Next plane after a Firebird XL? - RC Groups
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Mar 28, 2002, 07:47 PM
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Peter Young's Avatar

Next plane after a Firebird XL?

Hi folks

It's great to discover this discussion forum - I've been struggling to find good advice, so it's great to come across a community of people willing to share their experiences with newer players.

My son and I have been enjoying our Firebird XL, but are now ready for something more. A couple of options we are considering are the Zagi 400 Electric or the Cermark New Timer. I wouldn't mind trying a Skyscooter, but in Australia I cannot buy the 3 channel version or get spare parts easily.

I've had varying advice about the Zagi - some say it is too hard to learn on. Others say it is too fast for our normal flying place (a double football field surrounded by trees). Others say that it is fine to learn on because it can withstand the inevitable crashes, and that speed is down to the pilot (i.e. it can happily fly slowly if you let it).

I read the earlier advice about the T52, and will go hunting for this, however I suspect this may not be an option here either. So....any other options we should consider? Our criteria are:
1. Not too hard to make
2. Able to fly in a park (double size football field)
3. More interesting to fly than a Firebird
4. Easily repairable, or spare parts available, or unbreakable

Many thanks for your help

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Mar 28, 2002, 09:34 PM
Pro Bro # 179
KevinM's Avatar

my 2 cents worth

The zagi can fly fast if you mod it. I re-learned on it after about 10 years of not flying. (just like riding a bike, it all comes back) The Zagi is a strong plane with a carbon fiber spar and good foam airframe. Mine took two crashes and is still flying great. Check out
A very good site for info and mods.
I think it is a great plane !!!!
Mar 29, 2002, 01:04 AM
Registered User
My plans to move up from the FBXL is Graupner's Tipsy. A lot of people really like it. It might suit you too.

They do say the Zagi is almost indestructable though
Mar 29, 2002, 10:16 AM
Registered User
HavingFun2002's Avatar
I did the same thing. However, I would recommend moving to a slow flyer from the FB XL. The Tiger Moth from GWS is a good choice, itís easy to build and not expensive. Planes with elevators fly a bit different than the FB, itís easy to train on a slower flyer than jumping right into something faster.

From there go Zagi or FMA Razor, those are a blast to fly by difficult for us newbees. You have to work your way up. I have a Razor, but have yet to flying it for more than a few minutes. It takes some skill.

Also, look at the Mini Max as a plane thatís between the Tiger Moth and the large foam wings, itís only $30 at Hobby People. A nice plane.
Mar 29, 2002, 10:35 AM
Registered User
ayanez's Avatar


My first plane was a Firebird XL and I went from there to an FMA Razor. It was too big a jump for me to go from a 2 channel powered glider with plenty of dihedral to a wing mild aerobatic flying wing with no dihedral. My recommendation would be to get a Graupner Terry from Hobby Lobby. It's faster than the Firebird XL, adds elevator, has some dihedral, and the equipment can be taken from there to any other speed 400 plane.

I ended up buying the Terry after my Razor and flew it for months before going back to the Razor. I had a few crashes, but the Terry has very mild flying characteristics and taught me a great deal.

One last piece of advice. I don't know if you think that you'll eventually decide to fly speed 600 or how many planes you plan to have simultaenously, but I have now made it a point to buy an esc that is one step up from what I think that I'll need. I'd recommend a 30amp to set you up for virtually any plane you go to after that.
Mar 29, 2002, 10:35 AM
Registered User
HMX14's Avatar
Hi Peter,

My first plane was a Firebird II and I went from that to a Tiger Moth (which I have now, Zero on the way) which was not too difficult of a jump for me, the only things you have to watch out for are the first few kinda feels a little weird having to use elevator to control altitude..but its way more fun than a FB.

I think the Tiger Moth would be a good choice for your next plane.
Mar 29, 2002, 01:26 PM
Registered User
kushal_22's Avatar

Second plane after firebird

I know you said you did not want a sky scooter because nowhere to get parts and was not the pro version. I have to say though think aboput it seriously. I have had one for over 8 months now and have ripped the wing right off on either side have made new elevater and Stab out of foam meat trays have broken the nose off 4 or 5 times have broken the fuse un half twice and the thing still flies very well. This thing will take abuse it`s a great trainer for something bigger i have went from this to a FMA razor and have no problems flying it. So what if you do not have control over the speed you prop is going i fly mine full throttle anyways. You would not really have to worry about not being able to get "parts" for this plane like i have said i have made parts i would have had to wait for a week or so withing 20 mins just use 5 min appoxy and away you go.
Mar 29, 2002, 11:24 PM
Dead stick!!
Peter Young's Avatar

Thanks all for your advice. After much thought and bank balance checking we have gone with the Sky Scooter. Our local shop had these on special (the 2 channel for $250 Aus, which is about $125 US). Just checking through the archives now for tips for this new plane.

