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Heli-Max Axe 100 FP Flybarless EP Tx-R Helicopter Review

The Axe 100 FP is one of three new helicopters from Heli-Max. She is fixed pitch, flybar-less and comes equipped with their new triple axis gyro stabilization system.

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Introduction

The following is the Heli-Max promotional YouTube video on their current 100 size helicopters and includes a clip of the Axe 100 FP flying.


Rotor Diameter:9.4"
RTF Weight:oz. 1.3 oz
Length:8.7"
Servos:Fully encased precision digital rotary micro servos
Transmitter:Your 4 ch transmitter using AnyLink
Receiver:Tactic/AnyLink SLT receiver
Battery:1S 150mAh LiPo flight battery
Charger:USB-compatible charger
Stabilization:TAGS (Triple Axis Gyro Stabilization)
Manufacturer:Heli-Max
Available From:Fine Hobby Stores Everywhere
Price Tx-R:$109.98
Price RTF:$139.98

Before receiving the Axe 100 FP for this review I had read all of the literature and advertising. I had noted that the body looks very similar to the Novus 200 which I own, fly frequently and enjoy very much. This new Axe 100 FP has been placed in the same intermediate class of copters as the Novus 200 by Heli-Max and is described as "Designed for forgiving flight." Unlike the larger Novus 200 this new Axe 100 FP is flybarless, and I was curious how that would affect her handling. She has a triple axis gyro stabilization system and I wondered how this and the other features would combine for her overall handling, performance and possibly her durability.

Kit Contents Tx-R

Kit Contents for the Transmitter Ready version

  • Axe 100 FP flybarless helicopter
  • 1-cell 150mAh Flight battery
  • USB compatible charger
  • Screwdriver
  • Instruction Manual

RTF Kit Contents

  • Same as above plus
  • Heli-Max TX410 transmitter
  • Four AA cells for the transmitter

Assembly

The Axe 100 Flybarless came completely assembled. All I had to do was charge the included flight battery, install it in the helicopter and bind my Futaba 7C with AnyLink to the helicopter. You can use almost any transmitter of your choice with the Axe 100FP or buy the RTF version and use the transmitter that they supply.

Radio Linking/Binding

Here's how to link the AnyLink module or an SLT compatible transmitter to your SLT compatible Axe 100.

Binding Procedure

  • 1) Turn on the transmitter. Make sure the throttle is at zero.
  • 2) Place the transmitter close to the Axe 100.
  • 3) Remove the canopy and locate the small black link button on the PC board.
  • 4) Press and hold the button for three seconds.
  • 5) Release and wait 3-5 more seconds. Your system is now ready!

Charging the Flight Battery

The charger for the flight battery is designed to be powered using a USB plug. No stand alone power source comes with the charger. The charger plugs into a USB connector on my computer for at-home charging as shown in the second picture below. Per the product update, the charger remains dark when plugged into the computer. When the flight battery is inserted into the charger, the charger lights up a solid red. When the battery is charging the charger's red light remains solidly lit. It begins to flash when the charging is complete. I can also use my Apple iPad power converter (or any such power converter) to plug into and charge the battery. When flying at an indoor site I just need to bring the supplied charger and my iPad converter to plug into a wall outlet as shown in the third picture below. A depleted battery can take up to an hour to fully recharge, but my longest charge has only been 45 minutes. The fully charged battery plugs into the Axe 100 FP with the two metal connector strips facing down (the electrical connections are on the bottom of the battery holder).

Pinion Gear Repair

After one very hard crash into a motel wall; I found that the pinion gear had moved lower on the motor shaft and was not engaging the main gear. The pinion gear on the motor shaft had been knocked loose and was below the wheel that transfers the power to the rotors as shown in the two pictures below.

I pushed the pinion gear back up the shaft so that it was engaged with the main power gear, and it worked fine for awhile. I even started to shoot a video of the Axe 100 FP, but when it was landing it suddenly lost lift and fell to the ground as shown in the video below. The pinion gear had again fallen down below the main gear. It partially engaged the gear so it looked like a weak battery until I took a closer look.

Downloads

This time I moved the pinion gear back up in place, placed a little red (permanent) Loctite on the shaft just above the pinion gear and let it dry. Then, holding my helicopter upside down, I placed a little on the motor shaft just at the other side of the pinion gear. I let the Loctite dry and gave it the recommended 24 hours to fully set up. This very simple repair has held up for a number of flights and crashes since then. It is not uncommon for any helicopter that hits a solid object (pilot error) hard to need some repair. With many off brand helicopters, one broken part grounds them forever. One of the big advantages of buying a Heli-Max helicopter is that all the spare parts needed to get back into the air after an accident are readily available at a local hobby shop or the internet.

