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Old Jul 31, 2006, 08:15 AM
Checking CG is for NERDS!
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Mini-Review
"ABX" AEROBIRD XTREME review

I found an Aerobird Xtreme on sale for about $40 off at the LHS this weekend, and after having such a great experience with the Aerobird Challenger, I thought it was worth a shot. I know this bird has been out for a while but here are some impressions…

The thing is big compared to the ABC, but the weight of it compared to anything else in my fleet, makes a bigger impression. (I have a PZ FW190, ABC, and a brushless/lipo Slowstick and a couple of homebrewed park flyers.) The ABX is a tank… definitely the SUV of pod/boom/pusher type planes. While its cool to imagine this hunk of lead gracefully flying through the air, it also strikes me as an inelegant design. The details sculpted into the rear of the “pod” are necessary (an expanse of smooth plastic would look cheesy) but the sculpting is only slightly better… and begs questions about how this made-up plane design is really supposed to work (if it were 1:1). The “rubber” nose looks silly but it seems like light weight material and really would help if you were to clock somebody with this thing… they might end up with a very bad headache rather than a concussion.

The battery is re-dork-ulously heavy. IIRC, it comes in over 12 oz…This pack alone weighs only a couple ounces shy of the “all up weight” of the Aerobird Challenger. I imagine that the big cells are necessary to power that amp-sucking 540 brushed motor… but its such a waste to haul all of that weight. This pack is probably better suited to an RC car… and to make matters worse, it’s a NiCd! 1700mah seems paltry for such a big hunk of battery… I hear that some of the newer ABXs are coming with the “upgrade” 2800mah NiMH. I think mine had been sitting on the shelf for a while (hence the sale)… so if you’re buying one, read (or pop open) the box to see which one is in there.

But…. It flies. Take offs are fun. There is no tail wheel… which does lead to some instability on the ground. Mine came with a tweaked landing gear that caused it to veer to the right on my first try. After some twisting with pliers, the plane rolled mostly straight. Roll-outs are LONG compared to anything else I have flown… and compared to the nimble ABC, it feels like a 747 when taking off. Its kinda dramatic and beautiful though. On my next flight, I tried hand launching it… and I got a sense for why the rollout was 30 something feet- getting this thing in the air, takes a mighty toss. I threw javelin in college (not long ago) and this was a flashback to training with the medicine balls.

The climb rate is passable but not great, probably a notch or two weaker than the ABC with the stock pack. It does seem to cover ground quickly but looks slow doing it… The open sky is where this plane shines. Its larger size makes flying far away (and high) much more comfortable and fun. Only a brief nose-down moment is necessary to pick up enough speed for a big graceful loop and its fairly easy to put this thing (intentionally) into a dramatic tail-slide stall. Once you’re up there and you have some room to play, its clear that the ABX is actually pretty maneuverable. It seems to bank a bit harder than the ABC and turns satisfyingly when you “pull up” hard. The ABC would still eat this thing alive in a dogfight… It will fly inverted a bit longer than the ABC but still only a moment or two before it starts to dive.

Yesterday afternoon was gusty… but its true what others have said about this plane- it’s a wind-fighting champ! Where the ABC is good in strong winds, this craft is great! This plane might be worth having around just for those days when you want to fly but your Tigermoth is grounded.

Run times are passable (10+ minuetes) but I don’t like to run it at full throttle because I fear how short this energy hog’s flight might be. Its probably much shorter if you keep the hammer down. The glide ratio on this thing is surprisingly good…. It seriously FLOATS! Its moves right along in a glide (allowing good airflow over the ruddervators) and just looks majestic and loses altitude slowly. I love starting a glide way down field and just watching as it silently skates by. People insist that they can catch thermals with this beast… and though I have yet to do it, it seems possible. Landing is challenging because of this glide ability though. You have to start your descent really early. Any kind of flare out should be saved for when you’re inches off the surface. I tried this at my usual 1’ or so (which works well with the ABC) and the ABX just kept on flying! I overshot my landing spot my 20’.

