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Aerobird Challenger trouble

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Old 07-18-2005, 12:26 AM
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mindfluid
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Default Aerobird Challenger trouble

I am brand new to rc planes and was pointed to the challenger from my LHS as a great starting plane. However I havnt been able to launch it sucessfully from level ground. It just doesnt seem to have enough power for a hand launch not to mention the front end feels too heavy. I have to launch from an elevated point like a hill to avoid it from crashing back to the ground before it can take flight. When it does take flight and reaches at least 50' altitude I then try to make a turn. But as soon as the turn starts it loses control and takes a nose dive. Sometimes I can recover from the first dive but shortly after that it dives again crashing to the ground. Im not turning the control sharply as the book says not to and im not flying in windy conditions. I even tried using the pitch a little to keep the nose up but that doesnt make much of a difference.Im using full throtle because whenever I ease off it starts to dive quickly. I have been through 2 wings already and I have to admit the fustration is starting to get the best of me on a plane that seems unstable no matter what I try. Was this a lousy first plane or was I supposed to adjust something before flying? Im not dissmising the skill it takes to fly an RC plane but I was told that this plane was easier to fly than most and the controls are pretty straight foward. Any tips to help me sucessfully fly my challenger would be greatly appreciated. Also it would be fantastic if there are any expierenced pilots in my area who wouldnt mind showing how its done in person. It would be great to see my plane not crash for a change I live in the Clifton, NJ area.
Thanks in advance for any suggestions!
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Old 07-18-2005, 08:35 AM
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Default RE: Aerobird Challenger trouble

Sorry to hear of your problems. It can be very frustrating when you are new.

The Challenger definately has more than enough power for ROG or hand launch. After 300+ launches, I think I can confirm that.

1) have you checked the allignment of your tail surfaces?

2) If you have replaced the tail, you may need to trim it. That is different than trimming the rudervator ( moveable surfaces)

3) Are you hand launching the plane at an upward angle? that would be wrong. Launch out flat with a good solid push and be careful that you are not releaseing the plane down. This is a dart throw not a baseball throw.

4) You MUST launch into the wind, not with it. The wind should always be in your face

5) launch at full power. In fact you can glide that plane on a good throw with the motor off, but I don't recommend that as the launch method.

6) 6 or 7 cell battery. It flies great on either.

7) If you crashed it, you may have broken the boom lose. If it is not locked back into place, the tail will droop which is the same thing as having full down elevator on all the time. If you can rotate the tail boom at all, it has broken lose.

8) if there are any creases in the tail, these can flex when you try to work the surfaces. Tape may not be enough to support this.

OK that is enough to get you started.
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Old 07-18-2005, 11:39 AM
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Default RE: Aerobird Challenger trouble

Thanks so much for your reply! Please excuse me if I dont yet know all the proper names of my planes parts yet.

Yes, I checked the allignment of my tail surfaces. Everything looks as level as can be.

No I havnt replaced the tail yet as most crashes taxed my main wing and not the back. I just checked it for nicks or bends and it is tightly secured solid to the boom,(I think thats the black stick that it connects to) Im not sure what you mean by trimming it but I did take a screwdriver and centered the rear rudder area so I wouldn have to remember where the trim on my remote is.

I am launching at full power. A good straight throw. I will keep your dart analogy in mind on my next launch.Sometimes there is very little or no wind present though since the video said not to fly in winds above 7mph. The plane seems to have a good start but quickly dips into the ground before it can gain good altitude. Have you ever had this problem? I have a little more luck when on a hill but as I said above it seems very unstable when it does take flight. If there is no wind or a very light breeze does that mean launching is not recommended.

Im trying to make my turns lightly like the book says. Not hard left or right. The plane still starts to nose dive like it doesnt have enough power to stay in the air. I cant enjoy the flight as im constantly trying quickly recover from these dives. The last time it hit the ground the propeller flew off. Luckily I was able to put it back on and it seems to work just fine but im almost afraid im going to really finish off the plane on my next crash. Im not being negative its just I feel this cant be normal. I checked the controls and the rudder is moving in the correct fashion when I test them.

No creases in the tail and im using a 7 cell battery.

After you launch you challenger do you let it climb with just full throtle and nothing else?

Also, my fuselage is a little banged up with 2 small dents. Nothing major but will this compromise my flight as well?
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Old 07-18-2005, 12:00 PM
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Default RE: Aerobird Challenger trouble

OK, good responses.

When I launch a properly trimmed Aerobird, I face into the wind, hit full power, give a straight throw and do nothing else until it is at least tree height. I was training a new Aerobird pilot on Saturday. When I launched his plane I did it with the controller in my left hand held all the way out to my left to emphasize that I was doing nothing to control the plane. I just let it pick up speed and climb.

