RCU Review: Hobby Lobby Firebird EDF


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    Contributed by: Greg Covey | Published: April 2006 | Views: 66305 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    Firebird EDF

    Review by: Greg Covey

    Navigation


    Manufacturer Info
    Firebird EDF
    Distributed exclusively by:

    Hobby Lobby

    5614 Franklin Pike Cr.
    Brentwood, TN 37027
    615.373.1444
    www.hobby-lobby.com



    Ratings
    Quality
    Performance
    Ease of Assembly
    Looks
    Price
    Manual


    Hits

    Assembles easy
    Looks great
    Good stock power
    Superb Flying Performance



    Misses
    No air cooling for ESC and battery

    Introduction

    The Firebird EDF from Hobby Lobby is a hot new "jet" design that includes the brushless outrunner motor, ducted fan unit, and brushless speed control. It is made from sturdy injection molded foam making it durable and fun to fly.

    Only two sub-micro servos (like HS-55s) are required along with a radio with elevon mixing. Instructions include an addendum for the ducted fan installation but you will also need to modify the number of fan blades which is detailed in this review.

    The included power system consists of a high RPM brushless OUTRUNNER motor, a matching 22-amp brushless speed control and a 65mm molded ducted fan unit. The power system is designed to use a 3-cell Lithium pack like the PolyQuest 1800mAh 5oz pack.

    The ducted fan unit comes with a 6 bladed impeller. Hobby Lobby recommends that every other impeller blade be removed, making it a 3-bladed fan unit for flying faster for the advanced pilot. The Firebird EDF is easy to hand launch as two grips are provided on the bottom of the fuselage.

    Flight performance is very solid with about 10 minute flight times. The speed is quick, but not blistering fast, and landings are slow without any power needed. The reinforced belly pan protects the bottom and allows for grass or snow take-offs!

    The Firebird EDF assembles in 2-4 hours and is an easy build.

    Specifications:

    • Wingspan: 33-1/4"
    • Length: 29"
    • Flying weight: 18oz
    • Outrunner motor: Included!
    • Ducted Fan Unit: Included!
    • Speed Control: Included!



    First Impressions & Getting Started
    The custom box protects the main fuselage and wing ends
    All the parts come individually or group wrapped in the box.
    I removed the bags from the fins and wings for a better look.
    A 14-page manual is loaded with pictures, text, and diagrams. Although the parts come covered with decals already, there was one large decal sheet and 6 smaller decals included.
    The PolyQuest 1800mAh pack is similar in size and weight to the ThunderPower 2100mAh pack at 5oz.
    I soldered mating Deans Ultra connectors onto the PolyQuest pack and ESC.
    The Hitec Neon SS (Single Stick) FM radio has an impressive list of upgradeable features.
    One Neon option is the all new Micro 05S single-conversion sub-micro receiver with sub-micro HS-55 servos.
    Another Neon option is the Electron 6 dual-conversion micro receiver and a pair of the ultra popular HS-81 micro servos
    Since I am flying in an area with high RF interference, I'll be using the dual-conversion Encore micro receiver to test fly my Firebird EDF.

    First Assembly
    Assembly starts by gluing the wings onto the appropriate color end. Note the fuselage wood reinforcements under the canopy come pre-installed.
    The elevons are attached to the wing using 3 nylon hinges each. I first sanded the hinges before applying 5 minute epoxy.

    The elevons slid into place easily.

    Note that the outside ends of the wings and elevons have pre-installed gloss plastic runners for protection and drag reduction.

    Linkages:

    The linkages installed easily with the following procedure. Note that each servo control cable needed a 6" extension.

        • Glue control horns with epoxy
        • Center servo arms using live receiver
        • Enable transmitter mix and center trim tabs
        • Position servos above bays until proper stick-to-elevon movement is obtained
        • Install largest HS-55 servo arm and cut off opposite (unused) arm
        • Install quick link in middle hole and cut off outer hole
        • Epoxy servo into bay
        • Install metal linkage with Z-bend on control horn
        • Tighten set screw and use Locktite

    To start, I'll use the second from the outer most hole on the control horn. This decision may vary depending upon your radio type and flying preference. On my Hitec NEON SS radio, I can enable a mix of channels 1 and 2, but I need to change the control gain at the linkages unless you have the dual rates option installed. On my Futaba 9C, I can simply add negative exponential to soften the center stick control.

