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Horizon Hobby Blade 130 X BNF - Review

Chris Mulcahy reviews the 130 X from Blade Helis.

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Introduction

Rotor Diameter:12.8 in (325mm)
Tail Diameter:3.00 in (76mm)
Weight:3.77 oz (107 g)
Length:12.0 in (305mm)
Rotor Blade Length:135mm
Transmitter:BNF
Battery:2S 7.4V 300mAh 35C Li-Po
Motor:6730Kv brushless inrunner
Gyro:AS3X
Typical Flight Duration:3.5 - 4 minutes
Manufacturer:Blade Helis
Available From:Hobby Retailers
Price:$279.99

The Blade 130 X is an exciting step up from the already popular mCP-X. With it's larger size, more powerful brushless motor, and shaft driven tail, the 130 X comes with promises of tic-tocs right out of the box. Featuring AS3X flybarless technology, Blade says that the 130 X will feel like a much bigger heli. I saw my first 130 X at Joe Nall earlier this year, and naturally it drew a large crowd wherever it was flown. I have been eager ever since to try one out for myself, so let's take a closer look...

In The Box





As with most of helis from Blade, the 130 X comes packed neatly in a styrofoam and cardboard box, that doubles as a carrying case. There isn't any room to for your transmitter in there, because the 130 X fills the box from one end to the other. It is available only as the bind-n-fly version, so you will need to provide a transmitter. I used my DX6i, which does a great job piloting the 130 X.

Included in the box
130 X Heli
Celectra Balance Charger
2S 7.4V 300mAh 35C Flight battery
Instruction Manual
Spare Blades
Two Allen Wreches
Small Phillips Screwdriver
Four spare Blade Grip Links
Spare Set of Shaft Drive Gears
Spare Canopy Grommets

Features
The 130 X does away with the motor driven tail, and instead features a shaft drive. This consists of a stiff wire that takes it's power straight from the main shaft via a set of bevel gears, and transfers the power to the tail rotor by a second set of gears. The tail is variable pitch, much like it's bigger cousins, and is driven by a similar linear servo that also drives the swash.
The main gear is fixed to the main shaft, so no autos. The all in one control board contains the brushless esc, AS3X gyro, and receiver, and is tucked neatly up under the nose of the airframe. The brushless motor is fairly tall, and is nestled into the airframe just in front of the main shaft. From the swash up is very much like the mCP-X, just a little larger.





The tail servo is a linear servo, and is mounted under the front of the boom. Speaking of which, the boom is square, and features carbon boom supports, providing a stiff tail. There are two sets of blades included in the box. The "bullet" style blades are installed, and the second more traditional set are in the box. The manual doesn't really say too much about the differences between the two sets, with only "fast flight" and "hi-performance" listed in the parts listing. After flying both sets, I can only see a very small difference between the two, and I imagine that this will end up being user preference more than anything else.





The canopy is nice and bright, made out of thin plastic similar to the mCP-X. The pushrods from the servos to the swash are adjustable two ways. The first is the plastic ball link, which can be screwed in and out. If a smaller adjustment is needed, there is a "u" bend in the actual pushrod, which could be pinched in or pulled out as needed. Out of the box, I found that the 130 X was adjusted perfectly, and I didn't need to change anything.



Binding/Setup


The first thing I did was put the battery on charge. The included Celectra charger is very easy to use. It has only a single button, and you simply plug the battery in and push it. It is a DC charger with an AC adapter. Available seperately is a connector that will let you hook up your charger to a car battery or other 12v source. The Celectra balance charges each cell, ensuring a good matched pack each time you fly. Once the green LED turns a solid green, you're good to go.



Binding the 130 X is also straight forward. Before I bound my DX6i, I programmed the settings to match the ones given in the intruction manual. The manual contains the settings for the Dx6i, DX7/DX7se, DX7s, and DX8. Binding is much the same as any other BNF product. Power the 130 X, wait for the control board to start flashing, then turn on your transmitter while holding the bind button/switch. With the binding procedure complete, the 130 X was ready to fly.


