Stock SoarStar versus Stock Slow Stick
version 5 dated 03 August 2003

Overall

The SoarStar flies more like a real plane and has better wind penetration.  The Slow Stick does a much faster ROG.  The SoarStar flies faster than the Slowstick.  The SoarStar gets to operational altitude much faster than the Slow Stick.  The SoarStar burns up juice faster than the Slow Stick.  The Slow Stick has more "hang time".  The Slow Stick can manoevre in much smaller spaces.

Configurations

The Slow Stick is stock with a GWS 300 "D" gear box at 6:1 swinging a GWS 1047 (should be an 1147).  Standard GWS 8 cell 600mAh NiCad pack with 5 amp ESC/BEC.  Note: Slow Stick has "Uncle Mikey" mod.

Without camera, ready to fly, the Slow Stick weighs 630 grams.

The SoarStar is stock with a gear box at 1.85:1 with a speed 400 motor using an 8 by 4 tractor prop in a pusher configuration.  Standard 8 cell NiCad pack with a 10 amp ESC/BEC (with switch and plugs weighs 3 times a much as the GWS ESC/BEC).

Without camera, ready to fly on wheels, the Soarstar weighs 650 grams.
Without camera, ready to fly on floats, the Soarstar weighs 750 grams.

Motor Timing

The Slow Stick motor runs backwards.  The timing is degraded by about 10% (the Uncle Mikey mod reverses the motor front to rear and reverses the polarity to fix this problem).  The SoarStar runs in the correct direction and timing is correct.

Take Off Roll

The Slow Stick in 3 inch grass, facing into a 10 kph wind, is off in about 3 feet.

The SoarStar in 3 inch grass, facing into a 10 kph wind, is off in 10 feet.

Landing Roll

The Slow Stick landing into wind in grass has practically no roll out.

The SoarStar takes about 10 feet to stop.

(Note:  On both take off and landing in grass, the fat belly of the SoarStar "floats" the plane off the wheels)

Flying in Wind

The Slow Stick is a handful in anything over 10 kph.  It can be flown in winds up to 20 kph by an experienced pilot - but it is not fun.

The SoarStar handles winds up to 10 kph with no difficulty.  From 15 kph up to 20 kph needs an experienced hand.

Aerial Photo Implications

In wind, the SoarStar is more stable in pitch, yaw and roll.

The Slow Stick has a smaller motor and a larger propeller.  In a dive, the propeller starts windmilling and that induces "jaggies".  The SoarStar motor is larger and has more "magenetic drag", and the propeller is smaller.  There is less tendency for the propeller to windmill.

The Slow Stick seems to like the camera to be pointed left or right so that less camera drag is experienced.  Due to the slower speed, the side shots do not show "lean" unless speed is allowed to build up in a dive.

The Soarstar seems better configured to take shots straight ahead, thereby eliminating the "lean" problem associated with side shots taken at speed.

Floats

The Slow Stick will fly off water on floats.  However, its skittish behaviour makes it a more difficult plane in the winds that are usually associated with bodies of water.  Additionally, all the electronics would be immersed in water if a mishap occurred - practically guaranteed.  If the wings pop off, the fuselage will sink and take some valuable material with it.

The SoarStar is a styrofoam bathtub with loads of buoyancy.  Each component will float independently.  The cockpit can be sealed to prevent total immersion in small mishaps.  It will do a nice ROW.  It has flown with floats carrying the Mustek camera mount on the nose and landed on water.  It even thermals in such configuration.  Additional vertical fin was added to aid tracking on water.  It climbs well with floats and handles side winds with ease.  The floats seem to give a pendulum effect that adds to stability.

Trainer

The SoarStar would make an excellent trainer for the novice electric flyer.  Used with an instructor and a buddy box, it is hard to imagine a more stable, docile teaching platform.  The polyhedral wing makes the plane almost self-righting.  ROG and landing instruction would very feasible.  The Slow Stick is judged to be too skittish in all but the lightest winds and its skimpy landing gear does not make take offs and landing a viable training option.

The SoarStar might be useful as an introductory flight for teaching prospective glow pilots.  However, glow pilots must get used to glow engine handling and the inevitable deadsticks.  False lessons could easily be taught if too much instruction was given on electrics.

Bottom Line

Both planes fit a specific flight envelope.  If you have lots of space, get the SoarStar.  If you have very tight space, get the Slow Stick