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Helizone Firebird Mini Helicopter Review

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Introduction


Length:220mm
Width:38mm
Height:98mm
Main Rotor:190mm
Transmitter:3 Channel Infrared (6AA req’d)
Charger:Optional USB Charger
Battery:3.7v – 150 mah Li-poly
Gyro:Built-in
Manufacturer:HelizoneRC.com
Street Price:$49.99

This is not your average miniature helicopter packaged to appeal to the masses... this Firebird has class! It is very easy to dismiss an inexpensive miniature helicopter as nothing more than a toy for the inexperienced RC enthusiast, but once you hold this helicopter in your hand, you will understand the difference that sets the Firebird apart from others.

The Coaxial Miniature helicopter provides a stable and very controllable platform to enjoy the thrills of flight within a very small confined space. The small nature of the helicopter combined with its completely locked-in hovering abilities sets the pilot at ease to enjoy the experience instead than worry about keeping it in the air.

The Firebird is a 3 channel, metal alloy frame helicopter suitable for ages 10 and above. It’s extremely durable, and the built-in gyroscope provides its amazing stability in flight.

Box Contents

The Firebird arrived very well packaged and, besides the installation of 6 AA batteries in the transmitter, ready to fly. The helicopter comes nestled in a plastic tray that securely holds both the helicopter and the transmitter in place. Under the tray was the instruction manual along with a bonus USB charging port and spare tail rotor. It was secured inside a windowed cardboard box with a plastic carrying handle. Most boxes are the first things that go in the recycle bin at my house, but not the Firebird's box! It made the perfect carrying and storage case for the helicopter and transmitter between flights and for those trips to the office, home, and gym.

Requires:

  • 6 - AA batteries for the transmitter

Charging

This was one of the best surprises. in addition to the usual method of charging the mini helicopters through a charge port in the transmitter, Helizone also includes a bonus USB Charging Port that allows you to charge the Firebird from your computer or laptop. I must admit that this was the most useful and well thought out features for a helicopter of this size. After plugging the USB cord into my computer, a red solid light remains lit until I connect the Firebird to start the charging process. Once connected, the light goes out and remains off until the charging process is completed. I knew it was time for another work break when the light came back on!

Charging on average from a completely depleted flight pack averaged close to 60 minutes for each charge. If it was any faster, I wouldn’t get anything done in the office!

Flying

In the Pits

The Firebird includes a three channel infrared transmitter for control which requires the installation of 6 AA batteries before you can fly. The transmitter is capable of operating on 3 different bands so you can use the same transmitter with different Firebird models. Once I had the transmitter batteries installed I was ready to fly since the battery in the Firebird was already charged!

Basics

Because of its small size and light weight, the Firebird is sensitive to air currents and turbulence. This never created a problem for me while lifting off. The quick spool of the main rotor got the helicopter airborne in quick fashion, and the solid lock of the built-in gyro kept the helicopter locked in from the moment it broke contact with the desk, floor, file cabinet, speakers, piano, drum riser, etc. (Can you tell I was having fun?)

Hovering was non-eventful right out of the box I required no adjustment on the trim dial. I did move it from one extreme to the other to see what effects it had on the helicopter and found that once properly dialed in the Firebird didn’t drift far in hover.

Forward flight wasn’t what I would call fast but I can’t say I would want it any faster either. The pace seemed a good compromise for the tighter spaces in which I often flew the Firebird: much faster and I would have had trouble flying in the confined spaces, much slower and it would have been more of a roving hover than actual forward flight. The same can be said for the backward flight as well. It was really amazing to watch the helicopter flying just inches from furniture while I flew lazy figure 8s around the office.

Remember, three channels – not four! One of the largest adjustments I had to make in flying the helicopter was constantly reminding myself that I was only flying a three channel helicopter! I had never experienced this with any other similar helicopters I had flown but I have never flown another three channel helicopter that looked this good! My mind seemed to keep telling my thumbs that an alloy framed helicopter couldn’t be anything less than four channels! The Left / Right control on the Helicopter turns the tail rotor in yaw and does not control the bank of the helicopter. Even though this is by design, to some more experienced helicopters pilots this may take some getting used to. For those looking for a more relaxing flight experience in enclosed places, this is a welcomed fact and a complete win for a beginner wishing to make the transition into helicopter flight.

