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Horizon Hobby Blade SR UH-1 Huey RTF Review

Chris Mulcahy reviews the Blade SR UH-1 Huey from Blade Helis, with the optional lighting kit.

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Introduction


Main Rotor Diameter:21.7 in (552mm)
Tail Rotor Diameter:3.23 in (82mm)
Weight:14 oz (397 g)
Length:19.1 in (485mm)
Servos:E-Flite DS75H
Transmitter:6-channel HP6DSM 2.4GHz
Receiver:Spektrum AR6100e Microlite Receiver
Gyro:E-flite G110 Heading Lock Gyro
Battery:3S 11.1V 1000mAh Li-Po
Motor:Brushless 3900Kv
Price:$239.99
Manufacturer:Blade Helis
Available From:Hobby Retailers

The Blade SR has been available for a while now, and the optional UH-1 body kit has also been available. Blade Helis decided to combine the two in a ready to fly package, that will get beginners and advanced pilots alike up in the air with a scale looking Huey in no time. As with all Blade helis, the SR UH-1 Huey is ready to go out of the box, just charge the battery and fly. There is an optional light kit available (for those dawn/dusk missions) and I'll also take a look at installing it.

The Bell UH-1 Iroquois

The Bell UH-1 Iroquis is arguably one of the most recognized helicopters in the world. Originally designated HU-1, it earned it's nickname "Huey". It first flew in 1956 and production began in 1960. In 1962 the Huey entered service with the US Army, and went straight in to the Vietnam war. About 7000 Hueys saw service in Vietnam, with more than 16,000 built worldwide. The Huey proved so successful, that it has been used in many different rolls over the years, from search and rescue to fire fighting, and are still being used to this day.

Kit Contents

The Huey arrived in a box that, like most Blade's helis, doubles as a carrying case. The box contained the UH-1 Huey, the HP6DSM 6 channel 2.5GHz transmitter and AA batteries, a 3S 11.1V 1000mAh Li-Po flight battery, AC/DC battery charger, bind plug, small screwdriver and allen wrench, and some strips of velcro. Included with the instruction manual was a DVD, loaded with videos that illustrate how to maintain and repair the Huey.
The charger uses the balance plug on the battery for charging, with two LEDs to indicate what the charger is doing. The main power connector on the battery is the small JST style connector. The velcro is used for attaching the battery to the Huey, with an additional strap that wraps around it. The gun pods need to be attached, and they plug into the side of the fuselage. They need to be removed to place the Huey back in the box, so if you plan on using the box as a carry case - don't glue them in!

The HP6DSM transmitter is a familiar transmitter throughout the Blade line up. It is a six channel 2.4GHz transmitter, paired up to a Spektrum AR6100e Microlite Receiver. This setup is running DSM2 technology, which is also compatible with other DSM2/DSMX transmitters. The transmitter has a good solid feel to it, as do all the switches. The throttle stick has a slight ratchet to it, but only enough to let you know that it is there. It is powered by four "AA" batteries, which are included in the box.



The Huey

The Huey looks great out of the box, it is a good representation of the real thing. The fuselage itself is a soft sort of vinyl plastic, and pretty thin to keep it light. I had to be careful when plugging in the gun pods, as the fuse will bend pretty easy. One of the gun pods plugged in fairly snug, the other was a little loose, but I resisted the temptation to glue it in. The front half of the Huey is held on by a tab on the bottom, and two strong magnets on the top. With the hatch removed there is plenty of access to install the battery. The one thing that caught my eye right away was the big blue heat sink on the tail rotor, not very scale but a necessary part. It might have looked better if the heatsink was a dark green or even black, but I'm not going to hold that against an otherwise great looking heli.

As mentioned earlier, the battery is held in place by a strip of velcro stuck to one side of the battery and the battery tray, and an additional strap wraps around the whole thing. After installing the battery I did a quick CG check, and found that no matter where I put the battery the Huey seemed tail heavy. I was curious to see how this would pan out when flying.

There is that tail rotor heat sink, unfortunately it is required and helps dissipate heat from the tail rotor motor. The main rotor is the same head from the Blade SR, in fact under the "hood" is the Blade SR mechanics powering the Huey. Hidden out of sight (unless you remove the fuselage) are the E-Flite DS75H servos and G110 heading lock gyro. The gain settings for the gyro are accessible through a small hole in the fuse using the provided screwdriver.

