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Aerobird 3 - Tell me about it

Old 03-26-2008, 05:03 PM
  #51  
Inspired_Art
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Thank you so much for that into Ed, here I thought it was just a matter of securing the rods to the wing, never thought about cutting a slit. Of course, the first wing I bought, and munched (which I stil have around) is pretty much warped like the space-time continuum
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Old 03-26-2008, 05:08 PM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by cbatters View Post
Would strongly recommend first flights on beginner mode which effectively adds up elevator automaticlly by only moving one control surface during turns. (Nice thing about Aerobird 3 compared to Challenger predecessor is that you can easily change mode in flight.)


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Thanks Clint, I believe the transmitter, whenever it's turned on, is always set to beginner mode? I'm so fearful of really crashing it so much I won't be taking it to pro mode anytime soon...but I've seen what it can do in pro mode, so I know the temptation is always there...
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Old 03-26-2008, 05:13 PM
  #53  
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For those of you with some extra spars from a Swift laying around, they're a great fix for the AB3 wing. If you've got a Dremel (or other rotary tool), get a thin cutting blade and cut the Swift spar in half, length-wise. You'll need to have some kind of jig, but it's worth the trouble.

Take the cut spar and center it on the under-side of the wing, and make a small incision the length of the spar on the wing. Then CAREFULLY scoop out enough of the wing material (you'll need to remove more on the ends to allow the wing to retain it's shape) so the spar is flush with the bottom surface of the wing.Use some foam-safe CA to hold it in place, and use some good strapping/packing tape over the top of the spar.

The wing will still be flexible, but not enough to fold. I've tested mine by getting some altitude, then heading nose-in at WOT and pulling up into a loop. The wing didn't even think about folding!

This has me wanting to dust-off my AB3. I got a PZ T-28 back in November and sort of forgot that my Aerobird fleet even existed!
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Old 03-27-2008, 12:38 PM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by Inspired_Art View Post
Thanks Clint, I believe the transmitter, whenever it's turned on, is always set to beginner mode? I'm so fearful of really crashing it so much I won't be taking it to pro mode anytime soon...but I've seen what it can do in pro mode, so I know the temptation is always there...
Aerobird Challenger defaulted to beginner / sport mode when transmitter was turned on. AB3 has switch on transmitter to toggle back and forth anytime you want.

Easy to tell. If you press stick to the right and both surfaces move (one up and one down) you are in pro mode.

Good luck.



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Old 04-25-2008, 02:07 AM
  #55  
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FWIW I have a Aerobird 3. It was the first bird I really learned how to fly and I like it alot, still. Unfortunately the first one had a mishap with diving straight down p/u a ALOT of speed and trying to pull out of it. Well the wings buckled. It was me I pushed it to far I accept responsibility.

Any way the reason it buckled was because the the rubber bands that attach the wing left crease marks on the wing. This was the weak spot and it gave from the stress. So now I have another AB3 that sits in my trunk in the box for the flights during lunch. But what I did was taped some reinforced tape (3M makes some with fiber or string in it) around that area where the rubber bands go and presto no more weak spot, with roughly the same wing characteristics.
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Old 04-25-2008, 02:51 AM
  #56  
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Wing crease (from ANY reason) = failure and crash under load.
Most failures happen at the rubber band location but that's where forces from bad landings and apparently non-damaging crashes gets focused. If not for the rubber bands it would just fly off, right?

Those failures are generally somewhat spectacular since you ARE doing some stressed maneuver usually involving G-force and speed. Gives you awhile to contemplate it when it happens up high.

Reinforce, Reinforce, Reinforce, before you doink it. Or be prepared to replace if you even suspect a crease.
I have not been able to break my reinforced wing-not for lack of trying.
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Old 04-25-2008, 11:17 AM
  #57  
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Default A-3 Bit the Dust?

I have had several Aerobird 3's. While they take some getting used to, I've found that a nose plunge usually takes place unexpectedly as the plane reaches its stall speed on approach or downwind. If you accidently fly too slow downwind, the A-3 becomes an excellent Kamikaze dive bomber.

It's a good idea to practice at high altitudes with this plane. It can come down like a Perigean Falcon after a mouse.

My peeve with the A-3 is that the narrow fuselage is not easy to work in when the circuit board gets jolted out of place on impact. That's when flying for me comes to a screeching halt, and I feel rather helpless to get inside to work on the internals.

