|Aug 30, 2014, 06:54 PM|
Heli Pad Review Series: ESKY F150 Scale Lama 3-Axis Gyro Flybarless Helicopter
Cue Airwolf theme music… I haven’t had a scale helicopter for a long time, mostly because a pod and boom helicopter is easier to maintain and I don’t like most of the helicopter fuselages. However, I would always make an exception for the Bell 222. Since the day Airwolf was on the air waves in the mid 80’s, I have been admiring this helicopter. In this new release, ESKY brings in this stylish fuselage, and it immediately peaks my interest.
The subject of this review is the new ESKY F150 mini Scale Lama 3-Axis Gyro Flybarless Helicopter. Please do not be confused with another earlier model released by ESKY with a very similar name, ESKY 150 mini (not F150). That 150 is not a Scale of the Airwolf. It is just a regular pod and boom helicopter. The mechanical parts are very different between the two. In the old 150 model, an optional 45° Flybar could also be installed to add stability to the helicopter, so that it would fly more like a V911 or an mSR.
When my ESKY F150 arrived, its appearance definitely did not disappoint. It has a shinny piano black top and a white belly that looks like an orca. It is so beautiful that before I do anything else, all I want to do is to take a photo shoot of it. The F150 is quite small. At 180mm, it is even smaller than the small HiSKY HFP80, and a tad under the S107G. It will like fit in your hand. True to the original Bell 222, the tail rotor is on the left side of the fuselage, different from most of the RC helicopters we have. But the still pushes air to the right, like the other single rotor helicopters that we are familiar with. The head design is super clean. Typically, on a pod and boom helicopter, the swashplate, servos, and linkages are exposed and visible. But it is not the case with the F150. Again, true to its original helicopter, ESKY worked hard to hide these mechanical parts. Therefore, no servos or swashplate is visible. The only visible parts above the fuselage are clean rotor grips and two links beside them. To make the top opening small, the links are also bent towards the main shaft and they go down into the fuselage tightly along the shaft, inside of the main bearings! That was quite a sight to see. Needless to say, all the hard working parts, like the main motor, gears, servos, swashplates, Rx, and batteries are inside of the body. Exactly how they are laid out and work together, we’ll get to them later. But boy, what a beautiful aircraft it is! At this moment, I don’t really care if it flies, I could just put it on a shelf and admire it all day long! But it does fly, I promise.
· Great Looks, hands down the most beautiful helicopter in my fleet
· Affordable pricing
· Flybarless design
· Stable flight with 3-Axis gyro stabilization
· Great for both indoor and outdoor
· Compact and Transportable
· Light weight (31g)
· Lipo battery with plugs
· Less than stellar Radio
· No navigation Lights
· Tail Fin blocks air flow
· Requires constant removal of the Canopy
· Stock charging cable only allows you to charge from Tx
· Useless Manual
Just for the appearance of the ESKY F150 mini Scale, and its price, I would recommend a BUY. If you’re looking for a great and easy-to-fly machine, get the HiSKY 6-Axis helicopters. If you’re looking for more agility and a greater challenge, get the HiSKY 3-Axis helicopters. But if you love scale helicopters and you just recently moved up from the Flybar helicopter world, this is a very good choice. If you like a shelf queen, look no further, this is it!
This F150 pleases your eyes no matter which angle you look at it. Everything is clean and true to scale. But being true to scale has its downside also. First of all, the tail rotor is on the left hand side of the body, pushing air to the right, and right into the large tail fin located in front of it. This makes a very inefficient tail, causing the tail motor to over-work. This is so, because in the real world, the main rotor of a Bell 222 spins CCW, and the tail rotor pushes air left, away from the tail fin, not into the tail fin. However, in our RC world, we are used to a CW main rotor, and everything is the opposite of the real thing. Could ESKY have followed the real Bell and copied all the directions? Yes, they could have. But they would have produced a difficult toy for us to fly, because our muscle memory dictates us flying a CW rotor. We automatically compensate how the helicopter turns that way. If everything is suddenly backwards, we’ll have a hard time flying it. Could ESKY have put the tail rotor on the other side of the body? Yes, they could have. But then it would not be true to scale. Therefore, this true to scale game puts lots of restrictions on the design team.
To have that clean scale body means all the mechanics and battery have to be hidden inside of the body. Translation: You have to take off the body every time you want to recharge the battery, or to replace it. The F150 does have an on/off switch, so that your battery could be connected the whole time while you travel with the F150. But guess what? The switch is in the body as well. It is located under the Lipo on the left side. Fortunately, if you have a long, sharp object in on your key chain, you could stick it through the small cutout window and activate the switch with it, without taking off the canopy. The canopy was very well done. Minimal lines were showing. It does not require tools to remove the canopy, but it is a tight fit. You want to be careful not to rip the light weight canopy. Therefore, the operation of removing it and putting it on takes patience. And believe me when I say that everything is a tight fit inside the body. The Lipo (150mAh) gives only about 4+ minutes of flight. It has lead wires and a micro JST plug. In theory, you could have a handful of charged up Lipo and you could go flying for a while. But you need to remove the canopy each time to change battery. That’s another price you pay for having a clean looking scale helicopter. You can’t have battery hanging under the belly, or even wires exposed.
After owning so many pod and boom helicopters, which have the similar all exposed design where the swashplates and other mechanical parts are clearly visible, a peek into the “Engine Room” of the F150 is just pure engineering marvel. Everything, except the tail section is mounted on the main corpus which is smartly secured to the fuselage using only 1 screw and two support beams that happen to hold the canopy to the body as well. The Rx lies flat under the Lipo and they live in the nose section. Behind it houses the 8x20mm main brushed motor with an 8-t metal pinion, driving the main gear. The shaft is made of a light weight metal tube. In the center of everything you will locate the swashplate. Servos are mounted horizontally with linear tracks running vertically. As I mentioned before, the linkages are not straight. They are bent to conform and run along the main shaft up and through the small opening of a bearing. Communications between the Rx and the servos were done through a flat ribbon cable. This unique arrangement in the engine department is worth visiting.
