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Flying Probs with the Firebird Freedom

Old 08-05-2006, 01:06 AM
  #51  
reyn3545
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Since its foam, and if you have a big enough field... it might be nice to douse it with lighter fluid, then take off! Video it and post it... guaranteed hit!!
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Old 08-05-2006, 01:35 AM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by reyn3545 View Post
Toying with the wing dynamics its a REAL risky proposition. The designers (should) have sophistocated CAD applications that understand lift and drag, and recommend the proper design. Putting a "best guess" on top of that, especially with little experience in the hobby, could spell the end to your beginning... but... like I mentioned earlier, what have you got to lose.
In general I'm inclined to agree with this, although I'm a little skeptical about the idea of CAD apps that understand aerodynamics. They might have some that do some basic calculations about wing loading and center of lift, etc. But in the end aerodynamics is, well, dynamic, and you have to either do some complex flight simulation, or wind tunnel testing, or actual flight test. My bet is on actual flight testing... I'd guess that they rely on experience and gut-level intuition to guide them, but then fall back on lots of trial-and-error... (Wouldn't it be cool to work for an RC model company?! )

But there's nothing that says we can't take a shot at it, too! Especially if you are determined and don't mind crashing a LOT during the error phase of trial-and-error...

I recently cut 2" out of each of my Easy Star's wings, so the whole wing is 4" shorter than it was. Still flys great, and is a bit more nimble now. In fact, I'm a little surprised how little difference those 4" made. I was careful to take it out of the middle, closer to the root, and not mess with the nice gradual washout they designed in, which I think is what makes the ES such a graceful trainer...

Go for it, amateur aircraft designers!
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Old 08-05-2006, 02:10 AM
  #53  
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My sentiments.....I really have nothing to lose......I really don't like the airplane....I have plenty of tape, CA, Epoxy, and balsa. While I really don't have much experience flying RC.....I have many hours of building and flying control line....Back in the olden days, when there was no such thing as ready to fly, and only a handful of almost ready to fly. I built, repaired, and modified over 20 planes, back in those days. While it's really not the same thing, a lot of what we did, can be applied to today. Also, the materials and supplies we have to work with now are far superior to what we had back then. Best flying aircraft I had, back then was a flying wing. 32 in. wingspan, balsa and laquered tissue, with a Cox .049 fuel motor....While control line was fun, back then, I have no desire to go back to engines and control lines.....RC electric is way cooler......Pat
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Old 08-06-2006, 03:35 PM
  #54  
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Went out to fly my Slo-V, this morning. Took the Freedom with, just for something to do.....The Slo-V flew predictably....Broke a tail, after a few flights....Broke out the Freedom.................Preflight............Hand launch.......It FLYS!!!!!....Not only did it fly, but it actually flew well......Used up three packs....No crashes......Two landings on the asphault, on the landing gear!!!!......A couple skimming along the grass, with the gear removed.........Home now....No repairs needed for the Freedom.....Minor repairs needed on the Slo-V.........Go figure??!!??

Here's what I did to the Freedom.
1. I have several sets of wings in different stages of damage.....sorted through them and picked out a good pair. The covering on the wings appears to be some type of heat shrink. Took out the heat gun and gently ironed out any wrinkles.....Found that one can actually change the curvature by applying heat in different areas. Heated the upper side of the wing to generate the same "up sweep" on each wing. Installed wings.
2. Checked the boom for squareness to the wings. Found that the boom was 3/4 inch out of square. Using a heat gun to GENTLY warm the fuselage bend it enough to get it square with the wings.
3. The bigest mod....(at least I think so) was the tail.....Mine was pretty bent up from a previous crash. Disassembled it and laid it out on a piece of balsa. Traced and cut out a complete new tail. Assembled it with the stock horns, in the stock position. Found out the packing tape doesn't stick to balsa so hinges were made with adhesive tape. On installation, I observed something very interesting. The "V" angle on the tail was much shallower than it was with the stock foam tail. Not not only that, but I also noted that the angle did not increase when I tightened the screws, like it did with the foam tail. The only major difference in the tail I made, was that I made the elevon continue all the way to the end of the tail, and then back trimmed it slightly, so effectively increasing the elevon surface area by 3/4 inche per side.
This plane flew incredibly well. While I didn't do any trick stuff, as I'm a beginner, I did do some shallow dives from about 150 ft. to about 3 feet just to see the responsiveness....It was very predictable....and flying extremely fast.....Then I climbed back to about 150 ft. and cut back on the throttle.....Again, the flight was totally predictable...I actually cut it back to less than haff, and used altitude to maintain speed. While the plane did lose altitude, as the speed decreased, I found the flight totally predictable and maintained speed by continueing slow decent......Landings were accomplished with ease....Half throttle, using a controled dive to mantain some speed.....at about 3 feet, gave it up elevon and chopped the throttle, and the plane set down gently and came to a stop.....

