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Beware of Phoenix Models planes

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Beware of Phoenix Models planes

Old 09-03-2020, 12:33 PM
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rltrahan
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Default Beware of Phoenix Models planes

I dont post very much, do mostly reading but in this case after losing over $1200 on a very poorly built arf thought I would share my experience and warn anyone interested in buying a phoenix models plane. Im also calling out Tower Hobbies/ Horizon Hobbies and Phoenix models customer support whom after two weeks of multiple attempts to contact by me and fellow AMA members on my behalf haven't heard a peep from either.

2 weeks ago I lost my Phoenix Models Westland Lysander to premature left wing failure which gave away snapping off in level flight at cruising speeds. It was only my third flight after maiden which had only flown 3 level flights with no aerobatics of any kind during all three flights. Small video clip attached of me taking off is literally the nature in which I flew the plane "very scale" with the exception of one intentional stall to learn the characteristics of the plane. As you can see from the pics put many details into the plane with a final weight of 23.6 pounds dry with DLE 61 for power. Things I added apart from stock was meister scale dummy tank, small ladder made from brass tubing, my own scale pilot with some extra detail to the cockpit, landing lights and one coat of black spray paint adding no primer as to achieve a weight under 24 pounds. Model ended up balancing nose heavy with no weight added to achieve proper CG. I have been building for over 26 years from giant scale arfs to scratch builds from plans and never seen anything so poorly made nor have ever had a wing fail never the less on a plane that had only 3 scale flights. It was my first time building a phoenix models plane and it is my last especially since I've had no response from their customer service in the two weeks of attempting to contact them via 11 emails to both their overseas contacts and their state side contacts. Also contacted Tower Hobbies 8 times with several pictures explaining what happened and have yet had any return emails from either of them with the exception of auto response emails. Informed both that I had a half dozen AMA members who witnessed all of my flights and the wing failure willing to contact them on my behalf which some have contacted tower hobbies and again no response, will update my post if they do. Also I attempted to leave a 1 star review on Tower Hobbies website several times under the Phoenix Models Lysander yesterday and it wouldn't allow me to do so, been a member of TH for 17 years and never had that problem before, things that make you go Hmmm.

Pictures are of plane before and after with the wing that snapped showing it is the only thing that is intact because it came off in flight floating to the ground with rest of the plane nose diving in from about 75 feet, only thing survived was the tail section. Also a picture of whats left of the right wing section with cover stripped off. Posted this to show what the build construction of the section that ripped apart on the left side looked like before it failed. You can see how thin the ribbing at the front of wing attached to a single center spar and there is not a whole lot beyond that to sustain a plane this size with a wing loading of 36 oz per square foot as stated in the manual. If the rest of Phoenix Models construction are made the same as the Lysander which they probably are they are very poorly built for giant scale planes and in my opinion a waste of money.









Old 09-03-2020, 05:23 PM
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speedracerntrixie
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Sorry about your loss, it was a beautiful airplane. Are you open to discussing a possible cause?
Old 09-04-2020, 04:18 PM
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rltrahan
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No doubt the cause was poor construction, have discovered its a problem inherent to this models as 2 other people besides me have lost their wings in the same manner, see link https://www.flyingrc.net/lysandermaid2.html

Originally Posted by speedracerntrixie View Post
Sorry about your loss, it was a beautiful airplane. Are you open to discussing a possible cause?
Old 09-04-2020, 06:41 PM
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Far more troubling than the product failure (stuff happens, unfortunately), is the complete lack of customer service. Them ignoring your emails says volumes about their integrity (or lack thereof).

Tower is sure proud of it new website, which has a complete lack of any technical specifications on any product (that I have seen). Oh, and I think we all know who owns Tower (and Omni).

Things in this industry were great 20-30 years ago. They are pretty horrible now.
Old 09-05-2020, 05:35 AM
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If I remember correctly, Phoenix had the same issue with a 6 meter sailplane where the wings failed.
Old 09-05-2020, 10:14 AM
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This is not mine, but the left wing failed.

