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Horizon's Hobbyzone Firebird Scout Beginner's RTF Review

13-year old Josh Anderson explores this exciting, tiny new release from the Firebird line. Josh finds the Firebird Scout to be inexpensive, almost no assembly, ready to fly in minutes, and a great beginner's airplane!

Splash

Introduction

 Wing mounted and ready to fly.
Wing mounted and ready to fly.
Wingspan:29.5 in (750mm)
Weight:5.8 oz (165g)
Length:21.7 in (550mm)
Servos:Included
Transmitter:Proportional 2-channel FM with Smart-Trak - Included
Receiver:Included
Battery:5-cell 6V 300mAh Ni-MH - Included
Motor:180 power - Included
Transmitter Range:1500 ft (457.2m)
Available Frequencies:6 freq on 27 MHz
Charger:2.5-hour wall pack with optional DC peak (HBZ1026)
Manufacturer:Horizon Hobby
Available From:HobbyZone

The Firebird Scout is designed to be a beginner plane. If you want to start quick, cheap and easy, this is the plane to do it with! The Firebird Scout is the newest in the Firebird family and the smallest. With a retail price of only $69.99, the Firebird Scout is amazingly inexpensive AND complete, including everything you need to get you flying! And, not including battery charging, it was ready to go in under 10 minutes (Less than 2 minutes at the field...No really! See the video below!)

Kit Contents

In the box was:

  • the Firebird fuselage and tail (which was already assembled);
  • the wing and the wing rubber bands;
  • the transmitter with a 9V battery;
  • an instructional manual and video CD;
  • a 5-cell flight battery;
  • a charger; and
  • the landing gear.

Assembly

The Firebird Scout was a very easy plane to assemble. Not counting the time it took to charge the battery, the Firebird Scout was together in less than 10 minutes!

All of the decals were already applied and all I had to do was:

  • Charge the battery,
  • Insert the landing gear,
  • Strap on the wing,
  • Complete 2 basic pre-flight tests.

THAT'S IT!

I had to do two tests to verify that the plane was in good working order. The first test was the Motor Test. This test made sure that my motor worked properly. The second test was the Tail Control Test (see video), which confirmed that the tail surfaces were level and that they were working properly.

I found the instruction manual to be well written and clear on what I was supposed to do. However, I would suggest any new pilot also watch the instructional video CD before putting together the Firebird Scout, as it included a few tips that the manual didn't mention.

Flying

I got the Firebird Scout ready to go on the first available wind-free afternoon (that included charging the battery for 30 minutes to top it off). My Dad picked me up and we went to fly it. After putting the Firebird Scout together, which took just a minute or two (see video clip), it was ready for the range test. The manual instructed to do the range check with the radio antenna up, walking 80 paces directly away from the aircraft before testing the controls.

After doing the range test, I launched the Firebird Scout, then immediately landed it for the normal trimming adjustments. I had to bend the tips of the tail up because the plane did not want to gain altitude. I then launched the plane again. (Dad helped with the beginning adjustments because I was not yet fully confident that I could test fly when making adjustments and not crash.) This time the plane had a tendency to turn on its own. I fixed this by adjusting one of the elevators up. Testing the plane once more, it finally flew straight and easily gained altitude when flown at full throttle.

When launching the plane, it was important to give it a vigorous toss into the wind to get it up to flying speed immediately, otherwise it had a tendency to fall off to one side and nose in.

On a mildly windy day, I found that it was pretty hard to control the airplane in the beginner mode, because it wouldn't allow the Firebird Scout to turn quick enough if the breeze carried it too far away. [The Firebird Scout is not recommended to be flown in anything over 5 MPH wind. - Editor] I tried it in expert mode and it was much easier to control in the wind.


SmartTrak Transmitter Programming Includes Beginner and Expert Mode:

HobbyZone indicates: Exclusive flight control software analyzes and adjusts control inputs so you donít over control and get into an unrecoverable situation. You get a smooth, successful first flight with none of the struggle and all of the fun. At the heart of this simplicity is HobbyZoneís Smart-Trakô control system that gives you two ways to fly: Standard Mode and Expert Mode. If youíve never flown before, Standard Mode keeps turns smooth and responsive without allowing you to turn too steeply. After youíve mastered the basics, you can unlock Expert Mode for tighter turning performance.

Switching modes was pretty easy; I turned off the transmitter (with the battery still plugged in) and then held the left stick all the way up and turned the transmitter back on. I tested to make sure that it switched modes as follows:(see video clip) I took the model, turned it around, and tilted the nose forward so that I was looking down at the control surfaces from the rear. I pushed the right stick all the way over to one side and held it for about 10 seconds. If the control surface goes up and then deflects back down halfway, then the plane is in Beginner Mode. However, if the control surface goes up and stays up, then the plane is in Expert Mode.

I would highly recommend that a new modeler fly in a very wide-open area without trees if possible because of the high turning radius of the Firebird Scout.

Flight Video Gallery

Downloads

Conclusion

The Firebird Scout is a great beginner plane -- it lets the beginner start cheap and start small, and is very easy to fly. It requires almost no assembly, and other than battery charging is ready to fly in minutes. With beginner and expert mode, it has some room to grow in performance, and can handle mild winds. If you are looking for a plane that has really good maneuverability then you might want to look at some of the more advanced Firebird models. If you do get this plane, I hope that you really enjoy it like I did!

Discussion

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Old Apr 28, 2005, 03:12 PM
INDORUS EXPARAMINTO
SPEED-E-FLYER's Avatar
Springfield, Missouri, United States
Joined Jul 2002
4,206 Posts
Looks great Josh.
Nice video. Looks like it was flying so fast that your dad had a hard time keeping up.
I kept waiting to see if the bird would land in the trees.
Keep up the good work.

Nice work
Larry
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