GWS Zero Flight Report (Fugly little 3ch Bird) - RC Groups
Thread Tools
Apr 01, 2002, 11:03 AM
Truss-Loc Monkey
Stevens AeroModel's Avatar

GWS Zero Flight Report (Fugly little 3ch Bird)

Well I picked up a Zero at the LHS last week and didn't get around to building it until Saturday. Build time was no more than 4 hours. I chose NOT to cut the rudder loose. Instead I left it attached and made this a 3 CH bird (Aileron/Elevator only). This allowed me to use my cheap Focus 3 radio that I had been using in my stick... And frankly, I am tired of buying servos.

I used three different packs in flight testing:

8 Cell 2/3 AAA 300mah/nimh:
8 Cell AAA 720mah/nimh:
8 Cell 600AE:

All three packs were stacked 4 on 4 so they wouldn't fit in the provided battery holder. Instead I velcro'ed them to the fire wall inside the fuse. I managed to get the CG to fall right where the instructions said (with all three packs)... Perhaps the lack of the extra servo is what allowed the CG to fall in the proper area.

I made about 8 flights before packing things in -here is the experience:

All flights were ROG... Even though this tail dragger lacked a rudder I managed to point it into the wind punch the throttle and attain flight before it could ground loop. I think the key here is that I was flying 8 cells. With 8 cells the plane hops into the air in under 10 feet.

Very little trim was needed to get the bird to follow a nice glide path. Under power it wanted to point the nose up somewhat. I may drop the ailerons 1 mm to counter this.

The first flight was made using the AAA 720mah/nimh 8 cell pack. IMHO this pack gave the best performance... even thought the 600AE's dump more amps, the lighter weight of the 720/nimh allowed the similar vertical performance to the 600AE cells. The lighter weight of these cells also made for easier landings, the plane came in slower and lighter which is easier on the flimsy landing gear.

The next flights were made using the 8cell 2/3 AAA 300mah/nimh packs.. Flight durration was about 1/4 of the 720 pack. Climb was not satisfactory.

The next flights were made using the 600 AE's. Performance was similar to the AAA 720nimh pack. However, the 600's are heavy and as a result didn't net more vertical. The heavy bird was a chore to land even gentle landings resulted in the landing gear splaying way out.

All I had left was some 8 cell 600 AE packs. So I loaded up and went of to put the zero through it's paces. The Zero climbs out rapidly, has great inverted flight manners, and a moderate rate of roll. Rolls are, of course, not axial. Even without the rudder I could power through nice large loops, split s, stall, stall turns, blah, blah, blah, most all your inside manuever stuff..... Outside manuevers were less than thrilling compared to the Switch Back.

On the final landing with the 600 pack the wind died down and I brought it in without a headwind. The zero came in fast with the heavy pack and just would not slow down. My nice smooth touch down in grass resulted in a spectacular cartwheel as soon as the gear splayed out and stopped the forward motion imeadiately. I lost about 3" off of one of the wing tips but other than that the rest of the plane was in fine shape. The nice thing about the foam zero is that it started life looking like a FUGLY little foam wal-mart glider that was spray painted green..... you beat it up and and it retains it's FUGLY look quite well (some would say it's fuglyness is enhanced) so nothing is really lost and perhaps it is actually made better

One bad habit I noticed is that when pulling any sort of high speed high g type turn the plane would snap roll out un-predictably.... Same thing goes for dive recovery or tight split s type stuff... When recovering from a high speed dive and yanking back on the stick the zero would do some wierd sort of snap roll and go OC. The CG was set per the GWS specs but perhaps some experimenting will be necessary... I have a felling, though, that I may just be over stressing the control surfaces as they are pretty flimsy.

Things I'd do differently:

Stick with stock gear mounts but go with a higher profile thin (yes even more ugly) wheel - need more clearance and better roll out on less than ideal surfaces. I mean really this is one FUGLY bird who cares about scale.

Use 5 minute epoxy on control rod to elevator linkage and control rod to aileron metal to foam surfaces.

Mate/Glue elevator and linkage rod surfaces prior to installing the horizontal stab.

Use 5 minute epoxy on LE plastic wing mounts.

Don't put red zero stickers on bottom of wing. Just leave them on the top.. The plane is hard enough to see in flight.... Disorientation will be a big issue unless you are thinking each move through and stay focused while flying. Red zeros on top and bottom just make it much more difficult to tell which way things are pointed.

The fun factor is high and the FUGLY factor is out of this world ..... Grab a buddy, leave the combat streamers at home, grab some white glue, tape, and epoxy and go for blood!
Last edited by arenablimp; Apr 01, 2002 at 05:01 PM.
Sign up now
to remove ads between posts
Apr 01, 2002, 05:26 PM
Motors beat engines!
The snapping out is most likely due to too much elevator throw.

I had a the same problem with a jk aerotech zero when I tried to increase throws past recommended.