Go figure.....I'm not sure, exactly, what I did to this aircraft, but I can tell ya that it is a totally different aircraft, than the one I've been trying to fly for the past two weeks.....

So.................All you experts............What did I do to this plane to make it soooooooo friendly................Pat

Last edited by patnchris; 08-06-2006 at 04:26 PM.
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Old 08-06-2006, 11:27 PM
  #55  
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We've had 5 different Freedom replacements from HZ. Only one worked as well as the first one (#5). #1 had a radio failure at 2 weeks. We had to send back Freedom #2 and #3 as soon as we put batteries to them, right out of the package. #4 was servo failure after a morning of flying. #5 flies OK.

Fun plane to fly, but the QC is terrible. Yes, HZ will replace, but we're about $60 into the ship liability just for returns, and no customer should be subjected to this kind of product problem. Oh, and they ship 4th class when they send you the replacement... 13 days from the shop to New England, when an additional $0.45 would have gotten them Priority Mail.

We have a PZ Cub, P-51, and Decathalon. All have had problems. Here's two words for PZ/HZ: NEVER AGAIN. Oh, and I believe that they were behind the Blade CP Heli debacle ... another story in and of itself!

Looking for a better, more reliable plane like the Freedom? Go T-HAWK at www.readytoflyfun.com. It's fast, durable, comes with spares, great support. We love the T-Hawk.
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Old 08-07-2006, 12:32 AM
  #56  
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We had a new flyer show up at our field today, and what did he pull out of the back of the van You guessed it, our friends at Hobby Town USA put another poor soul at the sticks of a Firebird Freedom.

It was just a little breezy, we cautioned him against a foamy in the wind, but just as I was on my first trip, he was at the field, ready, and no gentle breeze was going to keep him from his destiny. He just had a different idea of his destiny than the rest of us.

With stick in one hand and plane in the other, he gave it a toss... before he could get the stick in both hands, it was nose down in the dirt! The plane was generally undamaged, but, one of the little bolts that held the control wires to the tail had stripped out, leaving one of the surfaces unmanagable.. back to Hobby Town for parts.

So, another success story for Hobby Town, another would-be pilot in the beginning stages of total frustration.

Lets hope he graduates from this plane quickly!
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Old 08-07-2006, 02:55 PM
  #57  
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Default Possible Solution