Bob
Old 09-07-2020, 07:27 AM
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Originally Posted by sensei View Post

This is not mine, but the left wing failed.

Bob
intresting posts. anybody had trouble with the Waco they make? considering one for a Moki. A pilot at our field has one and the construction of it is "light" but seems sound. The owner puts it through acrobatic manuvers fast and hard. Maybe the bipes perform better with greater wing surfaces? The Lystander design looks weak inherently.
Old 09-07-2020, 12:40 PM
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rltrahan
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Finally received reply form Horizon which I guess Tower Hobbies is now under so waiting to see how they will deal with the issue
Old 09-08-2020, 12:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Hyjinx View Post
intresting posts. anybody had trouble with the Waco they make? considering one for a Moki. A pilot at our field has one and the construction of it is "light" but seems sound. The owner puts it through acrobatic manuvers fast and hard. Maybe the bipes perform better with greater wing surfaces? The Lystander design looks weak inherently.
I have been flying my Phoenix Waco for over 2 years now with an RCGF 70 twin in it . The plane is sound . I have a Saito FG90r3 that I have thought about putting in it but it flys so well on the 70 I hate to change it .
Old 09-08-2020, 05:47 AM
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rltrahan
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Then you probably have a model before they changed it to a weaker design maybe or they just made the Waco a better design to begin with. Obviously there is a significant difference between the wing load on a biplane vs the high monowing on the Lysander which they just didn't make the effort to insure it was a strong enough design. So far from my discoveries of the three known Lysanders that the wing failed are all models from 2019 so maybe its something to do with that year as well who knows.
Originally Posted by CK1 View Post
I have been flying my Phoenix Waco for over 2 years now with an RCGF 70 twin in it . The plane is sound . I have a Saito FG90r3 that I have thought about putting in it but it flys so well on the 70 I hate to change it .

Last edited by rltrahan; 09-08-2020 at 05:59 AM.
Old 09-08-2020, 06:10 AM
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Just saw this...



They wrote,

This is, was a Phoenix Waco biplane. this is a first for me in 50 yrs of flying. the plane disentagrated at 1/2 throttle, straight level flight. the lower wings, outside of the tube spars. the panels on both sides twisted, then blew apart.once that happened the upper wing came off , the struts still connected the fusaloge, went with the upper wing. never have I had a plane come apart like this. upon further inspection, one can see the glue was not bonded to most surfaces. look close, you'll see glue lines, yet no wood fibers in the glue.some areas were glued well, others , the parts were not attached at all. this was the first flight, took off, trimmed it out. stayed at 1/2 power, made a straight pass, all was good, did I one roll, rates were too slow. turned back, straight pass to set up for a landing. still at 1/2 power, the lower wing, both ends twisted, broke apart, top wing went off. the body pancakes in the tall grass. when the top wing blew off , you could see the N struts with parts of the body still attached. all the screws were in place and tight even after the crash.whoever built this one, the glue was dry before they attached the parts. I did notice that the bulkhead needed relying while I installed the radio. everywhere I replied stayed together. never thought the wings were inadiquitly glued. what a mess. I'll have a difficult time trusting planes from this company.

