Monday, July 16, 2012

Landing the Firebird Stratos

I recently did video on how to land the Firebird Stratos. Today I just wanted to share with you the video and give you a few more tips on how to land the Firebird Stratos successfully.

Landing the Firebird Stratos can be a tough task, if you are flying it on a windy day. In the video, the wind was anywhere between 10 and 15 mph. I wouldn't recommend flying the plane with winds in excess of 10 mph. Not only will it be hard to land, but it will be hard to fly. I've flown the Stratos on windy days, and crashed it a few times. I now have spare parts lying around whenever I have to replace anything. Most of the time gorilla glue does the trick.

If you're a normal person, you would fly this plane on a day that has 7 mph winds or less, as recommended by Hobby Zone. If there is no wind, the Firebird Stratos is one of the easiest planes to fly and land! Landing the plane requires only a few steps. Basically, decrease speed, get close to the ground, and pull up on the elevator. I know it may sound easy, but some people are truly beginners and need more explanation, and this is exactly what I will attempt to do.

When you are ready to land the Firebird, begin descending and decreasing the throttle. Try to hover a few feet above the ground with minimal throttle. While this is going on, the Firebird may start to nose dip, you may need to pull up on the elevator from time to time to level it, until you are on the ground. Sometimes it will dip too much and you will need to give it more throttle and elevator. Eventually you will be close enough to the ground and you can stop giving it throttle and applying elevator when needed. The landing should be graceful and not a sudden drop. Typically, you can hover a few feet above the ground without throttle and just pulling up on the elevator until it lands. This may only work if you are really close to the ground. This same method can be applied when you are ready to fly the plane on harder surfaces with landing gear installed. You may need to watch the video to see exactly what's going on. I hope you found this helpful!

If you're looking for Firebird Stratos parts for sale, you can find them on this site, follow the tab at the top or click the link.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Turn Off Virtual Instructor on Firebird Stratos

A lot of people are wondering how they can take their Firebird Stratos to the next level. Well, why not turn off Virtual Instructor. The Firebird will become a whole new plane with the Virtual Instructor feature turned off, and will give you more control on what you want it to do. Make sure you've had a lot of practice before turning this feature off. Follow the written instructions below or watch the video tutorial on how to power off the virtual instructor feature. Be prepared to remove some of the Firebird Stratos parts to follow this tutorial.

How do you power off the virtual instructor on the Firebird Stratos? 

The first thing you will need to do is remove the wings and unplug the elevator and rudder control cables. Next you will need to power on the Firebird Stratos transmitter. Wait a few seconds, then plug in the battery into the plane. Wait another few seconds, and check that the rudder/elevator controls work. If they're okay, unplug the battery from the plane, but leave the transmitter powered on. Now what you will need to do is put the throttle control on the transmitter to the upper right hand corner, as seen in the photo below. 
While the stick is in this position, attempt to plug the battery back into the plane. Continue holding the control in this position. If you pay attention to the receiver on the plane, the red light is blinking; this is a good sign. 

Continue holding the throttle in the upper right hand corner, until you notice the red light stop blinking, but then blinks 3 more times, then solid. Once the light is solid, you can let go of the throttle and bring it back to the normal position. You can now check to see if Virtual Instructor is powered off. Move the rudder to the left and right, the elevator should remain in it's place; you've successfully turn off virtual assistant. If you would like to turn virtual instructor back on, follow these instructions again. 

Good luck flying!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Firebird Stratos Review

In this Firebird Stratos review, I will focus on the easiness of the plane and touching on why it's the perfect trainer plane for beginners.

Have you wanted to get into RC planes, but didn't think you would be good at it? Maybe you are already into RC planes, and would like your son or daughter to learn how to fly. The Firebird Stratos is the perfect trainer RC plane for either one of these scenarios. Everything you need is included in the box. It can be put together in less than 30 minutes. You'll have it flying in no time. If you would like to read more about the technical aspect of the Firebird Stratos, visit the overview and specs pages for more details.