I much prefer the design of other models that have easier access to the servos and other hardware to make repairs without qualifying for dental school.

Once you get used to it, it can be a lot of fun, but sooner or later, a nose-in will undo that circuit board. Then, I hope you're more talented in small spaces than I am. Maybe some of our repair aces can suggest how to reinforce the little board. :o

Sorry about your mishap.
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Old 04-25-2008, 12:10 PM
  #58  
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Stan,

I agree with most of what you write, but could write the same things about just about any plane.

* If you fly any plane to slow it will stall
* If you fly any plane too slowsly down wind, a gust can cause a stall

You are right, that the narrow fuse is inconvenient. However with a ittle patience, it is pretty easy to pull he whole electronics package out of the plane too work on the components. And since I fly gliders, which often have tight narrow fuselages, I think leanring to work in the ABs narrow fuse was good training for me.

There are 4 screws on the bottom of the fuselage. Remove these, remove the two from the motor and release the control rods at the tail and the whole thing just slides out the hatch. Now you can easily fix anything you wish. Then just slide it back in, tighten the screws and you are all set.

Ultimately, planes are made to fly, not to crash. Nose in a balsa, fiberglass, or most other planes and you will do a lot more than fixing a servo board.
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Old 04-26-2008, 04:34 AM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by AEAJR View Post
Stan,

I agree with most of what you write, but could write the same things about just about any plane.

* If you fly any plane to slow it will stall
* If you fly any plane too slowsly down wind, a gust can cause a stall

You are right, that the narrow fuse is inconvenient. However with a ittle patience, it is pretty easy to pull he whole electronics package out of the plane too work on the components. And since I fly gliders, which often have tight narrow fuselages, I think leanring to work in the ABs narrow fuse was good training for me.

There are 4 screws on the bottom of the fuselage. Remove these, remove the two from the motor and release the control rods at the tail and the whole thing just slides out the hatch. Now you can easily fix anything you wish. Then just slide it back in, tighten the screws and you are all set.

Ultimately, planes are made to fly, not to crash. Nose in a balsa, fiberglass, or most other planes and you will do a lot more than fixing a servo board.
****************************************

These are certainly valid points, Ed. No argument from me on "planes are made to fly, and not to crash", but you wouldn't know it by my early efforts. :o

The AB-3 has a reputation for being more of an intermediate plane than a beginner plane, as you well know. The reason often cited is its design for greater speed capability, as compared with the Super Cub. With the leaner design features, it has a tendency to react more abruptly at times, under those conditions which we mentioned, which I certainly didn't mean were exclusive to the AB-3.

I think you would agree that the Super Cub, for example, has more forgiving flight design characteristics as does a "Slo-Stick".

As for repair, I admire you dental school candidates who don't get claustrophobia looking into those teeny tiny spaces, dropping microscopic screws, and remembering which wire belongs where. Like you said, it takes "patience", which I no longer have much of in my workspace.

I yield to the argument of other planes requiring more repair than the AB-3 on impact, but I've seen designs that offer more available access to their components -- before they crash. That was my point. You know the ones -- where the canopy just lifts off and the servos and connecting rods stare you in the face.

I think the AB-3 is a fun plane the once a pilot gets some experience with it.

You offered some good input. Thanks for filling in.

Stan
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Old 04-26-2008, 05:12 AM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by Stan-the-Man View Post
****************************************

These are certainly valid points, Ed. No argument from me on "planes are made to fly, and not to crash", but you wouldn't know it by my early efforts. :o

The AB-3 has a reputation for being more of an intermediate plane than a beginner plane, as you well know. The reason often cited is its design for greater speed capability, as compared with the Super Cub. With the leaner design features, it has a tendency to react more abruptly at times, under those conditions which we mentioned, which I certainly didn't mean were exclusive to the AB-3.

I think you would agree that the Super Cub, for example, has more forgiving flight design characteristics as does a "Slo-Stick".

As for repair, I admire you dental school candidates who don't get claustrophobia looking into those teeny tiny spaces, dropping microscopic screws, and remembering which wire belongs where. Like you said, it takes "patience", which I no longer have much of in my workspace.

I yield to the argument of other planes requiring more repair than the AB-3 on impact, but I've seen designs that offer more available access to their components -- before they crash. That was my point. You know the ones -- where the canopy just lifts off and the servos and connecting rods stare you in the face.