A properly balanced zero's elevator is extremely powerful with very little throw. Apparently your properly balanced.
Apr 01, 2002, 06:14 PM
Truss-Loc Monkey
Stevens AeroModel's Avatar
Thanks for the info. Maybe that is the case...

Comm'on GWS4CEO bring on the P-51's!
Apr 01, 2002, 07:02 PM
Registered User
So is FUGLY a good thing or a bad thing? It sounds like you like the plane overall.
Apr 01, 2002, 07:26 PM
Registered User
joemi's Avatar
Fugly...I guess depends on who you ask

Personally I love the looks of it.. and my wife even commented on how cool it looks at least 10 times! That itself is amazing to me.. in fact, she wants to go watch me fly it next time I go.
I just have to learn how to fly it first. My last flight ended up with it in half.

BTW: Anyone know where to get the gear for that EPS 300C motors GB? I have asked about the gearbox in another thread, and found the gearbox itself, the shaft itself, but yet to find the gear itself. (the one on the gearbox, not the motor) I have it superglued together, but not sure if flying that way would be a good idea... Had to order a whole entire EPS 300C setup! Pretty much a waste since I have only had 10 minutes on the other motor... at least until I find the Gear. Also, it may look like the IPS gear would work, but its probably a milimeter too small.. the teeth just barely hit the motor's gear.
Apr 01, 2002, 08:31 PM
Truss-Loc Monkey
Stevens AeroModel's Avatar
My last Zero was a Kyosho foamie.... which was very nicely finnished.... This one is plain fugly no matter what way you look at it. But fugly can be a good thing. It looks great in the air even when I don't It's fugliest up close sort of what you'd call a "Monet". I think I am inspired to get another one and do some finish work to it. Wish Horizon would sell an unfinnished version as a bunch of locals here plan to combat them and we need to tell one another appart.

Fugly has advantages... No mater how hard you scuff, scratch, and ding it you cannot tell where the ding was... it just blends in with the rest of the mold marks.

The higher wing loading and low investment risk ($60 bucks and 4 hours of my life) have just made the little bird my windy day flyer. Took it out in 10+ mph winds this evening... the penetration was very good thanks to the higher wing loading. Plus the "gail force" head wind let me slow this thing down and spare the gear some more abuse.

BTW my all up weight with the 720mah 8c AAA NIMH pack is at a respectable 13oz (feather rec / + 2 HS-55's) -that is way better than initially projected. No wonder why it jumps into the air. I finally got a flat pack of batteries and mounted them where they are supposed to go. The CG is now a tad forward of where GWS recomendes. Most of the tendency to snap out of tight manuevers has gone, but it still wants to snap out of extremely high speed full elevator throw moves.

Seems like the 720 AAA's are the way to go... any heavier and the gear just cannot handle the abuse.

Anyways in this case FUGLY is good... I think
Apr 02, 2002, 10:05 AM
What Canary?
KeithK's Avatar

What connectors are you using on your battery packs? I have a couple 8 x 350 NiCad packs I would like you to try. They work quite well on the Switchback, they can handle higher currents than the NiMH you mentioned. I would like to compare flight times and performance since you have already done some work on this. Did you see Mike's plane at Custom Hobbies? He has his sanded down and says it requires little effort, the Acrylic paint comes off easily, and the foam is fairly dense- he doesn't have foam pellets pulling out. Please get everyone in town to buy the Zero so I will have the only P-51 when it comes out

Apr 02, 2002, 10:59 AM
Truss-Loc Monkey
Stevens AeroModel's Avatar
I am using the standard red JST type (BEC) connectors. I can easily make up an adapter to what ever you are using. I'd love to try out the 350's..... Yeah, I saw Mike's sanded down zero.... I think I'll be doing the same shortly.

You know if you end up with the only P-51 then you'll be out numbered
Apr 02, 2002, 06:49 PM
Houng-wen Lin
GWS4CEO's Avatar
Originally posted by arenablimp
Thanks for the info. Maybe that is the case...

Comm'on GWS4CEO bring on the P-51's!
Mnay other War Birds are cooming from GWS!
Apr 02, 2002, 10:15 PM
Registered User
cfossa's Avatar
Looks like we'll have time to crash a bunch of Zeros before you get your hands on a Mustang

Apr 02, 2002, 11:17 PM
Registered User
gromitvt10's Avatar
hey everyone, i'm thinking about using a 5 cell 1600mah NIMH AA battery pack. would that be to heavy? also would it have enough power to fly? any suggestions would be great. thanx

Apr 03, 2002, 02:07 AM
Registered User
Inferno's Avatar
P-51D oh yeah .....gotta have it.
Apr 03, 2002, 06:38 AM
Eat, Sleep, Fly!
realglow's Avatar


Is 'fugly' the same as 'double-ugly'?
Apr 03, 2002, 08:21 AM
Truss-Loc Monkey
Stevens AeroModel's Avatar
Yeah something like that.
Apr 03, 2002, 09:49 AM
What Canary?
KeithK's Avatar

You need at least 7 cells, 8 is better!