First impression is good - built easy, but the standard battery gave us just 2 minutes run time. We definately need the 600ma battery.

Thanks again to everyone who helped us. I think we will Scooter for a while and then maybe move up to the Terry or Zagi when our skills have improved.
Mar 29, 2002, 11:44 PM
A Clinger
rclark's Avatar
Good luck with the Scooter. That 2-3 minute run time is going to be a 'loooong' time with the first couple of flights . You'll be sweating it the whole time (I was...). Be gentle on the controls. Remember with the Beginner version you can't (well you can but you shouldn't) land until the motor runs down.... Your right eventually you will want to get 600 packs. You probably are going to want variable control at some point; I would have recommended the pro version and get a 3:1 gearbox and 9x6 prop for it. Eventually you will have to buy a new 3 to 6 channel radio (a good thing) and a new speed control (like a C20 or D20) to get the variable speed into the scooter. Then you can use the RS1600 packs or sanyo packs to extend your run time (down the road). The good thing is all these 'pieces' you pick up can be dropped into another plane when you are ready for it. The scooter will have then done its job of teaching you aileron flying. I started with XL, scooter was my next plane.

Have fun!
Mar 30, 2002, 02:44 AM
Dead stick!!
Peter Young's Avatar
We would love to have gone with the 3 channel, but these are not available in Australia. Also spares are not imported here either (quite unbelievable given how popular these planes seem to be), although I was reassured by the availability of parts over the web (and by advice that I could glue and fly - I bought glue and tape at the same time).

First flight is in 2 days - we had already booked a lesson at the local RC club on a glow trainer, so we will take along the SS and get an expert to check it over for us. Unfortunately the local club is not into electrics at all, but there seems to be a thriving community of Zagi slope soarers.
Mar 30, 2002, 12:19 PM
Registered User
kushal_22's Avatar

next plane after a firebird XL

You know you will be able to upgrade the scooter to a 3 channel without much of a problem. (If you have a 3 channel TX) I do not think you are going to have much of a problem flying this plane. Have Fun!

Mar 30, 2002, 02:02 PM
Registered User
Steve Fehr's Avatar
I went from a Firebird XL to an FMA Razor 400- I agree with those who said it ain't an aileron trainer!! But I sucessfully managed to transition to it, and have been flying it very successfully It worked out great as a 2nd trainer for me If you do go this route, spend plenty of time in the simulator! A computer radio with exponential controls and dual rates will do wonders for you, too. I fly like crap with 'em turned off, but turned on, it's smooth.
Mar 30, 2002, 04:15 PM
A Clinger
rclark's Avatar
If your having a lesson great. Also I would suggest (suggestion only FWIW) have a competent person fly your scooter the first time (prefer someone that has flown a scooter). That way the plane can be 'trimmed' before you fly it. Also you will see how it flys. I kid you not -- the hardest part of flying a plane the first time is the first 'trimming' flight. It was very hard (for me as a newbie anyway) to fight the plane (wanting to go down and to the left) and trying to keep it in the air as you are trying to trim it!

When my 12 yr old son got his scooter. I flew it the first time and trimmed it out for him. The next flights was his and he flew it just fine. Saved him a bunch of grief. In fact he only has donked it once since due to a low level maneuver in about 90+ flights. He is now flying the Wedgie Wing which I too have flown.

Just a hint!
Last edited by rclark; Mar 30, 2002 at 04:25 PM.
Mar 30, 2002, 05:49 PM
Registered User
kushal_22's Avatar
And a good hint at that!
Apr 02, 2002, 11:26 PM
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Peter Young's Avatar
Hi All

It's taken a while to get a relatively windless day - we had the first flight of the SkyScooter today. It was not a great success.

We were at the local RC club getting some flying lessons. The teacher did a test glide ok, then he tried to fly it first up. The plane lacked enough power to climb at all. There was a light breeze, but it was enough to hold the scooter up. We made almost no headway.

After a few failed attempts we ran the battery flat, recharged for 15, then tried again with the same result. We could get no higher than 2 metres off the ground.

This was a pretty disappointing result. My old Firebird flew much better - faster and better climb rate.

We went back to the hobby shop for advice. They suggested that possibly the battery was not fully charged - it was not warm after the 15 minutes charge, which they thought was strange. Also they wondered about cycling it a few more times (we had run it flat twice before the first flight). Failing all this they suggested adding an 8th cell to the battery pack.

Anyone got any thoughts on why we are having such problems? Will an 8 cell pack be ok (this is the 2 channel SS - no speed control).