Horizon Hobby Hangar 9 Ultra Stick 30cc - RCGroups Review

Mike McDougall tackles the new Hangar 9 Ultra Stick 30cc from Horizon Hobby. Master modeler Ali Machinchy updated the venerable Ultra Stick design and worked his magic to infuse this newest Stick with all the wonderful flying characteristics of the iconic Ultra Stick in a 30cc class giant scale model.

Splash

Introduction

Hangar 9 Ultra Stick 30cc
Wingspan:80.75 in
Length:74.0 in
Wing Area:1360.3 sq in
Weight:12 to14 lbs
Wing Loading:22.02 oz/sq ft
Servos:8 Standard Size
Radio:Minimum 6 Channel DSMX/DSM2
Battery:6.6V 2200mAh 2S LiFe (x2)
Motor:33cc Gas
Prop:17x8 to 18x10 2- blade
Transmitter:Spektrum Dx18 G2
Manufacturer:Hangar 9
Available From:Horizon Hobby through your local hobby shop
Street Price:$299.99

When Hangar 9 first introduced the new Ultra Stick design, it was immediately apparent that this wasn't your grandpa's same old "Stick". From the racy swept rudder to the double beveled quad flaps, it was perfectly clear that the Ultra Stick was a big improvement. As the Ultra Stick design matured, it proved itself as a capable trainer, an excellent sport model, and an impressive 3D flyer. A few years ago Horizon Hobby modernized the "Stick" class of aircraft with their innovative Ultra Stick design. Horizon took the basic "Stick" concept to a whole new level when they increased the size of the control surfaces and double beveled the edges to allow additional surface deflection for 3D. In addition, the Ultra Stick had optional flaps on the wing that could be programmed for all sorts of wacky maneuvers.

Fast forward to the present, and we see that Hangar 9 master model designer Ali Machinchy has brought his considerable talents to bear on the task of further freshening up the successful Ultra Stick design and enlarging the aircraft for the giant-scale sport market. Not only did Ali enlarge and refine the airframe, he made it stout enough to accommodate multiple power sources. He made sure that Electric motors, 2 and 4-stroke Gas engines, as well as multi cylinder twins and radials could all be mounted to the Ultra Stick.

A generous front hatch area allows easy access to fuel tanks and battery packs and there's even an optional set of floats available. The best feature of the new design may be that it maintains the HUGE performance envelope and honest flight characteristics of the original design. Whether you're a new intermediate pilot or a hard core 3D type, the Ultra Stick 30cc is sure to bring a smile to your face at a price point that is mighty easy on the credit card.

First Impressions

My first impression was WOW that's a Mighty Bright Green! As I unpacked the parts, the next thing I noticed was the size and thickness of the wing panels. A constant cord 81" wing covered a lot of real estate. The covering job looked great and the flying surfaces were all pre-slotted and hinged. The fuselage hatch was nice and the fiberglass wheel pants closely matched the UltraCote covering colors.

Kit Contents

Here's a list of the kit parts:

  • Balsa and plywood airframe with UltraCote covering
  • Fuselage with nice battery/tank hatch
  • 2-Piece wing with ailerons and flaps pre-hinged
  • Horizontal stab with elevator pre-hinged
  • Vertical stab with rudder pre-hinged
  • Aluminum wing tube
  • Sturdy metal landing gear with painted fiberglass wheel pants
  • Complete hardware package
  • 28-Page illustrated Instruction Manual

Required Parts

  • Minimum 6-channel transmitter and receiver with 8 servos (7 for electric)
  • Ignition and receiver batteries and switches
  • Heavy-duty Servo extensions; 4-6", 2-12", and 2-18"
  • Heavy -duty servo arms; 4-2" and 4-1.5"
  • 30cc Gas engine or Power 160 electric motor
  • Fuel filter, ignition kill switch, 3" spinner
  • CA and epoxy glue
  • Threadlock
  • Common building tools

Parts Supplied by Horizon for this Review

For this review, Horizon Hobby supplied an Evolution 33GX Gas Engine, an Evolution Pitts style muffler, an Evolution Ignition Kill Switch, an Evolution 17x8 propeller, a 3" 2-blade aluminum spinner, a Spektrum AR9350 receiver, 8 Spektrum A6180 Digital Servos, 2-2200 mAh LiFe receiver batteries, 2 Evolution 3-Wire Switch harnesses, Heavy-Duty servo arms, and servo extensions.

