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Aerobird 3 - Tell me about it

Old 07-17-2007, 04:41 AM
  #26  
FlyWheel
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Originally Posted by d&mrc View Post
I sold my aerobird challenger for 15 or so bucks on ebay. it was ugly and beat, but was my favorite plane of all time (well, unless i want to let loos with aerobatics) I sold it because i thought i didn't need it anymore, and have regretted that decision on more than one occasion. Sniff. I know of know other plane i can take into my weed infested ten acre backyard, throw in to the air without a care, and put around for half an hour. (ya, it is possible, and without gliding the whole time too). Is this a good replacement? Or should I just get another ABC?
Our wise and knowing Mod is right. The AeroBird 3 IS the Challenger, with at a couple of upgrades. First, the control wires from the servos to the "ruddervators" are not monofilament anymore, they're steel now. Meaning the servos both pull the control surfaces up AND push them down. It's a solid linkage now. So their are no rubberbands under the tail section either.

The second modification is not on the plane, but on the controller. There is a switch on top that lets you choose between two modes; Pro, which is just like the Challanger, and "sport" which is a beginner mode. Sport dampens the action of the servos, making for a slower and more moderate response from the aircraft, perfect for beginners, or anyone else who wants to take it easy for a while.

Does it work? Damn straight! I have never radio controlled ANYTHING, let alone an aircraft, and I was flying sucessfully on my second attempt! This mode may be a bit too sluggish for your ten acres though, I was flying on a field that was 800 feet to a side and was using all of it.

Get an AB-3 you WON'T miss your Challenger. Heck, it even costs the same!

BTW, Just how DID you get 30 minutes out of a 10-15 minute battery without gliding?
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Old 07-17-2007, 05:04 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by wheelman View Post

BTW, Just how DID you get 30 minutes out of a 10-15 minute battery without gliding?
well, it was about half and half. I would do of couple loops, flybys, and tail slides, then take her up high, glide down with a few maneuvers thrown in, and repeat.
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Old 07-20-2007, 01:14 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by Marc1957 View Post
Lou,

Thanks for the suggestion. I will try it out.

I just sent a long letter (email) to HobbyZone describing my problem...and letting them know that I am noticing plenty of others on these forums with similar problems and asking for any kind of suggestions or recommendations.

Let's see what they come back with.

I'll keep you posted.

Marc
Hi Marc
Did HobbyZone ever get back to you??
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Old 09-25-2007, 01:24 AM
  #29  
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Default Moved up to Aerobird 3

After logging many flights, and crashes, on my Commander 2 I decided to make the move up the the AB3.

To date I have flown it about 10 times and all I can say is wow. It may look like an orange commander but it certainly does not fly like one.

The first few flights scared the heck out of me, however once my hands stopped shaking I started to really get into flying this plane. Now I'm looping and happily buzzing around with it in pro mode. No crashes yet but I'm not expecting that to last forever. I've made the usual mods to the plane to increase it's chances of surviving a crash or a hard landing (tape the front and back of the wing, use a tie wrap to prevent the motor from smashing through the fuselage, and always secure the canopy with an elastic band) so I guess I'm as ready as I'm going to get for the inevitable....

In comparison to the FBC2 the Aerobird is like a sports car! It's faster, turns better (although I felt like the sport mode was a little sluggish), and of course the addition of the 3rd channel makes it a whole lot more acrobatic. In fact the ability to control the pitch of the plane has enabled me to pull out of problems that would have left my firebird a heap of mangled foam and plastic.

I still really like the FBC2, and take it out from time to time. It is a great glider and when the conditions are right its a lot of fun to take it up really high and then send it down in a tight spiral dive only to pull out at the last second.

Overall, I'd recommend the Aerobird for any one who's flying a Commander 2 and has started to feel like they've taken it as far as it can go.
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Old 09-30-2007, 04:25 AM
  #30  
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Default Boom

So just as I predicted my Aerobird met the ground.... I was doing some aerobatics with it and my previously undamaged wing simply folded up. Nosed in from 75ft.

