GWS Slow Stick - RC Groups

GWS Slow Stick

Allan Wright reviews this slow and stable predictable park flyer, including 4 video clips of its performance! Be sure to see the companion review, also, by Allan for the MiniStik.

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Introduction


Wingspan:43"
Wing Area:495 square inches
Weight:11 ounces plus battery (approx 4 oz)
Wing Loading:4 oz/sq ft
Servos:2 GWS Pico Std
Radio:Hitec Laser 4/GWS R4P receiver
Battery:(multiple, see text)
Motor:GWS EPS 300C *included
ESC: Castle Creations Pixie-20
Manufacturer:GWS
Available From:Horizon Hobby

I taught myself to fly on a GWS Lite Stick, or actually two Lite Sticks, since the usual mishaps of learning caused me to eventually destroy the first one. From the first flight I was hooked on these forgiving, slow-flying, red-winged planes. I've owned at least four Lite Sticks since those first two, including a canard version and a biplane. Those who fly with me are amazed at the seemingly endless supply of German crosses from these kits that adorn my other planes. For a while my fellow club mates were calling me "Mr. GWS" -- no offense to Mr. Lin intended. Considering my past history with the Lite Stick, getting a GWS Slow Stick was inevitable.

Kit Contents and Equipment

My Slow Stick arrived from Horizon Hobby packaged inside a larger box with plenty of packing materials. The kit arrived in perfect condition. Inside the kit's box there are several bags of components, with each bag containing similar parts: foam flying surfaces, hardware, motor/gearbox/prop, etc. The Slow Stick is available with several different motor combinations. Mine included the GWS EPS 300C drive and an 11"X8" propeller. The kit is very complete and includes all hardware, including pushrods and landing gear. In addition, clear tape, double-sided foam tape and stickers also are included -- with many other ARFs, you're expected to dig into your building box for these supplies.

Since the Slow Stick would be a good entry-level plane, I chose to test it with my Hitec Laser 4 transmitter. The Laser 4 doesn't have dual rates or exponential, which makes it a good match for the Slow Stick because it doesn't need either of these features to fly well. Since the Slow Stick is a GWS product, I chose a GWS R-4P receiver and two GWS Pico-Std servos. I don't own a GWS ESC that can handle the amperage draw of the EPS 300C drive so I chose a Castle Creations Pixie-20 from my spares drawer. Even though the 20-amp capacity of the Pixie isn't really needed, the ESC is light enough that it's perfect for this application, and the extra amperage headroom provides a nice safety margin.

Assembly

When I started assembling the kit, the first thing I noticed was the thoroughness of the manual. The manual has full-color photos of each step of the assembly process with diagrams where necessary. It also includes photos of all included parts, recommended equipment and tools required. I was so impressed I felt the manual deserved to be shown in a photo in this review. Too many kits and ARFs come with manuals that are inadequate so it was refreshing to have a quality guide to work from.

After reading the instructions, I began by applying the included clear hinge tape to the rudder and elevator hinge lines, and then beveling the mating surfaces with a sanding tool to allow the control surfaces to deflect fully. I used 120-grit sandpaper, which did the job in just a few strokes for each control surface. The manual offers two methods of mounting the tailfeathers to the fuselage boom: permanently affix them with double-sided foam tape, or attaching them with small sheetmetal screws after applying plastic reinforcement strips. I chose the latter. I glued the reinforcement strips to the tailfeathers with odor-free CA, although I could have used 5-minute epoxy. Once the glue had set, I carefully drilled holes in the boom, using the holes in the reinforcement strips for guides.

The manual offers the option of cutting the boom forward of the tailfeathers and joining it with a provided coupler. This coupler can then be disassembled for transporting the plane. I chose to skip this step since I opted for the removable tailfeathers earlier. In addition, posts here on the E Zone forums suggest that this coupler can be quite useful in repairing a broken boom, although I'm not sure how you would break the boom, as it seems very durable. I began mounting the parts onto the boom. I started with the tailfeathers, followed by the black plastic mounting hardware. These parts slide onto the boom firmly enough that once in place, they do not need to be glued, but are just loose enough that they can be re-positioned by hand to adjust the plane's CG between flights. Each black boom mount, which eventually will hold all the equipment and the wing, was clearly labeled with letters on their sprue tree, making assembly quick and easy and minimizing the chance for error.

