Notorious in the fixed wing world, the "Stick" has been the choice of aircraft for apprentices in search of the next level of flight, offering benign handling traits with sporty levels of performance for the ultimate big sky thrills. Designed for intermediate to advanced pilots, this 4 channel beast is purpose built and ruggedly tough, providing epic flying qualities that have endeared this machine to the hearts of many, both young and old alike.
Affectionately dubbed the "Ugly Stick" by many pilots over the years, the VMar "VStick 40" carries on the Stick lineage, drawing from the tried and true layout that is designed to get the job done. Constructed of durable balsa and ply with the trademark box style fuselage, the VStick 40 utilizes a robust tricycle landing gear system with three solid wheels that are designed to take the hits and keep on rolling - rough landings be damned.
Spec'd as an "ARF" (Almost Ready to Fly) with a 59" spanned two piece wing, VMar hits the nail upon the proverbial head with a well completed aircraft kit that is nearly complete and electrics ready. Fully covered in a PolyCote "Enhanced Covering System," the VStick 40 arrives completely covered, with only basic assembly required.
Installing servos was simple and straight forward, with the VStick 40 requiring (4) standard sized servos for the (2) ailerons, (1) rudder and (1) elevator. A 5th servo bay is ready & waiting for those with an affinity for glow power, offering throttle actuation of your favorite engine of choice. In my case, this was a full electric affair, with 1900 watts of brushless fury at the fore, providing double the spec'd power output suggested by VMar. Not recommended, but quite ideal for those hellbent upon a need for speed.
As a kit only, full electronics are required, equating to (4) standard sized servos, a brushless motor, ESC, transmitter, receiver, battery and charger. Going the glow route? Add in a 5th servo and replace the brushless motor & ESC with your favorite 2 stroke / 4 stroke engine of choice, and you're set. The kit even includes a fuel tank with plumbing, so this kit is ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) ready for those akin to internal combustion power.
Having never fancied the ICE route, electric power was my preferred choice of propulsion, with a hideously overpowered T-Motor AT3530 700kV motor paired to a 12x6" prop that was available at short reach. Due to the tricycle gear layout, the VStick offers a maximum 13" prop size before clearance becomes an issue, so spec your Stick wisely to avoid digging trenches on power up.
"$4.99 servos - seriously?" That was my exact thought as I came across the TowerPro SG5010 servos for the very 1st time. I have purchased some budget based electronics in the past, but even my prop cost more than this servo! However, I was soon to be pleasantly surprised, as the TowerPro servos not only kept the build costs way below budget, but also provided excellent performance for this class of aircraft. Offering excellent centering, good torque and ample speed, the TowerPro servos performed exactly as I hoped, with no issues, drama or problems in any way throughout the build or flights. Simply put, these servos were the ultimate "bang for the buck" buy.
Birds of a feather flock together, and my hangar left the VStick 40 as the proverbial "odd duck" when compared to my current 3D aerobatic fleet. With a penchant for aggressive 3D stunt planes, the VStick is not the typical plane I pilot, yet I was curious to see how she would perform when compared to the high performance 3D machines I favor the most. At the bare minimum, I was hoping for a simple warm up / cool down plane with some big sky maneuvers, offering something "different" when the palate was in search of an alternate flavor.
Throttle up and into the blue skies above, the VStick climbed with ease, with 1900W of anger roaring up front. A few clicks of up elevator & left aileron, the VStick 40 was on trim and locked in, providing a balanced and smooth flight with minimal input required. With Bavarian Demon Cortex units gracing my fleet of 3D planes, the VStick was without the aid of a flight controller, yet required very little input to manage the light winds at play.
With a thick symmetrical wing chord at play, the VStick offers excellent low speed characteristics with a dose of up elevator & power to keep attitude in trim. Simply put, the plane had no bad habits, performing admirably in every attitude, and behaving very well in inverted flight thanks to its symmetrical wing design. Landings were an uncomplicated affair, with a nose down approach on final as airspeed decayed. A touch of power with some up elevator, and the VStick settles down nicely with no low speed drama at hand. Further this with an ultra stout landing gear system, even hard landings are shrugged off without regard, leaving this robust bird the perfect plane for those with less than ideal approaches and heavy handed flares.
Simply put, the VStick 40 is a great plane. The "Stick" design looks excellent in the bright afternoon sun, with the Fokker red livery that harkens back to the age of stick and rudder flight. Easy to fly with positive control rates, I was impressed by the amiable flight characteristics the VStick offered, providing a balanced flight that inspired confidence in every maneuver.
Never envisioned as a 3D aerobat, the VStick impresses with excellent roll rates and plenty of pitch to keep things interesting. And with generous inputs of rudder, barnstorming maneuvers are at the ready, making the VStick 40 a true pleasure to fly.
Recommended Build Specifications:
(4) Standard Servos
(1) 800W - 1200W Brushless Motor
(1) 70A - 80A ESC
(1) 4S 14.8V - 6S 22.2V LiPo / 4000mAh - 5500mAh
.46 - .55 2 Stroke Nitro
.48 - .70 4 Stroke Gas
Pulse 45C 3700mAh 6S battery with room to spare, equating to an easy 8+ minutes of flight. A larger battery (such as a 4100mAh 6S pack) would likely fit, although a touch of aft ballast may be necessary for proper CG. flight stabilizer, if you so desire), allowing any aspects of electronics to be tucked away with room to spare. Joining the (2) wings is a light weight aluminum wing tube, offering robust strength for aggressive flight maneuvers.
KST aluminum servo horns (that cost $1.00 more than the servo itself!), this setup worked great. However, the TowerPro servos include plastic servo arms, so the KST servo horns were not a necessary upgrade.