BlitzRCWorks Super Sky Surfer: 95" span, w/Flaps - Page 56 - RC Groups
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Oct 01, 2012, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by nakelp86
Its kind of pricy but not much more than buying two SSS.
And I swear by it:
here is the link:
before you jump do the research if you can use yr radio with it (probably can )
all it takes is plugging in few wires.
It also takes a ham license according to the dragonlink site. And it looks like receivers are $99.

I will stick with 2.4 gear like millions of others are doing quite successfully. Heck, it was only about 950 ft distant and way up off the ground. Should have been a perfectly solid connection.


Had you set the Fail Safe settings in the receiver? If not, from the Optima Rxr instruction sheet > "If the fail safe has not been activated the signal is switched off after the hold period of 1 second. This means that the servos become "soft" and remain in their last commanded position under no load (this may equate to full throttle), until a valid signal is picked up again." This does sound like what you describe. I suppose you might have lost connection, but I can't imagine why unless you got a bad receiver. I have had my MiniMoa 2M glider so high I could barely tell the front from the back and the left from the right and it still seemed to respond just find. I am also using an Optic 6, and an Optima 6 Rxr in the plane.

I would still like to blame the BEC on that cheap ESC rather than the 2.4 system but I don't see how I can. If the BEC had died I would expect the ESC to shut down and the motor to stop. I wonder what would happen if the BEC voltage were to drop enough that the receiver would quit, but not to zero. Could the ESC keep the motor running without any input? Probably not. Foiled again.

Really sorry about the crash Scott. It sounds like you have been using the transmitter without problems for some time. If the Rxr still works I would put it in something you really don't care if you ever see again and see what happens at a distance. It might be a bad one.

Last edited by Gordks; Oct 01, 2012 at 12:59 PM.
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Oct 01, 2012, 04:04 PM
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Flew my SSS again this morning, two successful flights at the local park (up on a hilltop, a field that is used as a full-sized soccer or football field, great place to land). Got a lot of admiring comments from people walking on the sidewalk that goes around the field. They're used to seeing me there flying a Hobbizone Champ, 18" wingspan, this was a little bigger.

It still seems a little tailheavy even with two 2200mAh 3s batteries in the nose (only one hooked up, other is along for the ride). That will hopefully stop once I start using two 5000mAh 2s LiPos in series. Once I get them to fit, that is.

It still bobs the nose up and down sometimes. Part of that is me overreacting to each slight move. But it's hypersensitive to elevator inputs too - a definite sign of tailheaviness, especially after I mellowed out the elevator by 50% last night.

But DAMN, it's a pretty plane to just watch it fly. Impressive.

BTW, one of the flap servos is definitely reversed, either electronically or mechanically inside the servo. They have to be that way, of course. It's nice to know the designers remembered that. If I'd just pulled two generic servos off the shelf in my shop and stuck them in, with the left one pointing left and the right one pointing right (as the SSS's flap servos and aileron servos all are), then one flap would go up while the other went down. That's correct for ailerons, of course, but not for flaps. I was worried when I first saw the plane, but shouldn't have been.

This plane was clearly designed as a powered glider, not as a stunt plane or racer (duh!). The climb is leisurely at full power, with the stock motor and propeller and the 3s battery I was using. I intend to change that, but that's a subject for another time.

And damn, does this thing glide! It never wants to come down, when power is off. Even with the flaps down about 45 degrees, it just floats and floats - the flaps are impressive-looking in flight, but frankly aren't very effective. I'll eventually set it up for "crow" landings (both flaps down, both ailerons up) and see if that helps any. But neither the flaps nor the ailerons are huge (well, not compared to the rest of the plane), so I'm not expecting a lot.

It was nice to find out there is apparently no sudden nose-up or nose-down tendency when you lower or raise the flaps. Not that I could see, anyway. Has anybody else noticed any such thing? If there's any there, it's not very evident to me.

I might also tape some extensions on the trailing edges of the flaps, doubling their size, to see if that makes a difference. But the plane won't be nearly as pretty that way, which is why I'll use tape. Not sure if the present servos would be powerful enough to handle such big flaps.

Another wild idea is to use an R/C-car ESC in it, to go into reverse during landing, run the motor backward, and produce reverse thrust! Inefficient as hell, and won't do the motor cooling any good. But it would only be used briefly. I worked with a Navion in New Jersey that had an analog computer in the back seat and a reversible-pitch propeller, on which you could produce reverse thrust to steepen your glide path. Can be done, but must be used carefully or you'll fall out of the sky. Maybe a spring on the lowest 1/4 of throttle stick travel, so you have to deliberately push down to go into reverse thrust, and simply let go to get rid of it in a hurry.

