i am having a very hard time with my ZAGI 400X, please help!! - RC Groups
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Jun 12, 2002, 03:20 PM
Principal Member
compuatic's Avatar

i am having a very hard time with my ZAGI 400X, please help!!

hi, i purchased my zagi 400x as a second plane after a fbxl about 3 months ago. built it very well. the first time out i went to a field and let a pro test fly it for me. the thing flew amazingly well and was great, he said the plane is built very good. the problem now is with me. i have been trying to teach my self how to fly for the past 3 months. ive done a total of about 20 trips. this is what happens, i throw it straight and apply some elevons to climb, it climbs to maybe 10 feet then either dives right or left then smack. this has been the scenario since, try to get it off the ground, then somehow smack back down!!. the last couple of times i managed to get it up high, but control become extremely difficult, and its allover the place. eventually it is either in a tree or smack down within 5 mins. i always fix it appropriately to make sure its in good condition. the last time really sucked cause it got stuck up high and i had to pay a treee climber a 100 dollars to get it down. please help, how do i teach my self this thing? or any other suggestions? thanks alot. by the way, i ordered a tiger moth, maybe slow flyers will give me a better feel and some leeway to lurn. but common zagi! fly fly
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Jun 12, 2002, 03:35 PM
Registered User
MikeScag's Avatar

Flying a Zagi

Three letters : FMS

This is a freeware flight simulator that will help you learn quite a bit about flying. Think of it a virtual ground school. There's even a Zagi model that you can download.

Check it out, there are tons of posts about it here on E-ZONE. It's saved me tons of repair work in the past.
Jun 12, 2002, 03:38 PM
Pro Bro # 179
KevinM's Avatar
does your zagi seem to slow way down when you apply up elevon control? then fall???
Jun 12, 2002, 03:42 PM
Registered User
saint152's Avatar
Hey compuatic...

You should read some tips from www.yourzagi.com There is a lot of helpful information in there!

You should also check your center of gravity (move it a little forward for stabilty), lower the throws on your controls (by moving the control rods all the way to the top of the control horn), and lastly.... make sure that the prop is on the right direction..... A lot of people tend to make this mistake the first time around!....Believe it or not....your zagi will still fly with the prop on backwards (not much thrust though). Hope this helps!
Jun 12, 2002, 03:48 PM
Registered User
elecwings's Avatar
Because the airplane has been proven to be flyable, the number of likely causes for your repeated failures is somewhat limited. The first and most likely cause would be over-controlling, a very common problem with new fliers. If the wing is set up correctly it should fly straight ahead and begin a gentle climb - if not, you may need to set some "up" or "reflex" into the elevons.

Second, and directly related to the first cause, may be the throws you have set up. The Zagi does not require large control throws for flight. The 3/8" elevon throws listed are sufficient, especially for learning to fly.

Third is the Center of Gracity (CG) The CG is especially critical in a wing like the Zagi. Since it has been flown successfully you must be in the ballpark. Are you using the same battery that was used by your local expert? Is it possible the battery has shifted?

Last, during the launch are you unwittingly imparting a turn or bank to the aircraft? Someone standing behind you at launch should be able to determin this quite easily.

There are lots of possible causes, but concentrating on the three listed above is a good starting point. Congratulations on building a good airplane. Hope you have many hours of fun with it. (My Zagi 400 is out of commission right now awaiting new servos, new motor and new covering, but I can honestly say that it is the most enjoyable aircraft I have ever owned.)

Jun 12, 2002, 04:50 PM
Retired USAF, A&P mechanic
Ronbo's Avatar
my .02cents worth

i agree with dan, 'sounds' to me like your overcontrolling the plane. you were used to the firebird(?), and this plane is a bit much for u right now.

if in doubt, hand it back to the pro and let him try it out. heck, see if he will get it high enough, then hand it to you to handle.

some of us 'pros' forget that its fine for us, but too much for a novice in the way a plane handles, speed, etc.