The damage... broken tail boom, esc/RX board is now free from it's mount and a slightly bruised ego from having to do the walk of shame in front of my brother as his Super Cub did a victory lap around the field.

So I have three questions:

1. The tail boom broke right at the opening for the control rods. Will the Hobby Zone boom repair kit work in this area?

2. There does not seem to be any ill effect from having the ESC/RX board just sit in the fuselage without being mounted. Heck there's so much crammed in there I doubt it will move hardly at all. So can anyone suggest a reason for why I'd want to do anything about this?

3. This is the second wing for a HZ aerobird type plane I've folded in flight. This time it folded directly under where the elastics were on one side of the wing (6 elastics seems to be a little excessive and may have been the culprit here). How can I prevent this?

Thanks,
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Old 10-25-2007, 06:37 AM
  #31  
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Default AB3 Folded Wing

My AB3 wing folded on me to from about 100ft, did a nose dive directly in the ground. I was given a ABC before I bought my AB3 and it was to damaged to fly but the wing only had a prop bite out of it so I put that wing on it after the new one folded. guess what! it folded too. I went to my LHS and bought a new wing and bought a carbon fiber spar about 24" long and taped it to the underside of the wing with packing tape. then i notched to fuselage under the wing so the wing would still sit flush. I have flown it several times since the mod. No problems, I have done everything to try to fold the wing.

I did a full vertical dive and pulled full up elevator and it performed a perfect loop.

I will post pictures as soon as I can.

I had to add a little bit up up elevator trim to get it to fly level.

This was my first plane ever. I love it. No experience.

PS It survived the crash remarkably well nothing broke except the wing.
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Old 10-25-2007, 06:47 AM
  #32  
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Hello Ya'll,
My AB3 flies really well. Quite aerobatic. have had some radio glitches when not too far from myself. That has caused some concern. When this was happening I was 1.5 miles from the local Heli club. I think that may have been part of the problem. I thought that distance would be more than enough.
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Old 10-25-2007, 11:12 AM
  #33  
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Unless the heli club has pilots on 27 MHz, they would not likely be a problem. However someone on an RC car or boat or another RTF plane in your area can cause inteference. And there can be general noise that can cause problems, having nothing to do with any of these.
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Old 12-27-2007, 10:34 PM
  #34  
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Finally got some time to fly the AB3. Very interesting plane.

I did not notice much difference in the control rod (AB3) versus control lines (Challneger) but it was a delight to be able to change from beginner to expert while flying. (Challenger requires that you select flying mode before launching and cannot be changed in flight.)

Great plane for teaching new pilots how to fly. In beginner mode at 50% throttle it flies like a Commander II (with only one control surface moving) but when switched into expert mode at full throttle it is very responsive and acrobatic.

7 Cell definately improves out of the box climb performance.

Very nice plane.



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Old 12-28-2007, 01:34 PM
  #35  
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I started out with a Firebird Phantom, but was encouraged to go to the Aerobird because "size matters" for stability. The Phantom was just too small... susceptible to the wind a lot more that than the A-Bird, therefore, the A-Bird makes a better trainer than the Phantom, in my opinion. Having a larger motor than the Phantom helps take on more wind, too, if necessary.

Personally, I think the A-Bird is too much plane to start with. It's narrow wing design isn't as forgiving in the wind and in turns as the Super Cub. The S-Cub seems to gather lift easier. The A-Bird seems to me to be more prone to turn and then dive than the S-Cub, so keeping the nose up in a turn is essential. It's a lot more lean than the Super Cub -- meaning less air resistance. I have found the Super Cub more forgiving in the air, and when hitting the ground.

If there's no wind, both are a treat.

Both planes make good high soaring planes. The A-Bird might be good for aerial photography with the rear push prop.

