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HobbyKing Assault Reaper 500 Collective Pitch 3D Quadcopter Review

The Worlds First RTF Collective Pitch Quad Copter

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Introduction

Rotor Diameter: 118mm
Frame Width: 365mm
Frame Length: 635mm
Flying Weight: 1240g
ESC: Assault Reaper 500 60A
Motor:500 Class Brushless Outrunner
Rotor Diameter: 28.5mm
Battery: Turnigy Nano-Tech 6S 1550mAH 65-130C
Price: $499.99
Available at: HobbyKing

The Assault Reaper 500 is the worlds first collective pitch quad copter that is ready to fly with no building or setup required. I love quads and aerobatics so I was excited to get this review model from HobbyKing. I know a lot of people out there may think this is a ripoff of Curtis Youngbloods Stingray 500 which was the first collective pitch quad on the market. While the idea is the same (a 500 class 3D quad) you can clearly see that the Reaper is a ground up machine and not a clone of Stingray parts. That said, let's dive in and check out the details of the Reaper.

What's in the Box

The Reaper 500 arrived in a pre-production box so I can't show you what the outer packaging looks like, but inside you get a plastic molded holder with two halves that secure everything nicely for transportation. The contents arrived in perfect condition. The copter was pre-built in the box, I didn't even have to install the blades. I pulled everything out of the box and found the quad, manual, transmitter, charger and accessories, and the battery.

Assembly

None! Before flying I did charge the battery using the included charger which seemed to do a fine job and kept the pack in balance. While the battery was charging I took a peek at the manual. The first section in the manual goes over the main drive mechanics and will be useful for repairs. Next they cover the electronics and show the flight board port diagram which is useful is you change receivers or are building from the kit version. Next it covers the settings for the T-Six transmitter, but since it was pre-setup and ready to go this is just used for reference should you need it. At the end they show some diagrams of normal acrobatic flight along with stick positions. That's pretty much it to the manual. Once the battery finished charging I headed to the field for some test flights.

Mechanics

I would give the mechanics and hardware used on the Reaper a solid A. Everything seems robust and the hardware is quality. The collective pitch mechanics are heavy duty and work smoothly with the digital mini servos. I noticed just a touch of slop at the hub, but overall I am impressed.

There is only one main motor at the rear with a pinion gear that connects to a plastic main gear drive. That main drive transfers all the power to the four rotors with belts. That whole system is well designed and has a nice sound to it when you power up. The belts run inside the aluminum tubes going to each rotor that conceals them making for a cleaner look, but it will require you to break down the frame some for maintenance or repairs. You might ask How does a quadcopter work with only one motor? Well the answer it torque. The flight controller talks to the servos that operate the pitch on the rotors. Applying more or less pitch affects the torque and thrust on the rotor in much the same way as applying more or less throttle on a motor.

Flying

There is a nice battery slot in the front the copter and a velcro strap is used to securely hold the battery in place. I turned on the radio first, and then connected the battery to the main power leads. After a second or so it armed and wiggled the servos during the calibration process. The top canopy is secured with three rubber grommets, two on the side in the rear, and one on the top in the front. I find it fairly easy to only remove the front section and rotate the canopy up to access the battery. It makes it a lot easy to reinstall the canopy during battery changes. The canopy is good quality plastic that should hold up well to some abuse and the paint job is really great looking. The shapes are nice and aid slightly in orientation during the flight.

I took off in normal mode which is just like flying a normal helicopter. There is no auto level or any of the fancy features you see in photography quads. The Reaper is designed for aerobatics. I flew a few circuits in normal to get the feel of the controls and see how the quad responded to my movements. It felt pretty good, maybe just a tad sluggish to my movements. I think the gains could be upped just a bit on the flight board, but overall it felt nice.

I flipped the idle up switch which increases the rpm and allows for negative maneuvers. Now it was time for some basics flips, loops, and rolls. I went up high as I always do for the first flip and pulled back on the stick. On fixed pitch quads, you usually pull the throttle back some while inverted so you don't power dive and it is similar with a collective pitch quad. If you've never flown aerobatics with a collective heli before, it will take some getting used to. Pretty much around mid stick on the throttle, the pitch is flat and no thrust is being produced. When you increase the throttle above half, positive pitch is increased and you start to develop thrust. The same goes for below half stick, except it creates thrust in the opposite direction. The first flip went fine, but I was slightly disappointed with the speed of the rotation. It was slower than I wanted it to be. That can be a good thing though if you are new to this type of flying. I likened it to flying a 90 size helicopter. They just feel slower in maneuvers, but you can be precise with them instead of the yank and flip and hope it comes out level style. I did some rolls and large loops and started to smile. I hadn't flown collective helis in a while, but it was all coming back. Next I flipped it over inverted and brought it down on the deck. The collective response takes a little bit of getting used to. I was bouncing up and down slightly for a bit until I managed to get it to settle. This was the first flight after all. It is a stable machine, more stable than a normal helicopter, which makes inverted hovers pretty easy and even novice pilots should be able to pick it up pretty quickly with the Reaper. After a few moments I pegged the stick to the bottom to see the punch out while inverted. It went up, but it didn't blast itself up like a rocket. I kind of wanted more power out of it, but it was good enough to not get you into any trouble. I wouldn't call it a hardcore 3D machine based on the flip/roll rates and power, but it can do some great acro and mild 3d stuff. It's more of an intermediate 3D trainer machine.

