JJ 531 Attack Helicopter
TMart has sent me a JJ 531 (camouflage design) for review. I was deeply attracted to its attack helicopter camouflage fuselage, but I was a little worried about its performance because it has a different rotor head design that I'm used to, and it uses infrared for communication. I never liked infrared helicopters so I lowered my expectations of this helicopter right before my test flight. So how does it fare? Let's find out!
As you can see, it is slightly smaller than a typical V911 or Helios 100.
The flybar appears short thanks to the use of paddles at each end.
There is no swashplate and no linkage rods to control rotor blades. I'd like to know how the helicopter is able to move in the 4 directions with such a rotor head. Any ideas?
The tail rotor look big and the tail section doesn't appear house an electric tail motor. The tail blades are not driven by a torque tube or a belt as the main rotor rotation will not move the tail rotor.
I suspect the motor is hidden inside the tail section, driving the tail rotor through a pinion gear system.
Flip the helicopter over and you'll find the while LED light, infrared receiver, power switch, and charging socket. Like most of the components, the battery is hidden inside the nice looking fuselage. The battery is charged via USB cable.
The white LED light is very bright. Even in the day, the light can be clearly seen from far.
As this helicopter uses infrared for transmission, it cannot be flown under bright sunlight, so night flying with the bright LED is great.
The feel of the transmitter could be better. It's small even for my asian hands. It does only comes with an analog rudder trim knob. THere is a button to remotely toggle the lights on / off. Like most infrared transmitters, it can switch between 3 channels - A, B, and C. It uses 6 x AA batteries and it has a charging cable that can be connected directly to the helicopter.
(Sorry I did not take photos of the transmitter!)
The helicopter flies fine. It certainly feels nothing like the infrared 3-channel coaxials, but it also doesn't feel like the V911 or Helios 100.
It is able to fly forward and backward; bank left and right; and yaw left and right. Throttle and rudder are as responsive as a V911 but the cyclic movements are not. It takes a slight moment to have the helicopter move in the direction that I had commanded. But that is not a problem after 2 or 3 tries. I could pull off banked turns with this helicopter and I'm rather surprised by that.
The forward speed of the helicopter is unexpectedly fast; it came as a pleasant surprise as my previous 3-channel infrared helicopters flew at half its pace.
Flying the helicopter is straightforward. For indoor flights, aileron controls can be ignored - just rely on throttle, rudder, and elevator. It's almost like flying a 3-channel coaxial, only that it looks way better without the two-layered rotor blades. Newbies may find it difficult to execute banked turns indoors, unless the air space is big.
I took it down to the empty streets for a test night flight. I was expecting transmission failure my experiences with infrared helicopters outdoors are bad. To my amazement, the helicopter worked well outdoors.
As long as I point the infrared transmitter at the helicopter, it would work. But after approximately 10 meters or so, the helicopter would lose connectivity and "land" to the ground. The short flying range is a slight disappointment as the helicopter has a bright search light for night flying, but I couldn't fly it far.
To be fair, under such poor lighting, I could only fly my V911 or Helios at that range, but is limited by my eyesight (not by remote connectivity).
As my V911 or Helios did not come with lights, I had a lot of fun flying the JJ 531 at night. There was a slight "porpoise" effect (nose-tail seesaw) when the helicopter stopped moving forward. This is highly likely attributed by the paddle flybar, as folks who have the Helios 100 can attest to this. While the helicopter moves fast, it is not fast enough to cause flybar strikes, or the flybar is just too high to strike the canopy.
To put it bluntly, I'm not expecting a lot from a "toy" that costs much less than a V911. However, the helicopter performance surpassed my expectations. A proficient V911 pilot may not fully appreciate the flight characteristics of this helicopter, but to a newbie who wish to progress from a coaxial to the next stage, this helicopter may be a good intermediate step. Or someone who fancy appearance over flight performance may also find joy flying this helicopter.
My indoor test flight:
Unboxing video by Tmart:
High resolution photos can be found at my Flickr page.
+ Great looking fuselage!
+ Useful search lights
+ Reasonably priced
- Slight lag in response cyclic movements
- Intermitten interference under bright sunlight
- Short range
Already a post : http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1415317 its a HCW 531 "Sky Thunderclap"
Nice photos and review!
As someone else said, this chopper has been available for almost 2 years in the US, just with a different color and name.
I still like to fly mine every now and then!
For $27 shipped it's a viable alternative to cheap 4-ch coaxes like the S800.
Joined Apr 2012
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