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First experiences with Horizons Firebird Freedom

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Old 05-18-2006, 02:40 PM
  #1  
wotan1
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Default First experiences with Horizons Firebird Freedom

Hello folks.

I think I posted this in the wrong place to start so I will just start a
new thread for my story and questions.

I am a beginner with absolutly no experience at radio control flying.
About 50 years ago I did some minor U-control but that has very little
that translates to RC.

Anyway, for better or worse, when I got interested a couple of weeks ago
I bought a Freedom Flyer. I am trying to teach myself to fly as the
advertisments said I could. So far a mixed bag.

I have had one beautiful (for me) flite of about 7 minutes that I believe
I had at least some control of the airplane. It was from a hand launch. I
flew in oblongs in front of me and did up and down altitude changes
always staying over 100 feet (I think). It was lots of fun doing these
simple things. I must add here that this was after several crashes from
hand launches and a crash from an attempted ROG that broke a wing half in
half. We have new wings. Finally I began to lose altitude. I did not
think I was doing anything to cause this but down it came and made a
pretty good landing on its own, rough and bouncy, but definately not a
crash. The forced landing is still a mystery.

After this nice flight it took over 40 minutes to charge the battery and
I got impatient and quit charging at about 46 minutes. I was using my
wifes Toyota as I had discovered that battery pack charger that works in
a car cigarette lighter will not work in a Suburu Forester because of the
recessed hole in the dash. The wind had changed some,a little brisker. I
hand launched again and got to altitude but this time I felt like I was
not in control a lot of the time. After about 3 minutes the plane started
going away from me downwind and I started to make a turn to keep it close.
Everything went haywire and down came the plane. Nothing I did changed
anything. There was a crash, a BAAAAD crash right on its soft nose and
then a lot of bouncing. Some pieces flew around as it came to rest.
The rubber bands on the cockpit canopy were gone and the canopy had come
off. The flite pack battery had broken loose from the plastic socket in
the plane, however it and its socket seemed to be o.k. The red wire going
into the socket in the plane had pulled out of the socket while the black
wire was still firmly in the socket. The foam thingies were all loose.
The propeller had disappeared. The v-tail was torn to bits and most of
its hardware was gone. I didn't know what to look for anyway. The ACT eye
on the bottom of the fuselage was not flush with the body looking off to
the left side of the plane. I don"t know if this crash caused that or one
of the earlier ones or if it is supposed to be that way. It has a very
small screw that is part way out so I am confidant that I can screw it
back in.

The fix for the propeller is easy!! (I think - don't want to be
overconfident). I bought a new v-tail and parts and think I've got that
fixed. It was not easy as my hands have lost a lot of small motor
ability.

Finally my questions!
Can I just glue the foam pieces inside the nose and when it is time to
fly fix the battery to them with velcro or something.
Now for the loose red wire. I can now manually push it back in
the socket and get it to work, however, if it moves too
much it will cut out. If we did manage to get back in the
air it would be subject to Murphys law and cause a even
worse crash. I have never used a soldering iron and even
if I did know how to use it I have no idea how the wire
and plastic socket would work with all that heat. Is it
possible to drop some glue in there and adjust it or tape
it or what?????? Any ideas!! I hope I don't have to buy a new fuselage
just because of one red wire!!!

Thank you to those of you who were nice enough to read this through and
thank you in advance to anyone who has any advice.

Sincerely - wotan 0
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Old 05-19-2006, 10:42 AM
  #2  
Leo L
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Default RE: First experiences with Horizons Firebird Freedom

Hi Wotan; welcome to the wonderful (and sometiimes not so wonderful)world of flying. I'll try to answer all of your questions as best as I can.

