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The Ornithopter Zone Cybird P1 Review

Join Dr Dave on his first moving wing flight. Who knows? Maybe you too will be flapping your wings for a Cybird P1.

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Introduction


Wingspan:29"
Wing Area:377 sq. in.
Weight:7.0 oz.
Length:15"
Wing Loading:2.67 oz/sq. ft.
Servos:7.5 gram
Transmitter:Futaba 9Cap with Corona 2.4 GHz module
Receiver:SPF-5 with ESC
Battery:GWS 7.4 1050 mAh 7.4 volt LiPo
Motor:Brushed speed 370
ESC:Contained within the SPF-5
MSRP:$89.95
Available From:The Ornithopter Zone

The Cybird P-1 is for all practical purposes an RTF. This bird (and I mean bird) is all about weight. Offered as a receiver-ready, fully proportional system, the Genuine Cybird P-1 includes one steering control servo. Join me as I take wing with the Cybird offered by The Ornithopter Zone.

Kit Contents

The Cybird arrived well packaged and everything was in great shape. I went through the materials, and included is an instruction booklet written in Chinese, but you also get another set of clearly written English instructions. Buyer beware: There are imitations of this product out there that are far from being the same Cybird P-1.

Kit Includes:

  • Airframe and covering
  • Decals
  • Instruction manual
  • CD with more information
  • Radio neck strap
  • Spare body attachment pins
  • Battery lead

How you complete the Cybird is very important. This project is all about doing everything possible to make the Cybird weigh in at near 7 ounces or less. The Cybird does fly at 7.1 and even 7.2 ounces, but much more weight than that is problematic. Here are the completion components you need.

Kit Requires

  • 7.4 v Lipo weighing less that 40 grams
  • Brushed 8 amp ESC weighing less than 5 grams
  • 4 channel receiver weighing less than 5 grams
  • Transmitter
  • You will need an electronic scale

I suggest you purchase the SPF-5 ESC offered by The Ornithopter Zone because it not only operates as a receiver, it also includes the brushed ESC and weighs in at only 4.5 grams, and it is rated at 20 amps. This also allows for a larger heavier battery. For reference, the smallest micro receiver you fly will likely weigh 8-10 grams, and the lightest ESC you have will be about the same. Saving grams where you can, will make the Cybird perform at its best.

Battery choice is also very important. Make sure it is light, has a good 1000 mAh capacity, a 10C rating and is slim so that it fits inside the body of the Cybird.

Assembly

There is really no building, only the installation of the radio equipment. You start with a frame that has the brushed 370 motor installed and the forward gear box.

Fuselage

The fuselage is a very soft material that is very flexible. There is a nose that is soft and provides protection of the gear box. Never fly the Cybird without the nose attached. The body can be removed.

Tail

The tail is controlled by a servo. It gives you the ability to turn the Cybird in big sweeping turns. It is recommended to make wide turns as lift is diminished in tight turns.

The tail rotates right and left and can be assigned to either your aileron stick or rudder stick.

Wing

The wings are really wings! The wings are a carbon rod and rip-stop nylon composition. They are really very stiff and extremely strong.

The wing is supported in two places. The main spar or leading edge is attached to the motor arms, and the trailing edge is attached to these brass ball joints. The fit is extremely tight, and you must use care to make sure as you install the ball joints you support the male receivers too.

Before you install the wing, install the nose.

Radio Installation

You need to end up with the radio and battery installed AND be near 7 ounces. Weigh everything, and if a small piece of double stick tape weighs more than a zip tie, change it out. You have some limitation on shortening the leads to your ESC, so only do so if it is recommended. As an example, I used the SPF - 5 to save weight because this is the best choice to save weight.

Use packing tape to secure the battery onto the frame. Remember that everything you put on the frame has to go inside the body. You do not need a master switch; just hang the battery and ESC leads outside the body so you can hook them up when needed.

Completion

Set up your transmitter, and note the direction of the tail as you move the stick. The tail moves just the same as a rudder on a plane. Have the tail perfectly centered before your first flight.

Have the body, wing and tail off, and set the CG 5 mm behind the front edge of the battery compartment. Set your ESC to soft cutoff.

Flying

I suggest you begin your first flight on some tall grass since this is the best way to protect the Cybird. I did some setup in the late winter on bare ground, and in spite of the hard ground strikes, the durable little Cybird kept up with no damage. Get yourself some really large space; Maybe a square the size of a baseball field would be good.

