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Beware of Horizon Hobby's SAFE system!

#1
I owned a Horizon Hobby SAFE enabled 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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CrashRecovery

I'm a care bear...Really?
Mentor
#3
That's fixable!!!!!!! Get some goop or gorilla glue and stick it together. Don't give up!!!!!!! I'm not going to be the one to ask all the normal questions. I'll just give you the bump in the direction of not giving up!!!!!
 
#4
I tried to recover myself at first but lost orientation and gave it the wrong input. That was when I went to rely on the panic button and it failed. At that point I was pretty much in shock and spent the last second watching my plane smash into the ground. I should have never relied on it and was probably flying beyond my skill level.
 

finnen

Senior Member
#5
Sorry to tell you, but planes crash =) We are dealing with hobby grade electronics, and they fail from time to time. If you want full reliability, it would cost a _lot_ more. That said, that is fully repairable. Glue it back together, and go out and fly :D Also, accept that you will crash, it happens to everybody.
 

Capt_Beavis

Posted a thousand or more times
#7
I am sorry for your wreck, I know how it feels to bust a plane, especially a Delta Ray - I have done it a few times..

It doesn't make sense to never use a backup again because you think it failed once. If you hadn't had SAFE you would still be in the same boat or worse, you would have crashed on an earlier flight. A failsafe that works 90% of the time is infinitely more useful than one that works 0% of the time.

I wouldn't be surprise if, in your panic, you didn't fully depress the button. I prefer to just switch into beginner mode instead of using the panic button. It will have the same affect but it is a positive switch. It is fixable and a new body is only $50 if you don't want a Frankenstein.. I know it is heartbreaking to see your pride and joy end up a pile of foam but that is part of the hobby. Every time you try to move up a skill level there will be a crash or 5 coming.

There are plenty of people, myself included that learn to fly with SAFE planes. I had a crash with my delta ray that ended with very similar damage (I tried looping too close to the ground stalled) but I also broke both motors and the cowling. If the motors and the electronics work patch her up and get back out there. Maybe use intermediate mode instead of expert until you aren't stalling anymore.
 
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fish

Senior Member
#8
I agree with the members, if you do not want to repair your plane I be happy to take it off your hands and give a shot at the repair and flying her? I know your answer. Don't give up, try to repair her first, you got everything intact. just a broken nose. Get a new body, fly her some more till you are ready to transfer over. agree Switching to beginners, but stuff we don't think of in a panic situation.
 
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Capt_Beavis

Posted a thousand or more times
#9
SAFE can't defy physics either, some stalls take time to get out of time you may not have had once you pressed the button.


What rates were you using? You probably want to set your low rates at 60-70% and use that when you are in expert mode. Only switch to 100% when you advance to rolls and loops. I do a lot of my flying on low rates it is much more enjoyable for cruising.
 

Ron B

Posted a thousand or more times
#10
some times electronics fail
nothing in life works 100% forever and in rc things happen and even the PRO'S make mistakes
check out the motors and esc/control board and make sure safe is working as well as all controls and if all is well glue it up and throw it up again
if motors don't work it is only $20.00 for a set of them.
if safe doesn't work a new esc/control board is $80.00
if you are not comfortable with the electronics then $150.00 for a new bnf D-Ray and ready to go again
 

Capt_Beavis

Posted a thousand or more times
#11
My wreck took my motors out, then I blew one of the ESCs trying to test it, so I ended up get a new BnF. I saved the old body and I used the wing tips and rudder from the old body so I still have a brand new set. Save the old body for a future brushless rebuild - if you decide to get a new one.

I have a sport cub S and Delta Ray with SAFE, I have still crashed but I know it has saved me and my girls and definitely my 5yr old son many times.
 
#12
I'm sorry but I thought the safe feature was a push and hold in expert mode not a momentary push. In light conditions a momentary push is probably enough but in an overly steep bank it may not be enough to bring the plane back.
 