Assembly

The 28-page illustrated Instruction Manual details the assembly process for the 30cc Ultra Stick. In keeping with the high standards of Hangar 9 manuals, this one contained excellent step-by-step instructions accompanied by detailed pictures. This Review includes a few helpful building tips that may clarify some of the building steps.

The Review kit included an Addendum that listed increased control throws for the ailerons and elevator.

Wings

The assembly process began on Page 11 with the wings and the installation of the ailerons and flaps. After checking each hinge slot, several were found that were very tight and the hinges were difficult to remove and reinstall. The slots were easily opened up with a wide blade knife and the center of each hinge slot was then drilled with a 1/16" bit to aid with CA wicking.

The use of two dressmaker pins per hinge kept the hinges centered and kept them from twisting in their slots. A short length of 1/8" ply was just perfect to provide the proper spacing between flaps and ailerons.

Next up was the installation of the aileron and flap servos to the servo mounts. While the mounts were still taped to the wing, an old soldering iron was used to remove the covering over the servo arm slot and to open up the covering over each screw location. A 1/16" drill was used to open a screw hole in each corner and then a mounting screw was threaded into each hole and removed. As each servo mount was untapped and lifted off the wing, it was immediately marked for wing half, orientation, and servo function. The card stock from the liners in the servo boxes made perfect shims for getting the servos correctly spaced away from the mounts. Once the servos were screwed in place, the shims were removed leaving the servos properly vibration isolated from the mounts.

Each aileron servo needed an 18 heavy-duty servo extension. The Assembly Manual listed 2 aluminum servo arms for the aileron servos and 1-1/2 aluminum servo arms for the flap servos. Horizon supplied two sets of heavy-duty servo arms that worked very well in place of the aluminum arms. Once all the servo mounts were installed in their proper locations, the servo linkages were installed and adjusted for each aileron and flap segment.

Fuselage

Next up was the fuselage. Once the horizontal stab was properly positioned and aligned, it was difficult to hold it in position prior to applying the epoxy. Three holes were drilled through the stab and three sheet metal screws inserted to securely lock the alignment in place. The rear screw was slightly countersunk to provide clearance for the tail wheel bracket. This setup easily returned the stab to perfect alignment once the epoxy was applied. The screws were simply left in place after the epoxy had set. Low tack painter's tape was used to shield the fuselage from any excess epoxy.

With the elevator halves and the rudder CA'ed in place, it was time to choose which tail wheel to install for my Ultra Stick. Since our club has a Petro Mat runway, I choose the softer compound wheel for the Review Ultra Stick.

Next up was the radio and servo installation. The provided AR9350 receiver had two fixed antennas and two remote receivers. Coffee stir sticks were used to route and retain the flexible sections of the antennas. One remote receiver was mounted forward of the main receiver on the fuselage side ahead of the power switches. The other remote receiver was mounted to the opposite side of the fuselage near the wing bolt location.

The rudder servo was mounted in the center position of the servo tray. The elevator servos were mounted in the tail to offset the weight of the EVO 33 engine and flight/ignition batteries in the nose. The servos were first wrapped in a layer of card stock from the servo boxes and then inserted into the servo openings. After the servo mounting holes were drilled and hardened with CA, the card stock was removed, and the servos reinstalled in the fuselage. The card stock served to keep the elevator servos centered in the fuselage openings and provided clearance for vibration isolation.

The landing gear and wheel pants were installed and the fuselage was ready for the engine. Hangar 9 provided a laser cut template to slip over the fuselage firewall to provide exact drilling locations for the Evolution 33GX engine mounting bolts.

Once the engine was bolted in place, the RPM telemetry adapter module and the Evolution optical ignition kill switch were positioned in the fuselage. Separate flight and ignition batteries were placed on the left side of the fuel tank and the engine ignition module was positioned on the right side of the fuel tank. There was plenty of room in the tank compartment for all of the necessary equipment.

