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Flying Probs with the Firebird Freedom

Old 10-03-2006, 02:35 PM
  #126  
cbatters
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Your repairs have not changed the fact that the Freedom is not a good plane for self instruction. Your plane / your money, but IMHO you have at least 10 more crashes in front of you before you are proficient at flying and the cost of repairs to the Freedom will easily surpass the cost of a more appropriate first plane.

The advantage of a 2 channel like the Hobbico SwiftFlyer (or the Super Wing II on ebay for ~ $30 shipped http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...MEWA%3AIT&rd=1 ) is that it will fly slower, and you will have lots of fun learning about how model airplanes fly instead of panicking about the next horrific crash / repair. You also get to practice flying patterns and landing the airplane where you want it.

OMT : If you are going to keep trying to fly the Freedom..

The most common cause for a dive into the ground is excessive control movement resulting in a stall - either due to excessive up-elevator or a tip stall from a low speed turn. A well trimmed plane will fly just fine without control input. You will be much more successful if you think of nudging the plane around in the sky instead of directing it like a car. (Two channel thrust vector planes teach you this concept because you steer the plane by bumping the right/left direction control.)

Once in the dive you have no choice but to wait until the plane has enough airspeed for elevator / rudder control surfaces to take effect and resume level flight. With enough altitude, you can recover. Without adequate altitude, the plane is going to hit the ground - hard. Experienced pilot would add full power to rapidly increase airspeed to regain control. However, for a new pilot, you would be better off cutting power and either letting go or pulling back on the stick. (In theory you should also apply opposite rudder from the spin direction but no rudder is better than applying more rudder in the wrong direction. I believe this is what ACT does when it detects plane is in trouble - power down and moderate up elevator to get plane to regain level flight.)



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Last edited by cbatters; 10-03-2006 at 04:30 PM.
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Old 10-03-2006, 09:59 PM
  #127  
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cbatters,

Thank you for the info, very helpful

i might try the plane you suggested, but 1 question it says almost ready to fly, does that just mean i have to put it together?

Thanks again all.
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Old 10-03-2006, 10:45 PM
  #128  
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Originally Posted by psc33 View Post
cbatters,

Thank you for the info, very helpful

i might try the plane you suggested, but 1 question it says almost ready to fly, does that just mean i have to put it together?

Thanks again all.
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...MEWA%3AIT&rd=1

5 minutes tops to attach the wing / tail to the plane with a couple screws - 5 more minutes to apply the decals - everything else is already assembled. (I would not bother with the wheels if you are flying on a field)

~2 hours to charge the 7.2V 600 NIMH MAH battery pack using the included 300 MA wall charger. You could use the variable rate peak charger that comes with the Freedom (set to 900 mA) for faster charging but you will need an adapter from HobbyLobby.

I easily get 10-12 minutes flying time from a single charge.

Last piece of advise. Take some other flying toy to the airfield (rocket / parachute / kite / boomerang etc) If there is more than 5 MPH don't fly your RC plane until you get more experience.

Flying tips for thrust vector plane:

1. Taxi the plane around on the ground in your driveweay for the first charge/discharge cycle. Good opportrunity to learn the controls and cycle the battery

2. Firm slightly upward launch. (baseball thrown 25-30') if you don't give it a good toss it will stall like any other plane

3. Don't start to turn until you are at least 40-50' in the air

4. Bump the steering control to the right (or left) while keeping power applied to turn the plane.

5. Due to the high nose up attitude when climbing, when you let off the power, the plane will tend to dive. Just bump the throttle and/or the left right controls a couple times to level the plane for gliding.

6. When turning, bump the left/right controls to do a controlled turn without losing much altitude - holding them constantly will cause plane to turn sharply - lose altitude and dive

7. If you begin losing altitude (especially when turning downwind) add power and don't turn left/right

Specs:

o Large Wingspan: 34.4" (875mm)
o Length: 24" (615mm)
o Weight: 9.4 oz (267g)
o Powerful twin 180 class electric motors
o Dual stick transmitter
o High capacity 7.2V / 600 MAH NIMH battery (not inferior 4.8V or 6V battery)
o Long flight times (> 10 minutes powered / gliding)
o Easy to control - great way to learn RC flight

http://video1.hobbico.com/gallery/hcaa1995-deluxe.mpg


Good luck.