After about 6 minutes it was time to put her on the ground and call it a day since I only had the one battery. I felt the motor and it was hot, but not crazy and the speed controller was just ambient. I would say the Reaper kept a smile on my face the whole flight. I think it will fit well with pilots of varying skill levels. The only thing I'm really worried about is crashing. I didn't want to just crash it for the review so I will speculate here. There is a lot of mechanics going on with the Reaper. Four shafts, hubs, servos, and drive systems. I can't imagine things going well in a crash. Make sure you know where the throttle hold switch is and hit it before you hit the ground if possible to at least kill the motor and prevent extra damage. It looks easy enough to work on and replace parts if needed so that's a good thing.

Video

Photos

Conclusion

The Assault Reaper 500 Quad flys and feels more like a standard single rotor helicopter than a typical quad. It's designed for sport flying and takes quad aerobatics to a new level with the ability to hover inverted and perform other negative maneuvers. Low time pilots can fly it, but be aware of the complicated mechanics (at least compared to a standard quad) and resulting repairs from crashing. The stability will make learning to fly inverted easier than trying it on a single rotor heli and you can really build your confidence on it. The power is not quite there to make this an extreme 3D machine, but it's still a lot of fun to fly. This is not a machine for aerial photography or FPV racing, so if that's you, look elsewhere. If you are into aerobatics and want something different from the norm, then you should give the Assault Reaper 500 a serious look.

Pros

  • Pre-built and setup RTF
  • Quality mechanics and hardware
  • Super stable while hovering
  • Easy orientation
  • Inverted Hovers and other collective pitch maneuvers possible

Cons

  • Less durable than standard quads
  • Could use more power

Where to Purchase

HobbyKing Assault Reaper 500 3D Quad Ready to Fly

HobbyKing Assault Reaper 500 3D Quad Plug and Fly

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Old Jan 23, 2015, 07:37 PM
DEAk0n is offline
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Excellent review. I recently received my Reaper 500 kit, and I'm looking forward to flying it... Once the weather cooperates, and I can figure out how to set up the model in er9x.
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Old Jan 24, 2015, 11:36 AM
UberNiK is offline
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I am surprised it even took as long as it did for someone to finally make a different collective quad. That much more people can afford one now. Not to mention it actually looks to be pretty nice. Good job Hobbyking engineer's. My jealousy for your occupation grow's.
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Old Jan 25, 2015, 08:11 PM
erkq is offline
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Nice review of an interesting craft. Thanks! But I'd like to hear the quad instead of electric guitar.
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Old Jan 30, 2015, 08:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DEAk0n View Post
I recently received my Reaper 500 kit...
Kit? This is available as something other than RTF or PNP?
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Old Jan 30, 2015, 06:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmisuinas View Post
Kit? This is available as something other than RTF or PNP?
Here's the link to the kit version. http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/s...pter_KIT_.html
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Old Feb 01, 2015, 09:19 AM
gotime360 is offline
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I flew this quad last week.I agree with Jason it is a little underpowered for hard 3d flight. Also I had to adjust the expo to around 35% in the transmitter , it was way too twitchy with linear Expo and did not want to respond to smooth movements. I found Flyn it in taller grass when landing the belts in the arms tended to slip on the gear.
This may be an advantage win landing hard, or could become a problem at the belts could wear and break in flight.
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Old Mar 08, 2015, 01:34 PM
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assaut reaper 500 take care

You must verify the welds between the wire and the electric plug.
The red wire get off the plug while I was flying.
Result : no electrical power and my model fall like a stone.
For this price I think that hobbyking must have a superior quality.
l
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Old Mar 21, 2015, 11:13 AM
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IMO, why?
I guess to show it can be done?
Way more things to go wrong then a good Helicopter!
And way more parts to break in a crash! LOL
I fly both Quads and Helicopters so, I don't see this being anything great!
Oh well just my thoughts .
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Old Mar 23, 2015, 02:48 PM
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Very good review. There are quite a few parts to break in a crash but it sure would be fun to modify that thing.
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Old Apr 13, 2015, 12:35 AM
WEREE is offline
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I do RVP
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Anybody try an autorotation on this yet? :-)
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Old Apr 24, 2015, 03:25 PM
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i brought the kit but cant get if flying.Can anybody give me some goed transmitter settings.
The manual doesnt help much.I use a spektrum 6 channel receiver .
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Old Jul 18, 2015, 03:42 PM
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any main-thread on these collective pitch quads, most threads seems to be sporadic and died months back...

been thrue numerous thread, on the 3 different brand-version that i sense is avaliable atm.

partically I seek info on the pro & cons between the different models, hence belt & gears and different build-appoaches and the poweramount in refered to the 3k kv on the last particepent*v 383 that also seems to use belt from motor.

there seems to be a world of difference in there specs. -are there a main thread comparing these 3 collective pitch alternatives avaliable in the market these days..(as of summer15)

thx Jason Cole for you review, highly appreciated..
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Old Jul 29, 2015, 03:24 PM
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STOP DUMBING DOWN MY SKY
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How many axis on the gyro?

Since HK would make a point of stressing 6x's in the advertising I'm betting it's only 3.
Shame as I'd buy it with 6, now it looks like Banggood will get my buck.
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