I too, have had those plastic pins (attaching the rubber bands) get lost or lose their end caps. I think the obvious reason for the pin caps being loose and not to glue them is to allow the rubber bands to work free and let the top wing to come off to escape damage. I wish they had included an extra set of those pins and caps with the model. I would want those caps to come off in a crash, but I wouldn't want to lose them.

The A-Bird is a good plane, as I said, but knowing what I do about the HZ Super Cub, I'd make the A-Bird a second plane.

I have gone through three A-Birds, but still have my original S-Cub still flying.
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Old 12-29-2007, 02:13 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by thehaze View Post
So just as I predicted my Aerobird met the ground.... I was doing some aerobatics with it and my previously undamaged wing simply folded up. Nosed in from 75ft.

The damage... broken tail boom, esc/RX board is now free from it's mount and a slightly bruised ego from having to do the walk of shame in front of my brother as his Super Cub did a victory lap around the field.

3. This is the second wing for a HZ aerobird type plane I've folded in flight. This time it folded directly under where the elastics were on one side of the wing (6 elastics seems to be a little excessive and may have been the culprit here). How can I prevent this?

Thanks,

I learned on an AB3. I also learned it's shortcomings. The wing is flimsy. While fine for beginner/slow flight, it doesn't take too well to being seriously "pushed" too hard (as you found out). Solutions:

1. Have a spare wing handy (always a good idea in any case).

2. Any creasing in the wing is a sure sign of impending failure. Fiber packing tape will not prevent this!

3. In addition to the improvements you've already incorporated, CA (Superglue) a 1mm thick flat carbon fiber spar along the length of the wing between the polyhedrals (the turned up tips), preferrably at the plane's center of gravity. If you glue it to the underside, be sure to cut a slot out of the top of the fuselage for it to pass through so you don't change the angle of the wing.

BTW, the electronics board can be accessed easier by taking out the four screws under the fuselage, loosening the push wire clamps on the v-tail and you can slide it out of the fuselage. Make sure you don't pull it out so far that the ends of those wires slip inside the boom, or you'll have a fine time getting them back through the right holes!
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Old 12-29-2007, 03:35 AM
  #37  
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I learned to fly 3 channel on a Challenger and still fly the original fuse and wing (with a fair number of repais and reinforcements from newb crashes.)

In beginner mode, I still think the Aerobird 3 / Challenger is a great way to ease into 3 channel. (Flies similar to a Commander II but has pitch control for penetrating the wind.) IMHO, itin beginner mode the Aerobird is easier to fly than the Cub because you don't have to feed in up elevator durng a turn.

Zero argument that in Expert mode it is MUCH more difficult to fly than the Cub.

Also, if you are into ROG takeoff, the Cub wins hands down for ground handling. (I never bother doing ROG takeoffs with the V tail birds.)

I have a pretty full hangar of HobbyZone planes (including a SuperCub) but the Aerobird 3 / Challenger still gets my vote for great first plane based on pusher prop, durability, glider performance and ability to advance to "expert" at the flip of a switch.

GRADUATING TO AET
For anyone reading this thread, if you have mastered the Aerobird 3 / Challenger, stepping up to aileron control on a plane like the Swift is near trivial.

"Flimsy" WING
I have never had an undamaged wing fail in flight. Once a wing has been creased during a rough landing, it must be repaired and reinforced or it will fold under stress in flight. (I added .050" CF rods to the front and rear of my Challenger wing and it survived crashes that would have shredded a stock wing.)
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Old 12-29-2007, 04:26 AM
  #38  
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"Flimsy" WING
I have never had an undamaged wing fail in flight. Once a wing has been creased during a rough landing, it must be repaired and reinforced or it will fold under stress in flight. (I added .050" CF rods to the front and rear of my Challenger wing and it survived crashes that would have shredded a stock wing.)

