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Firebird Freedom Disaster.. PLEASE HELP

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Old 05-06-2006, 10:40 PM
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N00bious
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Default Firebird Freedom Disaster.. PLEASE HELP

Ok... I have read a bunch of posts on this but none really address my question, or i just plain didn't understand the jargon/answer. I know absolutely nothing about R/C aircraft. Never even seen it done. You all seem like good people, are very knowledgable, and helpful, so I figured for my son I'd beg for help here. I just bought a Firebird Freedom from a hobby store for my 12year old deaf son. He is fasinated with R/C, and I tried to be a hero and got him this.

Long story short... With no wind today, I never got it in the air. Tried taking off by throwing it like shown in the manual and the video. The plane nose dives. I checked the flaps and in nuetral made certain that they are level with the tail wing. Still nose dives... I tried throwing softer and harder. I tried to correct with the elevator controll. Still nose dives. By nose dive I mean after it looses the momentum from my throw it goes straight down on its nose. I tried runway takeoff and it just after about 10feet does a endo and lands on the prop. The prop finally flew off after the last nose dive. He is literally devistated. He sat in the field crying and I feel about as bad as a parent can.

So i suppose I have two questions. Can I fix the propeller? if so how? Just glue?
And of course question 2 PLEASE help me troubleshoot this in laymans terms. I am a network admin, and though I am a n00b at this I can Listen and follow directions well. Please any advice / know how / or help would be much appreciated! Thanks for your time!!
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Old 05-07-2006, 12:37 AM
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Default RE: Firebird Freedom Disaster.. PLEASE HELP

I'm sorry to hear of your difficulties. I have never seen or flown a Firebird Freedom, so I can only give you general advice.

It may not make you or your son feel any better, but I don't know of a single R/C airplane pilot who has not crashed more than once. It is never fun to crash, but it happens to everyone, from beginners to experts. You have to accept it as part of the learning curve and bounce back! It is totally worth it when you overcome your inexperience and start having successful flights!

If there is any possibility of getting an experienced R/C pilot to help you, that's by far the best course of action.

Also, read [link=http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=475834]this discussion thread[/link] and search for other discussions about the Firebird Freedom. You'll find you are not the first owner of the plane to have problems getting it to fly, but most people are eventually successful.

[link=http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/m_3283662/anchors_3283662/mpage_1/key_firebird+freedom/anchor/tm.htm#3283662]Here's another thread.[/link]

[link=http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/m_4071741/anchors_4071741/mpage_1/key_firebird+freedom/anchor/tm.htm#4071741]And another.[/link]

Search for "firebird freedom" and you find many more discussions.

If the prop is cracked, don't try to repair it; get a new one. If it was knocked loose but otherwise not damaged, you may be able to reattach it glue, such as Superglue or 2-part epoxy. But please, please do not let any glue run down the shaft toward the motor. The motor will be ruined if glue gets into it.

If the place where you purchased your plane does not have spare props and other spare parts, they can be ordered online from [link=http://www.horizonhobby.com/Products/RelatedParts.aspx?ProdID=HBZ7000&Category=Parts%20Listing]Horizon Hobby[/link].

A few basic comments.
Did you fully charge the battery before flying? You might also want to try running the battery down and charging it up several times before your next flight. This sort of rechargeable battery takes a few cycles to reach its full potential.
Was the transmitter antenna fully extended?
Was the throttle all the way up -- fully "on" -- when you launched the plane?
Did the plane "feel" like it wanted to pull out of your hand and fly?
Since the plane did not climb, did you try adjusting the tail as shown in Step 17 (Adjusting the Climb Rate) in the instruction manual?

- Jeff
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Old 05-07-2006, 01:09 AM
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Default RE: Firebird Freedom Disaster.. PLEASE HELP

Another resource for you: A list of R/C flying clubs in Massachusetts. The listed clubs are all chartered by the Academy of Model Aeronautics.

http://www.modelaircraft.org/clb.asp?state=ma

- Jeff
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Old 05-07-2006, 01:22 AM
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Default RE: Firebird Freedom Disaster.. PLEASE HELP

First, Thanks for the responce. In answer to your questions. The prop is not damaged at all. Just off. Yes the battery was fully charged. The antenna was fully extended as well. The throttle was all the way up. When I held the plane with the throttle up it felt like it wanted to pull out of my hand.

Step 17... DAM IT!!! I must have read the manual 50 times. How I missed that every time is beyond me my goodness. I feel even worse. I would bet that will do it. He wanted to put on the rear wheel. So those two screws were adjusted. I bet that is why it was behaving like that. If the weather is good tomorrow I will test it.

Thanks a MILLION!!!

Noel
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Old 05-07-2006, 10:54 AM
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Default RE: Firebird Freedom Disaster.. PLEASE HELP

Those screws can change alot - I wouldn't fly w/ that rear wheel on, it'll just tug on those screws on landings in grass and eventually strip out their threads - they screw into plastic. Give it a good heave hand launching it. . . that's what mine takes.
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Old 05-07-2006, 12:29 PM
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Default RE: Firebird Freedom Disaster.. PLEASE HELP

Hi Noel,

I did some reading in those threads, which I strongly recommend that you do. As jcblough says, it apparently takes a good strong throw to get the FF to fly.

Good luck.