The radio transmitter scores a low marks with me. First of all, it looks cheap and doesn’t feel comfortable in the hands. The controls could not be more basic. There is no LCD, but a single LED. The trim buttons do not give you any audio feedback and you have no way of knowing whether you are off-center or not. The sticks feel a bit short, too. I have opened it up. The transmitting module has a 30mm wire as an antenna. Otherwise it is as plain as it can be. It doesn’t have dual rate. It does have two pins sticking up from the middle of the PCB. They are basically the direct output of the 4x AA cells that you installed, and these pin are used to charge the helicopter Lipo via a simple JST to micro JST cable. No USB cable is provided in this kit. So, unless you have a better charger yourself, you are to charge from the Tx batteries, quickly draining them. This is a poor setup. I feel that at the very least, ESKY should have included a simple USB charging cable.
Like any 3-Axis Flybarless helicopter, the F150 is fairly stable, and has a higher potential to fly against wind than any helicopter with Flybar. That is because the Flybar helps stabilize the helicopter, but it also limits the helicopter’s ability to tip and fly aggressively. The F150 doesn’t have that limitation. It is stable but it is not going to fly itself. The pilot has to actively control the helicopter just to get a stable hover. And when the pilot pushes on the cyclic stick, the helicopter responses, and there isn’t a flybar to counteract your command. In terms of flight characteristics, I place the F150 in between the two HiSKY flybarless helicopters that I recently reviewed. HiSKY released 2 versions of its fixed pitch flybarless helicopters. Version 1 is 3-Axis; it is very lively and agile. It is not for beginners. Version 2 is 6-Axis; it is a lot more stable and easy to control. F150 is in between version 1 and 2. It is not as lively as version 1, but it is easier to fly. But when compared to version 2, the F150 is less stable. It is an intermediate flyer. The F150 is single rotor, so it still leans on one side as it flies.
Because of its small size, dark body, and that it has no navigation LED lights on the outside, flying it at a distance or at night is going to be problematic. Adding a front search light and color navigation lights on the sides would greatly improve the visibility of the F150. Flight time is about 4+ minutes. There is only one rate on this helicopter. There is no novice or advanced modes to choose from.
What comes in the Package?
The ESKY F150 RTF Package comes with the following:
· 1x ESKY F150 3-Axis 4CH Helicopter
· 1x 150mAh 20C Lipo battery
· 1x 2.4GHz Radio Transmitter
· 1x Spare Rotors
· 1x Charging Cable
· 1x User Manual (PDF)
Where to buy?
The ESKY F150 mini Scale Helicopter is available by clicking the Link below:
ESKY F150 mini Scale Helicopter
|Aug 30, 2014, 06:54 PM|
ESKY F150 Scale Parts List
Replacement parts are quite affordable. For your convenience, look up the parts you need and click on them to order:
ESKY F150 mini Scale
F150 Scale Fuselage
F150 3.7v 150mAh Lipo
F150 Main Rotors
F150 Main Frame
F150 Rx Control Board
F150 Shaft and Rotor Head
F150 Blade Grips
F150 Linkages Set
F150 Push Rods
F150 Screws Set
F150 Left Servo
F150 Right Servo
|Aug 30, 2014, 08:22 PM|
Cool looking heli. I bet the tail motor can be set to the other side easily. So that it's airflow doesn't get blocked.
Can't wait to give it a fly. Very interesting mechanical design in the swash area. To allow to fit inside the fuselage.
|Aug 30, 2014, 08:32 PM|
Joined Dec 2012
I was always very impressed with the build quality and workmanship that went into eSky products Vs the price.
Nice review by the way.
|Sep 01, 2014, 10:53 PM|
Thanks, I'm glad that you enjoyed reading the review. No, I haven't heard too much about the big brother F300BL, other than the preliminary info. And I don't like to speculate. It hasn't been released yet. If I get a chance to review it, I'll write up the details. But I am quite fond of this little guy, because I could fly it in small places. Can't imagine zipping a 300 size BL helicopter inside of the house. For some parts of the country, people are starting to make plans to keep flying inside the house when winter comes. For that, you've got to think small. The F300BL would probably a great outdoor flyer.
|Sep 03, 2014, 11:59 AM|
Joined Feb 2007
Price and looks hard to beat cute scale heli FBL . I have Heli-Max MD 530 RX ready. Had ATatic 600 doing nothing and it works fine. Bird fly slow but decent and has very bright front lite and nice bright red tail lite also. Good battery four minutes not bad. anyway cute Scale birds.
|Sep 20, 2014, 09:04 AM|
Hello Heli Pad, Outstanding review, well done. I hope you get to do a review on the F300BL. The mechanics should be the same just larger. Sept /13th I ordered a F300BL from Banggood. $73.00. I hope i didn't jump the gun by ordering prematurely. I don't see spare parts anywhere. l will do a post when it get here. I couldn't do a review nowhere near as impressive as yours. We all know it can take anywhere from ten day's to a month for delivery. I emailed Banggood about spare parts. They said they will get parts as soon as there supplier make them available. I am very excited about this heli. It will be my first scale helicopter.
|Oct 01, 2014, 01:14 AM|
Nice review Heli Pad, any chance you have a video of this heli in action? I'm curious of how it flies outdoor in 1-3 mph wind.
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