I think the AB-3 is a fun plane the once a pilot gets some experience with it.

You offered some good input. Thanks for filling in.

Stan
Once again I think we are in general agreement.

On one note, the AB, and then the AB Challenger were my primary recommendation for first planes for years. I started on the original Aerobird. I still have it. The AB3 is no less qualifed and is on my TOP 5 list of recommended first RTFs.

However, having said that, I think the Easy Star and the Super Cub are even better. Both have stronger wings than the AB3 and so they can take more punnishment. And, since the wings are thicker, if you break them you can glue them back together with a high degree of confidence that they will hold. The AB3 wing is of a thinner design for weight, so it is a little more delicate.

The Super Cub has a larger motor ( 480 ) than the AB3 (380) but at 26 ounces it is also heavier. That exta weight and power make the plane, perhaps, a little more stable in the wind.

Of coures the Cub costs about 50% more than the AB3 too.

But they are all good first plane
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Old 10-11-2008, 08:54 PM
  #61  
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Have taught a fair number of folks to fly in the last 6 months and continue to recommend the AB3. Supercub is also a great plane but I like starting people on beginner mode with the AB3 that effectively adds up elevator when turning. After the new pilot becomes proficient in beginner mode, the sport mode is like getting a new plane. MUCH more responsive.



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Old 03-22-2009, 06:41 PM
  #62  
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Had not flown in a while so decided to take my AB3 out for a few flights this weekend.

First flight was with the stock NIMH battery (8.4V, 1000 MAH) which weighs 5.5 ounces. I flew it once with the landing gear on and then removed the landing gear and notice an improvement in performance due to reduced drag. If you are flying on grass, loose the landing gear.

I then installed a 3S 1000 MAH LIPO that weighs 3.5 ounces, a full two ounces lighter than the stock battery.

The higher voltage provides a very significant boost to power. Voltage increase from 8.4V to 11.1 translates to a 32% increase in current and a 75% increase in power.

P=I*V
I=V/R
P=v^2 / R

The reduction in weight of over 10% further improves climb performance and enhances glide characteristics. (Noticable improvement in responsiveness to wind and thermals.)

Note:

1. Increase in power is pushing the brushed motor pretty hard so I would suggest only using full power for brief climb out.

2. The speed controller can be reprogrammed for 3S lipo LVC as per the following instructions. (Unfortunately they neglected to include this info in the AB3 manual.)

http://www.modelflight.com.au/manual...ire_manual.pdf
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Old 03-22-2009, 08:43 PM
  #63  
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Clint,

Thanks for the report on the use of the 3S pack. I am always interested in such reports on RTFs that are sold with packs that are much lower in voltage.

How long have you been flying with the 3S pack?

I am interested to understand how well the motor, ESC and BEC hold up under the higher voltage and higher amperage that you will be feeding into the system.

Speed 380s are not really designed for voltage that high. And who knows what the BEC/ESC are designed to take.

Please let us know how it goes.

Ed
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Old 03-22-2009, 10:16 PM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by AEAJR View Post
Clint,

Thanks for the report on the use of the 3S pack. I am always interested in such reports on RTFs that are sold with packs that are much lower in voltage.

How long have you been flying with the 3S pack?

I am interested to understand how well the motor, ESC and BEC hold up under the higher voltage and higher amperage that you will be feeding into the system.

Speed 380s are not really designed for voltage that high. And who knows what the BEC/ESC are designed to take.

Please let us know how it goes.

Ed
ZX10 REC/ESC in AB3 is also used in ParkZone Spitfire which comes from factory with 10.8V NIMH and directions to run with 11.1V LIPO so I am confident the REC/ESC/BEC will be fine.

I shared your concerns about the brushed motor on 3S. I only have about an hour of powered flight and very little of that was at full power. (At full power it climbs like a rocket and turns into a small spec very quickly.) I mostly power it up to altitude, cut power and then glide down unpowered.

Main reason for the LIPO was to reduce weight, not to increase power. I'll keep track of number of flights and report back if I start to have any trouble.


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Old 03-28-2009, 05:13 PM
  #65  
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Flew the AB3 again this morning with 1000 MAH 3S pack for 30 minutes and still had 3.8V or ~60% left in the pack when I left the field. (I flew my 2M electric glider earlier and have to admit that the AB3 provides nearly the same satisfaction and experience at lower altitudes in smaller fields.)