Overall… I like it. The Aerobird Challenger is a significantly more capable flyer but it doesn’t look as cool in the air. The airspeed is probably 10-15% higher than the Challenger but the power to weight ratio is probably lower by a similar percent. I would still choose the ABC over the ABX (especially now that the ABC goes for a full $80 cheaper at $109!) but the ABX is more impressive to watch and great in its own ways.

Whenever I look at that wing, I get a strange craving for bananas. I don’t know why.

I am hoping that I can figure out ways to lighten it up and/or improve the power output. There doesn’t seem to be a 7 Cell battery option for this plane nor are there jumpers for LiPo use… but I am keeping my eyes open. Perhaps there is another prop out there that would work? Maybe Cheapbatterypacks.com could whip up a 7 cell?

Any suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated.
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Old Jul 31, 2006, 08:49 AM
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White Bear Lake, MN
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I think if you put a brushless motor in it you could loss alot of weight from the heavy 540 motor then you could run it on a smaller battery pack such as the ABC's battery pack.
Just a thought
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Old Jul 31, 2006, 09:16 AM
Checking CG is for NERDS!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FuntanaS
I think if you put a brushless motor in it you could loss alot of weight from the heavy 540 motor then you could run it on a smaller battery pack such as the ABC's battery pack.
Just a thought
Good tip but wouldn't this require gutting all of the electronics?

Wait...IIRC someone out there makes an adapter to run brushless motors off of the stock PZ/HZ electronics.... right? Does anyone know where to look for this?

Assuming it can be done, which motor would you reccomend?
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Old Jul 31, 2006, 10:47 AM
Checking CG is for NERDS!
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Found it:

Mr.RCCAM appears to be the guy...
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showp...9&postcount=64

Not sure if it works with the ABX though... assuming it did, which motor would be a good choice? What kind of performance should I expect with comparable voltage?
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Old Jul 31, 2006, 11:29 AM
Well, now that you know ...
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Grafton, Massachusetts, United States
Joined Sep 2004
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Those were my impressions of the ABX as well. That's a great link to Rc-cam's site - looks like a very interesting device! I wonder what kind of brushless beast would be required to power the ABX though!
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Old Jul 31, 2006, 12:12 PM
Checking CG is for NERDS!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sundoggy
Those were my impressions of the ABX as well. That's a great link to Rc-cam's site - looks like a very interesting device! I wonder what kind of brushless beast would be required to power the ABX though!
My question exactly...

It needs a smallish prop... so would an inrunner/direct drive be best suited to this?

I have a 4200kv park400 inrunner sitting around- would this motor be overworked here?
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Old Aug 01, 2006, 07:20 AM
Checking CG is for NERDS!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokescreen38
My question exactly...

It needs a smallish prop... so would an inrunner/direct drive be best suited to this?

I have a 4200kv park400 inrunner sitting around- would this motor be overworked here?

Anybody?

What motor would you reccomend?
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Old Aug 01, 2006, 12:12 PM
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White Bear Lake, MN
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I would think you would want to stay away from over powering it because then it would need a bigger prop which is not possible with the motor next to the boom. If you use a prop that clears it ( probably about 6 inches ) I think it would need to be pitched high to keep the motor at ok speeds ( not to many amps).
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Old Oct 08, 2006, 12:16 PM
Bit-Twiddler and Flyer
USA, VA, Chantilly
Joined Apr 2002
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Aerobird Xtreme for FMS

Hi all,

Another modeler requested a build of the venerable Aerobird Xtreme. After several emails where we traided photos of his ABX, I've finally rendered the 1st edition of this model.

Click this link to download the Aerobird Xtreme FMS model.



Here's a link to the Aerobird Xtreme web-site.

If you have your own ABX, could you try this one out in FMS 2 alpha 8.5 and let me know what flight characteristics need improvement? Or if you're already an FMS fan, just pass back the .par file changes.

-- ggunners
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Old Oct 08, 2006, 02:39 PM
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Very nice. I downloaded, but as a new to RC Challenger flier, I really wish there was a Challenger in FMS. If I had a clue what I was doing, I'd just change the parameters of either the Extreme or the T-Hawk. T-Hawk is close to how my ABC flies, but not quite perfect.
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Old May 06, 2012, 02:51 AM
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Canada, NB, Moncton
Joined Apr 2011
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I Modified an ABX with a brushless Super Tigre .10 Motor.

