La Heli Ricco Review:
LA Heli Ricco Micro Heli Review:
Manufacturer: LA Heli
Rotor diameter: 620 mm (270 mm blades)
Bare frame weight without blades: 126g
Weight: 350-450g Weight as built: 396g
Kit Purchase Price $200 (currently $150-170 for base model and around $200 for the SE model)
Servo's: HS-55 3ea for swash HS-50 for tail
Gyro: Futaba GY401
Speed Control: Castle Creations CC-25
Motor: AXI 2208/20 (15T pinion)
Radio System: Spektrum DX7
Lipo: 1300MAH 3-Cell:
Original Maxir Thread
Maxir Construction Thread
Building Tips and Mods:
Canopy Mod (JPC and Kai):
Does your tail go wah wah regardless of gyro setup?
Upgrade the screws and save some weight (by Kai):
Build Videos (by Kai):
Kit walk through:
Chapter 1 - Swash/OneWay
Chapter 2 - Frame Assembly Part 1
Chapter 3 - Frame Assembly Part 2
Chapter 4 - Frame Assembly Part 3
Chapter 5 - Tail Assembly Part 1
Chapter 6 - Tail Assembly Part 2
Chapter 7 - Tail Assembly Part 3
Turnigy ERC-T1650 (equivalent to the AXI 2208-26)
Turnigy ERC-T1900 (equivalent to the AXI 2208-20)
Castle Creations Phoenix 10 (external BEC recommended)
Castle Creations Phoenix 25
YGE-18 (Switched BEC built in like the Spin-11)
Some overview on the ESC's by Kai
LA Helis Design Philosophy:
Some very nice build pics from Akshaw
Inside Heli Review with videos:
Flight and Power Data:
Turnigy 1900 / CC-25 Data Recording by Kai
Nick Maxwell flies JPC's Ricco:
Hornet Dave 3D:
Kai and Matt Dualing Helis:
JPC flying his Ricco SE
Arclite5 putting his Ricco through the paces:
Maxir picture and video thread:
Inside Heli Ricco Review by JustPlainChris
The Ricco is basically the evolution of the MaxIR , it's LA Helis newest creation and in terms of where the heli lands in the product spectrum I'm not sure, it has more bling then a standard MaxIR but it isn't as blinged as a MaxIR SE.
Review / Build Notes:
I am a die hard Hornet X3D flier, I have flown a few other Micro's in my day mainly the Esky CP2, King V1, and Esky Cool. I moved away from Micro's to Mini's but then after my son was born my world was flipped upside down and I was no longer able to spend 7hrs a week at the club field so my interest in Micro's came back around. In doing so I wanted a heli that was light, 3D ready out of the box that I could hit the smaller fields by my house or my back yard, which made me lean towards the Hornet X3D. Fast forward to today a year later and 100's of flights and a few crashes later the Hornet is still serving me well. The problem is that MS is getting out of the heli business and about the same time LA Heli was to release the Ricco so with both feet forward so begins a new heli relationship.
I have had the Ricco for over a month now (thanks to Gotheli RC) and due to my schedule (and my 1yr old son who keeps me very busy) it took what seemed like forever but the Ricco is finally complete I have 6 packs through the bird now and she is breaking in nicely the down side is that all of these have been indoor hover sessions.
A note on the Instructions:
The instructions that came with the heli featured a mix of colored solid and transparent illustrations I found the instructions a bit hard to see so I simply downloaded the MaxIR SE manual which used solid 3D illustrations. With both manuals in hand it was easy enough to cruise your way though. I suggest downloading both manuals to help you during the build, it's worth mentioning that if you can download the PDF file and print it on a good laser printer that the Ricco manual is much easier to work with.
A few problem spots:
Since my Ricco was an early release there are a few things to note and maybe LA Heli has since resolved these issues. The first issue that came about was that none of the little parts bags were labeled but in most cases once you found the bag everything in that bag was used for that step or the next step there after. The next issue I ran into was minor, there is a piece on the head that looks like a fork that should be flipped over otherwise it hits the anti rotation bracket during full cyclic moves so once again an error in the instructions.