Light Kit

Installing the light kit was a little bit more involved than I initially thought. The biggest hurdle is having to remove the tail rotor wiring with a soldering iron in order to remove the fuselage. Fortunately, the DVD shows in great detail how to go about this process, and although it may seem daunting to someone who has never soldered anything before, it's actually quite simple. I had to make a few small cuts in the nose of the fuse and at the tail in order for the LEDs to be installed, and I used an exacto knife for this. I glued the lights in place with a little drop of medium C/A glue, and zip tied the light controller to the side of the plastic main frames. There is a small extension cable to the receiver that is used for the bind plug, it is routed so that you can access it through the front hatch of the fuse. Without it you wouldn't be able to access the receiver without removing the fuse. This is where the lights are plugged into for power, if you need to rebind then it is a simple process to unplug the lights to use the bind plug.

Routing the wires through the fuse was easy enough, but plugging the lights into the controller while in the fuse was a little bit challenging, and I ended up using a tweezer to help guide the plugs where they needed to go. The instruction DVD shows an additional extension used that wasn't in the light kit, however I was able to plug in all of the lights without it. You end up with a bright white LED on the nose as a spot light, a flashing red strobe LED on the top of the "doghouse", and a solid red LED on the back of the tail. Once the install was completed, it looked pretty cool and I was excited to get it outside to try it out as the sun was setting.

Flying



The charger can be used either at home in an AC outlet, or off of your 12v car battery (or any other 12v DC source). It charges at 800ma, which is a safe 200ma short of charging the battery at 1C. I charged up the battery before heading out the field, and used my 12v vehicle battery for subsequent charges.
The Huey has a nice slow soft start programmed in to the ESC, so the blades won't whip around if you accidentally bump the throttle stick. Like with most helis, it is important to keep the heli still while the gyro initializes. At first take off, the tail wagged considerably, so I landed and adjusted the gyro gain. I was able to get the wag under control for the most part, but with the nature of the tail rotor motor it was impossible to eliminate all of the wag. Other than that, hovering was fairly uneventful. The expo settings gave the Huey a mushy feeling around center, although with plenty of authority as you apply more cyclic. Anyone coming from a smaller helicopter, such as the mSRX, might find the Huey slow to respond until they get used to it.



Once I put the Huey into forward flight, the tail settled in nicely and the Huey felt pretty good. It does look very cool, especially in the low fly bys! Flying in the evenings really showed off the LED lighting, but I wouldn't recommend flying it in complete darkness!
Idle up, or stunt mode, keeps the motor going at a set rpm while you change pitch, and is at a higher rpm setting than normal mode. Once I flipped the switch to idle up, it was obvious that the Huey preferred the higher head speed as the tail behaved much better. Remember that loose fitting gun pod I mentioned earlier? Unfortunately it fell off some time during a flight, and despite a thorough search I just couldn't find it again (its camo worked too well against the winter grass!). Glue can't be used to hold them in place if you plan on using the box to carry it around in, but I thought that a small pinch with pliers on the tube that the gun pods plug into would be sufficient to tighten the fit.
The tail rotor motor does work very hard, you can hear it buzzing up and down as you hover. I can see why the blue heatsink is on there, otherwise I think the motor would overheat. The tail seems to have the hardest time while hovering, with sudden changes in throttle and pitch the tail struggles to keep up, resulting in a small wag. This wag is well documented in the SR threads, and there are steps you can do to minimize it, but at the end of the day it will always wag a little. However put it into some forward flight and the tail gets quiet and stops twitching, and after a few flights the wag didn't bother me as much.

Is This For a Beginner?

I always find this question difficult to answer, and I end up having to define a beginner as someone who has never flown anything R/C related before, and has no experience with how a helicopter flies. With that defined, despite the fact that Blade lists the helicopter for beginners, I would have to say that I wouldn't recommend this heli for beginners. The reasons being that a beginner will inevitably crash, and the parts cost will add up fast. Also, the scale fuselage is not easily removed without a soldering iron, which a beginner may not have previous experience with. The fuselage can also be damaged easily, due to its light construction.
However, someone looking to transition from a small coax, or other micro heli, with a basic understanding of how things work, would be able to hover the Huey without too much trouble. Advanced pilots will also have a lot of fun with it!

