GWS Slow Stick® is a popular choice for aerial photography. But,
it has advantages and shortcomings.
1. It is inexpensive
2. It is easy to build
3. It lifts a lot of weight
4. It glides nicely with power off for photo taking
5. It can "thermal" to great height
6. It flies very slowly, but can handle some wind
1. It is fragile
2. The wheels are easy to break
3. The stick fuselage is easy to bend
4. The wings can flutter badly in a fast dive
5. Under full power, the plane climbs too quickly and it spirals left
kit comes with aluminum tubes bent in a slight "vee" for the front and
rear of the wing centre. These tubes should be replaced by similar
diameter brass tubes that are elongated about an inch on either side.
are fibreglass rods that fit into the brass tubes to strengthen the leading
edge and trailing edge of the wing. These rods should be fitted into
the brass tubes and the whole assembly epoxied into place BEFORE the clear
tape is applied to complete the installation. This will greatly increase
the rigidity of the wing and reduce flutter if the plane is dived too quickly.
A high speed dive can be avoided by simply pulling back all the way on
the elevator and applying right or left rudder. This will cause the
plane to lose altitude without picking up speed. Be aware that with
other aircraft this manoevre can result in a very nasty spin that might
result in a crash. When in trouble, neutralize the controls.
The plane knows how to fly better than you do !
The kit wheels are not very useful in the field. It is better to replace them with any number of lightweight wheels that are used in other park flyers.
If you don't want to replace the wheels, then at least boil them to reduce their brittleness. In a salt-water solution, boil them for 15 minutes at a low boil. Suspend the wheels in a metal strainer to keep the plastic off the bottom of the hot pot.
The Uncle Mikey Motor Mod
The Uncle Mikey mod reverses the motor. The motor is then secured
on top of the aluminum box spar of the fuselage to give the gears enough
room. The stock GWS prop is also shaved down to clear the front of
the motor. The mod takes about an hour to complete.
Your Electronic Speed Controller (ESC) can heat up under sustained current draw. If you secure it so that it is directly on the aluminum fuselage, then the aluminum will act as a great heat sink and pull the heat away.
Camera and C of G
You might have to make fairly dramatic changes in the placement of
the major components if you hang a camera from the Slow Stick to join the
increasingly popular digital aerial photography group. Some move
the battery pack forward in front of the landing gear and put the
servos way back almost behind the wing. That tends to open up some
space so that a heavier digital camera can be slung under the wing close
to the C of G. The great thing about the Slow Stick is that it is
very flexible. [Credit: Sam H.]
Revision 9 dated 26 August