AS3X Programming

The next step was to decide on whether to utilize the AS3X stabilization feature on the Spectrum AR9350 receiver. I have to admit that I enjoy flying with AS3X. My Review RV-4 was wonderful with AS3X and I was anxious to have it in place on the Ultra Stick 33cc.

There is an excellent thread here on RCGroups that deals with these receivers and there are a series of 13 YouTube videos from Horizon that take you through the complete programming process.

Since the Ultra Stick 30cc surface throws were set up according to the information in the Manual Addendum, the AS3X parameter were set conservatively. The Flight Modes were set as FM1 Mild Gain (30-40%), FM2 Slight Gain (20-30%) and FM3 Zero Gain. These settings were chosen for gusty/windy conditions, normal sport flying conditions, and "I'm just gonna fly this myself" conditions.

Completion

The completed Ultra Stick 33cc weighed 13 lbs 7 ounces, dry. The plane balanced perfectly at 4-1/2" back from the leading edge of the wing. As mentioned earlier, the control surface throws were set to the higher values specified in the Addendum document:

  • Ailerons - High Rates +2-11/16" / -2-5/32"; Low Rates +1/3/16" / -1"
  • Elevators - High Rates +2-5/32" / -2-5/32"; Low Rates +1-1/16" / -1-1/16"
  • Rudder - High Rates +2-3/4" / -2-3/4"; Low Rates +1-3/8" / -1-3/8"
  • Flaps - Landing Flaps 2-5/32"; Takeoff Flaps 1"

The transmitter countdown timer was set for 10 minutes and set to start and run at any throttle setting above 20%.

Preflight Overview

After all the hard work was done, it was time to take a brief walk around of the finished Hangar 9 Ultra Stick 30cc..

Hangar 9 Ultra Stick 30cc Pre Flight (3 min 5 sec)

Flying

The Hangar 9 Ultra Stick 30cc comes from a long line of excellent flying sport sticks. To remain true to its roots, the model should exhibit stable low speed capabilities as well as spectacular aerobatic maneuverability. It's time to shove the throttle stick forward and see how this new Ultra Stick measures up.

Taking Off and Landing

AS3X was set to FM2, flaps were left up, and the throttle gradually advanced. The rudder was responsive as the tail lifted and the plane tracked well with just a bit of right rudder to keep it centered. The wheels easily broke ground at about half throttle and the Ultra Stick climbed out rock steady as the throttle was eased on up. Subsequent takeoffs were just as uneventful with or without the AS3X. The new Ultra Stick 30cc had excellent ground handling manners.

Landings for most giant scale planes work best with a little power carried into the final approach. Just a bit of power kept the Ultra Stick 30cc approach angle steady all the way to touchdown. Wheel landings were very easy and that big old thick wing maintained complete control well past touchdown speed. Mid position flaps slowed down the approach speed and reduced the rollout distance. Full flaps were very effective and a lot of fun. Steep approach angles and rock steady feel when adding power were the norm.

Sport Flying

There's just something special about flying a giant scale model. It's truly special when you throw that giant scale model around and have it fly just like your favorite .40 sized sport plane. The Ultra Stick 30cc model flew so well and felt so steady from the very start that it gave this pilot heaps of confidence to try all kinds of sport maneuvers. The rudder was very effective. Stall turns were nice and crisp, snaps were a little slow at first, but high rate rudder was the cure. Knife edge took a little work. High wing planes with minimum side area just take a little more attention to the sticks. The elevator was very effective and the ailerons were nice and responsive. Loops, rolls, Cuban eights, snaps and spins were all very easy and the Ultra Stick felt rock solid in every attitude.

Key to the instant feeling of confidence with the Ultra Stick 30cc was the rock steady performance of the Evolution 33GX engine. Even with the 17x8 break-in prop and the rich needle settings, the 33GX had plenty of power and never missed a beat. I'm now a big fan of this engine!

Is This For a Beginner?

Giant scale models are probably not right for an absolute beginner. However, the Hangar 9 Ultra Stick 30cc can make a great giant scale trainer for anyone comfortable flying a low wing model. The Ultra Stick 30cc would be a perfect first giant scale model for intermediate flyers.