The SSS is definitely an aileron airplane. No surprise, nobody ever said it was anything else, that's what those funny flappy things on the wings are for. But you can fly a regular Sky Surfer (or Easystar or Bixler) with just rudder and elevator alone, and they turn perfectly well. Just doesn't work on the Super Sky Surfer, though.

Took it up fairly high and tried some rudder turns. The SSS regards rudder inputs as suggestions, not commands. After a long time it eventually starts curving around, sort of. I have a hunch it's not a rudder problem, even though the rudder isn't very big for a plane this size. The plane has almost no dihedral, and that's what really turns the plane when you give it rudder. The flat wing is one of the things that make it look so cool in flight. The tips are curved up, which is actually the most efficient form of dihedral, but they're not very big.

The plane pretty much won't bank unless you tell it to, with ailerons. I put the aileron pushrods on the holes close to the hinge line, and my SSS responds to ailerons better now than it did on the first two flights yesterday.

Also found out today that I can hand-launch this thing in zero wind. I was wondering about that. Yesterday I had maybe a 3-5mph breeze for the maiden flight, which came in handy. Today, early in the morning before work, zippo. Took a pretty good heave, but it launched straight and true.

And it fits in my minivan (Sienna) with the wings and tail on! Barely. Rear seats folded flat, and I've never had the right seat of the middle row (it's an eight-seater) in place. Had to fold the back of the middle seat down, and put a cardboard box behind it for the wheel. Right wingtip touched the rear cargo door, left wingtip is near my ear as I drive. But it survived! Once I mount flap-aileron plugs flush on the fuselage, the wings will be much more convenient to install and remove, then hopefully I can lose the cardboard box and put everything behind the middle row seats.

And some bubblewrap glued into strategic places into the box it came in, will hopefully make a workable carrying case out of that. Then the removable tail can earn its keep, too. Never had these problems with the Champ!
Last edited by Little-Acorn; Oct 01, 2012 at 04:55 PM.
Oct 01, 2012, 04:29 PM
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G-LO's Avatar
LA, you just fly with ONE 2200mah plugged up only? Why not plug both in? The setup of what I hear can handle it. Hope your c rating is height on that battery. You might puff it up.

Very Good report!
Last edited by G-LO; Oct 01, 2012 at 04:38 PM.
Oct 01, 2012, 06:17 PM
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Technical Info and FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) about the
Super Sky Surfer

Currently available from:

Banana Hobby (for info, pictures and video see )
Available as RTF (Ready-to-fly) or ARF (almost ready to fly) versions. A kit version has recently become available too.

Manufacturer's data:

Wingspan: 2,400mm (94.5 inches, or 7 ft. 10-1/2 in.)
Length: 1,350mm (53.1 inches, or about 4 ft. 5-1/8 in.)
Weight (RTF): 2,000 grams (70.5oz, or 4 lb 6-1/2 oz)
Center of Gravity (CG): 100mm (2.54") behind the leading edge of wing at the fuselage (according to the SSS Manual)

ARF version comes with 1250KV brushless outrunner motor, 40A ESC, 8x6 propeller, six 17-gram servos built in (rudder, elevator, two aileron, two flap) and Y-harnesses for Aileron and Flap servos.
RTF version comes with all that, plus 6-channel 2.4GHz transmitter and receiver, and a 3600mAh. 11.1v 20c LiPo Battery.

PDF copy of Super Sky Surfer manual:

Stock Motor/ESC Information:

The manual that comes with the Super Sky Surfer (linked above) mentions two 40A ESCs, I'm not sure which one comes with the ARF and RTF plane:
1.) Skywalker-40A, 40A continuous, 55A burst, rated for 3s LiPo battery maximum, linear 3A BEC rated for 4 servos with 3s battery.
2.) Skywalker-40A-UBEC, 40A continuous, 55A burst, rated for 4s LiPo battery maximum, switching 3A BEC rated for 5 servos with 3s or 4s battery.

The manual mentions that both ESCs have programmable brake settings, Low Voltage Cutoff threshold, Timing (low, med, high), and Startup mode (normal, soft, super-soft); and it describes how to program these features.
As poster TheDon pointed out in Post 812, note that, while the SSS comes with six servos, neither of these ESCs is rated to handle that many.
A discussion of this and other servo issues (centering etc.) can be found here, going on for a number of posts:

In post 117 in this thread, poster Blaser reported that he had tried several different propeller and battery combinations with his SSS, I think with the stock motor and ESC that came with the plane. I've copied the results he got and put them in a table, converted grams to ounces, and figured Volts by dividing Watts by Amps. Kudos to Blaser for producing this data!