Clint

Last edited by cbatters; 10-03-2006 at 11:24 PM.
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Old 10-04-2006, 12:42 AM
  #129  
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Originally Posted by cbatters View Post
Your repairs have not changed the fact that the Freedom is not a good plane for self instruction. Your plane / your money, but IMHO you have at least 10 more crashes in front of you before you are proficient at flying and the cost of repairs to the Freedom will easily surpass the cost of a more appropriate first plane.

The advantage of a 2 channel like the Hobbico SwiftFlyer (or the Super Wing II on ebay for ~ $30 shipped http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...MEWA%3AIT&rd=1 ) is that it will fly slower, and you will have lots of fun learning about how model airplanes fly instead of panicking about the next horrific crash / repair. You also get to practice flying patterns and landing the airplane where you want it.

OMT : If you are going to keep trying to fly the Freedom..

The most common cause for a dive into the ground is excessive control movement resulting in a stall - either due to excessive up-elevator or a tip stall from a low speed turn. A well trimmed plane will fly just fine without control input. You will be much more successful if you think of nudging the plane around in the sky instead of directing it like a car. (Two channel thrust vector planes teach you this concept because you steer the plane by bumping the right/left direction control.)

Once in the dive you have no choice but to wait until the plane has enough airspeed for elevator / rudder control surfaces to take effect and resume level flight. With enough altitude, you can recover. Without adequate altitude, the plane is going to hit the ground - hard. Experienced pilot would add full power to rapidly increase airspeed to regain control. However, for a new pilot, you would be better off cutting power and either letting go or pulling back on the stick. (In theory you should also apply opposite rudder from the spin direction but no rudder is better than applying more rudder in the wrong direction. I believe this is what ACT does when it detects plane is in trouble - power down and moderate up elevator to get plane to regain level flight.)



Clint
90% of the freedom's stalls are from the slow turns. If you have a big field where you can fly it 2/3's to full throttle, you won't see the stalls. Of course it is VERY hard to take it out of the box and fly it wide open. Once I learned to fly it fast, my only crashes came during landings where the dang thing just lost lift and stalled out - usually a tip stall when making that last turn towards the runway. If you have a big field, speed becomes less of a factor as there is more time between turns. it is true it will fly itself if trimmed right, the thing still seems to wander some no matter what, but my understanding from other r/c and full scale pilots is that v-tails tend to wander.
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Old 10-04-2006, 01:31 AM
  #130  
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Originally Posted by jcblough View Post
90% of the freedom's stalls are from the slow turns. If you have a big field where you can fly it 2/3's to full throttle, you won't see the stalls. Of course it is VERY hard to take it out of the box and fly it wide open. Once I learned to fly it fast, my only crashes came during landings where the dang thing just lost lift and stalled out - usually a tip stall when making that last turn towards the runway. If you have a big field, speed becomes less of a factor as there is more time between turns. it is true it will fly itself if trimmed right, the thing still seems to wander some no matter what, but my understanding from other r/c and full scale pilots is that v-tails tend to wander.
If properly trimmed, you should be able to glide without power and maintain enough air speed to avoid stalling. (One of the first things that you need to do with a new plane at 75-100 feet of altitude.)

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...t=544847&pp=15

Video showing Freedom flying just fine without power.

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showa...hmentid=903724

Up elevator cannot be applied if the plane is flying anywhere near the stalll speed or the plane will immediately stall. (Critical lesson to learn is that up elevator does not make the plane go up. Rather, it changes the angle of attack of the wing. If there is adequate airspeed, the plane will go up. If there is not enough airspeed the plane will stall. With a properly trimmed airplane, you should be able to fly around a pattern without touching the elevator.)



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Last edited by cbatters; 10-04-2006 at 01:47 PM.
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Old 10-05-2006, 01:43 AM
  #131  
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From that review. . .
"The plane needs to be flown relatively fast. Let me repeat that: The plane needs to be flown relatively fast! You want to get up speed before you try to gain much altitude. Flown too slowly (i.e. using up elevator) the plane was prone to tip stalls if I tried to turn at too slow a speed or too sharply at slow speed."

"Tight turns at or below ten feet usually lead to a crash. Don't do it! Even with the motor off the Freedom continues to glide down rather quickly. Let it settle down all on its own, or VERY gently flair (supply a little up) to bleed off a bit of that speed just before touch down. Try to fly it too slowly with too much up elevator and it can stall and fall."