Maiden Flight Video

The Texas weather was a bit windy, but it was time for the Ultra Stick 30cc maiden, so we packed up the cameras and headed to the flying field. Jesse Webb was in charge of the Camcorder and the Ultra Stick 30cc was ready for its Maiden Flight. You can hear the 33GX running rich but steady throughout the flight.

Hangar 9 Ultra Stick 30cc Maiden Flight (11 min 18 sec)

Flight Photo Gallery

Jesse Webb switched over to the Nikon and the Evolution 33GX started right up for its second flight. I hope you enjoy the pictures!

Sport Flying Video

Several flights later, the 33GX was breaking in better and Jesse Webb was back manning the Camcorder. I was having so much fun sport flying this Ultra Stick, I'm surprised Jesse was able to keep up with it for this video.

Sport Flying the Hangar 9 Ultra Stick 30cc from Horizon Hobby (7 min 22 sec)

Final Thoughts

This new Hangar 9 Ultra Stick 30cc is a worthy addition to the Ultra Stick Family. This giant scale model has all the familiar Ultra Stick lines as well as all the excellent Ultra Stick flying characteristics. This 30cc version has all the gentle flying traits of a trainer while maintaining all the nimble moves of a great sport flyer. The Ultra Stick 30cc would make a great giant scale trainer, a great everyday giant scale sport flyer, as well as an excellent everyday plane for expert pilots.

The Evolution 33GX engine is a real sweetheart of an engine. Easy starting and easy tuning make it a great choice for the Ultra Stick.

As an added bonus, the Ultra Stick 30cc should make an excellent giant scale test bed for trying out new radio equipment and engines. The plane is stable and forgiving and it supports a wide range of power options and wing loadings. The engine is totally accessible for tuning and adjustments.

Pluses

  • Reliable Evolution 33GX Engine
  • Classic Ultra Stick Looks and Performance
  • Gas/Glow/Electric Power Options Supported
  • Two-piece Wings
  • Flying Surfaces Pre-hinged
  • Effective Flaps
  • Nice Wheel Pants
  • Wonderful Ultra Stick Flight Characteristics
  • Brightly Colored UltraCote Covering

Minuses

  • Some hinge slots were very tight

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Last edited by kingsflyer; Jul 26, 2018 at 12:42 PM..
Thread Tools
Aug 16, 2018, 10:45 AM
We shall serve the Lord
kingsflyer's Avatar
The Evolution 33GX is still breaking in, but it has gobs of power for this Ultra Stick 30cc.
McD
Latest blog entry: LEDs on my T-28
Aug 16, 2018, 05:11 PM
nh4clo4
They are really nice flying planes, and fun!
I have a RCGF 30cc twin, plenty of power.

It does really easy rolling circles
Aug 16, 2018, 09:36 PM
If it's R/C, I LIKE IT!
Nikolei Zinsli's Avatar
Nice review!
Latest blog entry: 93" AJ Laser 230z
Aug 16, 2018, 10:46 PM
Registered User
I've got a Saito FG30B looking for a home. Would that be too little engine for the plane?
Aug 17, 2018, 01:33 AM
We shall serve the Lord
kingsflyer's Avatar
I think it would be a great match for the Ultra Stick. It might not have unlimited vertical, but it would have that great Saito 4-stroke sound.

McD
Latest blog entry: LEDs on my T-28
Aug 18, 2018, 12:51 PM
KE Spins make me dizzy.
Can't wait to see what this thing can do with an Aura8 in it.
Aug 19, 2018, 11:32 AM
Registered User
numb_thumbs's Avatar
I have mine about half assembled now and I am very happy with the quality, especially the hard ware. This much airplane at this level of quality for $299 is really impressive.

My one complaint and it applies to almost every ARF I have ever missed with is they like to save the engine for last. Get it and the fuse servos all done before you put the relatively delicate tail feathers on it. It’s hard to install motor/tank or motor/ESC/Battery and run all the wires without knocking the plane around a bit. Get the hard work done before you do put the delicate parts on!

It seem like such common sense to me I do not understand why almost every instructions you ever see have the motor last.
Nov 07, 2018, 02:32 AM
We shall serve the Lord
kingsflyer's Avatar
Here are some pictures of the Ultra Stick at Flight Fest Texas. These were taken by Glenn Frels.

McD
Latest blog entry: LEDs on my T-28


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