I bought an ABX wing, fuslage, and tail separately, parts on sale, three years ago but could not fly it because I could not locate a transmitter with the correct frequency. Flew the wing on a Skyfly a few times and was impressed with how it flew. This year, I decided to put in together bypassing the stock setup as there were too many problems reported with it and trying to modify the frequency on a Tx was not possible without soldering in the correct crystal. I read the posts where some had upgraded theirs to brushless and decided that was the route to go. Here are the upgrades. Super Tigre .10 mounted on the outside, bolted (#6 bolts with locknuts) on a piece of 3/8 plywood, 1/4 inch plywood bulkhead on the inside makes it all structurally sound, Parkzone Mustang BL 9 inch propeller and prop adapter with 1.5 inch spinner, Spektrum Rx to go with my DX8, 30 amp E-flite ESC, Parkzone 2,200 mah battery, Parkzone 130 digital servos mounted on the sides, thin control rods mounted with clear hockey tape outside the boom (got rid of the fishlines, had previously done same on the original Skyfly), stock tail (for now), glued pieces of foam together to make a battery bay, Rx is velcro-ed under battery bay in front of landing gear with its remote velcro-ed at rear bottom of fuselage. The ESC is velcro-ed high on the curved side of the of the fuzelage, replaced the wheels with 3" narrow Dave Brown Lite Flite Wheels. Mounted a counterweight boom up front to make it balance, rather than add extra weight in the fuselage. Added a plastic skid at tail. It all come in at 2 lbs-4oz, same as stock but does not fly at all like the stock setup described in these forums. With a fresh battery, it takes off on grass within 15 feet, will fly up vertically, do loops with ease, even do rolls with Tx D/R third setting and speed. The rolls are not crisp of course, but rolls nonetheless. I admit it does not fly like a PZ Mustang BL on a Power 10, but it does fly rather interestingly with this V-tail setup. The strong wing takes the extra speed and wild manoeuvres with ease without apparent bending. It floats in rather gracefully for landings. The controls are sensitive, so I fly mostly with the first D/R setting reserving the other two for aerobatics. I removed the Exponential I had dialed in because it caused the plane to rock in the air. Since I have a habit of modifying the planes I have (12 now), this one will get a few more. A vertical and horizontal stabilizer and yes ailerons will certainly change the way this set-up will fly. I have also taken two wings, cut and glued them together to make a whopping 74 inch wing (compared to 55 inch stock). I doweled the cut rod with solid Carbon rod and there is room to add two small solid carbon rods to reinforce the wing further. Looking forward to trying this new wing, should make if float even nicer, thermals, we shall see. Yep, RC flying is fun.
Creative RC
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Old May 06, 2012, 08:10 AM
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Canada, NB, Moncton
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Here are some photos of the ABX (Pterodactyl) modificaitons with .10 Super Tigre Motor. It is May 2012 and the ABX Xtreme is not extinct yet ....... one remains alive !

(I use more elastics to fly it, 6 in total)
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Old May 06, 2012, 01:08 PM
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White Bear Lake, MN
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That's awesome man! Thanks for sharing.
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Old May 30, 2012, 09:42 PM
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United States, CA, Corona
Joined Jun 2011
14 Posts
I inherited one of these a couple months ago and was wondering if it was worth trying to fly or not. It's nice to see that someone is still playing with these! I've noticed that parts for these are becoming scarce which is somewhat depressing. This is a cool looking bird!
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Old Feb 19, 2014, 04:17 PM
Sure, I can fly after sunset!?
United States, MI, Novi
Joined Jan 2011
511 Posts
I just picked one up at a swap meet for $5! What a deal. It came with the TX but no battery. If I ever get it to fly, I'll post my experience here.

I just noticed that the battery from one of my boats is virtually the same one this plane uses. I plugged it in and everything works!

UPDATE ...............

I flew it on a cold March Michigan winter day! It flew but didn't turn too quickly even with the transmitter in advanced mode. It didn't come with any rubber bands for the elevons, so I tried my best using some I had at home. I might try substituting CF rod.
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Last edited by mybad; Mar 11, 2014 at 08:10 PM.
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