Fly Smooth

Electric Flight - - CONTENTS - By Gerry Yar­rish

Your guide to on­board sta­bi­liza­tion sys­tems

FOR SEV­ERAL YEARS, ON­BOARD STA­BI­LIZA­TION SYS­TEMS for fixed-wing planes have seen tremen­dous growth and re­fine­ment and are now used by many com­pe­ti­tion and sport fliers. For many, they are viewed as must-have equip­ment. Much more than just fixed-rate gy­ros used to tame tail-drag­gers, these new three-axis flight-sta­bi­liza­tion sys­tems are pro­gram­mable and can be used with all sorts of air­planes. From WW I and WW II war­birds, tur­bine, and e-jet air­craft to sport fliers and unlimited 3D aer­o­batic air­craft, these com­pact, easy-to-in­stall units make an amaz­ing dif­fer­ence. Not in­tended as au­topi­lots, three-axis sta­bi­lizer units of­fer much smoother flight per­for­mance. Often de­scribed as “switches that turn off the wind,” these units do their job while al­low­ing pi­lots to re­tain full con­trol and feel of their air­plane while in flight. In a nut­shell, three-axis sta­bi­liz­ers are gyro sys­tems with the abil­ity to hold po­si­tions rel­a­tive to pitch, roll, and yaw axis of a model air­plane. De­pend­ing on their pro­gram­ming, they can au­to­mat­i­cally and quickly re­turn the model to its pre­set level-flight ori­en­ta­tion while also damp­en­ing the ef­fect of wind, greatly re­duc­ing the cor­rec­tion com­mands needed by the pi­lot.

Here are 11 of our edi­tors’ fa­vorite sta­bi­liza­tion units, which will make a big per­for­mance dif­fer­ence re­gard­less of the type of plane you fly. You will feel the dif­fer­ence and won­der why you hadn’t in­stalled one sooner.

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