First, I presume that you have a Firebird Freedom, as the name of your thread indicates, but in your text you refer to a Freedom Flyer. The Freedom Flyer is made by MegaTech, has a prp in the front and looks a liitle like a Cessna. The Firebird Freedom is made by HobbyZone and has a pusher prop. From the description of your plane's damage, I'm guessing that its a Firebird Freedom. Regardless of what the manufacturer says, the Freedom is not a great beginner's plane. Its rather heavy and therefore needs to fly briskly, or it stalls and crashes. The most important issue is the RED WIRE. You say that if you move it too much, it cuts out. You definitely need to have this repaired. The options are to either remove the electronic components from the plane and solder the wire for a firm connection, or to buy a new fuselage. Since you are not familiar with soldering, you might want to check if there are any electronic repair shops near you; ones that repair TVs, radios, computers, etc. They would certainly be able to solder the wire for you. You might also try calling Horizon Hobby and seeing if they will repair the fuselage for you if you ship it back to them. Otherwise, you're looking at buying a new fuselage.

The reason that you started to loose altitude on your first flight is that you probably ran out of charge. Under normal flying conditions, the HobbyZone and ParkZone planes will fly for around 10 minutes with their stock equipment. If you had a couple of uinsuccessfull launch attempts before the actual flight, then you probably ate up about three minutes of flight time, meaning that at the end of seven minutes, your plane was out of power.

You should be able to glue all of the foam pieces back in. In general, keep a good supply of clear packing tape, 5 minute epoxy and foam-safe CA glue to keep your plane flying.

I know that you have a good deal of money and time invested in the Firebird Freedom. If you can afford to, you might want to consider setting it aside for the time and getting a Slow-V. As long as you can fly when there is virtually no wind, you cann't beat the Slow-V for learning how to fly by yourself. Once you become proficient at flying the Slow-V, the Freedom will become a nice plane to move up to.
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Old 05-19-2006, 01:07 PM
  #3  
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Default RE: First experiences with Horizons Firebird Freedom

I agree with all that Leo L posted. You must get that wire soldered before it will be reliable for flight. I would encourage you to get a soldering iron and do a google search on "how to solder." It is not that hard once you learn the steps and will be a handy skill in this hobby.

Sometimes when a battery gets ejected like that, it pulls so hard on the circuit board in the plane that it breaks the mounting points. It may not be obvious damage, but will allow the servos to move and make the plane less controllable or even uncontrollable. Some people advocate cutting the clip off of the battery connector so that it will just unplug before yanking the circuit board out or the wire out of the connector. It also wouldn't hurt to hold the battery in and/or hold the conopy down with a stout rubber band to prevent ejections.

Finally, you can download a free computer model flight simulator called FMS and get some practice that will not result in damage to your model.

Good luck and hang in there. Most pilots went through a rough spot like this in the beginning.
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Old 05-19-2006, 01:11 PM
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Default RE: First experiences with Horizons Firebird Freedom

One more thing. You can probably get an adapter plug for your car's lighter socket that will allow you to plug in the charger. Often they are used to allow you to plug in two devices into a single lighter socket. And your battery will probably hold more of a charge after being flown a few times.
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Old 05-19-2006, 06:16 PM
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Default RE: First experiences with Horizons Firebird Freedom

Thank you Leo L and Barry 2.

Thank you very much. I have not tried to fly her again as yet. I think I have most of the things fixed except the red wire. I';; try to take it to an electronics shop tomorrow and also go to an auto shop to see about a cigarette lighter adapter.

Economics are such that I can't afford a new plane right now. My wife needs a new computer so I'll have to wait untill she gets it and we recover from that expense. This r.c. business was not planned - I saw two young men flying a stealth bomber one evening while walking the dog at a unused ballpark (our season gets started a little later up here) and got very interested.

Thanks again and I will let you know if things improve.

wotan
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Old 05-19-2006, 11:53 PM
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Default RE: First experiences with Horizons Firebird Freedom

Hi Leo L & Barry 2

I think I can dig up enough money to get a Slow-V ($150 or so). Everything I have read since Leo L has recommended it has been A++++. I also noticed in another thread that Leo L also recommended the Aerobird Challenger when wind was not such a consideration. Here in Anchorage rarely do we have NO wind at all. We do get down to 5 mph and lower but often the wind gusts some when it is that low.

