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Firebird Freedom HP - Modified for High(er) Performance

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Firebird Freedom HP - Modified for High(er) Performance

Old 01-30-2007, 09:24 PM
  #1  
Ejet42
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Default Firebird Freedom HP - Modified for High(er) Performance

Greetings "Seasoned" Firebird Freedom owners,

This thread is to find out if there are others in this great forum that have gotten past the problems with this, the tip stall queen of aircraft, still like the bird (with all of its faults and shortcomings) and have endeavoured increased performance with unrestricted modifications .... or perhaps you have one of these lying around, still find the airframe distinctively attractive (a departure from the norm) and would like to try something different.

I have gotten (almost politely) criticised for modifying MY Freedom to this extent in the other thread I started; as far as to hear that MY time and MY money could be much better spent on an airframe that is much more worthy, and will yield better performance. I did not even attempt to defend my position here, because of the two letter "personal, possessive pronoun" above. I certainly am not advocating that anyone purchase one of these birds with this in mind - I only want to find out if anyone else out there has done or would consider doing anything similar to one of these after the general disappointment of the stock Freedom.

The attached pics show my Freedom, which is actually a joy to fly. It has a small outrunner brushless motor from Polks Hobbies, mounted externally in the same holes as the original brushed 480. With the cut down GWS 9x7 3 blade (to clear the tail boom by about 3/8") , the Whattmeter says 145 watts (about 14A) on a 2000 mAh 8C 3S LiPo. This provides enough power to loop from level flight, but requires throttle management on take-off due to the high thrust line. The tail will rise significantly at 1/4 throttle, and anything over half will stand the bird on her nose! Flying with this amount of power is absolutely wonderful, and you really miss it when you help a buddy with a stock Freedom.

I have also added flaps - actually flapperons. The JR 8103 transmitter is absolutely wonderful, but I am certain any programmable computer radio will work just fine. I use several mixes:
  1. Landing positions the flaps at about 15 deg. down (fixed). The ruddervator (now rudder and elevator on the right stick) for pitch and yaw. The right stick also positions the steerable tail wheel.
  2. Normal flight is with the ailerons and elevator (right stick), and rudder on the left stick (I haven't learned to use the left stick rudder, but I don't seem to miss it).
  3. My normal flight (3rd position of the switch) will add flapperons to the #2 mix. Loops are very nice and round, and while I haven't mastered it, I feel certain that the negative flaps with down elevator will assist in inverted flight.
I use a total of 5 micro servos with an external BEC for servo current draw and an 8 channel dual conversion LightFlightRC receiver which has performed flawlessly! Servo allociation are one for each control surface (2ea. ruddervators and 2ea. flapperons) and one for the DuBro Steerable Tailwheel (pull-pull monofilament through the tail boom).

While this will never be an aerobatic plane, flight characteristics are interesting and the Freedom is really fun to fly.
  • Landings are really surprising with about 15 deg. of flap. Slow, floater approaches, but a slightly steeper glide path (expected with flaps) gives a nice, slow, soft touchdown.
  • Axial rolls are highly doable, but as of yet mine are not real pretty - my excuse is the high thrust line.
  • Of course Immelmanns and Split S's are easily doable.
Of course these are manuvers that the stock Freedom is very hardpressed to accomplish.

If there are any other "misguided" Freedom owners out there that are exploring improved performance, regardless of reasonable rationale, I would appreciate hearing from you. As far as I know, I am alone in the "Freedom Hop-Up" Wilderness.

Ejet42
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Old 01-30-2007, 09:57 PM
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Flypopa
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As said in that other thread. All I have done is to build 'Washout' into the wingtips. and 3/4oz of lead in the nose and battery pushed forward with most of the foam behind the battery. When I flew it Saturday morning, it was loverly. All I did was curcuits and touch & gos to get the feel of the aircraft. Plus a few stalls to see if the left wing stall had gone and it had. As the wind speed was 0-1.7 mph it was flying fast, so I need a bit more wind for further aprasials.
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Old 01-30-2007, 10:01 PM
  #3  
norcalwelder
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Wow that really cool. I'll have to do some of that stuff on my aerobird challenger.
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Old 01-31-2007, 01:02 AM
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Hey Flypopa,

I didn't expect to see you turn up here - Welcome! I think that the washout is probably the best cure for the tip stall problems that seem to plague the original design, and you are absolutely correct - the tip stall "probability" seems at its worst during gusty wind conditions.