Flying

Flies Great!
The Blade 130 X is a very stable helicopter thanks to it's AS3X gyro. Hovering is very comfortable, and sport flying showed a very smooth machine with a locked in tail. Idle up, or stunt mode, increased rpm and gave me the ability to fly upside down with a constant throttle. This meant it was time for some 3D! The brushless motor is powerful, but I found pretty quickly that a fair degree of collective management was still required to fly some 3D maneuvers. I really wanted to see the 130 X do some tic-tocs, but the best I could achieve was more of a shortened rainbow type maneuver, I couldn't quite get it into a tight tic-toc. Inverted the 130 X was just as stable as upright, and it felt pretty good flying inverted in forward flight. Backwards inverted flight showed the tail weakening a little. I found myself flying the tail more to keep it from blowing out, but only in inverted backwards flight.

Gyro Programming
I was excited to find out that even though the 130 X was ready to go out of the box, the end users (i.e. me!) have the ability to adjust the gains of the gyros. The instructions can be found at blades website, and basically involves a bunch of stick inputs to enter and program the gain settings. The range of gain has predetermined at the factory, so you can't make it unflyable by adjusting them. With the performance I was getting out of the tail in backwards inverted flight, I decided to crank up the gain for the rudder as far as it would go. While this did improve things, it was only slightly better and still required me to keep on top of the tail to stop it "weather vaning" out.

Beginners?
Is the 130 X suitable for beginners? The short answer is no. If you've been flying a coax, or have a lot of simulator time, then this could be the heli for you. If you are just starting out, I wouldn't recommend it as a first helicopter.

Durability
It's important to note, that even though the 130 X is a small heli, it should be treated the same as you would a much larger heli. In other words, don't expect to bounce it on the ground like an mCP X and then keep on flying! It is a delicate machine, and if you do have a mishap with the ground you must inspect the 130 X and make sure that no gears have stripped, or gear alignments changed.

Video/Photos


















Youtube Link


Youtube Link

Conclusion

The 130 X flies great. It will do most of everything, and the AS3X gyro makes it incredibly stable, and it really does feel like a larger helicopter. It handles the wind just fine, but can be flown around a gym with ease. The first 130 X I tried did have a few issues, but this replacement has worked flawlessly so far. I have been having a lot of fun with it, it's a great driveway/front yard 3D trainer. There are already a lot of great upgrades out there for the 130 X, as well as canopies, so you can totally customize your 130 X and have something unique. It's certainly not surprising that there are a lot of pilots out there flying them!

Pros:Cons:
Very StableLess durable than its smaller relatives
3D's Well
Handles Wind

Last edited by CSpaced; Feb 14, 2013 at 11:47 AM..

Discussion

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Old Feb 22, 2013, 04:10 PM
Registered User
Joined Jan 2005
539 Posts
I enjoying flying my Blade 130 a lot, but only after sorting out numerous problems with it.

The problems I experienced (gear rubbing on servo fet, left canopy post wearing through a servo wire and tail wagging) were all widely reported. Horizon and my local dealer denied there were problems, at least for the first couple of months, so I was on my own solving them. Much as I like my 130, I hope another company such as Align comes up with a complete line of micro 3D helis, competition is good.

Another negative to the 130, parts prices in some cases are absurdly overpriced. Two tiny plastic canopy mounts with a small piece of carbon rod cost $8. The equivalent (much larger) metal parts for my T-Rex 550 are $3.
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Old Feb 25, 2013, 03:26 PM
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KYChopper's Avatar
United States, KY, La Grange
Joined Jun 2012
143 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by malcolmm View Post
I enjoying flying my Blade 130 a lot, but only after sorting out numerous problems with it.

