View Full Version : 2-channel foamy to reuse Hobbyzone electronics?

11-16-2005, 02:08 PM
I have two Hobbyzone Firebird Commander IIs that are pretty beat up trying to learn to fly. Was looking to build a new fuselage or for a plane to move the electronics/motor/battery into. Someone suggested I build a foamy, but not a specific one.

Is there a foamy (either plans or preferably a kit) that would make a good trainer reusing combined Rx/ESC/Servo 2-channel electronics like this?

Looking around, I'm sorry I did not initially buy something 3-channel. That would have let me penetrate some wind and would have enlarged my current plane options a lot.

Jim Marconnet

11-16-2005, 02:28 PM
well.....anything is possible. I personally tried to take my AC guts and put them on a foamy but I think it didnt' have enough wing area and was WAAYY too heavy for said guts. (Read miserably doesn't fly).

I saw a suggestion on your other thread of taking those components and making an airboat that seems like a good idea (my frankenstein creation scoots around the ground nicely just won't leave it).

I've learned some good lessons on my HZ plane and have taken those and bought some dedicated electronics that I'm working on placing on a new trainer foamy that I downloaded plans for. I figure now when I crash it into oblivion I just have to build another $10 foamie and put her back in the air

12-09-2005, 02:35 PM

Flying with just motor and rudder control is a bit of a problem. I have done it successfully, on a much smaller scale by converting a free-flight 13" wingspan rubber band plane with gear out of a Micro Flyer.

I wonder though if your problem isn't the plane, but rather the time and place that you are trying to fly? Wind? Size of the field? The Aerobirds are quite forgiving, but need a large field, about the size of two football fields side by side. Tight turns are tough on an AC. Add wind and you are just making it extra tough on yourself.

My suggestion is to rebuild a commander, find a large field and fly early in the morning (no wind) until you get the hang of it. What you need is "stick" time to build up your "muscle memory", and you can only get this if you have time to think between maneuvers.

12-09-2005, 07:06 PM

1) Flying with just motor and rudder control is a bit of a problem......

2) I wonder though if your problem isn't the plane, but rather the time and place that you are trying to fly..................

Thanks for these kind and helpful suggestions.

I have gotten a lot of encouragement from older flyers in another part of the web universe that flying on 2-channels can relatively easily be accomplished and fun on a wide variety of planes if trimmed properly.

Yes I know about and have learned some hard lessons about wind! What I used to think would be no problemo is now reason to head home.

About the Commander IIs. I've been flying in something like a 100 acre field. So space is not the problem. Yes it takes a lot of airspace. And I can fly one reasonably well now when there is little or no wind.

It really helped me when I removed the throttle return spring on the transmitter so the throttle would stay put instead of requiring constant attention to hold it in exactly the right place. A steady throttle largely solves the porpoising problems that caused huge swings in altitude, great consternation, and some lawn-dart landings.

But along the way the two planes have taken a lot of hard landings. The puny receiver bracket inside the fuselage broke on both, letting the Rx/Servo flop around causing me all sorts of unexplained weird flying behavior, different from one flight to the next and even during a flight. The motor pylon got accordianed and angled somewhat. The tail boom broke on both. Once near the tail, which I was able to "fix" by shortening and redrilling the boom. Most recently on the newer, better plane, the tail boom broke at the fuselage. No fix there. So I now have one barely flyable plane after I fix the tailfeathers again, and a pile of recovered stuff which I still hope to get back into the air, given the right plane.

Two possibilities I'm looking most closely at right now are:
1) move the radio/ESC/servo unit and possibly the battery to a Slow Stick and fix the elevator.
2) put together a FrankyNoodle design reusing the Commander II wing, but making a new fuselage out of a swim noodle and a new conventional tail out of whatever. Move the pusher motor into a tractor location. Probably scarry! But the swim noodles pervalent earlier seem to have all migrated South for the winter, so I'm stuck awaiting the spring shipments. Meanwhile there is a new plane (BeginAir) under my Christmas tree. If I can be patient, I can get back into the air without such an ardous redesign and rebuilding project.

12-10-2005, 03:58 PM
100 acres!!! My home field (?) is about 100 ft-sq surrounded by houses and 50 ft tall trees! Needless to say I drive so I can relax while flying.

Checked out the Begin-Air... neat looking plane. My only suggestion is that after taking off, fight off "the dark side" and throttle back until you become familiar with the characteristics of the plane. Good luck.

As for your two-channel radios, I would like to throw in my two cents worth... I have a little experience in free-flight and radio assist free-flight planes. If you really want to learn what keeps a plane in the air, then what you are proposing is the way to go. You are about to enter the wonderful world of incidences, CG, etc and my favorite, TRIM. What you will learn will make you a much better pilot/builder and you will become the guy that other flyers come to when they have problems.

As for plane designs that work for two channel flight, look at the old-timer designs. High wing with upturned tips, long tail and springy landing gear. The "noodle" idea sounds like it would be almost indestructible, have you asked the clerks at the local stores? I worked in a small hardware store for a few years and all of the summer stuff was stored in the back during the winter. We were always being asked for out of season items and would dig them out if we could.

I think the Slow Stick would work if you have a little positive incidence in the elevator, I'll have to dust mine off and try flying it with just positive elevator trim. The main thing is to have a plane that is able to self-right and trimmed so its power off decent is shallow enough so it can land without damaging itself. A little throttle just before it touches down can flair the plane in for a three point landing... or not!

Anyway, it is all fun... When it becomes work, it is time to find another hobby.

12-15-2005, 04:16 AM
I know some guys have used those $5.00 kids foam gliders (the ones with the huge wingspan) for r/c conversions. Might be worth a try, lord knows they are cheap enough.:D

02-09-2006, 09:09 PM
My Commander tail broke up near the fuselage also, found a small hard plastic cylinder at Ace Hardware, about 1 inch long. Fit perfectly, made a nice splint and it's been flying fine ever since.

I was in the same boat, looking for something else to put the Commanders gear in, but decided to just keep fixing it. Still a lot of fun to fly, and does take a beating.

03-24-2007, 07:26 AM
I built one of those and almost ready to maiden it. You can find that thread in RC Universe.It is made by Lifoam and has a 53" wingspan. Got it at ToysR US on sale for $3. I re-inforced the wings with carbon tubes. It is a beauty! I will submit my photos here later today if you want to see the plane. Thanx, Scott.;)

I know some guys have used those $5.00 kids foam gliders (the ones with the huge wingspan) for r/c conversions. Might be worth a try, lord knows they are cheap enough.:D