05, 2003, 08:17 PM
Live to ride... and fly!
Tres Wright's Avatar
AeroP, I appreciate the effort you put in to try and help people who might be getting started in the hobby. But you did post this thread in 2 forums, that's cross-forum posting and is prohibited. I feel a thread of this nature belongs on the Training Area forum rather than on Parkflyers as I told you in my PM response. As for sticking it over at the Training Area forum, that would be up to the mod of that forum.

Your interest in helping others and enthusiasm is to be commended, but upon reviewing your information I think it might be a touch misleading. For example, you list 4 glues, debonder and kicker as being required when in fact the Slow Stick can be built with only a minute amount of 5 minute epoxy that probably anyone has laying around the house. The beauty of the Slow stick is it doesn't take hardly any effort to put one together and doesn't require a large investment in tools and materials. That's the message I think beginners want to hear
Jun 05, 2003, 08:27 PM
Chesapeake Squadron
avsjr is right what plane uses 5* down and 5* right I'm not sure what you guys have for planes but I have never seen one with that much, and I have been at it a long time