I have a firebird freedom and it used to have problems similar to what has been described on this thread. I almost retired the plane until I realized that the tail is very prone to twisting as the boom is only held in by a very small and ineffective screw and a little bit of glue on the inside of the fuselage. After a fairly bad crash, the glue failed to hold and the screw was ripped out and the tail was very unstable, allowing a sharp turn, turbulence, or a wind gust to knock it out of alignment, and sending the plane into the ground. I fixed this problem by putting a small hose clamp on the white part of the fuselage, right before it joins with the tail boom, and it has flown perfectly ever since. I hope this helps!
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Old 08-07-2006, 09:29 PM
  #58  
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Took my Freedom out, again, this morning. I have to admit that since I've worked out a few kinks, it flys pretty well. I did need to put the hose clamp on the boom, as suggested above.....Flew 3 packs....Did several hand launches and two ROG take offs.....All without incedence.....I also did several soft landing on grass (without wheels installed) and a couple landings on asphault with wheels installed......all without incident....I even did a couple touch and goes.......Now I'm actually thinking MORE POWER.....I noticed that my LHS has an eight cell pack.....with a little carving on the nose foam, I think I might be able to get it in there...LOL.....Who knows.....I may even decide to replace my Fuselage at some point, as the one I have can't possibly be aiding the flight charecteristics of this plane.....(if you saw it, you'd know what I mean).....I've have to straighten the motor mount and reinforce it with wood.....The front section were so bent up that the battery could not be removed.....I've straightened it with a heat gun so many times that it cracked and it is now hot glued. All the foam inside the fuselage has been replaced.....and the rubber nose has been shreaded, so it is now also held together with hot glue....I must have several of the long sticks of glue in this plane, right now....I may decide to put this bird back together and put a custom paint job on it....LOL

As to the question of the wings......I think it is important that they match.....I have also found that their consistency is not all that great.....However I have also found the the covering is some sort of heat shrink.....folds can be straightened and strengthened by gently heating the area and smoothing it out with you fingers....Although the crease will still be visible, in some cases..you will find that the wing is substantially stiffer.....This technique also works to add a little curvature to the wing tips to make them match.....

The only other thing is THE TAIL....THE TAIL....THE TAIL....If it is creased next to the plastic support brackets.....YOU HAVE A PROBLEM.....I addressed this by glueing a 1/16 thick piece of balsa to both sides and then reinstalling the top piece, rather than replacing the tail....but that is me......Pat
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Old 08-08-2006, 11:10 PM
  #59  
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I just finished disassembling and reassembling my Firebird Freedom to evaluate a slight control issue, I was having. After inspecting to internal components I discovered something that was there from the day I first attempted to fly it. It appears that when the board was assembled, whoever was supposed to tighten the screws securing the servos....didn't. At first I thought that maybe they had just worked loose from some of my many crashes, however when I tried to tighten them I realized that I was cutting NEW THREADS. So I assume that they were never tightened.....The result was that the whole servo cound move for and aft more than a 1/16 inch. That may not seem like a lot, but when the left was to one extreme, and the right was to another, (as it would be when turning with a V-Tail) the effect is 1/8 inch.....Quite a bit when you figure that is about 20% of the total travel of one of the servos.....Tightened them up....readjusted control rods to elevons.....Will try and fly, tomorrow.........Pat
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Old 08-09-2006, 04:21 AM
  #60  
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Yep.. I had a similar experience, but it was after I gave up on the plane totally. I was tearing it down for parts when I realized that one of the two "AFS" connections was unplugged! The connectors were buried so deep in the cockpit that you couldn't see them without destroying the plane, so I have to assume that it was disconnected from day one.
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Old 08-09-2006, 08:11 PM
  #61  
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This has been an interesting read... We sold a couple of these in our store... and one had serious tip stall issues related to tail screws being stripped and tail over tightened and the other had the stripped tail screw as well. Both ended up flying but launches could not be made at full throttle or the plane torqued over. Based on my experience as well as a much more experienced pilots test flights I would say that this is not a beginner aircraft, The ACT is only somehwat effective and only at higher altitudes. I think this plane is going to be pulled from our inventory list. We will stick with the tried and true models from Horizon and GP and leave this one alone.... I cant sell what I cant support.
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Old 08-10-2006, 07:03 AM
  #62  
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Short version: I'm confirming that the plane is BAD. Stay Away!

Longer verison: (stop me if you heard this one before )
I'm a reasonably experienced pilot. I wanted to introduce my nephew to R/C. First two flights - hmm it's hard to fly and doesn't glide well. Maybe two much wind.
Next day - the *u#[email protected]$ plane kept spiral diving. I turned ACT off after the 1st flight but the thing just loves to spiral dive.
After 4 or 5 bad flights with some crashes and repairs I tried again this time at 3 mistakes high.
It spiral dove - I kind of recovered it - it spiral dove again - kind of recovered it - into the forest. ARGH! I'll never find it so I left the piece of s*#! there.

