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Flying Probs with the Firebird Freedom

Old 08-16-2006, 04:06 AM
  #76  
jeditanker
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I finally got mine flying very well. I've gone through three complete charges of the battery pack (once a few days ago and twice tonight) with no crashes or problems. I even landed it right where I wanted. The first "successful" flight was only moderately successful. The tail needed adjusted and it was a tad too windy so there I was, a newbie with a plane that was climbing higher and higher and getting further and further away because I couldn't manage to fly it into the wind. I was afraid if I cut the engine the wind would just carry it off into the woods...I swear it was getting close to 1000 feet! I could barely see it.

Then I remembered the durn thing has elevator controls and was able to nose it down and bring it back to the field. I flew it around for a while fighting the wind before crashing it into a sappling. No harm, but decided to wait for a day with less wind. I adjusted the tail and flew it again tonight. It flew beautifully (I turned off the ACT...what a gimmick!)

I also have a Commander. Now that I have the Freedom flying, I like flying it better than the commander. I've learned how to make steep banking turns while maintaining altitude (throttle it up and give it a little elevator) and use the elevators to make nice landings right where I want. With the commander you're limitted to lonnnngggggg slooooowwwww turns and where it will land is still somewhat of a guess for me. If I hit the soccer field or immediate surroundings I'm doing pretty good. In fact, I think learning to fly the Freedom has made me worse at flying the commander because I got use to a little more responsiveness in the Freedom. But...I have both planes flying now and 4 battery packs between the two of them. We'll fly again on Friday.
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Old 08-17-2006, 12:16 AM
  #77  
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Sounds like you got it tuned in as good as she's gonna get. If you keep it flying like that and stick with it, it'll serve its purpose. then you can get a stryker and rip through the skies w/ some confidence
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Old 08-17-2006, 10:34 PM
  #78  
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One thing I don't care for is every one of the Firebirds, the scout... the commander....... will tip stall in certain instances. It's just something you have to try and prevent by keeping up the airspeed.
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Old 08-18-2006, 12:02 AM
  #79  
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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.
Bob,

I am glad to hear you are going to pull the plane.

What is the name of your store and where is it located? If you are anywhere near me I would like to give you my business. A LHS that cares is one I would want to visit.

You will see a lot of my posts on here. I spend a LOT of time helping the new guys. I also teach at our club field.

I sent a lot of people to the local hobby store to buy Aerobird Challengers and a few bought the Xtereme. I prefer the Challenger but hte Xtreme is more wind tollerant. Excellent traiing planes. I have also had some good experience with the ParkZone beginner planes.

When the Freedom came out I recommended it on reputation alone. Big mistake and my appologies to anyone who bought it on my recommendation. A few weeks later I had to reverse my recommendation. Last time I recommend a new plane without reading a LOT of good reports or flying myself.

I spoke to the local hobby store and asked them to bring the Challenger back but they were committed to the Freedom, so I stopped sending new flyers to them. Off to the internet for Challengers.

If you can get the Challenger back in the store, do it! The Xtreme is excellent but a bit big and fast unless they have a LOT of space, but it flies extremely well.

BTW, you should recommend the combat module to all new flyers. It makes an OUTSTANDING plane locator. Hit the fire button and you can hear this thing in the woods 100 yards away.

The Easy Star is a real winner too, if you carry Multiplex planes.

The real interesting one that is catching on is the Easy Glider Electric. I don't see this as a main stream parkflyers but a lot of parkflyer pilots who have gotten a taste of thermaling their parkie have moved to this plane.

So, if you have this fleet in your store you should have happy customers.

The Fly Zone Red Hawk is getting good reports too, but I don't think it measures up to the Challenger. No X-port, but the supplies are about 40% cheaper so look into them if you don't carry them.

And I have an Sky Fly that I bought as a trainer plane. Best landing gear I have ever seen on a beginner parkflyer. If you have a hard runway, this could be a big plus. Excellent ground handling too. Great first plane. However not as aerobatic or as responsive as the Challenger. Price is right for both of these.