Battery . . Propeller . . . Static thrust . . . .Amps . . . Watts . . . Volts
3s . . . . . . .8x7stock . .1120g, 39.5oz . . . 26.1A . . . 315W . . 12.1V
3s . . . . . . .9x6 . . . . . . 1480g, 52.2oz . . . 39.8A . . . 470W . . 11.8V
4s . . . . . . .8x4speed . .1605g, 56.6oz . . . 28.7A . . . 453W . . 15.8V
4s . . . . . . .8x7stock . .1630g, 57.5oz . . . 38.1A . . . 583W . . 15.3V

The 9x6 propeller, he said, can be found here:

Manufacturer's data says that the stock ESC is rated at 40 Amps, bursts to 55A. The RTF version comes with a 3s LiPo battery, nominal voltage of 11.1V, so plainly it can handle that. And Blaser tried it with a 4s battery, nominal voltage 14.8, without apparent problems. The manual mentions two 40A ESCs, I'm not sure which one is included in the SSS. One is rated to 4s LiPo batteries, the other only to 3s LiPos. Caveat Emptor.
Last edited by Little-Acorn; Dec 19, 2012 at 05:34 PM.
Oct 01, 2012, 06:34 PM
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Basic Setup for Super Sky Surfer:

Basic internal views: Poster Gordks got one of the first KIT versions of the SSS (at first it was only available as an RTF (Ready-to-Fly) or ARF (Almost-Ready-to-Fly), both of which came with the fuselage halves already glued together). Gordks took pictures of the internals of his fuselage and put them here:

Center of Gravity (CG): The manual that came with the plane, says it should balance at a point 100mm (3.94") behind the leading edge of wing. Some SSS owners like other locations. Beware of tailheavy planes, see Post #873 at .

Some experimentation seems to show that a CG in the range 93mm to 100mm behind the leading edge, produces nice, stable flying characteristics.

PDF copy of Super Sky Surfer manual:


Is your propeller on backward? And/or is it turning in the wrong direction? How can you tell? See Post #625, a simple empirical method.
Quickie suggestions here:
Simple empirical method here:

Defects have been found in some of the stock propellers that come with the SSS.
See Post #874:

Structural Modifications:


Many users have mentioned the pushrods in the fuselage to the rudder and elevator, seem pretty skinny. Some have replaced them with thicker (.045" or larger) steel wires from the LHS (local hobby shop), or have grafted 1/16 threaded rods to the original pushrods where they come out of the fuselage near the tail, and put clevises such as Kwik-Links on the threaded rods.

Main Wing Spar:

In poster kaptondave's post #396, and poster seojeff's post #477, they describe a carbon-fiber tube to replace the SSS's heavy, solid spar with. Fits better, slides in easier, very strong, and is a LOT lighter. Part No. 020039 from Goodwinds in Washington state. See:

In posts 421 and 423, posters Doubletap and Dogdude reported that the original solid spar was 13mm in diameter. Some have reported that it's very difficult to slide into the wing tubes. The Goodwinds CF tube is listed as 1/2" diameter, which is a smidgen smaller (12.7mm), and will hopefully relieve the fitting problem. Will it be as strong? The ACP CF tube is .472" (12.0mm) dia., slightly thicker walls.

Original fiberglass spar: .512" (13mm) dia., 309g (10.9oz), 48" long, came with the plane
Carbon-fiber tube: .500" (12.7mm), .050" wall CF tube, 90g (3.2oz), 48" long: Part # 020039 at
Carbon-fiber tube: .472" (12.0mm), .056" wall CF tube, 87.4g (3.1g), 48" long:


Poster Little-Acorn made his SSS tail removable with two nylon bolts, should be handy for putting the plane into its original box for transportation.
Description in Post 778, see
and pictures in post 790, see

Poster antennahead also made his tail removeable, with slightly different modifications, looks great. See:

Poster howieB38 mentioned that he found his flap pushrods too long (others have found this too), and described his fix.
See Post #363,

Plugging in the wings at the flying field, and snaking the cables into the fuselage and forward to the receiver and plugging them in each time, can be a hassle. Several solutions are possible. Here's one:

Poster Gordks got one of the first kits (not RTF or ARF), and found that the fuselage halves come separately, i.e. not glued together yet. He provided some great pictures of the inside of the fuselage, the motor mount etc.:
Last edited by Little-Acorn; Dec 31, 2013 at 04:37 PM.
Oct 01, 2012, 06:35 PM
Registered User
Common Modifications

Many SSS owners have modified their planes in various ways. Some mods seem to be quite popular.