The design of the Aerobird is that it will tend to climb at full throttle with no other inputs, so you don't have to fly it up. In fact, pulling the stick back too hard or too soon will usually result in a crash. This causes a stall. This is not unique to the Aerobird. This is a basic flight principal. Most stalls are caused by the pilot pulling back on the stick too much with too little air speed.


more testing for you to do.

grasp the black rod, the boom, and see if you can roll it at all between your fingers. You should not be able to rotate it at all, in any way. If you can, you have a problem.

Now, grasp the boom and see if you can wiggle it up and down. Other than flexing the boom, you should not be able to move it up or down.

Hold the plane upside down. Site between the screws on the bottom of the plane, like a gun site. The orange screws should be perfectly centered in the sight. If they are slightly left or right you have broken teh boome lose and the plane will be forced into a turn when you launch it which usually takes it into a crash.

Now, turn the plane on its side. Site down the body and along the boom. They should be perfectly alligned. If the boom seems to droop to the left or right, then you have broken the boom lose and the plane will tend to dive on launch, or will not be able to rise off the ground.

Everything you tell me leads me to believe you have broken the boom lose. Either that or your batteries are not being fully charged and you simply don't have enough power to fly. The plane practically jumps out of my hand when I launch it.

Do you have a digital camera? If necessary I will ask you to take some photos and post the photos.

BTW, I see you in NJ. I am on Long Island. If you want to take a drive, I will help you get your plane flying and give you some training on how to fly it.
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Old 07-18-2005, 12:11 PM
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Default RE: Aerobird Challenger trouble

Oh, trimming the tail. I don't think this is your problem, but if you look in your manual for trimming the tail or for fixing porpoising.

All planes need to have the proper angle between the wing and the tail. This is called the angle of incidence. You can buy a meter that will help you do this, but most of the time, you can do it by trial and error. Get it close, fly it, see how it flies, land and make adjustments.

The things I ask you to look at in the previous post around the boom are actually looking for incidence issues ,but they are of a much larger nature caused by a fuselage issue as opposed to a tail trim issue.

I hope that makes sense.
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Old 07-19-2005, 02:37 PM
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Default RE: Aerobird Challenger trouble

Thanks a million for the great suggestions! So far everything checks out regarding the boom. Its secure, straight as an arrow and no play in the connecting areas. However something came to mind. When I first attached the wing and landing gear I first loosened the rear screws to attach the rear landing wheel but changed my mind after reading it was optional and not mandatory. I tightened both screws and flew it that way. I think I basically changed the factory adjustments. Will try another flight today if its not too windy after adjusting acording to the books troubleshooting secton regarding adjusting those rear screws.

I wish the plane jumped out of my hands the way you describe. The batteries are definitely fully charged.

Thats awesome of you to offer your help in person. I will definitely take you up on your offer. Maybe even this weekend. Let me know what you schedule is like and maybe we can meet at a local park in your area. What exit off the LIE are you off so I can get an idea of how long of a drive it is. You can email me at s_mestre@hotmail.com or call me at 201.390.2277 with that info.

Thanks again!
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Old 07-19-2005, 02:46 PM
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Default RE: Aerobird Challenger trouble

Glad to help. I help a lot of guys learn how to fly Aerobirds, Commanders, Easy Stars, Slo-Vs, other small electrics and gliders.

If weather permits I will be flying Saturday. I usually get to the field around 9:30 or so and stay till 2Pm or later.

www.lisf.org is our club. We have an AMA/Nassau County flying field - huge and clear. You will love it.

LIE to Exit 44N ( Route 135)

Next to last exit puts you on Route 25, Jericho tpk East.

The balance of the directions are on the web site.

I will look forward to seeing you Saturday. I will e-mail you directly as well.
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Old 07-19-2005, 09:46 PM
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Default RE: Aerobird Challenger trouble

Your problems are strange indeed
The ABC was my second plane and I have never had trouble launching it
If everything Ed says checks out the only thing I can think of is not fully charged or bad battery possibly motor
a level toss is all mine needs
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Old 07-19-2005, 11:36 PM
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Default RE: Aerobird Challenger trouble

WOW I wonder if my motor is defective. Im sure after my first flight my LHS and Park Zone doesn't want to hear it. I looked on their website and you can buy another fuselage for around 43 bucks or a replacement plane W/O battery for $73 unassembled. Are they easy to assemble for someone with zero plane building experience?I guess i'll have to see if I can get a good flight out of what I have first to avoid jumping the gun. Oh and I was just reading a thread regarding using two 7.4-volt Li-POLY or Li-ION packs together in PARALLEL. Its supposed to give you about an hour worth of power. What are the pros & cons of using these types of batteries and why doesnt the manufacturer provide them?

I just found out a friend of mine bought a Slo-V for his son who never opened the box and said he'll sell it to me for 20 bucks. I did some research on this site about that plane and it seems a slo plane might be a much better trainer than a fast one. Plus id only lose a few dollars if I destroy it. The worst thing I read about the slow v is that its very delicate but is there really a good value out there on a trainer style plane that can survive a newbie pilot?

