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Good First time Ready to fly planes

PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2003 8:03 pm
by aeajr

Hello all you first time flyers.

I too am a first timer. However I am also one of these guys that goes into
intense research when I get interested in
something. After several months of research, talking to people, flyers and
non, I bought an Aerobird. It is a super value but there are other good
starters. Here are the plusses and minuses in my mind of the Aerobird.

Very inexpensive and rugged for a three channel starter - $160-$180
The plane comes complete and fully assembled. Charge the flight battery, put
on the wing, put the batteries in the transmitter and up you go! Even the
batteries for the transmitter are included. You will want to buy at least one
extra flight battery for about $25 so you can fly while you charge.

New flyers are going to crash, so you don't want something costly to start
with. The HobbyZone Firebird series are all great starters. The Aerobird is
the top of the line. All are pusher designs so they can take a nose crash
without damaging the motor. There is a full line of parts available at
reasonable cost. You can replace the whole main fuselage for $49 including
the motor and all the flight electronics. A wing is $15 and the tail is $7.
So, if you crash badly you can get everything for under $75 and you are back
in the with a three channel plane.

Batteries and charger:

The battery will run for a full 6-7 minutes at full throttle and 15 minutes+
at half throttle which is very long. Many planes in this class run 4-6
minutes. Also it comes with a peak charger that you can use in your car. A
peak charger won't over charge and you can charge at the field. Timer type
wall chargers mean you must charge at home and you can over charge and damage
the batteries. If you pick up two spare batteries you can stay in the air all
day. One in the plane, one cooling down and one on the charger. A full
charge takes about 40 minutes.

Easy to fly

I only have a couple of flights, but this plane is pretty easy as long as you
stay away from the elevator for your first few flights. It is the top of the
line in the HobbyZone firebird series which includes the Firebird II ($90)
FirebirdXL ($120) and the Fighterbird ($140). I have friends with these
planes and they love them. They are super, inexpensive two channel starter

Good growth path - Two vs. three channels

Many intro planes have two channels - throttle and rudder. You control climb
with the throttle; more and you climb, less and you level or you
still air. This makes it very easy to learn. You basically drive around the
sky. However you have no elevator. Elevator is needed for any kind of loops
or other mild aerobatics. The Aerobird has 3 channels so it can do loops and
other things the rest of the line can't do. There is one two channel plane I
looked at, the Sky Scooter. It has elevator and ailerons, which makes it very
maneuverable, but once you turn the motor on, you are committed to a 3-5
minute flight. You can't turn the motor off while it is in the air which
means you can't extend flight time by going half throttle either. However
there is a three channel Sky Scooter Pro that was my alternate choice. I like
it a lot!

The Aerobird also has an X-Pak hop up kit available for $30. It includes a 7
cell battery (the basic is 6) and a larger tail. This makes the plane faster
and more maneuverable. So, once you get good you can soup it up! I bought
the X-Pak when I bought mine. I will use the 7 cell as my second battery and
save the tail for later.



The Aerobird, like most starter electrics, is pretty light at just 16 ounces,
so you want to start your flying in calm air, with under 5 MPH gusts. Once you
become accomplished you can probably handle a 10-15. Posts I have read say
this plane does OK in moderate wind in the hands of an experienced pilot.

27 MHZ vs 72 MHZ Radio

The FCC has set a range of the 72 MHZ band aside for RC airplanes only. The
Aerobird uses a 27 MHZ radio which is assigned to general use for planes, cars
and boats; mostly low end stuff. There are only 6 available channels. So,
if you have a kid with a RC car in the same area where you are flying, and he
is on the same channel you are on, and he is close enough, when he switches on
his transmitter, you will lose control of the plane and probably crash. Even
with 72 MHZ radio systems, this will happen if you get two flyers on the same
channel, but 72 MHZ is dedicated to airplanes. High end RC cars are on 75 MHZ
so they won't interfere. If you live in a very populated area, this is
something to be aware of. Also if you buy two planes, 72 or 27 MHZ, make sure
they are on different channels or you can't fly them together.

If you are going to join a club, check with them. Some clubs will not admit
27 MHZ based planes because they can't be flown with a buddy box. This is a
training system, like a dual controlled car, that is used for pilot training.
After long consideration I bought the Aerobird, but this is something I have
to watch for. The Sky Scooter Pro, mentioned above, is on the 72 MHZ band.

Downed Plane Locator:

If you fly near woods or a corn field or something you want to add some kind
of locator for your plane. You can see my post on locators here:
cators for small electrics[/URL]

Resources Aerobird, Sky Scooter Pro, Others

Here is an internet site that sells the Aerobird for $159. They also have a
link for a video of the plane flying:
Here is a link to a review of the Aerobird: ... icleid=853

As I said, my alternative plane was the Sky Scooter Pro. It had been about
$260 RTF, but they recently released the Sky Scooter Pro 2 at about $170 so
you might want to give it serious consideration. ... /sky_scoot

Fighterbird - review and video - these are a blast in pairs! ... eviewid=33

And, for a real entry level plane that gets lots of great reviews, the
Firebird II ($90 RTF). The best thing to do might be to get a Firebird II and
save the extra $100 toward extra batteries and stuff, or toward your next

I hope this has been helpful.