So a couple of days later I encounter a guy flying an aerobird challenger. It flies the way I expected such a plane to fly. He informs me that the reviews on the groups about the freedom are not favorable.
So now I'm here.

I wish I had read this thread before I forked out over $140 + $25 for 2nd battery + taxes. Oh well.
Thanks to those who posted experiences similar to mine. I'm glad it's not me.
Shame on HZ.

Just for kicks I might phone HZ and see what they say.
I'll also see if my LHS will try help me out or at least stop carrying the thing.
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Old 08-10-2006, 09:38 PM
  #63  
jimmy030470
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Default new firebird freedom

I got myself a firebird freedom after loseing my challenger.
Dont ask how i lost it i just did.
I set the dam thing up and took it to a field for its first flight.
The dam thing just dived into the ground when i tried to hand launch it, So a gave it a very hard chuck and it launched ok.
But when i did my first turn the thing just wanted to go left and dive into the dust.

When i went to check it out i noticed that the electrics had screwed up and the dam thing was not going to fly again.
I took it back to the shop and changed it for a new one and now i dont wont to fly it because i know i will crash it when i do.

Anyone out there got ant tips on how to fly it and keep it in one bit for at least a week or two.
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Old 08-11-2006, 03:25 AM
  #64  
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Yup.............Fly it fast.....If it stalls, you're in trouble.....It loves to go fast......Of course, That's if everything mechanical checks out and the thing is properly trimmed.........Pat
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Old 08-11-2006, 05:13 PM
  #65  
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Default firebird freedom

I took it back to the shop today haveing not even taken it out of the box and i swaped it for a hobbyzone Super Cub.

Have not flown it yet but i will let you know how it goes.
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Old 08-13-2006, 03:51 PM
  #66  
reyn3545
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Originally Posted by bob_suruncle View Post
This has been an interesting read... We sold a couple of these in our store... and one had serious tip stall issues related to tail screws being stripped and tail over tightened and the other had the stripped tail screw as well. Both ended up flying but launches could not be made at full throttle or the plane torqued over. Based on my experience as well as a much more experienced pilots test flights I would say that this is not a beginner aircraft, The ACT is only somehwat effective and only at higher altitudes. I think this plane is going to be pulled from our inventory list. We will stick with the tried and true models from Horizon and GP and leave this one alone.... I cant sell what I cant support.

COngrats Bob, for doing the right thing! I honestly think this plane has turned more would-be pilots away from the sport than any other plane before it. If everyone in your shoes would take the steps that you did, it would send an immediate message to HZ about bringing trash to the beginner market. Don't get me wrong, they do have some decent planes, but when they run across a lemon like this, they have to kill it.

Thanks for your efforts to keep this hobby on the "up and up".
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Old 08-14-2006, 05:24 PM
  #67  
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Originally Posted by patnchris View Post
Yup.............Fly it fast.....If it stalls, you're in trouble.....It loves to go fast......Of course, That's if everything mechanical checks out and the thing is properly trimmed.........Pat
Yep if flies okay fast. That's how I flew mine. . . granted the flying fast was rough on the tail and the wing - collapsed my wing looping. It appears that HBZ/horizon just doesn't care that this plane stinks. I've complained and got nothing but "never had that reported"
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Old 08-14-2006, 11:32 PM
  #68  
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Default Me too...