I think those 2 things are the biggest problem w/ the plane as a "zone 1" craft

Also think this is very pertinent. . .
Is the freedom for a beginner?
" Yes, but I don't think it is for every beginner! For the timid beginner who wants to fly slowly, AND is willing to wait for no wing, there are other Firebirds and planes for that matter that better fit that slower type of flying. For the confident beginner who isn't afraid to fly the plane at the speed it was designed to be flown at, the Freedom is a good plane, and allows that pilot to fly in mild wind with good control due to its higher flight speed. Mine flew well and I found it to be fine for an adventurous beginner with a good size field."
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Old 10-05-2006, 02:29 AM
  #132  
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I think most beginners will crash it a half dozen times before even getting it airborn and then they will freak out and crash from 50 feet when they are forced to make their first abrupt turn because it has already flown to the edge of their too-small field.

Impossible to put this plane in the same Zone 1 slot as a Commander or Scout. And I found the Challenger which is classified as a Zone 2 plane to be MUCH easier to get started with than the Freedom.

My guess is that they toss it into Zone 1 beacuse it has ACT. But ACT will not help during launch, from diving in the ground at 50', crashing on a landing approach nor will it keep you from flying into a tree.

Should be Zone 2.


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Old 10-05-2006, 02:41 AM
  #133  
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I went through hell on mine. My first field wasn't big enough. Act is good at preventing stalls, it is also good a crusing your plane into trees and/or objects. The tip stall nature of the plane does make it a bear to hand launch as you have to give it agood toss. My main problem was the above mentioned 50 foot tip stalls and/or the final 10 foot stalls from too much elevator at slow speeds. 3 planes later, I think I could go and fly a freedom successfully, but as a beginner I wanted easier take offs, slower landings and more docile stall characteristics than this plane can offer.
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Old 10-05-2006, 03:04 AM
  #134  
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What other planes do you guys feel would be a better starting plane? Thanks
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Old 10-05-2006, 03:25 AM
  #135  
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Originally Posted by psc33 View Post
What other planes do you guys feel would be a better starting plane? Thanks
The T-Hawk. Here's a video of me flying it 4 days ago, the day I finally "got" how to fly her! It comes with 2 wings, tails,batteries, spare rubber bands! This plane is AWESOME!

I just posted this a few minutes ago, my friend dropped the video off this morning:

http://s64.photobucket.com/albums/h1..._Hawk_01-1.flv

This plane is great!

Tom
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Old 10-08-2006, 05:15 AM
  #136  
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UPDATE!!
Brought my glued tail freedom and tried to fly it, not good. Flew staright into the ground and rebroke the tail, I had ordered a new bare fuselage and went home and transfered the electronics into the new fuselage.Went back to the field and gave it a good toss, IT FLEW!! let it gain altitude and started trying to turn, it just kept turning right all the while it kept gaining altittude. cut back throttle and landed it without breaking anything (thank God) trimmed it up gave it another toss and it flew again, altitude then gave very slight inputs in controls ,IT Worked GREAT!!! was able to land after about 10 mins of flying perfectly. then i noticed i was flying without ACT on. I turned it on (ACT) (after changing batteries) and gave it a good toss it took off climbed and after that had no control what so ever of the plane!!! I turned ACT off and had great control!!??? ANY IDEAS WHY? Flew the rest of the battery without problems (I even performed my 1st LOOP woithout a problem ) and then landed a great landing!! As said above also i cut all power to the plane a few times and it did glide and react very very well. OK PEOPLE IM HOOKED

Thanks for all your help!!
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Old 10-08-2006, 10:04 AM
  #137  
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psc33,

Great report. Hooked? Good! We like hooked people.

I spend a lot of time flying my electrics in glides. In fact it is one of the first things I teach new flyers. It gives you longer overall flight times and the slower speed give you more time to think. However, the most important thing I think it teaches is understanding how the plane flies on the wing rather than on the motor.

Many planes have enough power to allow the pilot to power out of, or power through mistakes. As a result they become dependent on the motor. If they run the battery out, they get into unfamiliar territory, panic and sometimes crash or land the plane "off field".

Learning to fly your plane in a glide is an extremely important and enjoyable lesson to learn. I encourage you to spend a lot of time this way. You can even learn to thermal your plane and have very very long flights using the standard battereis. If you have a hill or a cliff, you can lean to slope soar the plane and have flights of almost unlimited duaration.

Congratulations on your accomplishment. Welcome to the world of the "hooked". Addiction can be fun!
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Old 10-08-2006, 11:38 AM
  #138  
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Default Magazine reviews (in general) in the trades...