I don't see the problem with the modified High Performance Freedom, and especially when the flaps are deployed, the plane seems to perform like a floater!

I do think that CG is very important - the CG on the "HPF" is about 1/4" aft of the rear edge of the white reinforcing plastic on the top of the wing or about 1-1/4" forward of the trailing edge of the wing at the body. Hold the Freedom upside down and see where it balances - index finger tips supporting the plane next to the body.

Norcalwelder (is that short for North California Welder?),
Thanks for the response. The Challenger is already 3 channel, isn't it? If so, I'm certain it could use (grunt, grunt (ala Tim "the Tool Man" Taylor)) more power! I really wish I knew for certain just how much voltage the Challenger, Commander 2, Aerobird Extreme, and even the Aerobird Swift electronics could take. A good 3S LiPo would be easy enough to drop in, but may fry the factory electronics. If it didn't the motor would be the weak link (at 11.1v), but could be replaced pretty inexpensively.

My HP Freedom uses a conventional receiver, servos, etc. which allows the use of the higher battery voltage, brushless motor, etc. .... all for (grunt, grunt ........ )
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Old 02-26-2007, 07:03 AM
  #5  
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I must say .. a fine job! Maybe there is a use for all those wings / reglued tails and old fuse I have lying around!
Cheers
Rod
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Old 02-26-2007, 08:24 AM
  #6  
Airhead
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Originally Posted by Ejet42 View Post
Greetings "Seasoned" Firebird Freedom owners,

This thread is to find out if there are others in this great forum that have gotten past the problems with this, the tip stall queen of aircraft, still like the bird (with all of its faults and shortcomings) and have endeavoured increased performance with unrestricted modifications .... or perhaps you have one of these lying around, still find the airframe distinctively attractive (a departure from the norm) and would like to try something different.

I have gotten (almost politely) criticised for modifying MY Freedom to this extent in the other thread I started; as far as to hear that MY time and MY money could be much better spent on an airframe that is much more worthy, and will yield better performance. I did not even attempt to defend my position here, because of the two letter "personal, possessive pronoun" above. I certainly am not advocating that anyone purchase one of these birds with this in mind - I only want to find out if anyone else out there has done or would consider doing anything similar to one of these after the general disappointment of the stock Freedom.

The attached pics show my Freedom, which is actually a joy to fly. It has a small outrunner brushless motor from Polks Hobbies, mounted externally in the same holes as the original brushed 480. With the cut down GWS 9x7 3 blade (to clear the tail boom by about 3/8") , the Whattmeter says 145 watts (about 14A) on a 2000 mAh 8C 3S LiPo. This provides enough power to loop from level flight, but requires throttle management on take-off due to the high thrust line. The tail will rise significantly at 1/4 throttle, and anything over half will stand the bird on her nose! Flying with this amount of power is absolutely wonderful, and you really miss it when you help a buddy with a stock Freedom.

I have also added flaps - actually flapperons. The JR 8103 transmitter is absolutely wonderful, but I am certain any programmable computer radio will work just fine. I use several mixes:
  1. Landing positions the flaps at about 15 deg. down (fixed). The ruddervator (now rudder and elevator on the right stick) for pitch and yaw. The right stick also positions the steerable tail wheel.
  2. Normal flight is with the ailerons and elevator (right stick), and rudder on the left stick (I haven't learned to use the left stick rudder, but I don't seem to miss it).
  3. My normal flight (3rd position of the switch) will add flapperons to the #2 mix. Loops are very nice and round, and while I haven't mastered it, I feel certain that the negative flaps with down elevator will assist in inverted flight.
I use a total of 5 micro servos with an external BEC for servo current draw and an 8 channel dual conversion LightFlightRC receiver which has performed flawlessly! Servo allociation are one for each control surface (2ea. ruddervators and 2ea. flapperons) and one for the DuBro Steerable Tailwheel (pull-pull monofilament through the tail boom).