Bob

Last edited by sensei; 09-08-2020 at 06:14 AM.
Old 09-08-2020, 06:53 AM
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Wish I hadnt been away from the forums for the last couple of years, after seeing all the Phoenix model planes that have failed wouldn't have wasted my money on one of their planes.
Old 09-18-2020, 01:03 PM
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Any problems with the smaller Lysander? I have one waiting to be assembled for a 15cc gasser.
Old 09-24-2020, 12:20 PM
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Update, as I figured since the model isnt produced by Horizon no kind of replacement offered, only a 30% discount on a purchase of another model so Im out 1200 and can only marginally benefit if I spend more.....
Old 10-02-2020, 08:48 PM
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Update #3 Phoenix Models support has contacted me and paying for me to ship my plane pieces back to Horizon for inspection which that in its self was a surprise. Excited to see if they redeem themselves, will update results as follows.
Old 10-05-2020, 06:06 PM
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Sad, Phoenix planes were such a good, low cost ARF in the smaller sizes. I hope they resolve their issues in these larger planes.
Old 10-05-2020, 11:57 PM
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Making me want to pull the covering off of my Phoenix ARF. I've got a 40-size SBD sittin' here to build and I'm wondering if it's got the same sorts of flaws the giant birds have. Still haven't done more than loosely assemble the major bits and do a couple engine tests though...the FS70 I put on it just would not run right when mounted to the airplane, but ran like a swiss watch on the test stand and the 4*64 it ended up on.
Old 10-12-2020, 10:11 AM
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I purchased the Phoenix 1/3 scale SBACH $1500 after engine and stuff. It went down on its maiden flight when one the horizontal stabilizers walked itself off the mounting tube. There was no locking mechanism, only screw friction. All I was offered from Phoenix was $100 off a new kit. They said no-one else was complaining so they weren't going to fix the design.
Old 10-13-2020, 04:53 AM
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Originally Posted by 378 View Post
Making me want to pull the covering off of my Phoenix ARF. I've got a 40-size SBD sittin' here to build and I'm wondering if it's got the same sorts of flaws the giant birds have. Still haven't done more than loosely assemble the major bits and do a couple engine tests though...the FS70 I put on it just would not run right when mounted to the airplane, but ran like a swiss watch on the test stand and the 4*64 it ended up on.
I did pull all the covering off my new 86.5 span Slick 580 before I assembled it, what I found was unbelievable. These pictures are after nearly two months repair, lightning, needed modification and great deal If glueing.

Bob




Last edited by sensei; 10-13-2020 at 04:57 AM.
Old 10-28-2020, 02:56 PM
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rltrahan
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Update, Horizon is coming through, after inspecting the remains of the plane and determining the wing separated they are replacing my Lysander!

Last edited by rltrahan; 10-28-2020 at 03:29 PM.
Old 10-28-2020, 09:52 PM
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Originally Posted by rltrahan View Post
Update, Horizon is coming through, after inspecting the remains of the plane and determining the wing separated they are replacing my Lysander!
When you receive it, strip all the covering off and do as the other member has done, and add glue to every joint if necessary after a full inspection. The 4-5 rolls of Monokote will be well worth your investment.
Good to see their customer service is still doing a good job of standing behind their product. Maybe you can edit your review on Tower Hobbies now to reflect that.
Old 10-29-2020, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by rltrahan View Post
Update, Horizon is coming through, after inspecting the remains of the plane and determining the wing separated they are replacing my Lysander!
Wow sweet
I had a similar failure with a hangar 9 model sent it back to them they did nothing.
I think they offered me a 10% discount on another one lol
Old 10-29-2020, 06:07 PM
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Was it still under any kind of warranty? In the end I still lost some because 80% of what was in the plane I bought from Tower to include the DLE 61 which still has to be rebuilt but at this point I am content enough in just having the plane replaced.

Originally Posted by Hyjinx View Post
Wow sweet
I had a similar failure with a hangar 9 model sent it back to them they did nothing.
I think they offered me a 10% discount on another one lol
Old 10-31-2020, 06:25 AM
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Originally Posted by rltrahan View Post
Was it still under any kind of warranty? In the end I still lost some because 80% of what was in the plane I bought from Tower to include the DLE 61 which still has to be rebuilt but at this point I am content enough in just having the plane replaced.
I have no bone to pick with them. The plane was under warranty. The failure was radio related. They asked for all related equipment and the wreck.
They basically determined the failure was not a warranty issue on either the radio or the plane as they could not determine the cause of the failure.
They returned the radio and receiver to me and covered the shipping and offered the discount on a new cub.
i moved on to Frsky. Couldn't trust the DX9.
Gave it to a club member who is a very enthusiastic horizon hobby cheerleader.
I think he sold it lol.
Old 11-03-2020, 07:42 PM
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I will say I did purchase at least two of their 1.2 Sbachs and had no issues. Unfortunately, their 1/3 scale version has some fatal differences in tail assembly

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