I am curious about the motors sizes . The Firebird Freedom has a 480, the Slow-V 380, however, the 380 has a gearbox to gear it down and the Aerobird Challenger a 380 direct drive. Could one of you explain what this means? I would certainly appreciate it.

Thank you again for your help. This is all very exciting if I am going to get another plane.

wotan
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Old 05-20-2006, 12:38 AM
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Default RE: First experiences with Horizons Firebird Freedom

Actually the Slo-V has a 370 motor, it's slightly less powerful than the 380. Now as for the gearing down part, that allows the motor to spin a larger diameter prop to generate more thrust, and therefore loses some airspeed, but think of it like gears in a Mac truck. They move at a crawl in lower gears, but can haul 40 tons all day long uphill. Now since the Slo-V is a purpose-built slow flyer, it can get away with lower airpseed (larger wing area makes for creating needed lift), and the higher thrust value means it can "accelerate" to it's top speed (as relatively slow as it may seem) in less time, and as a nice side effect of high thrust and large wing area, with a few upgrades to the power system, I can haul around a digi-cam attached to it for recording in-flight onboard video!

As for direct drive props, you will notice that they are usually smaller in diameter in comparison, but then provide more prop rpms, and therefore are more useful for higher speed applications, where higher thrust is not the primary requirement. Think of that like your car's 3rd and 4th gear (or 5th gear) that let you go fast on the highway. But it takes you a while to accelerate up to top speed if you start out going in 3rd gear, now doesnt it?

Hopefully this clarifies some of the questions you may have in your head, among all the other things you will be wondering about, as I was when I first started out r/c flight with my Slo-V in late 2004. Now remember that as a beginner, "No wind is good wind," ESPECIALLY when the Slo-V is concerned. A lesson I learned, and still learn, the hard way.

Onboard video using a cheap 3 oz. digicam on my Slo-V: (takes a few minutes to load, and even longer if you have dial-up internet)
[link=http://f6.putfile.com/videos/b5-11912504246.avi]http://f6.putfile.com/videos/b5-11912504246.avi[/link] ~10 mb in size.
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Old 05-24-2006, 04:15 AM
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Default RE: First experiences with Horizons Firebird Freedom


ORIGINAL: wotan1

Hi Leo L & Barry 2

I think I can dig up enough money to get a Slow-V ($150 or so). Everything I have read since Leo L has recommended it has been A++++. I also noticed in another thread that Leo L also recommended the Aerobird Challenger when wind was not such a consideration. Here in Anchorage rarely do we have NO wind at all. We do get down to 5 mph and lower but often the wind gusts some when it is that low.

I am curious about the motors sizes . The Firebird Freedom has a 480, the Slow-V 380, however, the 380 has a gearbox to gear it down and the Aerobird Challenger a 380 direct drive. Could one of you explain what this means? I would certainly appreciate it.

Thank you again for your help. This is all very exciting if I am going to get another plane.

wotan
A lot of new flyers are finding that the Firebird Freedom is not a good match for new flyers. Get the wire fixed but hold it for your second plane.

First, please read this post, it will help you with your training.

Six Keys to Success for new e-flyers
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=355208

Now, here is info on RTFs that my be good choices for you. Slo-V is a good plane for people who have to fly in small spaces or who have frequent calm days. Sounds like you do not have a lot of calm weather so I would not recommend the Slo-V for you. If you have at least 600X600 of clear space, and preferably more I would suggest one of these other planes. I like the Slo-V, and I include more infor on it, but it does not sound like a good match for your conditions.


READY TO FLY STARTER PLANES - Electric Parkflyers
No building - they practically fly right out of the box
These also glide well so you can thermal soar
with them under the right conditions.