Once all of the parts were on the boom, I roughly positioned the mounts where I expected them to be located when the plane was balanced. I assembled both the main landing gear wheels and the tail wheel. First the wheels are installed onto the wire and then held on by pressing plastic keepers over the wire with pliers. I was a little nervous about this attachment method, but it has held up to many abusive landings on grass, dirt and asphalt. The main gear and tailwheel are press fit into notches in the first and last mounting brackets. All of the landing gear can be removed when transporting the plane.

The included motor and gearbox mount directly to the front of the boom. they can be glued, but I chose to use a screw to secure it so that the motor could be removed later on if I chose to try a different powerplant. I was happy to see that the included motor was prewired, including three external capacitors for noise reduction and the standard GWS motor plug.

Next I started preparing the wing. The instructions direct you to tape the wing halves together to the maximum dihedral before attaching the fiberglass support rods. I took this step a little further and applied some 5-minute epoxy to the mating surfaces before applying the tape. On my wing, the dihedral came out a little over 5.5" at the wingtip with the other tip flat on the building board. Once the epoxy had dried, I attached the fiberglass support rods to the wing's leading and trailing edges with the included tape. This was the one spot where an extra pair of hands would have been helpful! Taping the rods to the wing while holding them in the proper position was a little tricky.

At the rear of the plane I attached the plastic control horns to the elevator and rudder. The control horns press into pre-cut slots in the control surfaces. There are plastic keepers for the control horns, which I pressed on with a dab of epoxy for good measure. I inserted the pre-made Z-bend ends of the control rods into the horns after the epoxy had set and routed the unbent end through the guides in the rear tailwheel mount and rear wing mount.

Next I mounted the servos to the servo mount with screws. Each servo mounting bracket has several holes in it for different size servos. I chose Pico servos because I already had them, but GWS Naro or any other brand of similarly sized micro servos will fit the mounting brackets. I affixed the receiver and ESC to the top of the battery mounting brackets with Velcro. Wanting to keep the antenna away from the aluminum boom, I routed it through the spare pushrod guide holes in the wing and tailwheel mounts. The battery pack hangs under the boom and is held to the brackets with elastic bands. The brackets have nice knobs on them designed for this purpose. They make pack changes easy and quick.

Once I had all of the mounts positioned roughly for proper plane balance, I attached the pushrods to the servos with some Du-Bro Micro E-Z links. I could have used Z-bends here, but with the E-Z links, removing the tailfeathers and adjusting the control surface trim is much easier.

Radio Setup, Balance and Trimming

The manual provides a range of CG settings for this plane, depending on the wind conditions. I marked the middle of these on the wing's underside so I could use that as a starting point when balancing the plane each flying session. I chose to use two different battery packs, neither of which were the recommended 6-cell 7.2v NiCad pack. Both the 2S2P-1200 E-Tec LiPoly pack and the 8x720 NiMh packs I chose weigh about 3.9 oz which is a little lighter than the recommended pack. This meant that my wing was a little closer to the tail than it would have been with the recommended battery. As you'll see later, this wing location doesn't seem to hurt the plane's handling and the lighter weight packs allow the plane to fly slower. In addition, the 8-cell NiMh pack requires me to use some restraint with the throttle in the first half of the flight to prevent its full voltage from damaging the motor, which is rated for 7.2 volts, not the 8.4 volts the NiMh pack can put out when fresh off the charger.

The total build time from opening the box to having the plane ready to fly was three hours. This included taking more than 50 photographs and taking notes for this article. I would estimate that without these interruptions the plane could be assembled in a couple hours. Even for the slowest of builders this is a single-evening build.

As is often the case on weekday evenings in the fall, I finished this build well after dark. Anxious to do a quick rundown of the plane's trim, I headed out to my front yard, which is illuminated by four flood lights and has an area about the size of a baseball infield. With both the rudder and elevator trimmed to neutral and the CG at the marked point, I made some porch light circuits of the front yard. The Slow Stick negotiated the confines of the yard easily and seemed to be in good trim without any major adjustments. Not wanting to risk a mishap due to the poor lighting, I returned inside, applied the markings to the Stick and packed it up for the next trip to the field.

Flying

My first daylight sorties were during my lunch hour with my fiancÚ behind the camera taking still photos. Even though the wind was blowing about 15 mph thanks to Hurricane Isabel, I took advantage of her offer to take photos and get what shots we could in the wind. Although attaching the wing and battery in the wind was a challenge, once I got the Slow Stick in the air I was surprised at how much power the plane had; plenty to haul itself around even in the heavy wind. The plane's dihedral was sufficient to provide quick enough control response for me to keep up with the changing gusts and get the photos you see above, including some close-in and low-level shots. Encouraged but still cautious, I stopped at one flight with some battery left to land under power at my feet so I could quickly grab the plane before it cart-wheeled away.