- Jeff
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Old 05-07-2006, 11:00 PM
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Default RE: Firebird Freedom Disaster.. PLEASE HELP

Thanks all for replying. I have read every thread on here with the words firebird freedom in them. A Ton of great info. I took off the wheel and adjusted the screw on the tail as step 17 says, after about 3 adjustments it was all set. Tried hand launching it but was never succesful. I am 6'9 and was chucking it hard, soft, and everything in between. Finally I was successful in a runway take off. I flew it for about 2 minutes. It was great. Being that, I of course had no idea what i was doing, I had the plane doing all kinds of ariel acrobatics (stalling and twisting then recovering). None intentionaly of course. Then as I tried to circle it in for a landing I got nervous, and crashed.

The tail seems tilted to one side now. There are no breaks, but a inch size piece of the plastic coating over the foam is sticking up, on the top right side of the joint where the tail wing sections join, and as I said the right section seems to be tiled more down than the left now. Couldn't get it off the ground again. He of course was jumping for joy from the flight and is all that much more excited to get out again after I figure out what is wrong. Thanks for your time yall.

Noel
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Old 05-07-2006, 11:12 PM
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Default RE: Firebird Freedom Disaster.. PLEASE HELP

Noel-

Congratulations on your 2-minute flight! That's a start.

Since I have never seen a Firebird Freedom, I can't really help you with repairs. In general when repairing a plane, you want to get everything lined up and secure, just as it was before the crash. It's hard enough to fly when everything is perfectly square, and just that much harder if any of the flight surfaces are askew.

Also, does your plane have the anti-crash feature? Some of the threads I've read say the plane may actually be easier to fly with this feature turned OFF.

- Jeff
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Old 05-08-2006, 09:26 AM
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Default RE: Firebird Freedom Disaster.. PLEASE HELP

Noobious - I too am a newb. And I'm having a similar problem. After about 10 feet of flight, my FF makes a steep dive and right turn. Hand launch - or rolling take off - its all the same. I have had many successful flights but this started about 2 weeks ago. I even replaced the tail. Had an experienced RC'er look at it and he thought the control surfaces looked fine. I've had my share of crashes - some quite hard - and I'm wondering if my problem isn't electronic - maybe a servo? I've run it up while holding it and things seem fine. I too have read the other posts and so far, nothing has worked. Please keep us updated.
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Old 05-08-2006, 12:14 PM
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Default RE: Firebird Freedom Disaster.. PLEASE HELP

NOObious,

The unfortunate side of flying is that there is no plane that is completely ready to fly right out of the box. Every plane takes some adjustment to get it to fly properly. An experienced flyer can keep the plane in the air while making adjustments, or can land it if it requires more substantial adjustment. A beginner doesn't have the experience and knowledge to do so, so the plane usually ends up crashing.

Don't let your son get discouraged about flying. For the moment, set the Freedom aside and go to Toys-R-Us, Target, etc. and buy an AirHogs AeroAce (no substitutions). The plane is small (about 9"), is very simple to fly, doesn't require much room (can be flown indoors in a gym), and is virtually indestructable. This plane is not meant to take the place of the Freedom: its simply an immediate step to get your son to fly, while he is excited about it. Put a small screw or tape a coin to the nose of the AeroAce to get it to fly better. Check out the various threads about this plane. Then go buy one (or two: one for your son and one for you). The only requirement is that you fly when there is NO WIND. But that goes for virtually any plane in the hands of a beginner.

As far as the Freedom is concerned, congratulations on your first flight. The Freedom is not a bad plane, but not the best selection for a beginner. My son started with the AeroAce, then we bought him a Freedom. He got three flights with it. First flight got off the ground OK and flew it well, but the wind started to pick-up, so he asked me to land it for him. Second flight took off OK, but he mis-judged the height of a tree, resulting in a torn-off tail. After repairs, third flight went OK until time to land. He slowed the plane down too much and it stalled, resulting in a nice cartwheel. Luckily the field was muddy and so there was no damage. He felt that he needed something slower, that would give him more time to decide what to do. We set the Freedom aside for now and bought him a Slow-V. It took a few crashes before he got the plane properly trimmed out, but now he loves flying it. You might want to consider getting a Slow-V for your son as well.

If you plan to continue with the Freedom, I urge you to do ground take-offs. The Freedom requires a lot of speed and you get a lot more time to trim it out when you ground launch rather than hand launch. When you ground launch, initially give the plane full throttle, until it leaves the ground. The moment that it lifts off, reduce the throttle to about 50-60% so that the plane levels out. Then gradually increase the throttle so that you achieve a steady climb. If you don't reduce the throttle upon take-off, the plane will nose up, stall and crash. You can also acheive the same thing by controlling the elevation control, but for a beginner the throttle control is easier. Make sure that you have plenty of room for taking off and landing. When landing, start circling the field, reducing the throttle until the plane looses about 15-20 ft. per lap. When its about 20ft. off the ground, increase the throttle to maintain elevation. Once you have the plane lined up for the final approach, reduce the throttle to let it gently settle down. Rely on the throttle, not the elevator control, to adjust how quickly the plane descends. Any turns that you make need to be very gentle, with only a little input of the control stick (anything over 1/4 of the throw is too much). Also, turn off the ACT. You'll have much better control of the plane. Let us know what you decide and how you and your son do.

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Old 05-08-2006, 03:56 PM
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Default RE: Firebird Freedom Disaster.. PLEASE HELP

I will second the suggestion to put the Freedom on the shelf and buy a $30 Aero Ace and have some fun, successful flights. Also download the free computer model flight simulator called FMS and get a USB game controller and learn how to fly a 3 channel plane with that. I don't know if there is a simulation of the Freedom for FMS, but there is a good one for the T-Hawk that will fly similarly. That will prepare you to fly the Freedom.
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