    Proper Stick-to-Elevon Movement

        • View from rear of upright plane
        • Down stick (both elevons up)
        • Up stick (both elevons down)
        • Right stick (right elevon up, left elevon down)
        • Left stick (left elevon up, right elevon down)

    Motor Assembly:

    The ducted fan assembly begins by sorting some parts and cutting out the rear tube. I then test fit the parts and mounted the motor using the supplied 2.5mm screws with some Loctite.

     

    To reduce the load on the motor and make the plane fly faster, you will need to cut 3 of the fan blades off. The fan assembly simply screwed into place on the collet adapter. The ducted fan unit was screwed into the pre-installed motor mount. I added some white glue into the pre-drilled mounting holes.

    The motor wires need to be pulled back from the fan blades and taped into position. A snug fit works well but pulling to much can warp the ducted fan housing. The ESC can simply be routed into the fuselage center or left in the bottom section which gets covered by a plastic piece.

    ESC Mounting:

    Since was no provision for cooling the ESC, I decided to try mounting it so that I could cut a slot open in the bottom plastic pan to let air pass over it. This may not be needed but I wanted to see how hot the ESC became after a flight.

    I held the ESC in place with a piece of foam and PFM Adhesive from Hobby Lobby. The PFM was also used to seal the front of the ESC shrink wrap to keep moisture and dirt out.

    After the glue dried, I cut a slot in the bottom belly pan and then installed it on the fuselage using the supplied screws and some clear tape. I also taped over the front of the ESC opening. The goal here is to tape over any piece that you don't want air to get in and add drag. Note that only a very thin gap exists between the ESC and the opening. Not much air is needed for cooling when it is directed in this manner on a fast moving plane.

     

    Canopy Hatch Latch:

    The hatch design for the Firebird canopy is simply marvelous! It installed easy and works great.
    The foam canopy and fuselage had formed area for the hatch pieces.

    I used foam-safe CA and kicker to glue things in place.

    It is important to route the antenna wire off the side of one wing and not through the center near the ESC and motor noise. One wing has a channel near the leading edge for this purpose.
    The two fins were epoxied in place over the pre-marked positions. Since the fin bottom contour matched the base, I held it in place until the glue set.
    The canopy easily glued in place. I used foamsafe CA and made sure that no ari gaps existed up front that could pull the canopy off in flight.

     


    First Component Placement
    Either the Encore or Hitec 05S micro receiver fit into the same position and can be held with a foam wedge.
    After finding the proper battery placement for my first test flight, I epoxied two Velco "seat belts" into the fuselage bay for holding the pack in flight. The position shown provides the proper CG given in the manual.

    Ready-To-Fly!

    My Firebird was Ready-To-Fly at 19oz and boy does it fly!

     



    Test Flying

    The "jet" has plenty of power for take-offs with a light hand toss. It can fly quite fast or slow down to a power off floating landing. It seems to track very well and easily performs loops and rolls. I would recommend intermediate flying skills for keeping the Firebird in one piece. Overall, I am very pleased with the design and performance of this EDF-powered jet.

    It was rather windy for the video shoot but the Firebird seemed to handle it well. Both launches and landings were on the same pack charge which provides about 10 minute flights.


    See the stock Firebird EDF in action!
    CLICK HERE (8meg)

     

    Summary

    The firebird EDF has solid flight performance with about 10 minute flight times using the PolyQuest 3-cell, 1800mAh Lithium pack. The speed is quick, but not blistering fast, and landings are slow without any power needed. The Firebird EDF assembles in 2-4 hours and is an easy build.

    This model seems very well designed. The brushless power system and all up weight of 19oz for the Firebird EDF are consistent with it aerodynamic design which allows for superb tracking and aerobatic capability. Best of all, it is a blast to fly!

    Hand Toss












    Manufacturer Information



    Hobby Lobby
    5614 Franklin Pike Cr.
    Brentwood, TN 37027
    615.373.1444
    www.hobby-lobby.com

    FMA Direct
    5716A Industry Lane
    Frederick, MD 21704
    Website: www.fmadirect.com
    Sales: 800-343-2934 or 301-668-7614

    Comments on RCU Review: Hobby Lobby Firebird EDF

    There are no comments

    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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