A few days later my friend Tucker Hurton volunteered to help me get some video for this review. We headed out on our lunch hour to an area near where we work that has both dirt and grass surfaces. The wind was calm and I was hoping to get some takeoffs, touch and goes, and landings filmed.

Downloads

This was the first time I was able to fly the Slow Stick in daylight without a lot of wind, so I was looking forward to some slow flying. The lighter battery packs seemed to pay dividends in this area as the plane did indeed slow down nicely, to about the same speed as its little predecessor the Lite Stick. In addition to flying slow, there was plenty of power for short takeoffs on dirt and grass as well as touch and goes on the dirt surface. While touch and goes could be done on the grass, the wheels caught sometimes. This wasn't too disappointing considering the grass was deeper than a lot of rough on golf courses. On regular lawn-height grass, touch and goes would be easy.

Downloads

Satisfied with all of the basic maneuvers, I went ahead and tried a loop, then two, and finally tried repeating loops. I found that while it will lose a little altitude with each loop, the Slow Stick will loop repeatedly many times without difficulty.

Downloads

The last test, which really shows the powerplant's full ability, was an attempt at a hover. Hovering is just barely out of reach for the plane's stock motor, but you'll see from the video the EPS 300C gave a respectable showing at the attempt.

Downloads

Indoor flight.   7.49 MB

As a member of the Boston Micronauts, I get a chance to fly indoors each month. Our flying site is a small gymnasium with a single basketball court. Normally we fly true micro-sized planes here, many under one ounce total weight. In the name of "freedom of the press," I convinced the members to allow me to fly the Slow Stick at our monthly event in order to assess its indoor performance for this article. I was able to fly the Slow Stick within the confines of the single gymnasium without any mishaps, but flying such a large-sized plane in this small area was challenging -- I wouldn't recommend it for inexperienced pilots. Maneuvers were limited to ovals and figure eights. The Slow Stick would, however, fly comfortably in a two-court gymnasium, indoor soccer arena or larger indoor facility.

Conclusion

The GWS Slow Stick is a stable and predictable parkflyer that upholds the tradition of its lineage with flying colors. The included powerplant provides ample power to handle windy conditions, climb quickly and perform unlimited repeated loops. The ease of assembly and excellent manual make the Slow Stick a good choice for beginners, while the ample power and stable handling make it a good choice for experienced pilots looking for a parkflyer able to handle a little more wind or possibly carry a camera or do other "workhorse" parkflyer tasks.

Editor's Note: Be sure to see the partner review by Allan of the Bob Selman's MiniStik here in E Zone!

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Apr 04, 2004, 07:54 PM
Registered User
Stan10's Avatar
I agree that the Slow Stick is a well-designed plane and a great choice for either a trainer or utility park-flyer.

But, I disagree with the review's statement that the manual is a "quality guide". It almost ignores the control setup...usually the most difficult thing for a beginner to get right. And, there is no guidance, diagram, or photo of how to mount the ESC and receiver. Finally, the manual was not written or translated by a speaker of standard English.

To reiterate...the plane and its design are great...just need to work on the manual.
Jun 05, 2004, 07:19 AM
Random acts of Randomness
eparkflyer's Avatar
I agree with Stan10! I love my SS, but the manual needs some work!

My question is about the way this SS was built. Why was the elevator hinged upside
down, and why is the motor on the bottom insted of the top of the stick?
Aug 10, 2004, 11:52 AM
Registered User
millerhill's Avatar

Nice job, but there are some details a newbie could benefit from


OK, first thing....the existing manual is terrible for a beginner that has no experience. An example is that the instructions don't tell you that the brackets that hold the servos need to face in a specific direction. If you glue the motor on THEN find out that the servo holders are facing in the wrong direction....well, that's a problem.

Also, The esc comes packaged with a gold colored heat sink (I guess that's what it is), a clear covering (heat shrink?) and a small white piece of plastic (a mounting plate?) No clue even in the packaging about what you are supposed to do with this stuff.

Another thing...they show how you can break up the fuse into two parts and join them, but no clue as to why you would want to do that in the first place.

I could go on and on about what they DON'T tell you. If it wasn't for sites like this and the SS forum threads, I'm sure I'd still be scratching my head.

BTW, I'm still scratching my head about that gold thingie...