Note: Launching at 50% power is more than adequate and then adding more power to climb rapidly to ~300' altitude and begin unpowered glide. Full power launches are a little out of control and could easily end up in a crash.

BALANCE
Because of the lower weight of the LIPO battery I have it pushed all the way forward but am wondering if this is really the optimum balance. I know what it feels like when a plane is tail heavy (mushy / unresponsive) but not sure what happens when it is a bit nose heavy.

Is there a way to determine if the balance is correct?



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Old 04-19-2009, 03:55 AM
  #66  
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My AB Challenger has been retired and I gave the AB3 to a new pilot to help him. Glad to see a whole new generation of pilots growing up on the Aerobirds.
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Old 08-24-2009, 03:55 PM
  #67  
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Still flying the same AB3 on 3S Lipo. Increased power to get up to altitude is much appreciated.

Experienced my first folded wing episode. Was flying very fast and aggressive - trying to hold altitude inverted and pulled back hard on the stick to return to level flight instead of rolling out. Folded up the wing exactly in the middle. (No damage or dents in the wing prior to folding.)

Moral to story - AB3 is good plane for cruising but not certified for crazy aerobatic dogging without reinforcement. (and the AB3 is obviously not meant to be flown inverted - save that for a Swift or some other aileron bird.)



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Last edited by cbatters; 08-24-2009 at 05:49 PM.
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Old 08-24-2009, 06:44 PM
  #68  
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I recently upgraded my stock AB3 Airframe to the following, AR 6100 DSM2 RX, Turnigy Brushed ESC, 1300mah 20c (30c burst) Lipo. The motor/servos/wing etc are all STOCK.

WOW what a great bird with all that extra power. It flies nearly straight up. I tend to use more full throttle than I should and I have 3 spare motors but...

How long will the motor last?
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Old 08-24-2009, 10:10 PM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by kenstogie View Post
I recently upgraded my stock AB3 Airframe to the following, AR 6100 DSM2 RX, Turnigy Brushed ESC, 1300mah 20c (30c burst) Lipo. The motor/servos/wing etc are all STOCK.

WOW what a great bird with all that extra power. It flies nearly straight up. I tend to use more full throttle than I should and I have 3 spare motors but...

How long will the motor last?
X2 on the extra power being refreshing. Not sure how long the brushed motor will last. Mine is still going strong after ~50 flights but I don't spend much time at WOT.
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Old 08-24-2009, 10:18 PM
  #70  
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I have maybe 10 and it appears to be going well. Flight times with that battery can range from 12-25 even 30 mins if soaring alot on a thermal day. The guys at the field have a new respect for this airframe.
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Old 08-25-2009, 12:52 PM
  #71  
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Originally Posted by kenstogie View Post
I have maybe 10 and it appears to be going well. Flight times with that battery can range from 12-25 even 30 mins if soaring alot on a thermal day. The guys at the field have a new respect for this airframe.
AB4 = Brushed + Lipo like the new Lipo SuperCub? Would be more significant than the difference between the challenger and the AB3.


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Old 08-27-2009, 07:21 AM
  #72  
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Originally Posted by kenstogie View Post
I recently upgraded my stock AB3 Airframe to the following, AR 6100 DSM2 RX, Turnigy Brushed ESC, 1300mah 20c (30c burst) Lipo. The motor/servos/wing etc are all STOCK.

WOW what a great bird with all that extra power. It flies nearly straight up. I tend to use more full throttle than I should and I have 3 spare motors but...

How long will the motor last?
What voltage is your battery?Maybe I'll try the same upgrade.
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Old 08-27-2009, 11:30 PM
  #73  
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Originally Posted by crash,fix,repeat View Post
What voltage is your battery?Maybe I'll try the same upgrade.
3S is a good match. 2S would be similar to NIMH but lower weight. 4S would be death of the motor.
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Old 08-29-2009, 12:10 PM
  #74  
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I am pleased to see people talking about soaring and thermaling the AB3. My original AB (pre challenger) was the first plane I ever put in a thermal. It is what got me hooked on gliders.

If you get to know gliders you realize the AB3 is really a powered glider in disguise.

Aerobird forever!
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Old 08-29-2009, 03:20 PM
  #75  
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I am tempted to do surgery on a couple of wings to create a ~1.8M wing to reduce loading. Has anyone already creaed an AB3 floater?


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