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Old Apr 11, 2015, 02:07 PM
Horty40 is offline
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Beware of Horizon Hobby's SAFE system!

I owned a Delta Ray for about two months and it was an amazing airplane until yesterday! I was out flying it in ideal conditions at my local flying spot. I had flow the Delta many times with great success and it did help me learn to fly, however yesterday it let me down with disastrous consequences.

The SAFE system on the Delta is great and had worked perfectly for many flights. I used it with my DX6 as recommended by the Horizon Hobby experts. During my previous flights I was able to progress in my flying quickly due to my faith in the SAFE system and the Panic Recovery button. I felt comfortable flying in expert mode because I knew if I got in trouble I could simply push Panic Recovery and return to straight and level flight. It was a great aid in my flying progress.

Yesterday was a normal flying session except for the fact that the weather was absolutely perfect. I did all of my pre-flight checks and range tested the radio/plane link. Everything seemed fine and it was for the first battery. I got a full 10 mins of flying in and made a successful landing. However things changed for my second battery.

On the second battery I took off as normal and made my pattern turns in expert mode as I have been doing. The SAFE system gave me the confidence to fly in expert just as it is designed to do. The plane was only at about 300 yards our and probably 100 yards up and in clear sight when I turn it towards myself. The turn was a little steep and the left wing dipped a little low and started to stall. I at first try to recover myself to improve my piloting skills but I lost my orientation with the plane headed towards me. This is not the first time I felt that the plane was having an issue so, as before, I simply pushed the panic button. Every single time prior to this it did exactly what it is supposed to do and leveled the plane out after which I took back control and continued my flight. This time was different.

After pushing the Panic Recovery button the plane did not respond. At this point it is going into a dive. I had time to push the Panic button one or two more times before it smashed into the ground! My Delta Ray is now destroyed and beyond repair. At first I was not concerned because I had heard about the legendary customer service of Horizon Hobby but after spending 45 mins on hold I was told that no replacement or repair would be covered and it was suggested that I but another one.

I realize that the Panic Recovery worked 9 out of 10 or maybe even 99 out of 100 times but it only takes one failure to completely destroy your plane. I realize that systems such as SAFE may have failure rates but if so I feel that Horizon Hobby should pick up the slack and cover replacements or repairs due to system failure.

This incident has shaken my confidence and made me decide to never rely on the SAFE technology again. It definitely does help you learn when it works but if you experience a catastrophic failure as I did then any gains will be erased and you will be our several hundred dollars depending on which model you buy. I will not buy SAFE products anymore and am going to learn the rest the old fashion way, slow and steady progress. It is too bad that SAFE is not 100% or that Horizon Hobby won't cover failures as it could really sky rocket a new pilots learning rate, but as it is currently the SAFE will only give you false confidence that will be shattered upon a system failure. I am just glad I didn't buy a more expensive SAFE model or have a camera on board. Beware of SAFE, beware of Panic Recovery and I would recommend that you forego them and just learn slow and steady at your local club or under the instruction of someone more experienced. Forget this teach yourself to fly SAFE business, it will most likely end with you being frustrated and out several hundred dollars.
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Old Apr 11, 2015, 02:37 PM
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The one good thing? This plane is EASY to fix. Like new!! You have a rather easy fix there with some decent glue. My delta Ray had been in pieces many times and flew great each time afterwards!
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Old Apr 11, 2015, 03:17 PM
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That does look like an easy fix. Saw a new member at our club crash is on 2nd or 3rd flight, but there was some wind, which that airframe seems under powered to handle. We pasted it back together at the field.

I wouldn't down SAFE .... SAFE stands for Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope. Sounds like the problem you had was with the Panic button while you were flying in a mode that does not use the sensors to limit your flight envelope. One other thing you could have done was switch from expert to beginner mode, that may have straightened you out???

I did not go for this airframe for my trainer .... I used a 48" Glow Shoulder Wing 25 years ago with no kind of assists .... at sometime after the 3rd major rebuild (over a year) after under 10 flights I put flying aside and started a BBS to take all my spare time and $$$ through most of the 90's! I did successfully put over 80 flights on a .049 scratch built during that rebuild time. Now that I am back this time I picked the Apprentice S, and I think it is one of the best Trainers. I looked at all the SAFE equipped offerings, and the Apprentice seemed to be the only one that was really geared for a Beginner, which I don't consider myself due to previous experience backed up by many SIM hours, but the others I would say are second aircraft for Trainer Graduates.