Steve
Aug 14, 2004, 05:26 PM
Registered User

Why is the motor up-side-down?


I am just curious why you decided to mount the motor opposite of what the manual shows? I just purchased a SlowStick today, built it and flew it. Just curious.
Jul 05, 2006, 09:59 AM
Registered User

I need help to shoose


Well, I am looking for a relatively easy plain to fly and fix together , i am a bit interested in this slowstick , is it a plane who has that I am asking for?
Or is it other planes at the marked who is better? please help me
Nov 14, 2006, 08:12 AM
Registered User
Capt. new - The best plane to learn on in my opion is the Easy Star by Multiplex. Easy assembly and easy to fly. Look at http://www.horizonhobby.com/Products...odID=MPU214192
site and they have the best price of $57.99. Also the plane is indestructible. To see a video go to the following site:
http://www.hobby-lobby.com/easystar.htm
Note that in the video the pilot launched the plane with his radio on the ground and that is just how easy this plane is to fly. You will like it. The instruction manul is great for a beginner. The only change that I made is I did make the rudder a little bigger. If you get this plan and want more information on what I did with the rudder I can be contacted at pramsey26@yahoo.com. This kit can also be purchased with all the servos, battery installed and a radio for $179.99. The motor comes with either kit.

Good flying
Jan 16, 2007, 11:38 AM
Registered User

Gws slow stock


I have a 300 speed control brand new. 10 bucks + shipping if anybody needs one. Thanks
Jun 17, 2007, 01:27 AM
Registered User
hi, do you guys think that i could built one of those gws slowsticks since i got all the electronics i got the receiver, esc, transmitter, servos, and a 350c bb brushed motor all i need for the motor is the frame and the gear. Could anyone post how to make a gws slowstick scratch built.
Last edited by kzpl14; Jun 17, 2007 at 09:03 PM.
Jul 12, 2007, 11:49 PM
Gilbert, AZ
chalmrast's Avatar
You can buy the "SG - Slope Glider" kit for about $22.00 most anywhere. That's the entire GWS Slow Stick without the motor and everything else you said you already have.

For $22 is it really worth scratch building?????
Nov 04, 2007, 10:23 PM
Registered User

GWS Slow Stick Park Flyer 400 or 300?


Hello

I am new to the list, and have read the previous postings on the Slow Stick 300. I went to Tower Hobbies, and found there is a choice between a 300 or a 400.. What do you guys think? My son and I are new to electric RC and have flown a bunch of the Air Hog RC stuff. Time for something that has greater than 3 minutes air time and is more reliable. Have dabbled with some gas RC aircraft in my distant past. My son is 8, and sometimes he puts me to shame behind the stick.

The cost of both kits are the same, however the motor control is slightly more expensive on the 400 (not an object). We already have the radio with micro servos. Any help or direction would be appreciated. I think what we are looking for is a good slow trainer that we can collectively cut our teeth on.

George

Did I mention I have a 6-yr old daughter that loves airplanes too.
Nov 04, 2007, 10:44 PM
Gilbert, AZ
chalmrast's Avatar
The brushed 400 is the better choice but you will outgrow that fast. It has OK power at best.

There's a bazillion choices of brushless motors once you outgrow the brushed 400. Of course you'll need a brushless ESC. Decent combos can be purchased for $20-$25 in the US. Here's a good place to start... lots of info on the motors as well.

The single most important thing when putting together that slow stick is getting the Center of Gravity correct. The instructions are marginal at best. Consult the Ultimate Slow Stick Help thread for info and post any questions you may have there.

It didn't take long for me to go from no flight experience to this. You'll progress just as fast, if not faster with an amitious son at your side!!!

Chad
Mar 06, 2008, 04:03 PM
Registered User

help


I just built the slow stick as my first plane. I had to put 12 quarters on the front of it to get the CG were it is supposed to be. Is there ideas for what to do to get the extra wight off of the plane. I am using a 2s lipo and a light motor, this is why I think I am having the trouble.
Mar 29, 2008, 08:57 PM
Where'd The Wise Men Go?!?
AC5FF's Avatar
FlyGuy
Shouldn't need the quarters at all! Just move the wing back about 1/4 inch.. you'll be surprised just how much the CG will move!
Mar 31, 2008, 11:14 AM
Roy Parker

Ailerons?


Has anybody tried to hook up ailerons ? How would that best be done? I can see the shape in the wing, but that? Use two mini-servos? Pushrods? Flex cables?


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