The only issue I ever experienced with the Firebird was from flying in air that was too turbulent. When I tried to fly the Firebird outside it wasn’t able to overcome the slight breeze and was blown away from me. In the calmest of air I’m sure the Firebird would perform flawlessly but if there is any amount of breeze, it is best flown indoors.

I also discovered that the air registers in the ceiling of my office created some powerful air currents. Anytime I got to close to the air vents the Firebird would be pushed to either side out of the way. It than became part of my flight plans to see how close I could fly to the vents. I was flying over my own miniature volcano!

Durability

I didn’t get much experience on this subject with the Firebird in just the normal flights of the helicopter but as badly as it pained me to “take one for the team” - I flew the Firebird into the top of a holly tree at full forward flight. I also chopped the throttle from approximately 6 feet in the air to a crash landing on a concrete floor. In both cases, I picked the helicopter up and resumed flight without any issues. I’m sure one could damage the Firebird if you really tried and for those of you that can destroy a tank - there is a complete assortment of spare parts available to keep you flying. A spare bonus tail rotor is already included in the same package as the USB charger!

Flight Times

With a mix of forward, reverse, hovering, and turns, I was able to average a respectable 7 minutes of flight time. I’m sure with a couple of more cycles on the battery that the flight times should easily extend into the 8+ minute range.

Is This For a Beginner?

Absolutely! My wife was watching me fly around the office during the review process (someone has to work) and made the comment that for a street price of less than $50.00, there isn’t anyone that wouldn’t enjoy flying that “thing”, as she called it. This is the first time EVER that my wife has expressed interest in my “toys” so I took the opportunity to land the Firebird, toss her the transmitter, give her two seconds of instructions, and she was flying. She immediately launched the Firebird into a rather stable (although a little bouncy) hover and cut a smile in my direction. She knew she had made my day!

I experienced this over and over again as I passed the transmitter to non-experienced pilots for their turn at the controls. I even found the Firebird to be a great introduction and goodwill ambassador for the RC hobby with its simplicity to fly, stable flight, and instant ability to learn. Some of the flight video included in this review are first flights of my students. Hopefully they will be following me to the airfield now!

Flight Video/Photo Gallery

Downloads

Indoor Flight Video  55.93 MB

Conclusion

The Helizone Firebird takes the best of miniature helicopters, combines it with the stability of a coaxial design, adds an alloy frame for strength and rigidity and for the hotrodder in all of us, a nice flame job to round out a great little helicopter that I’m sure will provide hours of entertainment regardless of any skill level. I’m waiting for the battery to charge right now so I can fly again!

Available in 3 different exciting color schemes - red, blue and black - there is a Firebird for everyone to enjoy!

I would like to thank RCGroups.com member, killbucket for the use of his amazing photos of the Firebird. Check out all of his amazing photos here on RCGroups.com

Pluses:

*Metal alloy frame not only looks great to really adds some major durability to the design * Bonus USB charger extremely useful and did not use the transmitter batteries *Carrying case and molded plastic tray stores the helicopter in a safe and secure manner *Transmitter was large enough to hold *Something has to be said for the Firebird's style and design - A+

Minuses:

  • Length of charge time for a single cell lithium was a little long compared to most and twice as long as advertised
Last edited by Angela H; Jun 16, 2010 at 04:46 PM..

Discussion

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Old Jun 16, 2010, 05:30 PM
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Ceros007's Avatar
Montreal, Québec, Canada
Joined Apr 2010
1,471 Posts
Nice review!
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Old Jun 16, 2010, 08:44 PM
Aut Viam Inveniam Aut Faciam
verticalspark's Avatar
United States, CO, Colorado Springs
Joined Oct 2008
4,057 Posts
cool, I saw one of these at the LHS and was wondering about it. Great review!
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Old Jun 16, 2010, 09:08 PM
Fly Runaway Fans
United States, TX, Fort Worth
Joined Jan 2009
9,377 Posts
A couple added details:

Firebird is structurally identical to Syma 107, which is $12 cheaper*. Comparing the insides of the Syma and the FB transmitter, better workmanship is evident in the FB.

While the TX bezel is labeled A/B/C channels, you will find that the switch can only be moved to A or B.

The relatively slow charge is in the owner's best interest, as lipos don't like to be rushed. Aggressive charging (as seen in SH 6025) can dramatically shorten flight time.

Comparing FB/107 to others in class like the SH 602x, FB yaw and elevator have more steps of resolution. To which I attribute their grace in flight, compared to other 3chs.