#13
Also, when I was learning how to fly OUR SAFE button was a pile of balsa scrap and some repair glue. EDITED, TOO HARSH Ahhh, the Good Old Days, sigh.


When flying towards yourself the stick goes to the low wing.
 
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#14
I"m sorry again, guys I'm confused. Do we beat on him to toughen him up EDITED - WE DO NOT!! But don't Baby him up either. Though babies are tasty during their first combat event.

I don't get out much anymore.
 
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#15
I'd just like to echo the thoughts of the forum community Crashes happen and as you progress, they will happen with more intensity. The SAFE technology is a cool feature but as you have seen, it's not infallible. As you get better, you may find that you reach it's limits from time to time. Please don't give up. Your plane is very fixable and trust me, you will crash again. The experience you gain from fixing it is all part of the overall experience. This summer will mark 37 years that I have been flying RC. I have, and still continue to gain experience both flying and fixing. Hang in there.
 

Capt_Beavis

Posted a thousand or more times
#16
This seems over the top and out of the spirit of this forum in helping people grow in the hobby.

Also, when I was learning how to fly OUR SAFE button was a pile of balsa scrap and some repair glue. Grow a pair and move on, you're using the button too much. When flying towards yourself the stick goes to the low wing.
 
#17
If it's any consolation, the beautiful FT Spitfire I finished building last week (pictures posted in the Spitfire thread) had its maiden flight today which lasted approximately 1.8 seconds... In hindsight, I should have had someone else toss it for me and maybe waited for a day without the 15-17mph winds.

The best part about this hobby: it's fixable. I've got an E-flight Mustang 280 that has tally marks where the 'kills' would normally go. I'm up to seven wrecks normally considered to be a total loss. The plane is more hot glue than foam at this point. One day I'll actually take the new fuselage, wings, and stabilizer I bought and rebuild it to be beautiful again, but as soon as I do that it won't be as much fun to fly. My recommendation is to get yourself a hot glue gun, spend 12 minutes glueing it back together and get out and practice trying not to crash some more.
 
#19
This seems over the top and out of the spirit of this forum in helping people grow in the hobby.
I was trying to be silly and talking about "the good ole days" which is why the next post was even more so. Like I said, I don't get out much and didn't mean to be meen, which ever of those spellings is correct.

OK, straight talk. That looks fixable though it won't be as pretty as it was. That's not such a bad thing. It's been my experience and the experience of many others that ugly planes fly better.

2nd, as stated the SAFE tech works pretty well but it has it's problems. For instance I put the plane in an un-normal attitude and hit the button. It quickly regained normal flying attitude, into a wall. Since I did it on purpose and was showing a guy the problem it could have I had enough time to avoid the wall. Inside on expert mode can be quite fun on that little cub. But you can conceivably get the thing in a condition where it thinks pulling up is the correct response and like many folks inverted have found out, that doesn't work well.

Part of the sense of accomplishment of this and any hobby is that things CAN go far wrong and the fact that you can avoid those makes it fullfilling. Just getting a finger remover running correctly (in my case a Fox 25) AND keeping all your fingers used to be quite a challenge. Now it's plug and play (do leave the prop off until you're in a safe condition).

Put that back together and go fly some more. Or scavenge the parts and make a new plane, creating is fun too.

And sorry for my former glibness.
 
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makattack

Winter is coming
Moderator
Mentor
#20
Hey Horty,

I feel for your loss, but as everyone else have said... don't give up. Use these experiences as learning experiences. One of the more fun parts of this hobby, IMHO, is to build and repair planes when things don't go well. We can't rely on technology all the time. Often times, it's that complex interplay between error prone people and limited technology that gets us in trouble.

That is definitely repairable from the looks of it. Great job picking up the pieces, and with the right building skills, it'll look nearly as good as new.

If you have any compressed foam, it's amazing what a little steam or hot water will do... just drop those pieces into a bowl of hot water and they'll pop back into their original shape. I love gorilla glue for filling in gaps in that foam. It's cheap and easy to use.