Flying

My first attempt to fly my Axe 100 FP outside was on vacation in Kauai, Hawaii, but the trade winds were too much for my skills. I tried to fly in a somewhat protected area at our condo but the winds were swirling in there, too. I made one fantastic landing on a rock in the middle of a decorative waterfall when it appeared that I might lose my helicopter to the lava or the waterfall. During a short break in the breeze, I was able to fly her out to safety. However, after that experience, my flying in Hawaii was restricted to indoors.




Basics

The Heli-Max Axe 100 FP is a four channel helicopter with throttle, forward and backward control, side-to-side control and rudder control allowing rotation in both directions. Indoors in a large Fellowship Hall I powered up hoping for a nice hover but I had some drift backwards and a little drift to the left. I landed and adjusted the trim tabs a couple of clicks forward and a click to the right. In the second power up and with one more click of forward trim, she was in a hover. She does REQUIRE pilot input to stay over one spot but for the helicopter pilot with real intermediate skills she is easy to hover. I gave a little forward right stick, and she shot forward at a good rate of speed. I pulled back on the right stick, and she not only stopped her forward progress but she was coming right back at me at a good rate of speed. This flybarless helicopter is very responsive, and I was glad I had given myself some real room for this first flight. I quickly learned that I had to be more sensitive on the controls with smaller movements to keep her flying close.

My next two flights were baby steps as I got used to how responsive she was to my commands and how fast she was able to fly. I learned that if I gave her a command she went where I sent her. If I centered the right stick she still kept going towards where I last directed her. I had to give a counter-command to fully change her direction. This is true with most aircraft but not with beginner coaxial helicopters. The Axe 100 FP is for the intermediate or better helicopter pilot.

Using the transmitter that came with the RTF version I pushed the right stick down with the transmitter on and she went from high rates to low rates, which was easier for me to control. I used the low rates at the start of each flying session as I got more used to flying her. The transmitter gives a lower tone when going from high to low rates and a higher tone when going back to high rates. This was very helpful. With my own transmitter using the AnyLink controller I could use high and low rates, but I also found 30% exponential very helpful at the start of the review on all right stick commands. I found initially that I enjoyed flying her more outside than inside, but as I got used to how she handled, I enjoyed flying her in large rooms indoors, too. This helicopter needs to be flown with minor adjustments to hold a hover, and my attention was required when flying around the room.

The triple axis stabilization proved to be a helpful feature. All of the more experienced pilots who flew the Axe 100 during this review noticed how responsive she was and how well she handled some mildly gusty conditions outside. They noticed that she self-corrected for some of the changes in flight angle caused by the breeze. I noticed it also. I needed to give directional control to counter the wind drift. If she was suddenly blown off angle, I really noticed the self-correction. But the self-correction never flew the helicopter, it simply helped me to fly the helicopter.

Taking Off and Landing

I place her in front of me, facing the same direction as me so that her right is my right, etc. After trimming her for the first flight, everything has been fine for taking off. Outside, I line up with any breeze at my back so that if she does drift with the breeze (and she usually does) it is away from me, giving me time to correct and get into a hover. I have tried to start most of my landings from a still and stable hover and ended with just a reduction of power slowly to land. I have made a few fast slide landings with a counter-flair to the direction from which I came, and then a power down as her side progress halted. Those have gone well for the most part, but I have tipped over on a couple of those landings.

Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

As a fixed pitch helicopter, she is not designed for 3D flight or major tricks. However, her speed and responsiveness are making me a better pilot as I try to fly her relatively fast in smaller spaces. She seems very quick to respond to my commands. This was a bit surprising when I first started to fly her but quickly became a positive feature. It allowed me to quickly regain control if I gave an incorrect command. The responsiveness in the Axe 100 FP has improved my reflexes and my anticipation. I have learned to give quicker counter-commands to change the direction of the helicopter.

I did have one hard wall crash when I zigged when I should have zagged and that was what loosened the pinion gear. Planning and executing a full routine is still pretty special for me and I feel some true satisfaction when I do it well. As my flying skills have improved, I have come to appreciate that she is a stable flying platform with TAGS: Triple Axis Stabilization. I have allowed some experienced helicopter pilots to fly my Axe 100 FP as part of this review. All of them commented on how stable and responsive she was to fly. One of them - a 3D pilot - was so impressed that he went out and bought her sister helicopter, the Axe 100 CP, which he has enjoyed very much.

