RCU Review: Hobby Zone Aerobird Xtreme

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    Contributed by: Greg Covey | Published: September 2004 | Views: 40402 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon

    hobbyzone™ is a
    Horizon Hobby brand

    (877) 504-0233

    Watch videos of the
    Hobbyzone Aerobird Xtreme

    Drop Module video
    Combat Module video

    • Complete package
    • Optional X-Port Modules
    • Replacement parts available

    • Requires a heavy toss
    • Should be flown in Pro Mode

    The new Aerobird Xtreme from Hobby Zone is the first in their Z3 class of planes that was not designed to be used as a trainer. It is larger than the other "birds" with a 55" wingspan and weighs in at almost 2.5lbs! The additional size, added weight, and more powerful 540 motor allow the plane to be flown in wind with plenty of authority!

    Kit Name: Aerobird Xtreme

    Wing Span:
    55 in (1400mm)
    Overall Length:
    41.5 in (1055mm)
    Flying Weight:
    2.4 lb
    Motor Size:
    540 power
    Recommended Battery:
    6-cell, 7.2V, 1700mAh Ni-Cd
    Approx. Flying Duration:
    15-20 min
    Transmitter Range:
    2,500 ft

    In the box:
    • RTF Plane
    • Flight pack
    • Charger
    • Transmitter w/batteries
    • Video & manual

    Out of the box, you can see that there are very few parts

    Preparing the Aerobird Xtreme:
    The Aerobird Xtreme arrives tightly packed in the box. I was happy to see that batteries were included for the transmitter so I installed them first.

    A charger is also included that can plug into your car cigarette lighter jack or a 12v power supply using the supplied adapter. You should discharge the pack fully before charging it up again.

    The assembly takes only a few minutes to complete. You put two screws in to hold the tail in place and install a rubber band across the bottom of the control horns. The rubber band stretches around the front of the tail from one control horn to the other. I used the notches closest to the tail surface.

    Simply press in the landing gear.
    Install the battery for testing and align the control surfaces.
    The tail surfaces and motor should be checked for operation and aligned, if needed, before heading to the flying field.

    The first flights with our two Aerobird Xtremes
    were very successful!
    We used the recommended 6 rubberbands on each plane as it is needed for securing the wing properly

    My friend Lynn and I each flew a 1700mAh NiCd pack and an 1800mAh NiCd pack in both planes using Pro Mode (or unassisted mode). The fight times were about 10-15 minutes in medium winds. I also have some of the 3000mAh NiMH packs that will be tested later. We used Pro Mode to increase the turning response. The plane will loop when it has sufficient speed. The first two flights with our Aerobird Xtremes were very successful!

    Combat and Drop Modules:
    On a pleasant work day at lunchtime, we tested the Sonic Combat Module option.

    What a blast! Suddenly, the long flight times seemed shorter due to all the fun we were having. I'll be charging my 3000mAh NiMH packs soon!

    The Aerobirds emit an occasional beep while flying with the Combat Module. I wasn't sure if this was normal operation or we were getting radio interference. When a "hit" is scored, the opponents motor is disabled for 10 seconds and a loud screech can be heard for several seconds, even when the planes are very high!

    My review pilot, Lynn, won the first battle by a score of 2 to 0 but nobody was grounded. (Grounding an opponent is the ultimate kill) We're both having loads of fun with this bigger, more powerful, Zone 3 design!

    For the review video, we needed a lame duck (that would be me) to fly in closer so we could get some shots of it getting hit. The second or third hit scored by Lynn dumped me into the far side of the flying field beyond the mowed grass. The Aerobird was a bit dirty but undamaged. The combat module is a blast but it is harder to ground your opponent than you might think. The 3000NiMH packs offered us flight times of over 20 minutes!

    Next up, we tested out the Aerial Drop Module:

    With the plug-in Aerial Drop Module, you can drop a streamer bomb or parachute, both of which are included. You actually get two streamer bombs and one parachute in the kit. The module uses an electro-magnet which is activated when the flight pack is installed in the plane. Pressing the trigger button turns off the electro-magnet which opens the web to drop the bomb. This operation also disables the motor when the button is held depressed.

    The Aerial Drop Module is compatible with any X-Port equipped HobbyZone airplane, like the Firebird Commander, Aerobird Xtreme, and the Fighterbird.

    We didn't have nearly the same amount of fun as we did with the Combat Modules. Perhaps it was because it was over too soon. The Aerial Drop module has only one drop per flight but the Combat Module can keep firing throughout the entire flight.

    The drop module worked fine but I didn't like the fact that the motor is disabled when dropping the streamer bomb. The dropped object is difficult to see from a decent height (watch the slow motion portion of the video) but it worked much better when dropping closer to the ground. This technique, of course, requires some skill for low flying and handling the temporary motor shutoff.

    The Aerobird Xtremes worked very well overall. They were built rugged and repaired easily when we abused them. Although the power level is good, the model is a bit on the heavy side which requires a good toss to get started and awareness of low speed stalling. With proper speed, they fly and turn well. At slower speeds, the turning has a delayed response that requires some learning to master. We found that using Pro Mode is a must for better turning authority.

    The flight times were decent with the stock battery pack and exceptional with the NiMH upgrade. The option combat and drop modules worked well but require an advanced skill level to enjoy. Although the plane can be made ready to fly by a novice, intermediate flying skills (Z3 level) are recommended by both the manufacturer and myself.

    The Aerobird Xtreme can be used as a trainer under the supervision of a seasoned pilot. The wing removes easily for transport (6 rubberbands) and the landing gear also pull out, if needed. While a single Aerobird Xtreme is fun to fly, two of them equipped with the sonic Combat Module options can be a real blast providing an added challenge for the pilots.

    hobbyzone™ is a Horizon Hobby brand
    (877) 504-0233

    Comments on RCU Review: Hobby Zone Aerobird Xtreme

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    The comments, observations and conclusions made in this review are solely with respect to the particular item the editor reviewed and may not apply generally to similar products by the manufacturer. We cannot be responsible for any manufacturer defects in workmanship or other deficiencies in products like the one featured in the review.

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