The Cybird does not really glide. It will gradually power its way to the ground and look like a bird landing, but if the wings stop the flying is over. A roll over is typical on landing.

Basics

You have a couple of basic trimming points. First, the tail can be adjusted slightly either with a higher, steeper angle or with less of an angle. The higher angle provides more stability and slow speeds, while the lower angle provides less stability and faster speeds with greater climb out performance. The instructions say to set it somewhere between the two.

Make sure that the tail is straight and the trim is zeroed. The tail moves right and left and turns the Cybird just like a rudder.

Once you toss the Cybird, it might fly right or left. In some cases, no amount of stick input will get it back to flying straight. If that is the case and the bird is going left, add a paper clip to the leading edge on the right wing near the tip. Move the paper clip down the leading edge until when you launch the bird goes straight and climbs out. This is a critical element of a successful flight; If the bird is turning it will lose altitude and head for the ground. YOU MUST EXECUTE BIG SWEEPING TURNS TO AVOID A LOSS OF ALTITUDE. When you turn, you will notice it does not return to straight flight until you compensate by moving the stick in the opposite direction.

Taking Off and Landing

There is an art to the toss: firm, but not too aggressive. Toss it straight with a slight upward angle. The landing occurs by just reducing the throttle. Let the bird settle to the ground.

Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

I have seen sea gulls do loops, but it won't happen with the Cybird P-1.

Is This For a Beginner?

No, it is not for the beginner because there is just too much going on with the setup and the flight. It is a great park flyer though with space as it is a real crowd pleaser.

Flight Video

Downloads

Conclusion

The Cybird is a real attention getter, and at the local park I can assure you it will draw a crowd. I thought it was funny, as you can see in the first video, that the Cybird even attracted some feathered friends.

Pluses:

  • Just a really cool use of technology
  • Durable
  • Creates the desire to make it do more

Negatives:

  • Weight sensitive but with the right ESC, receiver and battery you have more options
  • Decals do not want to stick well
Last edited by Angela H; Aug 04, 2008 at 09:27 PM..

Discussion

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Old Aug 04, 2008, 10:19 PM
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EDF30's Avatar
Mercer Co. PA
Joined Mar 2008
825 Posts
Looking at all the mechanics in there, the price is much more justified at $90, than the ourageous price of some of the foamies out there. They always did look interesting to me. Thanks for the review.

Bill
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Old Aug 04, 2008, 11:50 PM
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Bombay's Avatar
Richmond, TX
Joined Apr 2008
3,236 Posts
Nice review. Are you happy with the shape of the body?
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Old Aug 05, 2008, 01:59 AM
Registered User
Palo Alto Ca
Joined Jul 2008
22 Posts
Great job, I've never known ornithopters were feasible for r.c. flight. It looks like a cool toy but I wonder how it would fair with a brushless moter and maybe longer wings. Anyways Congratulations
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Old Aug 05, 2008, 06:26 AM
Registered User
Russia, Moscow
Joined Nov 2007
291 Posts
Where did thier P2 bird gone? It was way better: bigger wingspan and 3 ch - an absolute necessety, 2 ch arent even nearly enough! And show me a 2S lipo of 1000mah capacity (with any C rating, i'll take even 5 or 3) that weights 40 or less grams! So my whole opinion is that its just a waste of money, because of the 2 ch and smaller wingspan, P2 however was a total success and i wanted to buy it very much some time ago but i couldnt find it available anywhere, it was sold out in every shop that had them, i guess they discontinued it, well, very stupid of them.
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Old Aug 05, 2008, 07:45 AM
Dr. Dave
USA
Joined Nov 2005
1,319 Posts
Thanks guys, this was a blast to work with. The weight is critical but a good battery can overcome that problem. The GWS battery I used among others provided the most flight time.
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Old Aug 05, 2008, 11:34 AM
Registered User
Beaver Dam.Wi.
Joined Jan 2003
309 Posts
I have a P1 and also a P2 that Shift mentions. Having flown both, I found
the P1 to be easier to fly and will take more wind. The P2 is more fragle because
of where the elevator servo is located.
I converted both the P1 and P2 to brushless operation which I like better.