The tail assembly seems to be the part of the build that most people spend the most time on. As the gearbox sides clamp down on the output shaft and tail boom it is apparent that there was significant rubbing. This problem stems from the fact that the Ricco and MaxIR SE use an aluminum spacer that is thicker then the plastic one used in the original design. The benefit of the aluminum spacer is that it allows you to press a new pinion onto the boom without opening the gearbox. Doing this with the old spacer would surly deform the spacer so this is a great time saving idea that in the end was worth a bit of trimming on the gearbox. One other important thing to note is the fit of the gearbox sides, you may have to sand the section where the bearing sit, there should be no clamping force on the bearings once the two halves are clamped down.
One last thing to note is that the Ricco now has a keyed tailbox assembly which takes the worry of the tailbox from sliding on the boom, unfortunately my kit was early enough that it did not come with the keyed box so to get around this I simply added a small strip of painters tape to the boom which gives more then enough friction to keep the tailbox in place until I pickup one of the newer keyed boxes. It's been noted by several fliers that the tailbox key can be sheered at higher headspeeds so it's advisable to use some tape on the boom in addition to the key for additional insurance.
With the few minor issues out of the way it's onto the the overall design and a good design it is. First the heli is zero fluff and everything is light weight. The frame is plate aluminum with a stacked design similar to what we see in a Trex or MX-400 only unlike other stacked designs which are setup like an exoskeleton to house gear in the center the Ricco's spacing is just wide enough to accommodate the boom. To accommodate your Rx and gyro there are mounting points at the front and back of the frame. LA Heli was smart enough to make mounting blocks for the servos double as frame spacers, this means your servos can be installed or removed without taking the side frames apart or removing the head or anti rotation bracket.
The servo spacing is an exact fit for an HS-55 servo (or any servo with that same tab spacing) unfortunately I was unable to easily adopt my Futaba S3114's into the heli so I went with the HS-55's instead.
For motor selection you are somewhat limited due to the size of the main gear and the pinion selection, in order to keep in line with LA Helis fuse point failure idea it's best to stick with the pinions they offer. I should also add that the all plastic drive train makes for a very quite heli. Being power hungry I went with the larger motor selection and paired an AXI 2208/20 with a 15T pinion (The other recommended motor is the AXI 2208/26).
The head design is simple to setup and in using the default linkage recommendations I was able to get +13<->-13 degrees pitch with my swash pitch setting set to 70 percent and I wasn't even close to hitting the top or bottom limit of the swash travel. My guess is that this head would do +20<->-20 which means you don't have to have the swash dead center in it's travel path to hit your desired pitch though you should (in my case -10<->+10).
The linkages for the swash and head were nice and tight but not to the point that required reaming so I decided to simply let them break in on their own by putting flight time on heli. The stock blades included with the kit were plastic, seems somewhat cheap but they are how do I say nice plastic with little flex they are heavy though and add an extra 15g of weight to the heli over the FG blades but with that I imagine they would add some wind resistance and would make doing auto's easier.
The FG blades (purchased extra) are very nice, light, and well balanced from the factory and have more rigidity then many of the CF blades I have seen. I'm told the CF blades are even lighter yet so I will have to check those out as well.
Some mention should also be given on the drive train system, with most helis you tinker with gear mesh and fit until you have a smooth turning set of gears with minimal backlash and minimal friction. The Ricco is a bit different in that the gears seat into themselves so trying to mesh like you would for any of your other helis is not a good idea since you will more then likely have the gears strip out under load. So during the setup process everything was meshed tightly and held a rather gritty feel with quite a bit of friction. After my second flight the heli magically set in and and everything loosened up quite a bit, leaving a thin layer of gear dust on the frame. I could also tell that everything had seated because my head speed went up and the heli become even quieter.
Flight wise the Ricco is smooth and quite and stays planted in a hover, my as built AUW with the FG blades came in around 390g , considering the Ricco has 30mm more disk to work with then a HB King 2 and comes in weighing less the power should be very respectable (my comparison to the King is simply that the King comes closest to the Ricco in terms of disk size). I ran my first few packs through the heli using the plastic blades which bring the heli into the 400g range and even with the throttle curve dialed back to 70% to keep the plastic blades at a safe RPM the heli really has a peppy feel to it , very light like it could climb out of sight in just a few seconds notice.