Unfortunately I just bought the Freedom a couple of days ago... I must say I have mixed feelings about the forum discussion. I'm obviously disappointed that I didn't find this before I "wasted" $140 on it, but also somewhat glad to find that the crashes may have been "helped" more by it and that stupid ACT than by me... I actually today had to just buy new wings and a tail for it. Anyway... I've seen several recommends for other beginner planes, but I'm not sure what to go with. I'd like to ask the opinion of my LHS, but I don't know what to think of them since they recommended the Freedom for me.
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Old 08-14-2006, 11:44 PM
  #69  
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You could try a Firebird Commander.....The 3 channel one.....Though I have not flown it, I'm told that it has none of the weird issues that the Freedom has.....
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Old 08-15-2006, 12:24 AM
  #70  
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I've seen several good recommendations for the "slow stick", although I haven't flown it myself. Sorry to hear about your experience... but you are NOT alone!!! Yours sounds exactly like mine. Every time I took it out, it resulted in a relatively fast crash, and required new wings or tail to get in the air again. Thank God the wings and tails are inexpensive, but the frustration level with the failure costs a ton!!
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Old 08-15-2006, 12:26 AM
  #71  
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I too made the mistake of believing what I read and chose the freedom for my first plane. After spending the weekend crashing and replacing parts, I was on the verge of giving up on r/c planes. Then my friend let me fly his Challenger. I scrapped the freedom and bought a Challenger the next day. I sent the Freedom back to Horizon to see if they would replace it since just about everything was broken. If they do that would be great but I'm not holding my breath. I totally recommend the Challenger for a newb pilot, since after about 15 flights, I'm still using the original parts...there's a little CA here and there but it still flies!
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Old 08-15-2006, 12:35 AM
  #72  
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Originally Posted by outdoors1987 View Post
Unfortunately I just bought the Freedom a couple of days ago... I must say I have mixed feelings about the forum discussion. I'm obviously disappointed that I didn't find this before I "wasted" $140 on it, but also somewhat glad to find that the crashes may have been "helped" more by it and that stupid ACT than by me... I actually today had to just buy new wings and a tail for it. Anyway... I've seen several recommends for other beginner planes, but I'm not sure what to go with. I'd like to ask the opinion of my LHS, but I don't know what to think of them since they recommended the Freedom for me.
Well of all the bad things said about the plane - and I've posted quite a few - the fact does remain that you still can learn to fly on it. It will just be a plane that you won't keep around much, which kind of does make it a waste. I got proficient enough on mine to get rid of it and it cost me 2 wing spars a spare wing and a spare tail - could be worse I guess. Just give it a shot. The money is spent anyway.
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Old 08-15-2006, 01:54 AM
  #73  
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Just for information, I have really stopped buying parts for my Freedom. I have started making tails from balsa and MonoCoat. Wing spars are made from oak sticks. Folded wings are repaired by cutting a "V" along the "female" side of the fold, and pouring a little Gorilla glue/Elmers mix in the "V"....then sand flush and cover with MonoCoat. The tires keep coming off the wheels so I CA'd them to the wheels. A heat gun works wonders for straightening the fuselage, but use a heat resistant glove ....Hot glue sticks real well to the fuse, to repair cracks. Internal foam has been replaced several times, using pieces cut from the original foam packaging. A small wooden dowel and some epoxy repairs a broken boom.....While I agree, that this plane is not exactly what they say it is, I'm having fun with it.....With nothing to lose, I am flying the wings off it, and if it crashes, I just repair it, and fly it some more......Pat
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Old 08-15-2006, 05:54 AM
  #74  
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Well of all the bad things said about the plane - and I've posted quite a few - the fact does remain that you still can learn to fly on it. It will just be a plane that you won't keep around much, which kind of does make it a waste. I got proficient enough on mine to get rid of it and it cost me 2 wing spars a spare wing and a spare tail - could be worse I guess. Just give it a shot. The money is spent anyway.
That is true. I am getting better with it. Yesterday I sucessfully "landed" (It hit the ground on purpose :P ) it for the first time.

Just for information, I have really stopped buying parts for my Freedom. I have started making tails from balsa and MonoCoat...
That does sound pretty cool but I'd probably mess it up more if I tried something like that. Lol.
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Old 08-15-2006, 09:36 PM
  #75  
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Well I had a pretty good flight this morning. Flew it for about 7 minutes with no problems, then something happened and it crashed... didn't want to fly again, so I bagged it for the morning. Landing gear isn't looking too good... lol.

Last edited by outdoors1987; 08-16-2006 at 03:51 AM.
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