Harris
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Old Aug 07, 2008, 09:41 AM
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Joined Feb 2003
3,759 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by harrisdouma
I have a P1 and also a P2 that Shift mentions. Having flown both, I found
the P1 to be easier to fly and will take more wind. The P2 is more fragle because
of where the elevator servo is located.
I converted both the P1 and P2 to brushless operation which I like better.

Harris
Can you post the details of what you used (motor/esc/battery) to convert the p1 to brushless?

thanks,
Brendin
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Old Aug 07, 2008, 11:27 AM
Registered User
Beaver Dam.Wi.
Joined Jan 2003
309 Posts
the ornithopter zone cybird P1 review

Xnaron
converting the cybird P1 to brushless. used a hyperion Y-22 short 3600 brushless
moter available from allerc Bolt-wise it was a drop in fit but did have to machine
off the front bearing boss which was easy to do, any machine shop can do it quickly
on lathe. Took off the nine tooth pinion from stock moter and inserted it on brushless
moter. used thunder power 730 2 cell pro lite battery 13C
used castle creations thunderbird 6 amp speed control. Also used castle creations
berg micro stamp 4 L receiver.

At full throttle the brushless moter drew 3.7 amps.
Have heard that the ARC 20-27-80 brushless moter available from lightflightrc
is a lighter and more efficient moter to use on the cybird P1.
the Arc brushless moter comes with no front bearing boss so it is really a no hastle
drop in moter. I hope to try the ARC moter in my next P1 conversion
Hope this is helpful
Harris
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Last edited by harrisdouma; Aug 07, 2008 at 12:26 PM. Reason: typed in wrong number of moter
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Old Aug 07, 2008, 12:14 PM
Registered User
Xnaron's Avatar
Joined Feb 2003
3,759 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by harrisdouma
Xnaron
converting the cybird P1 to brushless. used a hyperion Y-22 short 3600 brushless
moter available from allerc Bolt-wise it was a drop in fit but did have to machine
off the front bearing boss which was easy to do, any machine shop can do it quickly
on lathe. Took off the nine tooth pinion from stock moter and inserted it on brushless
moter. used thunder power 730 2 cell pro lite battery 13C
used castle creations thunderbird 6 amp speed control. Also used castle creations
berg micro stamp 4 L receiver.

At full throttle the brushless moter drew 3.7 amps.
Have heard that the ARC 20-27-30 brushless moter available from lightflightrc
is a lighter and more efficient moter to use on the cybird P1.
the Arc brushless moter comes with no front bearing boss so it is really a no hastle
drop in moter. I hope to try the ARC moter in my next P1 conversion
Hope this is helpful
Harris
thanks - I searched but couldn't find a 20-27-30 only a 20-27-80...do you know who sells the 20-27-30?

Brendin
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Old Aug 07, 2008, 12:23 PM
Registered User
Beaver Dam.Wi.
Joined Jan 2003
309 Posts
Xnaron
sorry, there was a typing error and my part. [called carelessness]
the brushless moter to use in the P1 is actually the ARC 20-27-80
the Arc 20-27-30 does not exist. my mistake
Harris
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Old Aug 07, 2008, 07:33 PM
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Joined Feb 2003
3,759 Posts
thanks...(rumaging through parts bins) I've got a few razor rz-300's kicking around here doing nothing. They weigh 28grams and have a ~4900KV rating. I'm going to give it a go. The razor is one powerful motor.

Brendin
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Old Aug 07, 2008, 07:35 PM
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Joined Feb 2003
3,759 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by 78dave
Thanks guys, this was a blast to work with. The weight is critical but a good battery can overcome that problem. The GWS battery I used among others provided the most flight time.
thanks for taking the time to do this review. All of your tips will save me a lot of time troubleshooting (especially the paperclip tip). I've decided to go brushless right away as I already have the components kicking around. will post my results.

Brendin
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Old Aug 08, 2008, 02:11 PM
Dr. Dave
USA
Joined Nov 2005
1,319 Posts
I too have some brushless stuff around so it certainly might be worth the effort. I assume your gain here is more flight time?
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Old Aug 08, 2008, 04:36 PM
Registered User
Beaver Dam.Wi.
Joined Jan 2003
309 Posts
When converting P1 to brushless be careful you do not overpower it.
I did it to one of my conversions and the stress of overpowering it
caused the flapping wing to break.

I suspect because of flapping wing stress,the stock moter that comes with the P1
has just enough power to get it airborne
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