Guys, if you live near this man's hobby store, bring him your business. He cares about you and people like him deserve your support.
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Old 08-18-2006, 04:50 AM
  #80  
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I ran into a bit of trouble. I was working up the nerve to try a loop with the Freedom (I've got enough spare parts to completely rebuild it if I need to). I had two battery packs charged up. I figured I'd fly around with the first one just to get used to things and then try a loop with the second one. After about 10 minutes or so on the first battery pack with no problems (and several low passes of the field), the plane suddenly lurched down and and right (nearly flipped over). I managed to right it just in time for it hit the ground hard on its belly. No damage. So I changed up the battery and started flying again. A few seconds into the flight, more sudden erratic behavior. After a few seconds it seemed okay so I kept flying (but abandoned thoughts of aerobatics). I flew it around for a while and it seemed okay (although occasionaly it seemed a bit unresponsive), but when it got to the far end of the field (maybe 200 yards away) it started again. I'd gain control over it and start back toward the field to land but would suddenly lose control again. It seemed hopeless and it was getting close to some woods so I got it heading in my direction and cut the engine. It crashed upside down in a hay field. No damage fortunately.

My guess is low batteries in my tranmitter. Do you think this is the case or something else? (the wings and tail both seemed secure and no other parts appeared to be damaged or loose).
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Old 08-19-2006, 01:01 AM
  #81  
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Default still flyin!

.

Last edited by callmesport; 08-19-2006 at 01:03 AM. Reason: (duplicate post)
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Old 08-19-2006, 01:02 AM
  #82  
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I've heard that a good pilot always has the same number of take-offs as he does landings. So far I have:

22 TO's
7 (intentional) Landings

But the stupid thing is still goin. It's stuck together with tape, glue, wood dowels, a metal rod, and there's a piece of gum in there somewhere too

The random stalls and dives are still there, but I'm actually pretty good at recovering from the unusual flight attitudes. So, in one respect, the Freedom is a good plane in that it's "suckiness" has improved my quick response hand-eye coordination, and I've learned some repairing tricks that I otherwise would've never known about. But one more good crash and it'll be done for. SO....

I'm thinking the Challenger is my next purchase.....? Seems like all of you contributors to this post are very knowledgable and I value your opinion, so please point me in a direction if the Challenger is not the best choice. I want to keep flying (hopefully with something that is easier to keep the TO/Landing ratio a bit closer), but am not ready to set aside $250 or more for a new setup.

(thank you in advance!)
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Old 08-19-2006, 03:49 PM
  #83  
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Originally Posted by callmesport View Post
The random stalls and dives are still there, but I'm actually pretty good at recovering from the unusual flight attitudes. So, in one respect, the Freedom is a good plane in that it's "suckiness" has improved my quick response hand-eye coordination, and I've learned some repairing tricks that I otherwise would've never known about. But one more good crash and it'll be done for. SO....

I'm thinking the Challenger is my next purchase.....? Seems like all of you contributors to this post are very knowledgable and I value your opinion, so please point me in a direction if the Challenger is not the best choice. I want to keep flying (hopefully with something that is easier to keep the TO/Landing ratio a bit closer), but am not ready to set aside $250 or more for a new setup.

(thank you in advance!)
LOL that's exactly what I thought of my freedom - all this dive recovery is BOUND to help me somewhere down the line. If I were you, maybe look at a J3 cub or a stryker. The reason I say that is why not get your "pod and boom" stuff behind you w/ the freedom and move on to a parkzone plane - they are more scale, more nimble and more fun. If you stick w/ the freedome long enough to "master" it. You should have no problem with either plane. But also a challenger would be good too. I wish I had one. I'm currently piecing together a "real" set up. gotta dx6 in my closet, hope to get a good motor next month then finally a plane and some good lipos.
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Old 08-22-2006, 04:47 PM
  #84  
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Originally Posted by Joe 1320 View Post
One thing I don't care for is every one of the Firebirds, the scout... the commander....... will tip stall in certain instances. It's just something you have to try and prevent by keeping up the airspeed.
I would have to second this. I had this problem with the Freedom to the point that I sold it....(with a word of warning to the buyer). I then bought a Challenger, and although this is a much better plane I have had a couple of really hard crashes with it as a result of this, the last one occuring yesterday, bad enough to crack the front of the fusilage at the cockpit. (JBWeld to the rescue). You take off, start to gain altitude and make a turn and BAM, it's heading full speed ahead into the dirt. I really think something with a little more wing and stability is better for a beginner. When one of these birds goes into a nose dive at a relatively low altitude there is little you can do except watch the crash and hope you hit something soft.