With the FG or CF blades and 3D paddles installed the Ricco comes alive, with headspeed of 2500RPM (which would be considered suitable for sport flying on most helis) the Ricco will do anything you can dream up on the sticks. It's stability for it's size , powerful climb rate, and lightning fast cyclic make it a great platform to learn new moves. I have managed to get into deep trouble pulling off moves that are beyond my skill set many times and there is always time (and hope) that you can bail out without having a trip to the build table to remind you of your mistakes. Take a browse through the video section and you will see how powerful and graceful this heli is in action. Best of all it does so with very long flight times , 14min of sport flight from a 1300mah pack , 7-8min of hard 3D on a 850mah pack, it just doesn't seem possible for those who are accustomed to 4min of 3D flight which is commonplace for other helis.
The note on value for this kit isn't apparent on the surface, the kit cost might seem expensive for a Micro but considering the Ricco doesn't require bling, or lightening mods to perform it's one heck of a deal. Purchase the kit, build the kit, fly the kit, it's that simple, in the performance out of the box category nothing else on the market comes close. If your looking for an incomplete package that requires additional funding , research , and tinkering with false hope of bolt on 3D magic well this isn't the kit for you but if you want no fuss performance out of the box then your a Ricco guy..
Some suggestions for your build (some items to include in your order):
Since my Ricco did not come with the keyed tail boom I found the CNC upgrade Y8273 - Tail lever holder (blue) very useful since it has machine threads which allow more clamping preasure.
FG or CF blades: The plastic blades will get you buy for now but your going to be itching for the nicer blades, if I were to order and build the heli over again I would have simply included a set with the order.
Spare pinions and gears: It's a good idea as well to include a few sets of spare pinions (main and tail) and a extra set of conical gears for the tail. Since these are fuse parts and they are designed to break first it's a good idea to have some extra laying around. I also found that one of my conical gears had a slight wobble when I pressed it onto the boom shaft so it was good to have a backup.
Nice review! Good pro and con coverage in your post.
You should post a straight spec list
All Up Weight
Good review . I like it. :)
A little comment, as you mention the Ricco is a little more expensive, there is the Maxir 2008 base kit...
Lee and I have them for 129, there are some minor differences between the Ricco and it, but some good upgrades are now included from the previous Maxir: alu swash, one way gear, upgraded tail pitch linkage, ... The main difference is the frames and the CF components, the base Maxir is made of GF, which on the plus side is a bit lighter!
Flight characteristics are identical...
To add to Kai's coment, the changes are an improvement to an otherwise proven design.
Excellent review! Thank you for starting the "Die Hard LA Ricco" thread. ;)
It would be great if you could post few pictures of your beauty.
Good point Pete,
I would also like to add to my previous post, that a Maxir can be converted to Ricco frames/servo configuration with minimal parts (the frames, and servo mounts/frame blocks).
So current or future Maxir owners do not have to worry about obsolesance (sp?), just use Ricco spares in crashes and you potentially end up with a Ricco. Admittedly, my blue Maxir SE is still using it's original frames after thousands of flights (and dozens of crashes), so it is not certain that you'll have to go to Ricco frames. The center core of a Maxir/Ricco is quite strong and compact, seldom taking any significant damage.
I do like the raked stance of the Ricco, the front LG mount holes are slightly higher on the frame than the rear LG, which angles the tail up off the ground.
Here's a video I dug up of one of our local guys giving his Maxir a good workout... Stock Maxir except for the CF blades and CF paddles... You can see he was getting comfortable with it mid video, he had just gotten it set up completely that day...
I have always believed that if a heli has a good design from the start that bling isn't required in order to make the heli perform,good blade selection, power system and setup are all that's required. My plastic Hornet X3D and my plastic Mini-T proved this point very well in that both fly better then my Trex SE and blinged out MX-400. In some cases these upgrades add nothing but extra weight and doing so simply raise the disk loading. The only obvious benefit is crash survivability of the blinged parts less you crash so hard you bend them and that well, blinged heads just look good.
Improving on the MaXir is serious business. That heli is just about perfect as is.
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