While this will never be an aerobatic plane, flight characteristics are interesting and the Freedom is really fun to fly.
  • Landings are really surprising with about 15 deg. of flap. Slow, floater approaches, but a slightly steeper glide path (expected with flaps) gives a nice, slow, soft touchdown.
  • Axial rolls are highly doable, but as of yet mine are not real pretty - my excuse is the high thrust line.
  • Of course Immelmanns and Split S's are easily doable.
Of course these are manuvers that the stock Freedom is very hardpressed to accomplish.

If there are any other "misguided" Freedom owners out there that are exploring improved performance, regardless of reasonable rationale, I would appreciate hearing from you. As far as I know, I am alone in the "Freedom Hop-Up" Wilderness.

Ejet42
Hello e-jet,
I like your mods. very creative and they work for you. Interesting stuff, Thanks a lot...
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Old 02-28-2007, 05:19 AM
  #7  
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Rowdy b64 and Airhead,

Thanks for the kind words - sorry I am so late in responding. Bruce, this falls under your famous saying, "if it ain't broke ......... ". I have to say I really enjoy flying the "HP" version. Most guys do little incremental power enhancements, that I find difficult to actually recognze. Let's face it - there isn't much difference in a barely sustainable 20 deg. climb and a barely sustainable 22 degree climb. However, with the brushless motor and a 3S 2000 mAh LiPo, sustained 60 deg. + climb-outs are the norm - quite a difference in performance. The prop is currently an APC 8x8E, pulling about 160+ watts.

I have also "bred" a Commander 2 wing with the stock Freedom wing, increasing the span to approx. 70". This is approaching "floater" flight characteristics. Check out the pics below.

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Finally, for those "tired" tail feathers, new life can be "breathed" in by getting a short piece of 5/32" brass channel from your LHS or craft store and simply saddling over the creased leading edge of the tail, taping in place with clear shipping tape. Straightens the feathers really well!!
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Old 02-28-2007, 05:38 AM
  #8  
rowdy_b64
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Default Servo mount

Excellent! I love the wing extensions! Must look really cool gliding in for landing!
I started looking at all my old bits last night and the first thing that occured to me was .. how did you mount the servos in the plastic fuse? Couldn't tell from the pics. Maybe you could post a pic of how you set that up? I am assuming you cut a hole in it somehow? It would be tough to work in that confined soace otherwise I'm thinkin ..
Cheers
Rod
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Old 02-28-2007, 05:59 AM
  #9  
Ejet42
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Hey Rod,

Remove the rubberband from the canopy/cover; then the styrofoam blocks from the nose area. Unbolt everything (pushrods) from the tail (best to remove the tail to prevent damage). Remove the 4 screws from the bottom of the fuselage and slide the "carrier" and circuit board with servos through the canopy area. Remove the circuit board and cut a piece of 5/64" (or 3/32") plywood the same size as the circuit board. Locate and cut-out holes for servos (I used Hitec HS-55s) for each of the ruddervators in the same location as the stock servos, positioning the servo arms in the same orientation as stock. You will find that you have ample room should you care to install a steerable tailwheel servo on the same plywood plate. I stick a 6 channel Corona or Lightflight RC receiver to the back side of the plywood in any convenient area. Flapperon servos are taped under each wing. This is a total of 5 servos I am driving - best to add a 3A BEC to ensure adequate power to the receiver without burning up the BEC onboard the ESC.

The above is not hard - just takes a little patience and planning. Check out Tower Hobbies for good quantity discount prices on the HS-55s.

Good Luck, and the force be with you,

H2
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Old 02-28-2007, 06:05 AM
  #10  
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Of course .. just replace the cb with a ply version! Should have thought of that. Thanks mate .. looking forward to getting a second Firebird in the air .. I'll use a standard brusshed combo for the min - but use a 3s lipo .. dont have any brushless motors / esc 's to spare .. see how it goes and upgrade later!
Cool ..
Thanks again
Rod
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Old 05-14-2007, 01:11 PM
  #11  
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Ok Guys,
If anyone is still watching this thread .. I need help.
I've upgraded the Freedom to a Brushless Lipo combo . and the power is underwhelming.
I am running a TP2409-18 1000kv / 180W Outrunner
and a 630 Mah 3S. Have tried the stock prop and a slightly trimmed 9x4.5
What can I do to get this bird to perform? I have some other lipos but i bought this little one to fit well in the FBF.

Cheers
Rod

Some footage ..http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Idv7-QEFZAY
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