Last but not least...
My uncle wants to try RC flying and asked me to recommend a good starting electric plane.
I read some good threads about the T-Hawk from Toytronics being an easy plane to fly and an overall good value. Side by side to the challenger it seems to be a much more generous package for the same price. Any thoughts or suggestions?

Thanks again for all the great responses!!
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Old 07-20-2005, 04:28 AM
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Default RE: Aerobird Challenger trouble


ORIGINAL: mindfluid

WOW I wonder if my motor is defective. Im sure after my first flight my LHS and Park Zone doesn't want to hear it. I looked on their website and you can buy another fuselage for around 43 bucks or a replacement plane W/O battery for $73 unassembled. Are they easy to assemble for someone with zero plane building experience?I guess i'll have to see if I can get a good flight out of what I have first to avoid jumping the gun. Oh and I was just reading a thread regarding using two 7.4-volt Li-POLY or Li-ION packs together in PARALLEL. Its supposed to give you about an hour worth of power. What are the pros & cons of using these types of batteries and why doesnt the manufacturer provide them?

I just found out a friend of mine bought a Slo-V for his son who never opened the box and said he'll sell it to me for 20 bucks. I did some research on this site about that plane and it seems a slo plane might be a much better trainer than a fast one. Plus id only lose a few dollars if I destroy it. The worst thing I read about the slow v is that its very delicate but is there really a good value out there on a trainer style plane that can survive a newbie pilot?

Last but not least...
My uncle wants to try RC flying and asked me to recommend a good starting electric plane.
I read some good threads about the T-Hawk from Toytronics being an easy plane to fly and an overall good value. Side by side to the challenger it seems to be a much more generous package for the same price. Any thoughts or suggestions?

Thanks again for all the great responses!!
If you can buy a fully Slo-V new in the box for $20, take it! Don't think about it, take it! Gives you a slow flyer for calmer days and the aerobird when the wind is up, after you learn to fly it.

T-Hawk is a great plane. If you get the delux packge for $170, it is a better value than the Aerobird. Won't take any of the X-port accesories and you have to mail away for parts, but when you add up the spares it is a great value. Also flies very well.

I find I am recommending the Easy Star more and more. Tough elapor foam, flies well and has excellent glide characteristics. If you get the RTF package, about $180, it comes with a 72 mhz radio which is unlikely to be bothered by some RC car or boat that is running near you. The 27 mhz planes do share that frequency with cars and boats so there is more of a chance of a shootdown.

Some hobby stores carry the easy star. Some will order it but for the most part I send people to www.towerhobbies.com
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Old 07-31-2005, 01:53 PM
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Default RE: Aerobird Challenger trouble

I have just recieved an Aerobird and I now have 2 days of flying it under my belt. This plane is my baby! I love it to !

It is possible that you got a bum plane. If you call Hobby Zone and tell them about it, they can help. They might even replace it. Heck, they have replaced 2 Firebird Scouts for me. Tell us if you get it going. My email is jwin105@yahoo.com if you have any nooby questions. I'm a nooby, too, but I really feel that my Firebird Scout exp has helped a ton!
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Old 08-12-2005, 10:30 AM
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Default RE: Aerobird Challenger trouble

I have very similar experiences to what you sound like. I will also repeat about the tail boom being "drooped down". I had a devil of a time and finally went back to my LHS and he held it up and showed me that the boom had popped out of a C-clip inside the fuselage simply "popped" it back in. Now I have to do that about every time I land hard but it solved that one problem.

Now the launching. I have EXACTLY the problem you do, and most of the time I'm flying with a 7-cell I upgraded to. Have you tried putting on the landing gear and taking off? I'm able to take off fairly well from a little basketball court at the little middle school near my house that I fly at then I fly over the little soccer field next to it.

Glad to hear I'm not the only one with issues, I feel like this plane is actually pretty decent and certainly I've proven it's ruggedness but I'm far from being good at flying it.
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Old 08-12-2005, 08:26 PM
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Default RE: Aerobird Challenger trouble

I actualy had the boom snap out of its position recently. Ed showed how to add a tie wrap via drilling a small hole on each side slightly behind the area where you add the mod packs. Then by adding the tie wrap through and around you hold the boom stick down in place. Im sure theres a thread somewhere in here on how to do this with a detailed step by step description.
I didnt even know that was the problem until today. Since last week ive been scratching my head wondering why I had to fight her so much on takeoffs and even shimmed pieces of cardboard under the tail section to correct the angle.

My original problem was the way I was launching and over controling(the usuall suspects for newbies.). Ed showed me very quickly how not to over steer and let her go up without aid. The plane practialy flew itself. Since then ive been getting some good flight time in and much less time at the hobby shop

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