Whether RC airplanes or full-sized cars, electronic equipment, cameras, stereos, etc, most so-called reviews or 'evaluations' are not written by magazine staff at all. they are written by either people who actually work for the manufacturer, or are hired PR people, who write on behalf of the manufacturer or marketing firm. Most evaluators for 'Road & Track' for instance are test drivers on the staff of the auto manufacturer they are writing about(!)

Frankly, the staff of most trade-type magazines are barely big enough to sell advertising layouts and collect the receivables. Granted, some DO have staff writers, and they DO make their own evaluations. But, think about it a moment - when was the last time you actually heard of anyone slamming a deserving product in a published review?

Yeah, I can't remember, either...

Product reviewers are even less reliable than movie critics, and I don't listen to them, either. Especially when you see full page ads in their magazine for whatever product they are reviewing that month... The only reviews I lend a lot of credence to are Consumer Reports, and that is because they don't make a living off advertising from the companies and products that they review.
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Old 10-08-2006, 01:01 PM
  #139  
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Originally Posted by AEAJR View Post
I spend a lot of time flying my electrics in glides. In fact it is one of the first things I teach new flyers. It gives you longer overall flight times and the slower speed give you more time to think. However, the most important thing I think it teaches is understanding how the plane flies on the wing rather than on the motor.!
That is the same thing I teach my students. Very valuable insight!

The Flying part is easy, it's the landings that will do you in. :p
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Old 10-09-2006, 01:05 PM
  #140  
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I turned it on (ACT) (after changing batteries) and gave it a good toss it took off climbed and after that had no control what so ever of the plane!!! I turned ACT off and had great control!!??? ANY IDEAS WHY?
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Old 10-09-2006, 06:00 PM
  #141  
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Originally Posted by psc33 View Post
I turned it on (ACT) (after changing batteries) and gave it a good toss it took off climbed and after that had no control what so ever of the plane!!! I turned ACT off and had great control!!??? ANY IDEAS WHY?
Look carefully at the control throws and you should see the difference between the two flight modes. Pretty sure the control throws are modified when in ACT mode to keep plane level during turns.

Also, if the plane goes into ACT recovery mode (due to erroneous lighting or strong pitch control input) you will not have any control until you let the right stick return to neutral for a couple seconds.

Wondering out-loud if covering both ACT sensors would allow the ACT mode to be used to reduce control sensitivity while eliminating the other undesirable features of ACT.



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Old 10-09-2006, 07:26 PM
  #142  
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You could probably cover the lower sensor and fake it into thinking it was looking at the 'ground,' but you would probably need to put an LED over the top one to fake it into thinking it was looking at the sky. Perhaps a translucent, or semi-translucent white tape over the top sensor would do the trick? Too bad they don't have the rate switch in the X-mitter, like on the P-51, etc, without ACT.
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Old 10-09-2006, 07:59 PM
  #143  
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I may be giving the ParkZone engineers too much credit but I assumed they would look for some minimum light level or ACT should be disabled. If they are only looking at the difference between the sensors, covering both of sensors would be a problem. However, covering the bottom sensor might just do the trick. (Top sensor would have more light even when the plane was fling inverted.)

SkyFly almost got the Beginner/Expert modes correct (with auto-up elevator on turns) except they have artificially limited the servo control throw in Expert mode. (The SkyFly also has spongy/stretchy control lines and a stiff hinge so the elevator does not return to neutral unless you modify the hinge.)

Challenger is closer to ideal with up-ruddervator in Sport mode and up/down ruddervator in Expert mode for tighter turns but this cannot be changed in flight. (It would also be better for new fliers if the pitch control was attenuated for new fliers to reduce the risk of stalling/diving.)

Idea dual mode plane would include:

Beginner
o Limited rudder control throw
o Auto up elevator with rudder
o Very limited elevator control (flies almost like 2 channel without pitch control)

Expert
o Full rudder control
o No auto elevator
o Full elevator control

Beginner instructions should also include hand launching with motor off to test glide/trim. If it doesn't glide with the motor off, the novice should not attempt to fly it with the motor on.



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Old 10-30-2006, 05:08 AM
  #144  
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Funny thing, I wanted to get into the RC Plane hobby so I snagged a FBF off Ebay for 50 dollars. The 5 days or so waiting for it I got into reading user reviews and found out what a lemon I had purchased.