Another negative to the 130, parts prices in some cases are absurdly overpriced. Two tiny plastic canopy mounts with a small piece of carbon rod cost $8. The equivalent (much larger) metal parts for my T-Rex 550 are $3.
+1 on the parts prices. I am tired of lining the Blade coffers but am now finding some on line shops that sell parts at steep discounts, at least for the 130. Now if I could only find cheap Nano CPX parts!
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Old Feb 25, 2013, 03:54 PM
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Joined Aug 2012
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This review would get alot more replys if it were to be moved into the "micros" and not in the large heli section.
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Old Feb 27, 2013, 12:17 AM
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Joined Jan 2005
539 Posts
A friend just bought a Blade 130 and I was helping him with it. I bought my 130 shortly after it was released, so I wasn't surprised there were some issues (too many issues though). What amazes me is that at least one of the issues still hasn't been addressed - my friends 130 new out of the box had the problem where one of the servo wires rubs on the left canopy peg. The wire was almost worn through before a single flight.

Another long standing very annoying issue - the chargers that come with Blade (and other E-Flite) products are a joke. I now have four of the Celectra 2s chargers, they are all useless. I just gave up charging a couple of new E-Flite 2s lipos on two different, new Celectra 2s chargers. After hours of charging, with the red and green leds alternately flashing, I checked how much the lipos were being charged - they were still at around 40%. Restarting the charge doesn't help. I've had this problem with all these chargers on various brands of lipos. Nothing wrong with the lipos - I easily charge them on either of my two Hyperion chargers.
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Old Feb 27, 2013, 12:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KYChopper View Post
+1 on the parts prices. I am tired of lining the Blade coffers but am now finding some on line shops that sell parts at steep discounts, at least for the 130. Now if I could only find cheap Nano CPX parts!
I am interested in buying a Nano, but not at $150. And I don't need to stock up on expensive spares for another Blade heli.
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Old Mar 09, 2013, 03:38 PM
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Canada, ON, Hamilton
Joined Oct 2005
2,705 Posts
I’m a beginner with this model, new to helicopters, but have flown fixed wing pattern planes for many years.
I have the Spektrum DX6i for this model.
I’ve used the Transmitter set up shown on page 6 of the manual for the 130 X.
I would like to change the throttle and pitch curve set up such that I can power the model off the floor with a gradual throttle increase, rather than have it “jump” off the floor.
Also I would like to set the rotor so that it stays in positive pitch at full throttle.
Lastly the servos do not seem to track the stick and return to neutral as they do in my plane.
I did bring the Blade back to my LHS and they did fly it, so it does appear to work ok.
I would just like to make the model less responsive and have a gentle slow take off and perhaps be a little easier for me, the beginner, to fly.
Thanks for any help.
John
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Last edited by JohnAV8R; Mar 09, 2013 at 03:41 PM. Reason: typo
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Old Mar 09, 2013, 09:45 PM
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United States, OH, Kent
Joined Mar 2013
9 Posts
X130

I am 13 I have the X130. I have been flying helicopters for 2 years and I love the X130 this helicopter is way better than any other helicopter I have flown I have been training myself with this helicopter so I can fly my Raptor 60 size.


I would recommend this helicopter to flyers that have been flying for about 3 years.
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Old Mar 09, 2013, 09:52 PM
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Originally Posted by TheRas1200 View Post
I am 13 I have the X130. I have been flying helicopters for 2 years and I love the X130 this helicopter is way better than any other helicopter I have flown I have been training myself with this helicopter so I can fly my Raptor 60 size.


I would recommend this helicopter to flyers that have been flying for about 3 years.
+1....Good info.
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Old Mar 09, 2013, 10:47 PM
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Originally Posted by yeiuoisdf View Post
Welcome to my Taobao shop !

Daily update:

Discover amazing stuff, collect the things you love, buy it all in one place.....
....=
what a creep, I reported you and would never buy your 2-bit crap you spam jerk....I hope that EVERYBODY on these forums avoid your crap store! Who ever told you spamming was a good business model, I have NEVER purchased from a spammer!!!!!!