It could have been the rubber bands, he did say that's where the wing folded at. And the bands supplied with the AB3 are rather aggresive, they could have creased the wing, especially with 6. I found that 4 will hold the wing on just fine. I also use the flat ones available at any stationary store. You can us six of these too if you want, they don't squeeze as hard.
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Old 12-29-2007, 02:17 PM
  #39  
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First mod before flying any Aerobird 3 is to reinforce the center portion of the wing where it attaches to the fuse. Two layers of packing tape on the center 8" of the wing top/bottom keep the fuse and rubber bands from damaging the wing.
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Old 12-30-2007, 06:14 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by cbatters View Post
First mod before flying any Aerobird 3 is to reinforce the center portion of the wing where it attaches to the fuse. Two layers of packing tape on the center 8" of the wing top/bottom keep the fuse and rubber bands from damaging the wing.
You are 100% correct on that one. If I had done that in the beginning then my AB3 would not be in pieces on my bench.... Lesson learned though. At the first sign of creasing on the wing, repair or replace it.
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Old 12-30-2007, 07:31 AM
  #41  
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I had made several attempts to learn to fly with pod and boom planes, including AB3. They were all similar in failure. They fly too fast and take too much room. They also snag the nose or wheel in grass which causes them to flip over hard and break the carbon fiber boom. I had far better luck with Cessna style planes and a Slow Stick.
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Old 12-30-2007, 09:10 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by Balr14 View Post
They also snag the nose or wheel in grass which causes them to flip over hard and break the carbon fiber boom. I had far better luck with Cessna style planes and a Slow Stick.
More likely they nosed in hard, broke the boom, and happened to flip over. I've had it nose in from 100 feet and break almost everything except the boom.

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Old 12-31-2007, 02:46 AM
  #43  
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X2

I fly on grass and routinely flip the bird over on landing and have never broken a tail much less a boom.

I agree tha tthe AB3 needs some space and the user should have some 2 channel stick time on an AeroAce before attempting a 3 channel AB3 (or SuperCub.)



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Old 12-31-2007, 03:45 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by Balr14 View Post
I had made several attempts to learn to fly with pod and boom planes, including AB3. They were all similar in failure. They fly too fast and take too much room. They also snag the nose or wheel in grass which causes them to flip over hard and break the carbon fiber boom. I had far better luck with Cessna style planes and a Slow Stick.
The first thing I do with my Aerobirds, Phantom and similar planes is take the wheels off so I can belly land them on the grass. No more snagged landing gear and no flip overs.
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Old 12-31-2007, 05:47 PM
  #45  
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FYI - Really weird AB3 failure..

I went to the field to fly my AB3 and during pre-flight check, I noticed that the left ruddervator was not operating. Tossed the plane back in the car, happy that I had not flown and crashed the plane.

Back at the house I repeated the problem on the bench and then began disassembling the plane to find the source of the problem. However, once I got the servo tray half way out of the plane to provide good access to the electronics and servo wiring, I powered it up and it was working fine. Thinking it was a servo wire problem, I tacked the servo wires in place on the receiver with hot glue and put the plane back together. Tested OK on the bench and headed back to the field.

Back at the field, I attached the wing and went through another pre-flight check. Same problem! (Only 30 minutes prior this had worked fine on the bench with same transmitter and same battery.)

Repeated problem again on the bench and began disassembling. This time I did the disassembly with the power on. About 2 minutes into the disassembly, the servo starts working again.

Light bulb goes off in head - problem must be related to temperature so I put the servo tray/electronics outside for an hour and re-test. Works fine - very weird.

Reassembled the plane and tested fine on the bench. Went back to the field for a third time and it failed pre-flight again. (Obviously a bit frustrating!)

Went home determined to find the source of the problem.

Repeated the failure on the bench and then began disassembling the plane one part at a time.

As soon as I removed the second rear screw that attaches the servo tray to the fuse, the servo began working. Reinstalling and tightening the screw did not cause it to fail. However, I was able to repeat the failure by removing the tray and gently flexing it.

Opening the servo, I found that one of the wires was shorting to the internal PCB causing the servo to fail. I repositioned the internal PCB, added a little insulation and put the servo back together. Flexing the servo tray no longer causes the servo to fail.