I am totally new to RC planes remind you, took the FBF out to the field for its first flight. I make the mistake of flying in 5-10 MPH winds and pretty much crash almost every flight. Last flight almost resulted in a fly-away but I was able to nose dive it before it went out of the park ! On that crash the Tail pretty much was destroyed.

Went to my LHS and bought new tail and horns.. fixed the wings with some packing tape and went out this weekend...slight breeze 3-5 MPH I'd guess with small gusts maybe 8 MPH.

Flew like a champ... I was so scared flying it because of the near fly-away I Had the previous weekend. This is only my second time with an RC airplane here are some vids of my first attempt: http://s101.photobucket.com/albums/m...ird%20Freedom/

Of course did not get any footage of my first "real" flight. I did not peak that battery before hand so I had about an 8 min flight, just flew a pattern and had 3 "grass" landings and 3 launches w/o a problem.

While I don't think the FBF is a horrible plane, but I don't think it should be labeled as a trainer or beginners plane.

The biggest thing with he FBF is you must keep a high degree of throttle in order to control and keep the plane in the air -- which can easily allow it to get away from a first timer, as well as "bumping" the sticks so not to over correct/control.

Last edited by JcPilk; 10-31-2006 at 05:40 AM.
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Old 10-30-2006, 02:08 PM
  #145  
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Next time you get it up to 200-300', cut the throtle and adjust the elevator trim for a good glide / descent. MUCH better to practice dead stick at altitude when you have the option of throttling up again.

What you should notice is that he controls will be slower to respond but you should be able to bring it in for a safe landing.


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Old 11-01-2006, 11:53 PM
  #146  
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I'm new to the rc airplane world and currently in the process of purchasing my first plane. Until I read this thread, the Firebird Freedom was my plane of choice, having bought into the whole Zone 1, ACT equipped marketing scheme. Now, though, after reading so much negative feedback on this model, I'm back at square one without any idea of what plane would best suit my introduction to rc flying phase. Any suggestions? I live in an area of Texas (deep southeast, practically at the southern border) where the hobbie is just now catching on and want my experience to be the best possible so I may spread the joy of rc flying to others in this area. I'd appreciate all the help I can get. Thanks.
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Old 11-02-2006, 12:02 AM
  #147  
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Sovereign

Glad you did the research.

I love the HobbyZone Aerobird Challenger! Highly recommended.

The HobbyZone Super Cub has been getting a LOT of great reviews so you should take a look at that one.

Texas is usually windy so the Slo-V and the Slow Stick might not be your best choice unless you only have a very small space.

Others to consider are the T-Hawk from www.readytoflyfun.com

The multiplex Easy Star www.towerhobbies.com

Any one of these will be a good choice!
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Old 11-02-2006, 12:57 AM
  #148  
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Soverign,
I agree with Ed, and I would add that we are very successful with the Firebird Commander 2. It is rugged, 2 channel (right/left and motor), replacement parts readily available, inexpensive ($85 USD and free shipping - check out E-Bay "Buy it Now" adds - some will even have an extra battery (nice to have)). Additionally, for a real hoot, a combat module is available ($20) such that if you and a friend have these, dog fights are possible. The Commander would get my vote for 2 channels, which in my opinion is enough for any beginner to handle. Adding pitch (up and down) can really complicate the scene. It is easy enough for the beginner to absolutely "freeze" on the sticks with only 2 channels. Even with only 2 channels, you may need to get a little help - you will be amazed at just how humbling that little black box can be. I find that careful attention to "trimming" the plane really adds to the reliability and ease of flight. Pay attention to the streamer that is tied to the antenna - I find that no mater where you are, early mornings are best regarding the wind, and little to no wind is desirable with these lower powered units. I'll be glad to advise you further if you wish.
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Old 11-02-2006, 01:56 AM
  #149  
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I have all three of the current firebirds.The scout and commander are ok except that they are fragile and have VERY limiited control capability.
The Freedom can fly well,BUT it has some nasty,surprising characteristics as mentioned by others.
I would like to add that the two serious crashes that I have had were due to mechanical failure.One was a control surface horn which broke off for no known reason.The other(worse) ,the screws that mount the motor backed out resulting in a loose motor and loss of prop in flight.Any Freedom flyers should check these screws.

Last edited by flyingbear; 11-02-2006 at 02:22 AM.
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Old 11-02-2006, 05:30 AM
  #150  
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All screws and control surface alignment should be checked before every flight, especially the ones that hold the motor. ya just got to check 'em, regardless of what plane you fly!
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