BTW, I flew 3 paks in my 130X today, last pack I drilled my baby in doing a forward flip, hit TH just before impact and she hit with a thud I walked over, set her upright, and took off.....no damage If I would have done that with a 250 or bigger.....I'm sure I would be fixing a heli tonight
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Old Mar 16, 2013, 08:34 AM
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130x

Nice review. Well, I ended up buying one of these 130x models with the Blade promotion of extra packs and blades. Looking forward to binding it today and doing the maiden flight. This is my first Blade product, so I hope it flies as good as claimed. I am also hoping it lasts a good number of flights.. we'll see.

Chachin..

PS: I guess this also qualifies as my first FBL heli.. LOL!
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Old Mar 19, 2013, 11:57 AM
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Controls

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chachin View Post
Nice review. Well, I ended up buying one of these 130x models with the Blade promotion of extra packs and blades. Looking forward to binding it today and doing the maiden flight. This is my first Blade product, so I hope it flies as good as claimed. I am also hoping it lasts a good number of flights.. we'll see.

Chachin..

PS: I guess this also qualifies as my first FBL heli.. LOL!
Be aware that this thing does NOT respond to the sticks like anything I have flown, including my 120SR.
If you for example have moved the "elevator" stick forward, and then released/centered, the servo will NOT move the swash plate back to center, you have to make an oposite command with the stick to move the swash back to center.
I was not aware of this, and is NOT mentioned in the manual, which made my initial learning curve more dificult than needed.
I also have a AS3X UMX beast, and it does NOT respond this way.
Just a warning,...but then agian,...its just my view point.

RUD
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Old Mar 19, 2013, 12:07 PM
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Joined Oct 2005
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Thanks RUD. I am in a similar situation. I'm trying to just hover in one spot.
Any idea how to re set the gyro?

Review states, but I could not find.
Gyro Programming
I was excited to find out that even though the 130 X was ready to go out of the box, the end users (i.e. me!) have the ability to adjust the gains of the gyros. The instructions can be found at blades website, and basically involves a bunch of stick inputs to enter and program the gain settings. The range of gain has predetermined at the factory, so you can't make it unflyable by adjusting them.

thanks
John
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Old Mar 19, 2013, 03:42 PM
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Joined Dec 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RUDDERLESS View Post


Be aware that this thing does NOT respond to the sticks like anything I have flown, including my 120SR.
If you for example have moved the "elevator" stick forward, and then released/centered, the servo will NOT move the swash plate back to center, you have to make an oposite command with the stick to move the swash back to center.
I was not aware of this, and is NOT mentioned in the manual, which made my initial learning curve more dificult than needed.
I also have a AS3X UMX beast, and it does NOT respond this way.
Just a warning,...but then agian,...its just my view point.

RUD
What you are describing is exactly how "real" helis have to be flown. There isn't anything wrong. Its the other helis you have been flying that have given you a false sense of flying ability.

Helis like the SR120 and many others out there have 45degree head designs which means they are self stabilizing like a coaxial trainer. These helis are great for teaching you stick movement and orientation, but anyone can fly one because they practically fly themselves. Just a few years ago only coaxials fit this type of self stabilizing area, but now the are dozens of single rotor helis that have the same limited, self stabilizing design.

Real helis require constant input to keep in place and any and every move you make will require an opposite move to cancel it out. Think of it like balancing a broom handle in your palm. you cant just hold your hand still and keep it there, but it requires constant tiny little movements to keep it in place. Give forward elevator on your 130 and get it moving and you can release the sticks and watch it fly straight across a field until you tell it to do something else. It will not go back into hover when you let off the sticks as you have found out.
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Old Mar 19, 2013, 05:07 PM
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Joined Oct 2005
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Thanks Xrayted. I didn't know that was how a real heli operated.
I am too use to fixed wing models and always expected the stick to come back to neutral.
Maybe I have lots of bad habits, like tapping the stick, rather than holding it. The old Orbit reed set just had toggle switches.
John
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