* Assuming the code is still valid, Helizonerc.com sells FB for $10 off list or $39.99 by typing 'firebird' into the code box at checkout. Shipping is 3-5 business day (US) and included in the price. California state tax may apply if you live there.
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Old Jun 17, 2010, 01:47 AM
North East England
Joined Feb 2004
3,181 Posts
Nice review and great pics by Killbucket, as usual.

If any UK model shop owners are reading this...PLEASE get some stocks in!!!! The S107 is a surefire sell-out model and the Firebird would be too.
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Old Jun 18, 2010, 01:31 PM
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Matt Gunn's Avatar
United States, OH, Parma
Joined Jul 2009
4,946 Posts
Great review! Well written as always and pics are good. Im glad we are doing more helis.
Matt
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Old Jun 19, 2010, 05:13 AM
Registered User
Urbana,Oh
Joined Dec 2008
39 Posts
Very nice review. My wife has a FB and I have a syme 107 and I have to say that I like the FB soooo much better. Both have seen their fair share of crashes and the FB just shakes them off to fly again while my 107 has both ends of the stabilizer broken and its flight times do not seem to last as long as the FB. I guess now I will have to buy the other 2 colors.

Again great review of a great little indoor flyer
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Old Jun 19, 2010, 05:31 AM
I'm FAMOUS
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Great review, but as has been repeatedly pointed out elsewhere, I could have taken better pics.
Sorry folks, I will try harder.
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Old Jun 19, 2010, 12:38 PM
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cadconversions's Avatar
Scottsville, KY
Joined Jun 2002
5,641 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by killbucket View Post
Great review, but as has been repeatedly pointed out elsewhere, I could have taken better pics.
Sorry folks, I will try harder.
I would really hate to see how much nicer your pics could have been! Yeah right... Haha. Thanks again for the use of your awesome pics for the article.
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Old Jun 19, 2010, 03:18 PM
Fly Runaway Fans
United States, TX, Fort Worth
Joined Jan 2009
9,377 Posts
I'm one of the photo critics. Besides just criticism, I should say that your color composition is delightful, even when it subtracts contrast from the primary subject.

Easy to be critical, being in the image industry (network video engineer) for 15 years. Specially when I have no digital photo capability at all. And I squawk that suitable-for-mural JPG files bog my steam-powered computer. Where most people have a second optical drive, I have a slot where I put coal into it.

But the criticism is well intentioned. Nothing could be harder to light than flat black on flat black detail, but that's what helicopter mechanisms are and the mechanisms are what I'm interested in.
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Old Jun 20, 2010, 06:38 AM
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cajun rx8's Avatar
Da swamps of La!!!
Joined Nov 2009
121 Posts
Arbllab, I can donate ya a better rig if needed. My coal powered computer now warms the landfill.
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Old Jun 20, 2010, 11:17 AM
r/c addict
USA, LA, DeRidder
Joined Jul 2004
202 Posts
cool little dudes

got me a couple ordered just for sh#!$ and giggles on the days i cant fly the rex
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Old Jun 20, 2010, 11:44 AM
Fly Runaway Fans
United States, TX, Fort Worth
Joined Jan 2009
9,377 Posts
Very kind of you to offer, cajun. Brother gave me his old Athlon, with Realflight installed. I just haven't put it online. Since the two boxes won't talk to each other--W98 has no native networking utility--the roadblock has been getting stuff off the old box into the new one. I know how to transplant the drive, so it 'can' be done, I just didn't want to be out of service for the time it would take.
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Old Jun 20, 2010, 03:01 PM
I luv Doritos on a Stick!
cajun rx8's Avatar
Da swamps of La!!!
Joined Nov 2009
121 Posts
I got ya bro, just hate to see a good man down. Clone the old drive, mount in the newer machine and copy at your leasure. while running a faster rig.

On to the S107 stuff, my little Firebird is now becoming my daughters fav toy. She is very good with it at 8.5 years old and no fear cause dad can fix it.
I still love it, just a really cool Heli unlike the mauler Wk Super Ufly I also own.
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Old Jun 25, 2010, 11:56 PM
r/c addict
USA, LA, DeRidder
Joined Jul 2004
202 Posts
out of all my years in the hobby this little bird has to be the coolest best bang for the buck that iv ever bought. so unbelievably stable and a blast to fly
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