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How can I explain the Zulu? First I should tell you this is a glider that has some very unique flight surfaces. The Zulu incorporates "drooperons" on the leading edge. These surfaces are the key to the wide flight envelope and smooth aerobatics. While drooperons may not seem that new to you, these are a completely new approach, and the results are amazing. The drooperons work in conjunction with the elevons to increase lift in thermal activities, and also increased aerobatics. All of this is done with just 2 servos. How does all this work? Here is a link that explains how the drooperons on the Zulu work.
With drooperons installed, the Zulu can reach a much higher lift coefficient, ~80%, before stalling, both right-side-up and inverted. This allows for tighter turns, loops, a lower sink-rate, and slower stall speed. The drooperons are also effective at increasing roll-rate, especially at low speeds. With drooperons, the Zulu is also more stable during the deep-stall maneuver, making landings and altitude control easier.
So what do you get with the Zulu? It is intended to be able to fly in very light lift conditions, but still be fun to fly. Not only will it soar when other planes can't, but it will make the most of the light lift and allow you to have fun. The Zulu can be tip launched for added height, yet it is very much at home on the slopes. Beginners and advanced pilots alike love this plane!
The Zulu has gone through many prototypes and at least 3 different production versions before this EPO molded version. The EPO version is by far the easiest to build with typical build times well under an hour. Just install your radio gear and glue on the tail. Very detailed instructions are included, so even someone that hates to build should have no issues with this one. The wings are removable via a twist of a screw and unplugging the servo leads, this is great when transport space is tight.
We have been flying these is a wide range of conditions from a mouse fart up to about 25mph at our local slopes. Pilots of all levels have been enjoying the flight performance. They plane is perfectly happy to make lazy turns in the sky, or turn it up and go crazy doing VTPR style maneuvers right off the deck. That is what makes the Zulu so great, it is very versatile!
Power Option - Yep, she even has a firewall installed below the lightly glued nose cone. We are still making final recommendations for power systems at this time. More details soon.
Light wing loading of 4.6 oz/sq.ft (14.1 gm/sq.dm) means she can float when needed.
Recommended radio gear:
1. Transmitter with flying wing / delta wing mixing capability, expo/dual-rate preferred
2. Two channel receiver
3. Two metal geared servos (Emax ES09MD is a great choice that fits very well in the molded pockets.)
4. AAA square battery pack or 2/3A flat pack. (Either results in a nearly perfect CG for the Zulu in glider form.)
Two wing panels with carbon spars embedded
Fuselage with motor mount, removable nose cone, and magnetic hatch
Fiberglass wing joiner (black)
pushrods and clevises
Sorry can not ship to the UK or Germany. Please see your local distributor.
|Airfoil||Zup1060 & Zup1065|
|Wingspan||59 in (1.5 meters)|
|Wing Area||556 sq.in (36 sq.dm)|
|RTF Weight||18oz (510 gm)|
Please see the highly detailed instructions for all specs.
Talk about Christmas in October... My Zulu and "accessories" were delivered to my office a few weeks ago (Oct 2015)! Very well-designed and decorated model!!! Great packing job as all of the goodies (servos, batteries, covering, receivers, tx module, etc.) fit neatly into the glider's box.
So I was able to begin/complete my Zulu in less than three hours. I built the "kit" version which seemed more like a plug and fly rather than an actual kit build. I opted for larger servos than the molds in the wings so I had to do a little bit of carving to get the KST DS145MG servos in place... Not difficult at all. I installed the servos using the glued-perimeter servo mounting technique. It's just what the Dr. ordered. I masked the perimeters of the servos with tape and then used 5-minute epoxy to tack them in place.The servos seem like BEAST MODE for the elevon and drooperon controls. They are very responsive. I did reinforce the bottom of the plane (where the wings join the fuselage and on the bottom of the fuselage) with 3M Extreme packing tape. Other than that, there's not much to discuss.
FYI, before the Zulu, I have not flown a fixed-wing RC airplane in more than six years. On top of that, prior to the Zulu, I have NEVER flown a sailplane and I have never flown from a slope! I was a helicopter guy until about five years ago when I put my RC stuff away to pursue other interest (i.e., golf). That said, I maiden'd my Zulu at Bluff Park in Long Beach, CA with the assistance of some very friendly and experienced slopers. The plane required very little adjustment to be in trim. With the dual rates set on low and the expo appropriately set I was able to control the Zulu without event. In an eight day span, I have logged in five flights. All have been decent with one or two "bumpy" landings. Nothing really hard but still getting used to using the wind to put the plane in place ;-).