The old traditional high wing trainer with someone to help you learn with a buddy box has a lot to be said for it, but I do think these planes probably serve a purpose of getting lots of folks into the hobby at a low cost, and maybe people who would not go the route of soliciting someone to help them learn with a more traditional plane.
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Old 08-22-2006, 05:16 PM
  #85  
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Originally Posted by jimw1956 View Post
You take off, start to gain altitude and make a turn and BAM, it's heading full speed ahead into the dirt. I really think something with a little more wing and stability is better for a beginner. When one of these birds goes into a nose dive at a relatively low altitude there is little you can do except watch the crash and hope you hit something soft.
.
Actually, I had way more problems on the landing approach than takeoff. I would get it floating in nicely and in the blink of ane eye, tip stall and crash. Coming in hot with the wind helped, but that makes it dicey for the beginner. All in all, not a nice way for a beginner to get the feel for bringing something down safely.
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Old 08-22-2006, 06:18 PM
  #86  
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I second the landing being the most difficult. It seems that coming in "HOT" seems to be becoming the norm, for bringing the bird down, however, if landing with the gear installed, make sure you have a huge runway.....It is not abnormal for mine to roll 40 ft, after touchdown....and if there's an obstruction, the end effect, is almost as bad as a hard nose in....Pat
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Old 08-23-2006, 06:32 PM
  #87  
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Originally Posted by patnchris View Post
I second the landing being the most difficult. It seems that coming in "HOT" seems to be becoming the norm, for bringing the bird down, however, if landing with the gear installed, make sure you have a huge runway.....It is not abnormal for mine to roll 40 ft, after touchdown....and if there's an obstruction, the end effect, is almost as bad as a hard nose in....Pat
Yeah, had this happen too...my field is grown up very high and the only suitable portion of it for landing is about a 30 foot area on the end that stays cut. I belly land due to the terrain and this think skids along for a long way once it hits the ground on it's tummy.
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Old 08-23-2006, 11:20 PM
  #88  
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Another good thing about learning to fly the Freedom......I have had absolutely no problem flying the other ParkZone/HobbyZone planes. The Super Cub is so easy, compared to the Freedom. I was shocked. Since,
I have accumulated a Slo-V, and fly it effortlessly....The other day, I took the controls of a guys P51....He could not get it in the air....I not only got it in the air.....but flew it for 7 minutes and then landed it, with no repairs needed. (plane has no landing gear)....It was my first shot at an aileron plane, and whbile a little strange feeling....I adjusted to it rather quickly....So.....Keep flying those Firebirds....The experience is worth more than the plane...........Pat
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Old 08-24-2006, 12:02 AM
  #89  
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I flew my Freedom, today, with a LiPo....Truthfully, It flys better with the NiMh. The tip stall condition was substantially worse. I even tried it with the landing gear removed, and that made the problem worse.....So I'm thinking (maybe not such a good thing...LOLOL)..That this weight, maybe isn't such a bad thing.....So.....I'm going to weigh the NiMh and the LiPo on a postal scale.....Then I'm going to take the difference, in weight, and add it back in. EXCEPT....I'm going to add if very low.....I'm going to crimp some fishing split shot sinkers to the bottom of the landing gear....I'm wondering if moving the weight lower, below the wing, fuselage, and motor, will help cure the tip stall condition...It make take me a few days to get this done.....but I'm thinking that the weight carried below the fuselage will add, substantially, to the aircrafts stability......Pat
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Old 08-24-2006, 12:45 AM
  #90  
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Originally Posted by patnchris View Post
Another good thing about learning to fly the Freedom......I have had absolutely no problem flying the other ParkZone/HobbyZone planes. The Super Cub is so easy, compared to the Freedom. I was shocked. Since,
I have accumulated a Slo-V, and fly it effortlessly....The other day, I took the controls of a guys P51....He could not get it in the air....I not only got it in the air.....but flew it for 7 minutes and then landed it, with no repairs needed. (plane has no landing gear)....It was my first shot at an aileron plane, and whbile a little strange feeling....I adjusted to it rather quickly....So.....Keep flying those Firebirds....The experience is worth more than the plane...........Pat
There is something to be said for learning on something unstable. Once you get the hang of it, everything else is easy. :p
I dunno, could go either way.

