Ergo Z230 Gasser
Since becoming a heli flier back in October last year, I'd always had a hankering for petrol powered helicopters. Mainly due to the fact that my mentor, Darryll, had one and fussed over it like his first born.
Darryll's gasser was a JR Z230 and had all the things I liked, it was big, powerful and loud. Plus, being tight with the wallet, the thought of flying for a whole weekend on $3 worth of gas appealed, instead of the $2.50 a flight my little 46 was costing.
I resolved that when my skills allowed, I would also purchase a gasser. The
two finalists were the Xcell Gasser or the JR Z230. Both machines are supported
by my local hobby store. The Xcell is slightly lighter and therefore is
a bit more aerobatic, whereas the Z230 has a more basic construction making
it easy to maintain.
Anyway, I thought about it for a week and finally relented and got it shipped down to me and spent the next couple of months purchasing the necessary electronics, receiver, servos and gyro etc.
The Z230 ain't cheap. Infact, if it were to turn tail and wave goodbye,
never to be seen again, it'd probably set me back about $5800 to replace.
This is broken down into:
You can then
understand my nervousness the first time I took her up. The throttle curves
on a gasser are quite different to a nitro. Where my 46 helicopter hovers at
about 50% power, the gasser hovers at 28-30%. Once we sorted that out, it was
time to take off. I couldn't believe how smooth it was! A couple of clicks of
left aileron saw the heli sit like a rock.
After a little while of hovering and getting used to the machine, I set it up for some circuits and gradually let it stretch it's legs. First thought was how quickly the thing covers ground. No sooner have you banked to avoid the aeroplane runway, then you're out over the golf course!
The Z230 has no unruly flight characteristics, it just thunders down the line that you point it. It's weight becomes apparent when flaring to a stop. The first time I tried it the heli just kept flying right past me. The next time I tried it I started flaring quite far out like an airliner coming into land and that brought better results.
The wind just doesn't affect the gasser like it does my little 46. At the last competition I went to I test flew both my 46 and the gasser. I could barely keep the little one in one place, but with the gasser it just sat there, so I used that and got second place as a result.
The Zenoah 23cc engine is very torquey, but at full throttle you can tell it's on the wrong side of it's torque curve. Darryll got a Hanson cylinder kit for his engine that on it's own didn't seem to make too much of a difference. The engine does seem to run smoother now, and runs a lot richer at the bottom end which I like. We both feel that the stock 'chainsaw box' exhaust is probably constraining the power output of the engine. So, Darryll has ordered the Hanson tuned pipe. When it eventually gets here (it's been a llooooonnnnggg wait so far), it'll be interesting to see what difference it makes. I'm really hoping it makes the top end of the G23's power come alive.
Setting the engine up properly is very important with a gas engine. In
a similar fashion to methanol motors, if the engine isn't running smooth
it causes the tail to kick slightly. I've found that idle needle is very
sensitive and requires a bit of experimentation to get it set right. Air
temperature can play a big part as well. At the moment, I think my idle
needle is still slightly rich as when the engine isn't under load it tend's
to 'burp'. However, as the day wears on and the temperature cools, the burping
The tail authority on this machine can be intimidating too. I've got a GY501 gyro with a 9205 servo on it, and the machine will do blinding pirouette's. Infact, the last time I was at a fun fly it just about got me in trouble. I decided I was going to open the machine right up into a huge stall turn. Had it screaming across the field and gently pulled up into a climb and the machine just kept going up and up, when it finally stopped, I gave a small jab on the rudder to do a 180 stall turn, however, it turned into 270 one and the machine was pretty much knife edged on it's side sliding back down for about 2 to 3 seconds before I corrected it. Cause the fuel level was getting low, the fuel intake started sucking air and as I was pulling out of the dive, the engine spluttered and then fired back up as it got fuel again. This is nearly heart attack material as I thought I'd been locked out. I quickly brought the machine back in and packed it away for the weekend... Now I fly aware of the fuel intake issue.
Overall I'm rapt with this heli. It's great being able to give a couple of pulls on the starter and be in the air, as opposed to groping round with glow plugs and starters etc. It's my baby, and as such I do all the threatening stuff like aerobatics and inverted flying on my little 46. Both heli's have their places in my collection.
I had considered selling the big gasser to make way for a firebreathing 60,
but after flying it around last week, I think I'll keep it for a while yet :)