This Electric-Powered Ultra Stick Has Much To Offer

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ultra-stick-pnp
Written by Jay Smith and Ed Smetak
Photos by the authors
Hangar 9 60-Inch Ultra Stick PNP
As seen in the January 2022 issue of Model Aviation.
Review

At a Glance

Specifications

Type: PNP electric

Wingspan: 60 inches

Wing area: 810 square inches

Length: 58 inches

Components needed to complete: Full-range, six-plus-channel transmitter and receiver; 6S 3,200 mAh to 5,000 mAh LiPo battery with EC5 or IC5 connector; LiPo battery charger Flying weight: 7 to 9 pounds

Price: $549.99

Test-Model Details

Power system: 525 Kv E-flite BL50 brushless outrunner motor (included); 13 × 8 propeller (included); Avian 60-amp ESC (included); 6S 4,000 and 5,000 mAh Spektrum LiPo batteries Radio: Spektrum AR637T receiver; six 26-gram digital MG mini servos (included)

Flying weight: 7.46 pounds with a 5,000 mAh 6S battery

Flight duration: 5 to 8 minutes, depending on the battery used Pluses

  • Only minor assembly with no glue required.
  • Functional flaps.
  • Smart ESC provides telemetry data.
  • Large top hatch for fast, easy access to the battery compartment.
  • Two-piece, plug-in wing.

Minuses

  • Wheel collar and bracket for the tail wheel is challenging to install.

Manufacturer/Distributor

Horizon Hobby/Hangar 9

(800) 338-4639

www.horizonhobby.com

I WAS WORKING part-time at my local hobby shop in the evenings after I finished my day job when the E-flite Mini Ultra Stick was released. I managed to get one from the first shipment we received, and it was an excellent aircraft.

It is one of only a few models that I sold to downsized my air force that I miss. I have thought several times about getting another Ultra Stick. I thought the perfect replacement would be something slightly larger than the 38.75-inch one that I had and was purposely built for electric power.

When I saw an announcement for the 60-inch Hangar 9 Ultra Stick PNP, I thought that either someone had looked at my wish list or several other people were hoping for the same thing. Either way, I was excited to have another Ultra Stick to fly! This Ultra Stick is meant for those who want to fly quickly because the assembly is swift and fairly easy. The only challenge with assembly comes at the beginning with the rudder, vertical stabilizer, and tail wheel installation. The instructions advise sliding the wheel collar and bracket down and away from the bottom of the fin so that the rudder and vertical stabilizer can be installed; however, the wheel collar will not slide down the tail wheel assembly because of the bend in it. This leaves either having to bend the tail wheel assembly to allow it to pass or pulling aft on the tail wheel assembly while installing the stabilizer and rudder so that it will clear the fuselage.

This 60-inch wingspan aircraft doesn’t require any glue to assemble. This is a great option for someone who has only flown foam-composition aircraft and wants to try a balsa and light plywood model. If you simply want to fly and need an airplane that can be flight ready in a short amount of time, it fits that bill as well.

As are all of the Horizon Hobby aircraft that I have received, it was well packed inside of the box and everything looked great. Not even the covering needed attention. This model does not come with the receiver preinstalled, and if you chose to use a Spektrum receiver with SAFE and AS3X, you will need to set up the receiver using a transmitter/receiver USB programming cable or using the transmitter.

Spektrum receivers recommend using double-sided servo tape. The receiver can be mounted upright, upside down, or on its side, but it should be square within the fuselage when mounted. It cannot be mounted at an odd angle.

Because I was using the Spektrum AR637T receiver, I went with the basic setup that provides basic presets to help expedite setup and quickly get the model in the air. This includes flaps, dual rates, and throttle cut. There are also switches and channels assigned for use with optional SAFE and AS3X modes.

I had some personal issues and weather-related setbacks, so I asked Ed Smetak if he would assist me and share his experience. Here is what Ed has to say about why he selected the Hangar 9 Ultra Stick PNP and his thoughts on flying it.

I’ve been flying .60-size glow-powered RC sport airplanes for many years; however, the lure and convenience of electric-powered models convinced me to give electric power a try. I’m a meticulous builder and never imagined myself considering an RTF, let alone a PNP one, but I was anxious to get started, so I looked for an electric-powered RTF model that would get me flying quickly.

An ad in Model Aviation for the new Hangar 9 Ultra Stick PNP caught my eye. Last summer, I made a trek to Shawano, Wisconsin, to attend Dave Scott’s 1st U.S. RC Flight School. Dave was using the Hangar 9 Ultra Stick 30cc for aerobatic instruction. Flying the larger 30cc gasoline version was awesome, so I decided to try this new, smaller electric one. The quality build and nimble aerobatics made the Hangar 9 Ultra Stick PNP a smart choice for me.

I was pleased when I opened the package and found a top-quality aircraft that truly was nearly ready to fly right out of the box. The airplane was very well built—sturdy but lightweight. The UltraCote covering was skillfully applied, although some sags and wrinkles did result from the hot Texas sun at my home field. A bit of work with a covering iron and heat gun tightened it up.

the ultra stick arrives with a high level of completion
The Ultra Stick arrives with a high level of completion. It only requires minor assembly. Only a receiver, propeller, and spinner installation are required.
the large battery bay is easily accessible
The large battery bay is easily accessible, thanks to its hatch, and it can accommodate batteries from 3,200 to 5,000 mAh 6S. All of the servos, ESC, and motor are preinstalled.

A sheet of decals was included with the kit, but I was happy that they were not preapplied so that I could "make it my own" with some custom graphics that I cut on a Cricut Explore Air 2 vinyl cutter.