One thing for sure, nose heavy helps a little bit with the tip stall..... but the problem will manifest itself when you try to fly it too slowly.
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Old 08-24-2006, 11:38 PM
  #91  
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lol, same experience here patnchris. everything I've flown since my freedom stays in the air better. My typhoon is even less prone to stall than the freedom.
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Old 08-25-2006, 12:39 AM
  #92  
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I've found that no amount of tape and glue can make the wings rigid enough to stand up to the riggers of the loops and high speed turns I am subjecting this plane to....I was almost thinking about buying another set of wings.....However I never throw anything away, even if it's broken...I pulled out my 5 sets of broken wings and decided that I was going to repair them, or get rid of therm....After several attempts with limited success....I hit on something that not only works.....but actualy makes them stiffer than new...I made a pile if oak sticks about 1/4 inch X 1/4 inch.....Then proceded to cut away the wing fabric and foam from the affected area. I used the oak strips as templates cutting across the folded area. Each of the cut outs was about 5 inches long. Then proceeded to remove the covering and foam. This was done from the bottom side. Then a glued the oak strips, in the cut out slots with Gorilla Glue. and clamped them in place with spring clamps......When the glue dried, I trimmed off the excess with a Dremel tool, so it was again flush with the bottom of the wing surface. Then covered the affected area with MonoCoat to provide a little more stiffness and make it look as good as new....This repaired wing is superior to the original in stiffness and strength......Now I have a couple more sets of wings to break.....LOL.......My Son (32 year old) has started calling this plane FrankenFreedom.....Oh Well....I am learning alot and having a lot of fun in the process.............Can you say...."This guy has WAY to much time on his hands.".........All I can says is it's true.....Being temporarily unemployed, I have tons of time..........And very little money....Pat
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Old 08-25-2006, 05:04 PM
  #93  
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Flew 4 packs on my Freedom, this morning.....No incidents.....Did lots of I appears that I may have tamed this beast......
Has anyone tried higher voltages on their Freedom's.....I connected an 11.1V 1350ma. LiPo to mine sand bench tested it last night.....It appears that the motor get really warm with these, after only a few minutes. However, what is not a real good test as the motor is working harder with the plane teathered to the bench, that if it was flying through the air.....I was looking at how I might get a little more airflow to the motor, without weakening the motor mounting area. (That I think is already too weak)....I'm thinking NASCAR, here........I looked at where the "eye" for the ACT is mounted. I've already cut the wires off them, and it's just sitting there.....I'm thinking that if I remove the "eye" and enlarge the opening, I can build a duct to take the air into the motor housing area....This may help to cool things down a little.....Whatta ya guys think???...............Pat
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Old 08-25-2006, 06:33 PM
  #94  
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I think your biggest concern over going with a LiPo in the Freedom would be the absence of airflow over the battery. All planes designed for LiPo cells will allow for airflow over the ESC and battery. Without that, you might have a flying timebomb on your hands! On second thought, I couldn't think of a better fate for a Firebird Freedom!
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Old 08-25-2006, 09:24 PM
  #95  
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I posted on this thread a while ago about the sporadic crashing of the Firebird Freedom. On that post I said that putting a hose clamp where the fuselage meets the tail boom would work. On my Freedom, it worked until last night. I was flying when the plane refused to turn left, so I decided to turn it right and land so I could see what the problem was. Unfortunately, the right turn made the plane spiral downward until it hit the ground and cart-wheeled. The cart-wheeling ended up breaking the tail in half. Upon further analysis, it appeared as if the screw threads in the white plastic piece that holds the tail in place got stripped, letting the screw loosen itself and caused the tail to become slightly crooked, therefore preventing left turns. While attempting the right turn, the wind must have pushed the tail even more, resulting in the crash landing. I then took the remains home and replaced the tail and added a device (see the pictures here) that would help the tail survive hard crashes like the one that broke my first and second tail (I am now on my third tail). To my surprise, the fix works wonders in terms of stability in the air (I haven't had another bad crash yet so I don't know how it will work for its intended purpose). I can now fly slower and turn steeper without a tip stall, I can do an almost-perfect loop, and the plane now responds instantly when traveling at high speeds, when before, it might have taken 2 or 3 seconds to respond. The only problem is getting used to it. I almost crashed on my first takeoff because I didn't know how much it would affect the plane and I overreacted, causing me to come dangerously close to a tree. After about a minute or two, I got used to it and I think the plane flies better that it ever did!