Flight Video/Photo Gallery







Conclusion

Despite a few minor drawbacks, I actually have a lot of fun with the Huey and like it a lot. It looks really good, and pushing past the tail idiosyncrasies, it is a fun little chopper to weave around through the long grass. Beginners who have some experience should get a kick out of flying their first scale chopper, and pilots with more experience will have fun flying it low and fast. I do feel that the tail motor is the only thing letting it down, and if it could somehow be converted to a belt drive with variable pitch tail, it would make it a perfect little scale model. Until someone comes up with a conversion, I'll continue to happily fly it on dawn patrol.

Pros:
Great looking scale heli
Nothing else needed to fly
Easy battery access
Cons:
Loose gun pod
Tail motor could be improved
Fuselage not easy to remove

Last edited by Angela H; May 31, 2012 at 04:41 PM..

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Old Jun 01, 2012, 07:05 AM
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United States, IN, Mooresville
Joined Feb 2008
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Great revies and nice video. Cool Chopper!!
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Old Jun 01, 2012, 07:09 AM
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United States, MA, Sutton
Joined Aug 2006
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I purchased the EFLH1380 Huey kit for my old Blade CP Pro and found it to work GREAT! The kit came with the tail motor conversion and I upgraded the rest of the mechanics to CP Pro 2 stuff and used an old Telebee gyro.

It flew GREAT! the tail held perfect and the heli had lots of power with the Pro 2 motor. I even ran a larger 3cell 1300mah pack for longer flight times without an issue. One day flying in a school gym over in the corner I was practicing very slow FF patterns right in front of me when a large EPP foam came out of nowhere and dove right into the heli. The jumble of parts went spinning into the ground. A pilot lent his EPP plane to a newbee that took off out of control on a b-line right into my heli. That short flight cost me my excellent running Huey.

I purchased replacement parts for the CP Pro 2 mechanics but never got the new tail motor to hold like the original motor. I swapped gyro's and tried all kinds of tweaks on the setup but it never flew again as I couldn't trust the tail to hold as it would blow out under any pitch change. I have no idea why the original setup worked so well. It had absolutely no wag and held the tail perfectly. It now sits in a parts box stripped of its electrics.
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Old Jun 01, 2012, 10:12 AM
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United States, MN, Otsego
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I purchased the UH-1 SR heli because I love scale fuselages and it was time for me to get into CP flight. Not 3d mind you, just want to fly scale. I originally went to pick up an SR but the huey beckoned to me. I have had it for some time now but have been afraid to take her out for fear of my inexperience. I started with a large co-axial and then micro fp's but the huey would be my very first CP heli. I have been thinking about either building a 450 clone or perhaps buying a regular SR to work with first before risking the huey on such a noob to collective pitch.

I have been practicing on phoenix with the SR and can do well there even with the rotor stability turned down (the default in phoenix is 130%, didn't seem like a cp could possibly be as stable as she flies in the sim on the default settings, but I hope I am wrong!)

I keep thinking about taking her out for a maiden hover... wind and rain have kept me grounded the last few weeks though and probably again this weekend as well.

Thanks for the review... you made it look easy... is the huey as stable as it looks in your video?

Jim
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Old Jun 01, 2012, 10:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcmors View Post
I purchased the UH-1 SR heli because I love scale fuselages and it was time for me to get into CP flight. Not 3d mind you, just want to fly scale. I originally went to pick up an SR but the huey beckoned to me. I have had it for some time now but have been afraid to take her out for fear of my inexperience. I started with a large co-axial and then micro fp's but the huey would be my very first CP heli. I have been thinking about either building a 450 clone or perhaps buying a regular SR to work with first before risking the huey on such a noob to collective pitch.

I have been practicing on phoenix with the SR and can do well there even with the rotor stability turned down (the default in phoenix is 130%, didn't seem like a cp could possibly be as stable as she flies in the sim on the default settings, but I hope I am wrong!)