There are several Zulus at the Bluff and the guys flying them are far more competent slopers than I am (currently). That said, I have witnessed the Zulu's performance envelope firsthand and it's impressive. If you are a newbie looking for a solid introduction into light - moderate lift slope soaring OR if you're a seasoned slope vet looking for extreme control surface movements to see how many times you can flip the plane on it's axis then check this one out. It's a blast!
The maiden flight was about as anticlimactic as they come: A gentle toss, 3 clicks of down elevator, and it was flying great! No loft or tuck on a dive test, level inverted flight took just a touch of down elevator, rolls were almost perfectly axial, and inside and outside loops were effortless; even in lift conditions that would make me think twice about rolling and looping any of my other slope planes.
I'm more into "inertia" or "carving" aerobatics than hoverbatics and I was extremely pleased with how well the new Zulu performs aerobatics at speed. But I also attempted some rather clumsy hoverbatics and the Zulu did those as well as can be expected with me on the sticks too.
The bottom line is I don't think I've ever owned a slope plane that can perform as well in so many roles. I have planes that are fast and planes that will probably fly in lighter lift and even planes that are more aerobatic by virtue of an active rudder, but none of 'em will do all those things well.
The molded Zulu seems to, though.
Zulu: First Impressions
I maidened my Zulu this afternoon (8-3-15) in variable light slermal conditions (Mormon Lake Overlook, AZ). It was a fun and fascinating experience. I built my Zulu with a four servo wing so I could experiment with diferent drooperon/elevon effects. My "normal" Flight Mode has drooperon control (pitch and yaw via throttle and rudder) on the left stick and elevons (as per normal) on the right stick. I also have a "auto mix" Flight Mode which uses just the right stick and mimics the two-servo setup with mechanical linkages.
My first launch used the "normal" flight mode and I just the right stick (elevons only). The Zulu flew great… very smooth and stable. With a little speed she carves a nice banked turn and loops easily... better inside than outside. Rolls were very nice too.
I later started adding in some drooperon input and that is when the fun really started. The drooperon roll input (down Dropperon, up Elevon on one side and the opposite on the other side) really sped up the rolls and seemed to make them more axial. The pitch influence was more complicated. The concept is to use down drooperon with up elevator to "pull" a normal banked turn/ loop. However using down drooperons by themselves would pitch the glider down, so when using it with up elevator I had to pull almost twice as much elevator to get the desired effect. This was a bit confusing to do at first (manually); but became easier after a while. The up side to this opposite pitch effect (the picth up of the elevator is ultimately stronger than the pitch doen of the drooperon) is that the wing felt very "grippy" in the hard banked turns and loops ,and there was almost no chance of stalling the wing. There was a cool screaming noise when you really cranked it.. Inverted turns/loops were greatly improved! Drooperons make this good flying wing better!
Using the "auto mix" flight mode worked well and made it "simpler" to fly, since no coordinating with the left stick was needed. Roll worked very well, as per the manual flight mode. However pitch felt a little wierd (although I got used to it after a while). It felt that the drooperons were more effective than the elevons at the start of the pull/push. As a result the turn felt sluggish at first... sometimes pitching the opposite direction at first (just a little bit) before working correctly and then really carving as you continued to pull/push elevator. Outside turns/loops worked the same way. I think I will try adding some exponential (in pitch) to the drooperons... so their pitch effect is less at the beginning. Like in the manual flight mode experiment, the overall the flying was much improved over the "elevons only" technique.
It was fun to go back and forth between the manual and auto flit modes. There is much to be learned. Drooperons are cool!
My second session was in stronger conditions (mid teens) and the Zulu rocked! She likes speed and will carve very clean BIG figures. However she will also slow down and make nice flat turns... perfect in the lulls for sniffing and catching thermals. She indicates lift very well. I was flying her at 19.4 ounces and with the CG set about 5mm behind the recommended spot. When trimmed for level flight she needed just a small push of elevator to hold level inverted. She was pitch stable in an upright dive test.
Overal I was impressed with the Zulu's precise and efficient feel. In moderate lift she will fly with some speed and carve beautiful figures! She will "ghost" around in light lift and indicates/catches thermals very well. In stronger wind/lift she should be an awesome aerobat.
I look forward to my next flight.