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  1. #1
    Eyeguy's Avatar
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    Fire Dragon 3D

    I've researched this little 3D plane without finding much about it online so I decided to post my own experience with it for others to learn from. I got mine from AK-Models for US$ 59.99 + S/H . It is an ARF made by RichModel in China.



    It is a beautiful little plane, all laser cut wood and built straight and true.



    The posted wingspan is 35.4 inches and length is 32.9 inches.



    It comes with a rudimentary manual on a mini-disc.



    They claim the all up weight to be 650grams. Mine weighed 640gram before balancing, with receiver, ESC, motor and a 1300mAh 20C Lipo. However, it weighed 760 grams after initial balancing (see below for detail). Approx 120 grams of lead was needed in the nose to provide balancing at the recommended CG of 40mm.



    See photos for an idea of how much lead this really is !



    Why was all that lead needed ? I modified the tail skid to a steerable version (photo) which may have added minor tail weight, and used Turnigy/HXT 900 servos which may be slightly heavier than what is needed, but still, this did not seem right ! Also, when looking at the wide wing cord, a CG of 40mm just did not look right !



    First flight: Take off uneventful with good, but not great climb out. I did a number of passes at various power settings and as I feared, it was VERY nose heavy. This first flight was cut short after 3.5 mins by some unexpected rain, and during the landing approach the nose heavy CG was evident. The landing was less graceful and I decided to remove some lead, move the CG back a bit and beef up the landing gear for the second flight.



    Second flight : with less weight and the CG at approx 55mm, the FireDragon flew much better. The climb out was substantially better and aerobatic potential started to show. But it was still nose heavy !



    For the next few flights the lead colossus in the nose was progressively trimmed and the CG moved further and further back. In all I removed 89 grams of lead. With the remaining approx 31 grams of lead the CG now sits at approx 68mm and now this is a MUCH better flying aeroplane. I suspect the ideal CG is even a bit further back, but will post an updates when I have it narrowed down a bit more. I suggest a first flight CG of 65-68mm behind the leading edge for a safe and predictable but fun maiden flight. With the CG at 68mm it lands nicely and the landing gear mods keep the prop safe.



    The current motor is a Turnigy 2830 1050kV which seems to provide more than enough power. Vertical performance is unlimited and it hovers well. I have used 10x4 and 10x5 props for these flights. However, seeing that it seems to need some nose weight in any way, a larger brushless motor and/or bigger battery can only add more fire to the FireDragon.



    Mods made include the following: (see photos )

    1 - steerable tailskid

    2 - latch for battery compartment

    3 - the landing gear wire is to wide for its slot - I gave it a shallow "V" bend to make it fit and modified the laminated wooden block that keeps it in place according to the shape of the "V", also decided to screw the block in place rather than glue it in so that I can remove it in case I need to fix it. (the springs used for mods #1 and #3 came from retractable ball-point pens )

    4 - landing gear wire reinforcement

    5 - had to cut the servo slots a tiny bit bigger - it may be that the servos I used are a bit too big in any way

    6 - as always with an ARF I added some CA to all the joints I could reach, It seems well built but I always do this in any way

    7 - the hardware seems all fine but I used Great Planes pushrod connectors instead of the provided ones - just personal preference

    8 - CG START WITH CG OF AT LEAST 65MM



    Tips:

    1 - The motor mount provides the needed right thrust - but the instructions do not point this out ! ! Make sure that you build this mount correctly - see photos showing the differences between the R and L sides, and the mounting plate showing offset of the holes to the L side.

    2 - those little cute stars on the covering are stickers - be careful with the heat close to them when reshrinking the covering ( very little reshrinking was needed on my plane )



    Cons:

    Minimal instructions (quite OK if you have built a few ARF's, not for a first time builder - but this little 3D plane is meant for experienced pilots)

    No latch for battery compartment - so make one yourself

    Weak landing gear wire



    How does it fly - great, fantastic ! It seems to be a bit of a hybrid - a little bit of 3D funfly mixed with a long pattern style fuselage. It tracks very well and all the aerobatics I coaxed out of it so far did not challenge it at all. Looking forward to the next flights to see what it can do.



    In all I highly recommend this little electric plane to anyone who wants an aerobatic plane that tracks well and has good 3D potential, and does not look like another Extra 300 or Cap 232. It is already one of my favorite planes. With the above info you should be off to a great start without any surprizes.