The ones lots of people have suggested include (but are not limited to):

1.) Rudder and Elevator pushrods are too skinny. Instructions say you should slip some plastic tubes (included with the plane) over them where they come out of the fuselage near the tail, that sounds sort of mickeymouse. A number of people have replaced them with thicker wires, around .045" or thicker. Others have grafted 2-56 or 4-40 threaded rods onto the originals where they come out of the fuse near the tail, around 5" long, and put Kwik-links on them to attach to controls.

2.) The ESC that comes with the plane is marginal at best. It apparently has a linear BEC that heats up easily, and may not be able to handle the six servos the plane has. Some people report strange motor cutouts, even when they are not flying at high power settings, might be due to this. Not a bad idea to replace it with an ESC that has a switching-mode BEC, those run a lot cooler and are more efficient. Or possibly a completely separate BEC.
50A ESC, 4A switching BEC, 2-4 Lipo cells, 71g:
60A ESC, 3A switching BEC, 2-6 Lipo cells, 63g:
100A ESC, 3A switching BEC, 2-6 Lipo cells, 76g:
100A ESC, 4A switching BEC, 2-6 Lipo cells, 99g:
5A separate switching BEC:
Lots of others also available.

3.) Some of the propellers that came with the SSS, have been found to be mis-formed. Instead of the blades being 180 degrees apart, some have been more like 178 degrees or so. Very odd, and they won't ever stop vibrating. An APC 8x6E is one example of a good replacement.

4.) The original battery is a 3s LiPo, which gives OK but not spectacular performance. Some have replaced it with a 4s battery, which performs noticeably better with the original stock motor. If you do this, it's even more important to replace the ESC too.

5.) The main spar brace is a fiberglass rod that is very strong, but weighs a ton. (Actually around 280-300 grams). Some folks have replaced it with carbon-fiber tubes that are like 1/3 as heavy but still very strong.
One good source of these CF tubes is Goodwinds in Washington state:
The fiberglass spar is 13mm diameter, and weighs around 280-300 grams.
Goodwinds part no. 020039 is .500" (12.7mm) diameter with .050" thick walls, 48" long, 90 grams.
Goodwinds part no. 020017 is .472" (12.0mm) diameter with .058" thick walls, 48" long, 87 grams.
They also have 60" long ones, part nos. 020034 (.500") and 020038 (.472").

6.) A few people have reported that, in a steep dive, the SSS's ailerons no longer respond; though elevator is fine. After you pull out and slow down, everything works fine. It's not clear why yet - maybe the aileron servos aren't powerful enough, or maybe the wings twist slightly under heavier air loads, or maybe other causes.

7.) Some folks have put in more powerful motors, and gotten great performance as a result. This usually requires a higher-amperage ESC, and possibly a different battery. Some of these motors bolt right in and are a direct replacement with little effort needed. Others are larger diameter and need the plane's motor pod hollowed out, and sometimes the motor mount modified. Keep in mind that the SSS is a powered glider, not a racer or a stunt plane. Fast, steep climbs can be fun, and even useful at times. But if you want super aerobatics or high speeds, you're probably flying the wrong plane.
Bolt-in, 655W, steep climbs:
Needs engine mount mods, 1000W, vertical climbs:
Lots of other motors, from many sources, are good too.

8.) Cameras, gyros for stability (especially with a camera), two-wheeled landing gear, LED lights and strobes, you name it, it's probably been tried. And if it hasn't, what are you waiting for. The sky's the limit.

9.) When you modify your plane, check the Center of Gravity (G.G., or balance point). The instructions specify a location 100mm behind the leading edge of the wing. Most people seem to get good results if it's from 90-odd mm to 100 mm. I've flown mine with anywhere from 93mm - 100mm with good results.

I've also flown it with C.G. more than 100mm behind the leading edge, but the plane was tricky to handle and stalled a lot, which I consider unacceptable. Your results may vary, of course. But the SSS seems to be VERY sensitive to C.G. location.

Anybody have other mods to suggest? Lots of things are possible with this plane.
Last edited by Little-Acorn; Feb 09, 2013 at 12:43 AM.
Oct 01, 2012, 06:36 PM
Registered User

Several posters have mentioned a motor from HobbyKing, that apparently bolts right in to the motor pod of the SSS with no modifications needed, in place of the original motor that came with the plane. The Turnigy D3536/5 1450KV motor is 35mm in diameter (same as the stock motor that comes with the SSS ARF and RTF planes). I think several people have already used it on their planes, and written about it here. I believe that the cross-type aluminum mount it comes with, is identical to the one that comes with the SSS (is this correct?) .

