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Introduction to the Century Predator
Building the Fury Tempest FAI
Professional Aerial Photography
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Toolbox Essentials
Setup for F3C
Vigor Refit
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JR Challenge 2003
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Helicopter Resources
Comparing the Webra 91AAR and the YS 91ST
Engine Tuning
Curtis Youngblood in New Zealand
Futaba GV-1 Governor
Pilot Profile - Malorie Zastrow
Scale: Flybarless Heads
Pilot Profile - Jason Krause
JR 10X
Pilot Profile - Mark Christy
Futaba 9Z WCII
Pilot Profile - Alan Szabo Jr
163km/h with a Vigor CS!
Raptor 60 V2
Low cost, high camera!
TSK & the Squirrel Part (V)
Follow up - Hirobo Freya
Follow up - Hirobo Shuttle RG
Sceadu 30 update
Hirobo Shuttle RG
Vigor CS - My thoughts
Bye bye little Ergo
Kyosho Caliber 30
OS 91
JR Voyager 50
Hirobo Sceadu
TSK & the Squirrel Part (III)
NZ Team Returns from Heli World Champs
Hirobo Freya
OS 50 Review
Millie vs CS (Part III)
Living with the CS
TSK & the Squirrel (Part II)
Promoting the Hobby
Ergo Z230 Gasser
Millie vs CS (Part II)
Millie vs CS (Part I)
TSK & the Squirrel
TSK & the Squirrel (Part IV)

Ergo Z230 Gasser
Simon Lockington

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.
The decision was pretty much made for me when I called into our local hobby store on the way home from the Hamilton round of the F3C competition back in March/April. Hanging from the roof was an already built up Z230 gleaming at me crying out for a good home. In typical salesman fashion, Lew Woods, the store owner, told me of it's history. Apparently it came from someone down south who only flew it for a couple of hours, then sold it to Lew, who used it one time to carry a camera around for a television documentary on bugs. The idea was that they would strap a camera on it and fly it around the garden like a bee. The footage looked pretty good although if you looked closely you might have noticed that the 'bee' seemed to blow the flowers around a lot when it got close to them :).

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:
· Kit ($3800)
· Receiver ($380)
· Servos (3 x $220 + $100 for throttle)
· Gyro and tail servo ($550)
· Rotor Blades ($220)
· Plus all the sundry items (batteries, etc)

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.
It should be noted that with a full tank of gas, this heli will fly for about 30-40 mins. You get bored flying before the tank runs out.

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 lessens.
Also, the engine needs to be given time to warm up. On the first flight of the day I tend to do a minute or two of small, slow flying around in normal mode to let it warm up before clicking into idle up one. That's when things start to come alive! You hear the engine bark as it winds up and starts howling like a freight train. A quick stab of the collective and the heli is gone. It's awesome, and I hope it will get even better when we can extract some more top end grunt out of the engine.

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 :)

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