    Please add to the thread if you have any experience with the FireDragon.
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  2. #2
    Eyeguy's Avatar
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    RE: Fire Dragon 3D

    Photos of landing gear and tailskid modifications
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  3. #3
    Eyeguy's Avatar
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    RE: Fire Dragon 3D

    Photos of spring loaded battery latch, and the initial nose weight (120grams lead ) to balance at recommended CG of 40mm. Most of this lead was removed for further flights - see my CG recommendation above !
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  4. #4
    Eyeguy's Avatar
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    RE: Fire Dragon 3D

    Photos of the motor mount pointing out the differences between Right and Left sides, and the view of the mounting plate indicating orientation.
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  5. #5
    Eyeguy's Avatar
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    RE: Fire Dragon 3D

    Wow, this thread is dead - I guess I am the only one flying this little gem.

    UPDATE - CG now at 7.75cm from the leading edge, no extra weight at all, 1300mAh LiPo in front compartment in fuselage - FLIES GREAT ! !

    DEFINITELY IGNORE THE MANUFACTURER SUGGESTED CG !

    Weight now 640 grams

    AWESOME little plane, the only limit is my flying skills.

  6. #6
    Eyeguy's Avatar
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    RE: Fire Dragon 3D

    Here it is !
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  7. #7
    Eyeguy's Avatar
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    RE: Fire Dragon 3D


  8. #8
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    RE: Fire Dragon 3D

    Just bought the Fire Dragon, (Electric Dragon 3D). No instruction disk, just a limited picture instruction set. It has no control movement/expo settings listed.

    Can you provide control settings for me?

    Thanks,
    AV8TOR
    If it is not SCARY, it is NO WHERE NEAR powerful enough!!
    All R/C planes have expiration dates---> It's just not printed on them anywhere!

  9. #9
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    RE: Fire Dragon 3D

    Can anyone tell me what size spinner fits the front of the cowling on the Electric Dragon 3D airplane?

    Thanks!
    AV8TOR
    If it is not SCARY, it is NO WHERE NEAR powerful enough!!
    All R/C planes have expiration dates---> It's just not printed on them anywhere!

  10. #10

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    RE: Fire Dragon 3D

    I just bought the last one in stock of the 3D Dragon EP ARF at Texas RC Planes http://www.texasrcplanes.com!! It arrived last week with no manual whatsoever. They cannot find a manual to give me either. So I am stuck. Can someone be so kind as to help me out and email a manual to me??? Mine has the clear covering.

    Thanks!
    Joe

  11. #11
    Eyeguy's Avatar
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    RE: Fire Dragon 3D

    I have a copy of the manual in PDF format, and tried to post it here, but it does not seem to upload. PM me and I can send it to you

  12. #12
    Eyeguy's Avatar
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    RE: Fire Dragon 3D

    Finally figured out how to post a PDF file onto the thread - here is the FireDragon 3D manual in the link below !

    Important - see post #5 above regarding the CG !
    Attached Files Attached Files

  13. #13

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    RE: Fire Dragon 3D

    Hello....

    Can Someone please re-upload the PDF file...

    thanks.....

    wolfgang

  14. #14
    Eyeguy's Avatar
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    RE: Fire Dragon 3D

    Here is the PDF
    Also an update - I still enjoy this plane but now flies with a KDA M motor without any nose weight. It is a super little plane, obviously the manufacturer scewed up the recommended CG in the original manual.
    Attached Files Attached Files

  15. #15
    Eyeguy's Avatar
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    RE: Fire Dragon 3D

    Wow, something is wrong with this upload ! It says "bad gateway" for some reason. Wolfgang please PM me and I will send you the PDF

  16. #16

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    RE: Fire Dragon 3D

    Hello.....

    Thank you for your fast answer.....

    You have PM ....

    Thank you very much

  17. #17
    Eyeguy's Avatar
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    RE: Fire Dragon 3D

    Here are the linkage photos Wolfgang
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  18. #18
    Eyeguy's Avatar
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    RE: Fire Dragon 3D

    Spring latch modification for battery hatch and larger wheels from HobbyKing
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  19. #19

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    RE: Fire Dragon 3D

    Aaahhhh.

    Now everhing is clear.I was a little bit confused about the position from the linkage on the aileron in the manual.

    as in the manual it can not be right.

    wolfgang





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