Good luck with the rebuild and hopefully you find what went wrong. I know you have said you did a range check - but I keep hearing of others more experienced having problems with the new DX6 that did great with their old DX6i, so check that radio too.
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Last edited by SilverSport; Apr 11, 2015 at 03:24 PM.
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Old Apr 11, 2015, 05:35 PM
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Hi all,

I have the Corsair with the same system, which can work against you if you have previously trained on a sim. The beginner setting restricts your control so massively that you cannot get out of a jam unless you switch it off. When I came in for an approach, the plane turned so slowly I hit a tree. While I realize the system is designed this way, I won't be utilizing the 0 transmitter switch setting(beginner)anymore. Lost my entire prop hub assembly and damaged the bearings in the motor when the prop shattered.

Speaking of motors, is there a guide anywhere on this site for upgrading them?. Since I need a new one, was hoping to add a bit more power but am not sure what is compatible with existing batteries etc.

Peace, and happy flying!
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Old Apr 11, 2015, 05:59 PM
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Are you (the OP)sure it was the SAFE system that failed?
Just off the top of my head, a brown out, a bec or esc failure, a motor failure, a poor connection, or even a pack failure could have caused similar.

Unless you went through everything else you can't rule them out also, and not just the SAFE.

Not saying SAFE is 100%, but there's more to making a plane fly then just SAFE.
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Old Apr 11, 2015, 06:12 PM
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Ah, I see, SAFE.....BAD!

How long do you think that plane would have lasted without it?
How long do you think the next one will last without it"

The vast majority of crashes are pilot error. You made one and expected technology to bail you out. I expect you've made dozens if not hundreds while learning, and you'll make more, especially if you expect to fly over your ability and have a device save your butt.
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Old Apr 11, 2015, 07:41 PM
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If a down burst of wind hits a model or real plane it can drop as much as 300 feet and theres no hope of being safe but not to be there. Many planes have a system to tell them when that type wind is there. I have been flying 25 feet off the deck plane falls out the sky so fast there as nothing I could do no matter what system I have. Safe works when it has room or is high where the plane can new air. But the air can be a 35 mph downwind and your going to crash. We like say it was the system or it was Billy talking to me or I was looking over there We all crash sooner or later. I just try to make it later. And as little as I can.
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Old Apr 11, 2015, 07:43 PM
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I own many safe planes. Safe is there to assist not take you out of critical stall. Its not a genie in a bottle its a nice feature to help people. I am sorry that happend to you though.
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Old Apr 11, 2015, 07:52 PM
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I'm w/Glacier Girl's idea of other failures. Power failure/brownout/blocked signal - any of them could have been the root cause. Hopefully a thorough testing of everything may reveal the cause (or verify a SAFE failure)
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Old Apr 11, 2015, 07:52 PM
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Only issue I've had with SAFE, it can pull my Apprentice back to level so fast I expect the wings to fold, and I suspect it's what caused the tail to snap yesterday.

Of course, SAFE didn't cause it. I did by flying the plane too fast and losing control of it.
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Old Apr 11, 2015, 08:35 PM
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If the plane was actually starting to stall in the turn, as you suggest, it means you didn't have enough throttle going. Hitting the panic button won't save you if you're not giving the plane enough throttle. Also, if orientation is still screwing you up, you shouldn't be out of beginner mode to begin with.

I'm betting this was more an issue of pilot error than anything.
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Old Apr 11, 2015, 09:31 PM
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1. Things malfunction.
2. The only planes that cover recover from any stall would have to have stupid (awesome) amounts of thrust. A stock plane with brushed motors is not likely to be a part of that group.
3. The OP's post is incredibly unrealistic at best.
4. It's very easy for one to believe these stabilization systems are a panacea when in fact they can only help.
5. Everyone crashes sooner or later.
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Old Apr 11, 2015, 10:25 PM
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How are you so sure it was a SAFE problem? Perhaps a more likely culprit is the ol' Spektrum link-loss/lockout. If you've got no radio link, no amount of button pressing is going to help.
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Old Apr 11, 2015, 10:45 PM
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Horty, the crash doesn't look beyond repair to me, at least not from the perspective of the pic.
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Old Apr 12, 2015, 07:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Horty40 View Post



turn was a little steep and the left wing dipped a little low and started to stall.

At this point it is going into a dive. I had time to push the Panic button one or two more times before it smashed into the ground!

.
Excessive load factors caused by sudden maneuvers, steep banks, and wind gusts can also cause the aircraft to exceed the critical angle of attack and thus stall at any airspeed and any attitude.
If recovery from a stall is not made properly, a secondary stall or a spin may result. A secondary stall is caused by attempting to hasten the completion of a stall recovery before the aircraft has regained sufficient flying speed.

SAFE is not going wait for the recovery it will keep trying to right the plane, which will break the airflow from the wing.
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