Another idea I had was to replace the screw that holds the tail in with a longer one so that I could put a lock washer and nut on to ensure that even if the plastic is stripped, the screw will not come out. I checked my local hardware store and they don't have what I need. The screw is a number 2 in size and I need one that is about 1.5" in length so that I can fit the washer and nut on. I was thinking about checking my LHS or an online store like tower hobbies.
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Old 08-25-2006, 10:49 PM
  #96  
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I tried the brace across the tail, just like you did.....The problem with that is depending on the exact orientation of the cross piece, IT CAN act like an axtra fixed control surface.....Kindda like a fixed elevator. The problem is that as little as 1/64th of an inch can have a dramatic effect on the flying.....I think you will find that just adding pieces of balsa to the top of the tail, as you did, but only half as long, is more than sufficient to stiffen the tail, itself, if you make the piece wide enough to utilize the entire surface if the white top plastic piece. I use Slo-V tail screws. They are more than long enough and LHS had nuts for that size....The difference is that they are SLIGHTLY larger in diameter and you'll need to enlarge the holes.....In my case I also glued the balsa to the foam tail, with lo temp hot glue.....
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Old 08-26-2006, 12:39 AM
  #97  
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Your fix certainly should firm up the tail and quicken control responses. Its just a shame that in order to get this plane to respond, you have to "ugly it up" like that. HobbyZone really needs to step up and pull these things off the retail shelves. Every day, more people spend $150 or more to explore remote control flight, and are let down with this plane.
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Old 08-27-2006, 05:29 AM
  #98  
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All,

I want to give my current report. I returned my Freedom to Horizon and "they lost it, so they replaced it with a new one". Go figure. Must be so many coming back these days ...... At any rate, the new Freedom actually did fly better. I believe the current wings may be a little better, tip stall wise, but it is still there, waiting to pounce, especially with a little bit of gusty wind.

That being said, I have learned several things about the Freedom - mainly to keep at least 5/8 to 3/4 power on and trim for level flight with that throttle setting. You may be able to trim it to run at the 50% detent, but it is extremely susceptible to tip stall at that low flying speed. When speed is higher, tip stall is averted. I have also had much success with adding "wash-out" to the wing tips. This is not extremely difficult to do, and definitely helps. Stay with this "word picture" if you want to attempt it.

First, measure the hight of each trailing edge wing tip while holding the main section of the wing flat on a flat surface. They should be the same. Log this height. The following procedure will allow you to "scribe the wing such that the tip can be "rolled" upward in a smooth transition creating wash-out.

Beginning at the trailing edge wing tip, measure 7" in and place a mark "A" on the trailing edge. Then on the leading edge where the wing tip curve begins, place a mark "B". Draw a line "AB" between these two marks. Note: this line will be slanted inward from the leading edge inward, making approximately a 60 degree angle with the trailing edge. Then measure about 1" from "B" along the tip, make mark "C" and draw line "AC". Repeat the 1" interval for points "D", and "E", drawing lines "AC"; "AD" and "AE". Using a hobby knife, cut the top covering of the wing ONLY. DO NOT CUT THROUGH THE WING. Now take a pocket screwdriver (blade) and drag it through the cuts numerous times, compressing the wing foam. Carefully "roll" the wing up forcing the wing tip to bend upward, evenly along all four lines (cuts) - we want to get a smooth curl creating about 1" rise from the original trailing edge wing tip height ON EACH WING. Note: curl (wash-out) must be the same on each wing. If they weren't the same initially, pick the lower beginning measurement and make the wings identical.