Headed back to the field x4 cautiously optimistic that it will work fine.



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Old 03-26-2008, 02:25 AM
  #46  
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When reinforcing the wing, which way do I want the reinforcements to go: 1 or 2?
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Old 03-26-2008, 04:13 AM
  #47  
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#2-but longer. I've never seen one broken where #1 would help.
I used 2 bamboo skewers (cheap) and put full length ones imbedded with Gorilla glue across the middle. For a wing I broke in half and the outer 1/3 off I cut 2 in half and put them out where the wing angles. Have not broken a wing so repaired/reinforced since.
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Old 03-26-2008, 07:05 AM
  #48  
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Thanks Fly. Yeah, I realize they have to be longer, just wanted to get the basic idea. Hope to have her flying in the morning, when no one is around the flying field.
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Old 03-26-2008, 11:09 AM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by Inspired_Art View Post
Thanks Fly. Yeah, I realize they have to be longer, just wanted to get the basic idea. Hope to have her flying in the morning, when no one is around the flying field.
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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Old 03-26-2008, 03:21 PM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by Inspired_Art View Post
When reinforcing the wing, which way do I want the reinforcements to go: 1 or 2?
The wings hold up pretty well till you get that first bad landing, and introduce a crease. That damages the foam and it loses strength in that area. This can lead to a crease and a wing failure.

You don't need a lot of reinforcement. People have used all kinds of things, but remember, if you break up the smooth flow of air over the top of the wing you reduce its ability to create lift. It may still fly but it won't fly as well.


You might consider getting some thin carbon rods and gluing them into the wing from the bottom. Balsa wood dowel that is flexible enough to conform to the wing's curve can also work. It is not as strong as carbon but it is easier to find. Plastic can work too. Try 3/32 - 1/16" in diameter if you can find it.


You are not trying to prevent the wing from flexing, you are trying to prevent a crease from forming which can lead to a wing failure. Something about 24-36" long or two 12-18" pieces is good. You can use two dowels and just meet them in the middle. It doesn't have to be one continuous piece. When you rubber band the wing on you will be locking the center ends into the fuselage.


Put a piece of scotch tape, on the wing bottom where you are going to put the rod/dowel. Now cut a slit in the wing down the center of the tape so you can press the rod into it. Remove a little foam if you need to. Just dragging the tip of you Xacto knife in the slot will help create the place for the rod.


Put some 5-12 minute epoxy into the slit. The slower setting kind gives you more workign time.

Now press in the rod so that it is entirely inside the wing or as far in as it will go without putting a bump in the top of the wing. Fill with a little more epoxy, but don't load it up. You just want to retain the rod, not make the wing heavy.

If you like you can put in two rods, one more forward and more to the rear of the wing. This will be stronger still. You could use a 12/24" piece for the front and an 18/36" piece for the back.

When you have it set in place, pull off the tape and any slopped epoxy will come up too. Foam safe CA may work as well but I have not tried it.

Now seal it with packing tape. You have just created a spar in the wing. This will help keep any bending from creasing the wing. It will also hold up better to crashes. If you use wood and it cracks, you can just glue it back together with epoxy or foam safe CA.

You can use clear or colored tape. A dark wing bottom makes it easier to see contrast between top and bottom of the wing so using dark colored packing tape on the bottom can have advantages. Or color the bottom of the wing with sharpies or waterproof marker.

One critical point! You don't want to take the curve out of the wing. That curve is critical to how the plane turns. You don't have ailerons but you have to bank, to tip the wings to turn. When you yaw the plane through rudder input you present the up swept wing to the oncoming air. The outside wing gets increased lift and the inside wing has decreased lift causing the plane to bank, to tip into the turn.

If you were to put a flat wing on the Aerobird you could not fly it. When you it the rudder it would mostly skid sideways. Only the fact that you have a V tail would give you any bank at all and then not enough.

So, when you put in the rods, don't flatten the wing.

Last edited by AEAJR; 03-26-2008 at 03:42 PM.
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