Slow-V from Parkzone - $140 -
I have flown the slo-V. My RTF of choice for small spaces.
Best flown in still to under 5 mph breeze. This is the best choice for
people who only have a small space to fly or who have an indoor
place to fly, such as a large gym or similar space.
http://h1071118.hobbyshopnow.com/pro...p?prod=PKZ1300
Discussion Thread
http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/m_20...tm.htm#2089493
Review
http://www.rcuniverse.com/magazine/a...article_id=426
Video
http://users.cwnet.com/dhsc19/Slo_V_Aerobatics.wmv
Night fly module on a Slo-V
http://rc-galaxy.com/messageboard/mb...ViewMsg&num=-8

T-Hawk - RTF - Excellent Value - $150-170
I have flown the T-Hawk. Excellent first plane.
Comes with extra wing, tail and battery
Flies well and stands up to hard landings
Can be flown on 27 MHz or 72 MHz
http://www.toytx.com/thawk3chrtf.html
T-Hawk - Without Radio - add your radio and receiver
http://www.readytoflyfun.com/wittran.html
T-Hawk Discussion Thread
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...ighlight=THawk
Videos
http://www.readytoflyfun.com/thawkvideos.html

Easy Star - RTF - $170
I have flown the Easy Star - Great plane for new flyers!
Believe this goes easily back in the box to keep in the car
Super tough foam. Comes with 72 MHz radio in the US.
Good parkflyer and a good glider
Radio in RTF package can be used to fly other planes
http://www.hobbypeople.net/gallery/240025.asp
Easy Star - ARF - Add you own radio gear
http://www.hobbypeople.net/gallery/240009.asp
Build Thread
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=350408
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=459096
Videos
http://plawner.org/video/easygo.wmv
http://plawner.org/video/easystar.wmv
Mods, upgrades and more
http://www.mpx-easystar.de/
Adding ailerons
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...8&goto=newpost
Travel Box
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...5&goto=newpost

Aerobird Challenger - RTF Electric - $110 -
I started on an Aerobird RTF. I have over 600 flights on my Aerobirds. I
also thermal and slope soar this plane. Flies well and stands up to hard
landings.

Their add on fun accessories for night flying, air to air combat and drop
module add to the fun! Great keep in the car plane - take off the wing and
it goes
back in the box fully assembled. Most can't do that!
http://www.hobbyzone.com/rc_planes_h...challenger.htm
Review
http://www.hobbyzonesports.com/Disco...ID=1289#Page01
Discussion Thread
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=147621
Video
http://www.parkflyers.com/html/aerobird_video.html
http://www.hobbyzone.com/rc_videos/a...nger_loops.wmv

Hobbico Sky Fly - $100
I haveflown this one personally. About the best landing gear and ground
handling of the planes I list here
NOTE: Radio range is only 500 feet. This is adequate if you are careful
but about 1/4 of the range of the others listed here.
http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...&I=LXKLV7&P=ML
Video
http://video1.hobbico.com/gallery/hc...961-deluxe.mpg
Review
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=489248
Discussion thread
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...t=493271&pp=15

Essential Add-ons:

When evaluating costs, add the following items to your list.

For the Aerobird and the Sky Fly
2 Spare wings ($25) and 1-2 battery packs ($15-$30 each)

The T-Hawk comes with spare wing, tail and two battery packs,
so factor that into the price and you will see it is closer in price
than it first apperas.

For the Slo-V, two extra props and 1 gearbox seem to come in handy
as this is a front motor plane and these parts really take the damage
of nose in crashes. Don't know about other parts. The others are
pushers so props are less at risk. Add that extra 1-2 battery packs.

The Easy Star really does not need a spare wing or tail so you save
money in that department. The wing is very tough and very repairable.
Easy Star is a little heavier than the others, so add-on battery packs
should be 7 or 8 cell NIMH packs of 900 mah or higher. The Aerobird
7 cell, or the parkzone 7/8 cell packs will work if you don't mind
changing connectors. The stock 6 cell is OK in calm conditions but
get 7 or 8s for add-ons. Figure at least 1 added battery pack.
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