The Firebird Stratos has removable landing gear. If your at a park with lots of grass, it's best to have the landing gear removed and have it land on it's belly. Once you get better at landing you can add the landing gear and start landing on flat surfaces. If you're flying without landing gear, all you need to do is take the plane in your hand, and throw it like a paper air plane. Make sure you have good force to your throw, once it starts gliding, begin giving it some throttle; you may even have to pull up a bit on the elevator. That's all that really needs to be done. Once in the air you'll be able to control the elevator and rudder. Make sure you throw the plane towards a wide open area. There were times when I threw the Firebird and the wind took it towards the trees. I needed to give it full throttle and pull up to avoid them. 

firebird stratos controls
The image to the left shows how the remote control is used to control your plane. There are two modes, the other mode is just the opposite of what is shown here to the left. I personally use the throttle on the left, and elevator and rudder controls on the right. It works pretty much how any other RC plane works. The right toggle stick controls the rudder and controls which way the plane will go. It also controls the elevator, allowing the plane to go up or down. The controller is unlike any RC controller you've seen before. It looks almost like a Playstation controller, see image below.  

The Firebird Stratos needs to be flown in a open area, just as any other plane. It can be flown up to 400 meters away, but there's no reason for you to be flying it this far. At 400 meters you wont even be able to see the Firebird any more.         

The good thing about the Firebird Stratos is that anyone can fly it, even if you have no experience with RC planes. If you're new to flying, I would suggest watching a few videos online to see just how people handle their planes. The Firebird is built with Z-foam, which helps absorb impact during crashes. You can find yourself crashing this plane a few times without have to replace any parts. If you do need parts you can view the parts and accessories page for reasonably cheap spare wings, landing gear, propellers, etc. If your crashes aren't too bad you can quickly repair the plane with Gorilla Glue. I've crashed mine plenty of times and have not yet have to replace any parts.

Landing the Firebird isn't too hard either. When you're ready for landing, bring the plane a few feet off the ground with very low throttle. Once your really close to the ground, turn off the throttle, and start pulling up on the elevator. It'll glide above the ground until it lands. If the nose starts dipping when you have no throttle, give the transmitter some throttle and pull up. Now let go of the throttle and once again pull up on the throttle. 

This plane can maneuver pretty well too. I sometimes like getting the plane pretty high, then just nose dive it a few hundred feet at full throttle to get lots of speed. I then pull up on the elevator and do a quick loop the loop. It's actually pretty fun, and surprising that it can handle all of that force.

I recently tried attaching a digital camera to the top of my Firebird Stratos. I was curious to see if it would be possible. It sounded like a great idea, but it was not. Here's a picture of how I had the camera attached below.    
firebird stratos mounted camera
I had the digital camera sitting on top of the plane and secured using a bunch of rubber bands. While trying to fly the plane, the nose dipped. Clearly it was too front heavy, not to mention the camera was pretty heavy itself. Next time I try this, I'll have to either do it with a smaller camera or try to mount it more towards the back. Check out the video below. You'll see the plane starts to fly up, but then it starts to go straight down.
The reason why I wanted to share the video with you is to show how much beating this plane can take before you need to start replacing parts. The Z-foam proves to be resilient to nose dives. The rubber nose also helps absorb impacts as well. 

When I first got my Firebird Stratos I was so excited to fly it. Mother nature was against me though, the winds were 15 mph+. The Firebird is recommended to be flown in 7 mph winds, even that is pretty windy. Since I'm an impatient person, I still decided to fly the plane. I finally got it up in the air. The plane constantly dipped and dived, it was really hard to get control of it. I eventually had it pretty high, almost to the point where it was hard to keep track of. The wind was blowing south. At this point it was really high up and a few hundred feet south of me. I was starting to get worried that I was going to lose it, so started to bring it back. It was one of the toughest times I've ever had with an RC plane. I had to fly it against the wind to get it back to me. It felt like it took forever. I eventually got it back, and decided not to fly it ever again in winds higher than 7 mph. The plane has the power to go against the wind, but it really takes skill to do it. Just stick to non windy days and you won't have to worry about losing your Firebird.

Overall, this plane is really great and I highly recommend it to beginners that are looking to get into flying RC planes. It is very affordable at $129.99 and being able to replace the Firebird Stratos parts when needed at a cheap price is also a plus. After flying this plane for a few weeks you'll really understand how to control RC planes and what to do in certain situations. You'll get better at landing, and performing a few small tricks. Once you get comfortable you can also turn off the Firebird Stratos Virtual Instructor. View my tutorial on how to turn off Virtual Instructor. Not only that, you'll have a great time having fun with this plane with your family and friends.