I keep thinking about taking her out for a maiden hover... wind and rain have kept me grounded the last few weeks though and probably again this weekend as well.

Thanks for the review... you made it look easy... is the huey as stable as it looks in your video?

Jim
It is very stable, and you shouldn't have any problems hovering it. Just remember that all helis feel a little different, so it may take a few hops for you to get used to it. I say go for it!
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Old Jun 03, 2012, 07:00 PM
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Who's going to be the first to get 20 of these together to re-enact the Apocalypse Now beach scene?
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Old Jun 03, 2012, 09:00 PM
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Who's going to be the first to get 20 of these together to re-enact the Apocalypse Now beach scene?
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That would be something worth seeing!
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Old Jun 05, 2012, 09:35 AM
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Who's going to be the first to get 20 of these together to re-enact the Apocalypse Now beach scene?
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I'm down. I'll build mine this weekend.
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Old Jun 06, 2012, 10:10 PM
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Wow. Great review. Thank you. I am thinking of getting myself one.
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Old Jun 07, 2012, 07:48 PM
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I love mine!
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Old Jun 14, 2012, 01:08 AM
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United States, CA, Anaheim
Joined Aug 1999
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I have a Blade SR Huey. I love the detail scale looks of it. I notice though, that it seems to lean to the right while hovering in one place. This is noticable when I'm standing behind it and hovering it. It doesn't necessarily want to fly to the right, it just "leans" that way. I notice it because the rotors are lower on the right side (viewing it from the back). Any ideas?
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Old Jun 14, 2012, 02:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Gene View Post
I have a Blade SR Huey. I love the detail scale looks of it. I notice though, that it seems to lean to the right while hovering in one place. This is noticable when I'm standing behind it and hovering it. It doesn't necessarily want to fly to the right, it just "leans" that way. I notice it because the rotors are lower on the right side (viewing it from the back). Any ideas?
You can hover this thing, but have no idea of the physics involved? Label me lost!

The main rotor turns clockwise. Therefore the torque makes the nose go left. The tail rotor is pushing a bunch of air out to the right to compensate for the torque of the main rotor. That airflow to the right pushes the entire helicopter to the left. Thus, to balance that, the helicopter needs to lean to the right a bit.

If the rotor turned counter-clockwise, the helicopter would lean to the left. Its all perfectly normal helicopter physics.
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Old Jun 14, 2012, 08:28 AM
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Thank you.
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Old Jun 14, 2012, 09:24 AM
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United States, MN, Otsego
Joined Dec 2010
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Weather! arrrrrggghhhhh

Still waiting to maiden mine. I have charged (and then discharged) the batteries several times over the last week or so. Nothing but wind here (except briefly during the work day when I can't get out to fly). This week all week, thunderstorms, 20 mph winds on average, rain... the heli gods do not like me.

Hopefully at some point I will get to see her actually lift off the ground!

I don't leave my batteries charged for more than 24 hours, then I bring them back to storage charge levels. Is it safe to leave them charged longer? How do you deal with being in a place where in order to fly you have to be ready to take advantage of an unusual calm moment from time to time?

Jim
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Old Jun 14, 2012, 08:26 PM
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jcmors, don't feel like you're alone. I have the same thing here in Northern California. Wind, rain, wind, rain. The rain has pretty much stopped but the wind hasn't. I sometimes have to wait until 8 P M to take the helicopter outside to fly it in the yard. It's close enough to dark by 9 P M that I have to put it away. I put white rotors on it to help to see it at dusk.

On another subject. I'm considering installing the Mini Dean's connectors on the wiring at the tail motor. That way, if you have to remove the fuselage for some reason, you can just unplug the motor wires and remove the tail motor without having to unsolder it.

Yet another subject and this is something that I wish Horizon Hobby had considered. I'll probably recommend it to them. As you probably know, the instruction manual for the SR Huey is real brief. Too brief. The Huey is built on the SR design. The on line manual for the original SR is much more thorough with a lot more details than the Huey instructions. Since the Huey is built on the SR design, I don't see why you can't use the information from the SR manual. And it appears that the parts are interchangable. Am I wrong ? If so apeak up and let me know.
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