All of the required equipment (except the receiver and battery) was factory installed. The build quality was evident throughout. The rudder and elevator attached securely to the fuselage using a bolt arrangement, with no glue required. It was challenging to bolt on the rudder because of the issue with the wheel collar. Pulling rearward on the tail wheel bracket was required to get it installed. All of the linkage hardware was top quality with zero slop.

I have a Spektrum NX10 transmitter, so I opted to go with a Spektrum AR637T six-channel SAFE and AS3X telemetry receiver. I added redundancy with a SPM9747 DSMX SRXL2 remote receiver. The SPM9747 features an integrated antenna, which makes installation a snap. The telemetry and integration between the AR637T and included Avian 60-amp Smart ESC is amazing.

I fabricated small, receiver mounting plates from 1/8-inch light plywood and glued them into the fuselage with plywood spacers to allow me to mount the receivers with mounting tape and zip ties. The pieces of light plywood were notched to keep the zip ties and receiver firmly in position. This is not required, but I like a neat radio installation that allows components to be easily removed for maintenance.

The main receiver was mounted on the provided radio tray in front of the factory-installed servos. The main receiver with AS3X must be carefully aligned with the axis of the fuselage and firmly attached! Short lengths of soda straws were glued to the radio tray to accept and protect the ends of the two antenna wires. In theory, the antenna wires should be placed at right angles, which is easily achieved by mounting the straws at right angles then sliding the antenna wires into them.

The additional remote receiver that I added was mounted at the back end of the radio compartment between the wing mounting bolts in the conveniently located cutout area. It’s important to locate the remote receiver a few inches away from the main receiver.

Being accustomed to longer glow-fuel flying times, I wanted to maximize my time in the air. I opted to go with a Spektrum Smart 5,000 mAh 30C 6S LiPo battery. Although proprietary and requiring Spektrum chargers, the newest G2 Smart batteries eliminate the balancing pigtail and make charging simple without the possibility of inputting the wrong parameters.

The Ultra Stick takes a wide range of batteries from 3,200 to 5,000 mAh. The weight differences caused no issues with aerodynamic performance, but special attention was needed to achieve the proper center of gravity that was specified in the instruction book.

Flying

The Ultra Stick with the 5,000 mAh battery weighed 7.46 pounds. I set up aileron, rudder, and elevator low rates to match the low-rate recommendations in the instructions. I backed off on the highrate recommendations, but that is my preference. I like 12% aileron differential and 15% aileron-to-rudder coupling to counteract adverse yaw.

This model was my first introduction to flaps, so I was timid about the larger control throws that were suggested in the instructions. I set up takeoff flaps to use 20mm down flaps, along with 4mm of down-elevator. My landing flaps were set to use 40mm down flaps, along with 8mm down-elevator and 11mm up-ailerons for crow. I set the activation time to 3 seconds.

The maiden flight was on a calm day. I was surprised by the speed of this aircraft. It’s very clean in the air and really scoots. I had to hold a fair amount of up-elevator while I dialed in 10 clicks of up-elevator trim. I was ready for that adjustment because I had read several internet posts that suggested that this airplane would need up-elevator trim.

I made a few laps around my club field then landed. I decided to nix using flaps for my first landing. Without flaps, the Ultra Stick lands slightly fast and has a longer rollout if you don’t use the motor thrust reversing.

Subsequent flights were made using takeoff and landing flaps. The model lifted off well and slowed wonderfully for smooth landings. The flight envelope on this airplane is amazing, but you will definitely want to configure flaps and possibly crow.

I also configured reverse thrust on the Avian ESC. It’s easy to do that using the Spektrum NX10 ESC screen. With landing flaps and reverse thrust, this airplane can stop on a dime!

The supplied 52BL brushless motor provides ample power using the provided 14 × 8E APC propeller. I’m planning to try a 14 × 6E to slow the model more when I’m in the mood for leisurely Sunday afternoon flying!

The weight, size, and speed of this aircraft results in good wind penetration, which is much appreciated on days of gusty Gulf Coast wind here in Houston. Rolls are perfectly axial, perhaps because of my settings for aileron differential and aileron-to-rudder coupling.

the instructions advise sliding the wheel collar
The instructions advise sliding the wheel collar down on the assembly when installing the rudder/vertical stabilizer, but it is unable to pass beyond the bend in the landing gear. See the text for additional information.

The model is extremely aerobatic and surprisingly durable. It will satisfy those who like flying fast or slow with sedate or sprightly aerobatics.

The last thing on my plate is to experiment with the AS3X stabilization system. All of the flights so far have been made without it, and the airplane is well mannered. AS3X will smooth out the wiggles and bumps and allow more focus on flying without making minor corrections. The receiver also includes SAFE, which is helpful if anyone needs a few moments of assistance while flying. I have yet to need it on such a solid-flying model.

Conclusion

Ed wrapped up his thoughts with these comments, "Bottom line is that this airplane is phenomenal! It will do whatever you ask of it. For this old-school guy, it turned out to be the perfect introduction to electric flying. Go grab one. You won’t be disappointed!"

I agree with Ed. The 60-inch Hangar 9 Ultra Stick PNP provides simple assembly of a proven design and allows for varied flying styles. Because it is purposely built for electric, you have a lighter airframe since reinforcements that would be required are not needed.

you can use your receiver of choice
You can use your receiver of choice with the Ultra Stick. The Spektrum AR637T is a great choice that provides AS3X and SAFE, which you can enable and disable from the transmitter. The setup files can be found on the Spekrtum website’s AR637T product page.
the ultra stick comes without any decals applied
The Ultra Stick comes without any decals applied, allowing for customization of the aircraft.

SOURCES:

Spektrum

(800) 338-4639

www.spektrumrc.com

By Jay Smith and Ed Smetak | jays@modelaircraft.org and edsmetak@outlook.com
Photos by the authors

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