$16.90 plus shipping from HobbyKing:


Another motor looks almost identical, same diameter but a little longer. More torque, so it turns a slightly larger propeller, a little slower, and has a slightly lower KV rating. Weighs one ounce more, max current and power are just a sliver higher. Hopefully this will bolt right into the SSS too. Has anyone tried this one? Does it bolt in with no modification to the motor pod? I've ordered one for the new 2000mm-span "Super Sky Surfer 2000" from ReadyMadeRC. Looks like it comes with the same motor mount and collet-type prop adapter as its near-twin, above.

$18.85 + ship from HobbyKing:

The motor I used on my SSS is shown below. Unlike the others, this one is not a direct bolt-in. I had to carve out some of the foam inside the motor pod, trim and re-drill the new cross-tyope motor mount that came with this motor. Also used 12ga motor wires instead of the 14ga wire originally used in the plane. The good news is, the plane climbs vertically with it, out of sight if you want, using a 5s LiPo battery and a 100A ESC. It also does all the majestic slow flying, long-duration cruising, etc. that the SSS is so good at.
$39.95 from HeadsUpHobby (formerly HeadsUpRC) in Florida, including collet-type prop adapter, cross-type motor mount, and connectors.
Last edited by Little-Acorn; Mar 20, 2013 at 01:42 PM.
Oct 01, 2012, 06:37 PM
Registered User

Lots of information on the #16 High-definition video "Keychain camera" can be found here:
Available for around $40 on eBay from some reliable vendors including this one:
Small and light (less than an ounce), easy to mount on a model plane. Lots of lenses available, the one it comes with works pretty well. Comes with an internal rechargeable battery, and USB cable to plug it into your computer to get the videos you've shot (and to charge the battery). Yes, of course they're from Hong Kong, and take 2-3 weeks to arrive. Shipping is usually free.

Most of the videos you see on model plane threads like this one, are taken with this kind of camera.

Such cameras also need a memory card like this one. Class 4 or faster; 2-4 GB or larger, usually less than $10 on eBay or at your local store:

Another widely-used camera for model aircraft is from GoPro, found here:


Poster UAVJoe is putting an autopilot in his Super Sky Surfer. See Post #606.
See also

Telemetry Systems:

RC Groups thread discussing telemetry (sending info and/or pictures back to the ground from a flying model):
Last edited by Little-Acorn; Mar 20, 2013 at 01:32 PM.
Oct 01, 2012, 06:38 PM
Registered User
Bomb-drop mechanisms?

Glider-tow hooks?

Alternate sources, like if HeadsUpRC ever starts selling the Super Sky Surfer! Or if HobbyKing ever comes out with a BigBixler, closely patterned after you-know-who. (No, those folks don't currently have the SSS or anything like it. But if they ever start, this would be a good place to mention it)
Last edited by Little-Acorn; Oct 01, 2012 at 06:49 PM.
Oct 01, 2012, 06:39 PM
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Lights, pontoons, carrying cases....

(again, to be filled in as info becomes available.)
Oct 01, 2012, 07:06 PM
Registered User
Originally Posted by Little-Acorn
Anybody mind if I reserve a couple of post message spaces for technical info, FAQs etc. on the Super Sky Surfer?

(to be filled in as time goes by)
It does not matter if anyone minds or not since you have gone ahead "reserved" not just a couple, but a half-dozen. What is the point? Why not just post your mods as you go, like everyone else does?
Oct 01, 2012, 07:13 PM
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Rickochet's Avatar
Originally Posted by Little-Acorn
Anybody mind if I reserve a couple of post message spaces for technical info, FAQs etc. on the Super Sky Surfer?

(to be filled in as time goes by)
Unfortunately these posts will quickly get lost as new ones are posted. Take a look at how the Easy Star threads have been organized over the years. Perhaps start a new thread and reserve the first few posts.
Oct 01, 2012, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Rickochet
Unfortunately these posts will quickly get lost as new ones are posted.
I had the same thought,. I think that Little-Acorn has visions of becoming known as the SSS Guru so is salting the thread.
Oct 01, 2012, 07:29 PM
Registered User

So Sorry Scott

Too bad about the loss of your plane but thanks for posting the photos. That is the most destructive crash I have ever seen. It is especially sucky that you will never know what happened so can't do anything to avoid having it happen again.
Oct 01, 2012, 07:29 PM
Card Carrying Old Fart
Rickochet's Avatar
Originally Posted by kaptondave
I had the same thought,. I think that Little-Acorn has visions of becoming known as the SSS Guru so is salting the thread.
Starting threads like the Easy Star ones are very good if someone is willing to take on the task and keep up with it.

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