Is This For a Beginner?

NO!

Heli-Max has classified the Axe 100 FP as a Level 2 helicopter that is intended for intermediate pilots or better. I agree with that classification. A true intermediate helicopter pilot will have no problem with the Axe 100 FP. I think the pilot that is just becoming an intermediate pilot, if he gives himself some flying room and disciplines himself for a responsive helicopter, should be at home withe the Axe 100 FP. The Axe 100 helicopter is stable and goes where directed, and that requires the pilot to know what they are doing so they can keep giving the proper commands.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery






Downloads

Conclusion

I have had more time flying with this helicopter than any previous review helicopter. After completing my initial review, with replacement parts being available, I allowed a lot of friends and fellow pilots to fly this helicopter and my Novus 200 for comparison. The general opinion was that the Axe 100 FP flybar-less helicopter was quicker to respond to command inputs. Both were good flyers, but the flybar-less Axe 100 was definitely quicker to respond. My pilot friends with less stick time found the Novus 200 to at least initially be easier for them to comfortably control but were pretty much equally comfortable with both helicopters after a couple of flights. I think the intermediate helicopter pilot should have a lot of fun flying the Heli-Max Axe 100 FP. I know that I have, and I have come to enjoy its responsiveness and the self-correcting features supplied by TAG.

Pluses

  • Very responsive to commands
  • Can be flown indoor or outside in a mild breeze
  • Can be flown with my transmitter using AnyLink
  • Looks like a baby brother to my Novus 200 so it is more fun to have them together
  • Spare parts are available locally or via the Internet
  • Triple axis gyro stabilization helps with control

Minuses

  • Despite the notices it is for intermediate pilots, some beginners will buy this helicopter and learn they can't fly it initially.

Thanks

My thanks to a number of my friends and some younger students for helping with this review, our editor for her assistance and Hobbico and Heli-Max for supplying the helicopter for this review.

Last edited by Angela H; Mar 12, 2013 at 04:05 AM..

Discussion

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Old Mar 20, 2013, 01:20 PM
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CSpaced's Avatar
Oak Ridge, NC
Joined Jun 2006
1,432 Posts
Looks good! I love the CP 100, and have just got the MD-530 to play with. I was impressed at how stable the fixed pitch setup is!
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Old Mar 20, 2013, 02:27 PM
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Michael Heer's Avatar
Stockton, Ca. USA
Joined Apr 2001
9,458 Posts
Axe 100 LLS

Hi Chris:
I have enjoyed this helicopter very much and I am looking forward to the new Axe 100 LLS which is a CP helicopter with LEDs on the blades and tail for night flying. Mean time I continue to enjoy my 100 FP. Mike H
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Old Mar 20, 2013, 03:35 PM
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MasterXelaMM's Avatar
France, IdF, Paris
Joined Apr 2012
41 Posts
This is just a rebadged Nine Eagles Solo Pro 129

http://www.nineeagle.com/products_de...158426856.html

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1636634
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1835017
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Old Mar 20, 2013, 10:54 PM
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Tucson, Az
Joined Feb 2007
7,686 Posts
I had pinion gear fall out of S/P328 and it came out a few times. Nine Eagles for you. Looks like J4 TX with rtf.
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Old Mar 21, 2013, 01:51 AM
Registered User
United States, AZ, Yuma
Joined May 2012
1 Posts
I'll probably get dinged for this, but if you're going to look into one of these then get the Walkera and save yourself some money. That or save yourself even more money and invest in a Blade mSRx or mCPX and actually have a machine worth owning and flying. The old addage of "you get what you pay for" still rings true with these micro helis. Blade helis still have their problems too of course, but they also fly a lot more like a 450+ sized machine and the Helimax micros are extremely disconnected by comparison.
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Old Mar 27, 2013, 02:09 PM
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Michael Heer's Avatar
Stockton, Ca. USA
Joined Apr 2001
9,458 Posts
I have more time on my Axe 100 FP and it continues to fly very well. My LockTite has kept the pinion gear in place. I have had two more expert RC helicopter pilots fly mine and they had nothing but positives to say about the way she handles. I also like knowing that should (when?) I break some parts I can get replacements from Tower Hobby or the local hobby store in Modesto will order them for me if they don't have them in stock. I stand by my opinion that this is a very enjoyable, responsive and well handling helicopter. Purchased in the Tx-R mode it is reasonably priced. I will no longer purchase helicopters that don't have replacement parts available here in the US or from companies that don't carry the parts because a bargain helicopter with one broken part may well be worthless to me. Mike H
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Old Mar 27, 2013, 02:47 PM
Safety : practice & promote!
RoboHeli's Avatar
Joined Dec 2011
4,822 Posts
Thanks for the great "official" review! Love the pix. The note about the pinion gear is really useful to know.

