Help! Flappy wings on my Pico! - RC Groups
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Apr 09, 2002, 12:18 AM
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Tres Wright's Avatar

Help! Flappy wings on my Pico!

Hi guys, I'm sorry if this has already been discussed, I used the search engine and couldn't find anything pertinent to this issue.

I have a GWS Pico-J3-S built completely stock except li-on batteries. I flew it in a very slight breeze this evening (first flights) and I had a lot of trouble controlling it because the wings were flapping so much! Geesh, it looked like a bird up there! I've flown bigger planes for years, but got this to fly in my backyard (which is quite large). Seeing as there is almost always at least a breeze, I would like to know if you guys have done any mods to stiffen your wings up like tape the leading/trailing edges or add tape across wing center, etc. I'm concerned about adding weight, so thought I would check with the experts first!

Thank you for your help!
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Apr 09, 2002, 12:39 AM
Registered User
HI Tres........i've gotten good results using lite weight string to stiffen up the landing gear and then attach strings from the landing gear wire to about 1/3 out to the wings ( outer ends of bamboo sticks if used)...adds no weight and limits max wing upward flex ......without it....sooner or later, you'll probably have a wind over-load induced wing failure.....i had one at about 100 ft altitude on a regular Pico-Stick........i don't need that kind of exitement ....but i somehow did save it you ,i don't wannt to add any weight if avoidable ........have fun
Apr 09, 2002, 12:48 AM
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Tres Wright's Avatar
Thanks KW, I like that idea. The wings were flexing upward quite severely, so that would definitely limit it.

==i had one at about 100 ft altitude on a regular Pico-Stick........i don't need that kind of exitement ==

I hear ya! I bought it for some nice relaxed backyard flying, not for white-knuckled wrestling with the sticks to get it down in one piece
Apr 09, 2002, 04:41 AM
firstdegree's Avatar
hiya tres

basketcase has pics of flying wires here:

for myself, I use very light yellow (plastic) packing tape front & rear as you mention, best decribed here:

I also cover the gap between the wings with the same tape.

good luck - I reckon the stik is the best introduction to park flying out there
Apr 09, 2002, 06:33 AM
Registered User
rcav8r2's Avatar
I use unwaxed dental floss.
* cheap
* very light
* easy to get
Apr 09, 2002, 08:13 AM
an earth bound misfit, I
Basketcase's Avatar
Hi Tres, and thanks First Degree,

I used a combintaion of aluminum tubes to add dihedral for better turning and dental floss flying wires to add some tension. Now the wings don't flap at all, loops, inverted are fine, high speed power dives still produce a little wing flutter. But the sticks are not supposed to go that fast anyway.

If you are using the stock plastic battery/servo holder you can replace it by using sticks and a rubber band to hold the servos and a piece of wood with velcro to hold the batteries. Saves a good bit of weight.

And I think one of the best mods is covering the hole between the wings as first posted by Ben Lanterman. Just a piece of tape will do. I added foam to keep the tape smooth but it's not really necessary.

Good luck,


The link to my web site is in FirstDegree's post.
Apr 09, 2002, 09:23 AM
Registered User
rcav8r2's Avatar
How much does covering the middle of the wings help?

I like to take mine appart when I take it anywhere. Yea I know it's not large or anything, but my buddy and I usually go to the indoor meets togeather and we each have a lite Stick, + a UFO, a Twin Star, 2 Zagis, a Pink Flyer, battery boxes, xmitter boxes, etc fill up my Maxima in a hurry
Apr 09, 2002, 10:31 AM
an earth bound misfit, I
Basketcase's Avatar
IMHO covering the hole between the wings makes a noticable difference.

It's so easy to do, try it and see.

At first I used tape, and now am using a piece of red trim monocote. The color matches almost perfectly (you should be able to find cub yellow) and it's not real sticky so it can be peeled off easily. I did put tape on the wings where it sticks. With the foam under there too it just goes on and comes off very easy. Would only take you another second when installing or removing the wings.

And it makes it look a lot better too.

Last edited by Basketcase; Apr 09, 2002 at 10:53 AM.
Apr 09, 2002, 11:15 AM
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Tres Wright's Avatar
WOW, thank you guys! That's a HUGE help!

That silly little plastic bracket for holding the servos already broke, I used the ol' thread & C/A to put it back on. I like the balsa/popsicle stick idea though.

I'm particularly intrigued at the possibility of loops, I was convinced these wings couldn't be enhanced to that extent. But of course now that I've heard it's possible....
Apr 09, 2002, 12:08 PM
Registered User
rcav8r2's Avatar
Originally posted by Basketcase
IMHO covering the hole between the wings makes a noticable difference.

It's so easy to do, try it and see.


I'll try it for this weekends meet. I really like the way it flys now, but I'll be willing to settle for some improved performance
Apr 09, 2002, 12:20 PM
Been There! Done That!
boomerace's Avatar
On all my foam planes I use a 1/8 " hardwood dowel epoxied or thick CA'ed to the leading edge of the wing (wings) and then wrap the dowel it's entire length with a length of clear packing tape. No wing flex and protects the leading edge from impacts with trees, fences, people, etc. Also as I do a lot of ROG's from rough surfaces I also use clear packing tape on any surface that might get scuffed from less than perfect takeoffs and landings such as wing tips and tips of elevator. Adds little weight and makes the plane "bullet proof" and it works just as well and is cheaper than carbon rod. Also makes the plane handle better and no strings in the way or to hang up on objects
Apr 10, 2002, 09:08 PM
Live to ride... and fly!
Tres Wright's Avatar


Hey guys, thanks again for the input. I ended up gluing a 1/8" dowel on the LE of each wing as suggested and taping over that. I was surprised how much that little bit of extra weight affected the CG, I had to move the battery pack back about 1/2". I'm using li-ons, so I had saved so much weight with those that the extra didn't affect performance.

So... I took that bad boy out and there was a slight breeze like the one that caused me problems before. No problem now!! This is the 1st time I've flown it problem-free for any length of time. The dowels made a significant difference in wing rigidity. I even looped it 3 different times! The wings bow upwards during the loops, so my next mod will be to add the fly wires connecting the LE to the landing gear. The loops were surprisingly smooth, once it hits the top it tends to flip over real quick, but it was nicely aligned throughout. So Basketcase was right, these things WILL loop

The li-ons also performed incredibly well. I flew it a full 34 minutes on a pack that was not even fully charged. And it still had juice left when I brought it down, I just wanted to land so I could fly one of my other planes!! Sweet!