Jun 12, 2002, 05:02 PM
Principal Member
compuatic's Avatar


mikescag: i have fms and can keep the virtual zagi flying just like i want, but it doesnt seem to be alot of help in real life IMO. very enjoyable though.

kevinM: no it doesnt stall. it usually just wonders to the right or left then dives.

saint152: i actually read yourzagi.com alot when i was building my zagi. very helpfull site. my cg is right about the carbon spar. and the prop is flipped so that the writting is to the front. i sill change the controls to the top. good idea.

elecwings: the overcontrol thing might be it. i will set the bars at the top of the control horn and try to be gentle.

ronbo: again with the control thing.

thanks guys for the help, ill try all the above and come back to report.
Jun 12, 2002, 08:25 PM
Tacoma, WA, USA
William A's Avatar

Re: re

Originally posted by compuatic
the prop is flipped so that the writting is to the front.
Flip your prop around, the writing is supposed to go towards the rear.
Jun 12, 2002, 09:49 PM
Registered User
Here's my penny's worth if you still want it. First like everyone else said, it sounds like you're overcontrolling it way too much. The Zagi doesn't have TONS of power so it's easy to stall in a tight turn. You need to make smooth turns to keep altitude. And if you are going to make real tight turns expect to lose a bit of altitude. Or have excess speed going into the turn and this will let you make the turn without losing any or maybe a real small amount of altitude.

And on launch it sounds like you are stalling the plane. Especially if on launch it doesn't have enough power yet to fly and you give full up input. It will definately stall.

So my suggestions are to tame the throws down a little bit and on launch make sure the airplane is flying before you give it elevator input. And you may have seen the different launching techniques or not? But there's the one where you hold the plane by the nose and toss. And there's one where you hold the plane by the TE under the motor then toss and give power. The second method I hear being called the pizza toss method. And this will definately get the zagi flying very quickly. Especially on a gorilla launch.

And lastly... make sure your CG is in the correct spot. If it's tail heavy it'll definately be difficult to control.

Hope this is of some help.
Jun 12, 2002, 10:31 PM
Principal Member
compuatic's Avatar


well, i went to the "field" here and had a pro try it out. before launch he said it feels a little tail heavy but we will see. he then threw it and before he had time to do any control, the thing threw it self backwards and smack. he said its way too tail heavy. so i went home to do some fixing. i already tore all the covering down for a rebuild. by the way, the nose of the plane curves upwards, is that ok? or is it a serious problem? thanx again.
Jun 12, 2002, 10:39 PM
Tacoma, WA, USA
William A's Avatar
Flip your prop around, the writing is supposed to go towards the rear.
Jun 12, 2002, 10:51 PM
Registered User
mtayl's Avatar
Well...it flew once so it should fly again although absolutely check your prop Everyone has suggested the right stuff so the best thing to do would be to double check and make sure your CG is at 8 inches and also that your elevons are at neutral with a ruler. Put all of your trim tabs in the middle and leave the stick alone, then use the ruler on the bottom of the wing. If you throw it hard enough that should get you into the air.

I put some basic info up at http://www.yourzagi.com/flying.htm for adjusting the throws. As elecwings said, you should only need 3/8" in each direction. See if you can bend down your nose so it doesn't stick up. That will probably cause some problems at high speed. Who cares what it looks like, the point is to have some fun with it! (I have to say that because all of mine look terrible, even my wife makes fun of them)
Jun 12, 2002, 10:52 PM
Registered User
mtayl's Avatar
Here's possibly two of the more important pictures for the first flight
Jun 12, 2002, 10:59 PM
Principal Member
compuatic's Avatar


sorry, i ment to say that the prop is towards the front of the motor assemble, so the writting it towards the rear of the plane. i will try what all you guys said and try my luck again tommorow. great help guys.
Jun 13, 2002, 09:25 AM
Registered User
MSB's Avatar

Another plug for FMS

I have to say you really should get FMS. It's free, and there's a model (TZAGI) that flies more or less like a Zagi. I flew this for many hours before flying my 400X and it REALLY helps. The real thing is harder to fly, but at least you can fly towards/away from you and not crash. And if you do crash, just reset and you're off again.

I really can't overemphasize FMS' value!! You can even simulate an out of trim plane by just moving the trims on the joystick.

Go here for FMS, and here for the tzagi model.

You'll also want to get a joystick, and apparently Radio Shack has one for 5 bucks.

- Mark

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