While holding the desired 1" wash-out in the wing apply some pre-cut strips of clear package tape (approx. 2" wide) across the scribed lines. This will hold the new shape, and you don't even have to remove the decals!

If your Freedom had bad tip stall tendencies, this will make a significant difference. You can experiment with the amount of wash-out. Remember, you are wanting the wing tips to stall (quit flying) last, such that the nose drops, but wings remain level!

Horizon and HobbyZone now have a new offering on the horizon (please forgive the redundancy) soon to be released called the "Swift". This can be seen on HobbyZone's website. Of note are the following:
1. Appearance is much akin to the Freedom.
2. Ailerons are incorporated.
3. Battery is increased to 8 cells, ala Stryker. Flights will be shorter, but the Freedom is significantly underpowered for beginning aerobatics. From WOT, you really should not have to dive for airspeed to complete a loop without falling through at the top.
4. Wing attachment is 2 piece construction, ala Freedom;
5. Wing configuration (shape) is highly akin to the Commander 2 that has no tip stall characteristics (Swift wing is slightly longer). Makes you wonder why they got away from the Freedom wing if there was no problem as Horizon has been touting - we know why, don't we!

I predict that the Freedom will be "phased out" of the product line, being replaced by the "Swift", which, I believe, will be very successful.
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Old 09-20-2006, 10:02 PM
  #99  
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Based on glowing reviews, I picked up a Freedom. I tried twice to hand launch it but both times it stalled violently to the left. Amazingly tough bird - no damage but that is when I stopped trying to fly and did a search for "firebird freedom stall problem" and found numerous threads.

I think the Freedom is very slick airplane but certainly not a Zone 1 / beginner friendly plane. All planes stall but a beginners plane should stall in a more controlled / recoverable fashion.

I talked to the vendor that sold me the plane and they swapped it for a Challenger which I think will be more my speed (although I lothe fishing line / rubber band controls and really liked the Freedom solid push rods)

I now have a Challenger and a SkyFly for me and my son to fly around.



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Old 09-20-2006, 11:29 PM
  #100  
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A smart move. After the Challenger, you will be ready for more scale aircraft. You will enjoy it.
Although I DID learn to fly my Freedom, I found that it was really a PITA. When it was flying, it was fun, but a day didn't go by that it didn't need to be brought in and something on it needing repair. Did I happen to mention that I got really good at repairing it?...LOL...The issues became, overall, construction issues. The plane just wasn't sturdy enough to stay together in the air. I got to the point where I was flying acrobatics with it, and weird things started happening. Wings would fold during hard turns or loops. The same thing with the tail. Not only that, I had a servo fail, and no amount of glue could keep the boom secured to the fuselage. The landing gear was a joke. After every landing I had to get out the pliers and do more creative bending. I even tried larger, softer wheels, but that seemed to amplify to issue. I just got tired of it.....So I gutted it and threw the remainder in the trash. My LHS was nice enough to give me credit for all my unused parts...(Wings, tails, props, etc.) While I can say that I did learn a lot, while I was flying it, and it launched me into a new hobby, (I now have 5 planes..LOL) I must say that the average person would have probably given up and taken up a different hobby.
So that ends the saga of my experiences with the Firebird Freedom. Truthfully, If you really want a plane that flys very sweetly, get the HobbyZone Super Cub. It may seem a little intimidating at first, but believe me, it flys beautifully. If assembled correctly and following the instructions for battery maintenance....(kill it dead and then give it a full charge, several times, before flying)....It will literally fly itself, with the only input needed by the pilot, to turn it and bring it back....I have flown my Super Cub at least 100 times and have yet needed any repair parts, except the spare prop, provided in the box.....It will climb, bank, and loop, without modification. Forget the ACT. In fact, tape the switch in the normal position, so you won't flip it by accident. You don't need ACT and it will probably cause you more problems than it will solve....Pat
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Quick Reply: Flying Probs with the Firebird Freedom


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