SlowBipe Review

Thursday, May 20, 2010

By Jamie "GFBurke"

Name: SlowBipe
Type: Electric foam biplane.
For: Beginner to advanced pilots

Wingspan: 28 inches
Length: 38 inches
Weight: (ready to fly): 13 ounces
Wing Area: 475 sq in
Wing Loading: 4 oz per sq ft
Radio: 9303 with Assan Module. Assan 4ch RX / 2 9g servos
Power system: 140 watt 1200kv motor, 15a ESC, 1000mah 3s lipo, 9x4.7 prop

Michael, a local Idahoan who has a passion in RC flight wanted to create something that was fun to fly, easy to build and that could withstand hard impacts. Putting his CAD experience to work, he created something new. After a few prototypes were out of the way, the original SlowBipe was created. This was a very slow and floaty bird; however, still somewhat breakable. So, tossing out the rubber bands, he decided to try magnets to attach everything in place. Upon crashing, the magnets would give in leu of the foam thus providing a new plane that was hard to destroy.

The current review is of the SlowBipe "RTF" model. When folks at RC shows saw Michael fly his SlowBipe, they immediately wanted one of their own. Michael constructed the whole build and sold it as a "snap and fly" - you supply the charger, receiver and transmitter. This is an awesome option for fans but consumes a lot of his time. So, here very soon you will be able to buy the kit and electronics pack to go with it. You will end up with all the same parts, but you will have to put on the motor, glue the servos on, etc. Building this model really won't take much time because all of the parts are pre-cut for the dropping in of the electronics. Even the magnet holes are there so you wont have to worry about trying to get your magnets perfectly aligned yourself.

What's obvious from the video and pictures on the site is the SlowBipe's ability to fly - SLOW - but also jet out of slowness into a cruz mode very quickly. The MASSIVE control surfaces allow this to be so. Notice the dihedral built in and tons of wing area. This plane's key benefit is the very fast breakdown and "snap up" design for easy transportation/shipping.

I have flown many planes. The Slowstick is very popular with people and for many different reasons. The SlowBipe could easily compete with the Slowstick. It's better looking, it's just as slow (if not more so), can carry a heavy payload, no "stick" to break, you can paint this and it actually LOOKS like a plane. Did I mention how ugly the slowstick is? When I first saw it, I immediately thought of night-flying and/or AP/FPV.

So what does Jamie think of it?
Well, I got very board with my slowstick after some time. I like slow and floaty sometimes and I'm pretty sure this will do the trick. It's more appealing and just more fun. If I am going to put tons of LED strips on it, I will have to use something like JST connectors for the LEDs to maintain one of the SlowBipes key features; the ability to break it down quickly for transportation and for it's crash resistance. I might just leave a bit of extra CAT5 cable so it can still give during a crash, but sacrifice portability since I don't travel very far to fly.

Worth the money for the "RTF"? O yes. No where can you go and get a nice, large built plane like this for this price. Since the current build consumes a lot of Michaels's his time, kits as "RTF" the kit price + electronics option will be a cheaper and available for purchase soon. Just add your own glue and time, making it an even a better deal. So, definitely worth the investment if your looking for a "sexier slowstick that's hard to break".

The nose of the plane consists of thick foam, hardwood spar re-enforcements and a light plywood cowl. Since this can take an impact, the wings feel the stress secondary. The Neodymium rare-earth magnets pop off before the foam tears. It's just a brilliant design.

If you dead stick this plane, it will float down on it's own and land (if your lipo goes out).
Simple to do loops and the massive control surfaces allow quick control. This is a great plane to hand off to a new flyer without too much worry. They won't really be able to break it and it can fly at a crawl. This thing can handle a bit of wind; performing about the same as a Slowstick does in mild/moderate wind.

The initial tear down took me about four minutes. Putting it back together took about five minutes. The most complex part of putting it back together consisted of placing the struts back onto the wings - since it's a tight fit and you have to take time to align. If this is the hardest part, you know how easy this the rest has to be. Here are a couple of photos showing it tore down - all parts in in the pictures.

The lipo is held in place by two pieces of wood. The way it's setup, you slide the lipo in and it's snug enough to stay in place. The RX can be held by velcro or glue. Keep in mind, mine came painted. This foam is a bluecore foam and will be blue. Some foam (control surfaces, struts, etc are black).

Here is what the goals stated with the SlowBipe where:
*It had to fly slow to give the pilot time to react.
*It had to be durable to survive a rough landing or a crash.
*It had to be overpowered to get out of trouble and to handle the wind.
*It had to be easy to go from in the box to flight ready.
*I had to look like a real airplane.
*Big enough to fly in many weather environments and to make it easier to see.
*It should be fun to fly so you don't tire of it once you learn.
*Assembly and disassembly should be easy to allow simpler transportation.
*It has to be able to land by itself with no pilot assistance.

Well, I can say that they hit all the goals. All of them. Windy flying is "ok", but yes it does have enough power to get out of trouble.

Take a look at the photos and videos. Let them speak for themselves.



Two thumbs up for a trainer, slow flyer. Fun, easy build and crash resistant!
Well worth the money invested for many possibilites. I can see people creating their own modifications to this plane and I look forward to seeing them!



Dougie said...

Ii have been to hell and back trying to buy the electronics to complete my Minibipe but to no avail.headsup do not ship to England so PLEASE tell me where I can get the items to complete my model!!!!!!!

Dougie said...

I am sick and tired of trying to get the electronics to complete my Minibipe model! Could anybody tell me where I can get the items I require?

Jay said...

Slow Bipe sucks. Four flites. Four rebuilds. $200 spent. ZERO flights over 1 second.

Jay said...

I hope you don't think Slow Bipe is tough. It isn't We've crashed ours four times now. EVERY single flight broke a styrofoam part.