I've got the MSRX and Nano but also picked up the Axe 100 FP and 100 CP so that I could add some variety to my flying. So far I've been pretty impressed with HeliMax's offerings in this regard. I like the AnyLink module on my DX6i as well.
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Old Apr 25, 2013, 12:55 PM
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Michael Heer's Avatar
Stockton, Ca. USA
Joined Apr 2001
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Tower has a big sale for both RTF and Tx-R versions. The Tx-R version is just under $55.00 today. Mike
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Old Apr 25, 2013, 01:19 PM
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Joined Feb 2012
42 Posts
Has anyone been able to confirm that the Axe 100 CP TX-R Version is compatible with the Nine Eagles J6-PRO? The RTF version of this heli shows a re-branded J6-pro but that doesn't mean the guts are the same. Anyone???
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Old Apr 29, 2013, 10:26 AM
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SE Michigan
Joined May 2010
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Great article Michael. I've been looking around here for a similar "how-to" and/or "fix" on the AXE CP version. Specifically, what settings are used for the T8FG using the AnyLink. I'm okay on my Futaba 6EX, but would like to get the specifics on my new 8FG. The manual just doesn't get me all the way through it. Thanks...
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Old Jun 09, 2013, 09:25 PM
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United States, LA, Sulphur
Joined Feb 2005
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I received my MD500 and have been having some trouble with it. The battery only stays charged a few minutes. It is very hard to bind and many times, the cyclic servos will work but the motor won't work. I take the battery out and put it back in and then the motor might work.Or I, will recharge the battery and the motor will work a few minutes. Not enough power to lift the heli off the floor. It falls over on the left side even when holding full right cyclic. I have not made a flight with the copter yet as I am trying to get used to the controls. The copter wants to fly backwards on take off. Only with full forward cyclic will it move forward. As the heli tries to lift off, it falls over on its left side, even when holding with full right cyclic. Whew! I tried to hand launch it and it flew backwards right into me. The little tailplane looks "bent" to one side and I don't know that is a defect or required for trim. Tomorrow I am going to call the tech support for info. Neat little copter and I am not ready to give up on it yet. Hope to get it going.
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Old Jun 12, 2013, 06:36 PM
Safety : practice & promote!
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Contact Helimax tech support: helihotline@hobbico.com
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Old Jun 12, 2013, 09:46 PM
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United States, LA, Sulphur
Joined Feb 2005
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Thanks Robo Heli,
I contacted Hobbico this morning and the tech helped me out some.
He said the "slanted" rudder and tailplane is also observed on the heli he had on hand. Apparently it is for in flight trim. I worked with the battery more today. It just needed recharging more than I thought. It lifts the heli up good now. I learned how the set the gyro and bind the Tx/Rx properly. Easy to bind now. I tried to fly it again this evening and it climbed slowly upward and I was able to cyclic it back toward me. It would not bank when trying left cyclic, though. By then it had climbed back up real good in a forward direction, and before I could turn it, it struck a telephone line, and landed in my yard undamaged. Tough little heli. So tomorrow I am going off site to a larger area. My MD530 has the cyclic control rods in the short length ball connectors. I may have to move them to the longer length ball connectors if I don't get any left and right movement tomorrow. I ordered some spare parts just in case. A battery for sure. Going to get a cigarette type adapter for the USB charger so I can charge offsite. And tonight I am making a "training gear" to prevent battering the stock gear so bad.
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Old Jun 12, 2013, 09:53 PM
Safety : practice & promote!
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Joined Dec 2011
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Definitely move the links to the longer balls. The one complaint that I have about the FP100 and MD530 is that they really suffer unless you're able to max out your cyclic servo movements. I fly mine with the AnyLink and my Turnigy 9x with the aile/elev throw maxed out. They perform better then the AnyLink and DX6i with aile/elev maxed out.
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