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Heli-Max 1/43 Black Hawk - TxR Review

Heli-Max takes scale to the next level with the new 1/43 Black Hawk, a four bladed scale model of the famous military helicopter.

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Introduction


Rotor Diameter:12.8" (325mm)
Tail Rotor Diameter:3.14" (80mm)
Fuselage Length:13.8" (350mm)
Overall Length:16.7" (425mm)
Blade Length:5.51" (140mm)
Empty Weight:6.17oz (175g)
RTF Weight:7.4oz (210g)
Height:3.39" (100mm)
Width:4.40" (112mm)
Manufactured By:Heli-Max
Available From:Hobby Retailers

The new Black Hawk from Heli-Max is a great looking 1/43 scale representation of the famous UH-60 military helicopter. It boasts many fine details, usually only associated in plastic model kits, but of course this version actually flies. Powered by a brushless motor, with a torque tube driven raised tail, and a variable pitch four blade main rotor head, the Black Hawk also has the power to perform aerobatic flight.

The Black Hawk is available in a ready to fly package, and a transmitter ready package (TxR) that is compatible with any SLT transmitter. The TxR version is the subject of this review, using a Tactic TTX650 transmitter.

Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk

Taking flight in 1974, and entering service in 1979, the UH-60 Black Hawk was commissioned by the U.S. Army as a replacement for the UH-1 Iroquis, better known as the Huey. For more than three decades, the Black Hawk has proven to be a very successful design, with several variants created since it's inception, and having been exported to several countries. Capable of carrying eleven fully equipped combat soldiers, or lifting an entire Humvee, the Black Hawk has proven time and again that it is a work horse of the military, while also successfully filling certain civilian roles (under the name S-70).

In The Box

The Black Hawk arrives in a sturdy box which is decorated with images of the model. Inside the box is a blister pack that holds everything in place. The helicopter itself has two plastic pieces that snap over the heli to make sure that it doesn't move about. The box also has a carrying handle, so that you can easily transport your Black Hawk safely. All of the smaller contents are also stored in recessed areas of the blister pack.

Contents

In the box I found the Black Hawk helicopter, 600mAh 7.4v 25C LiPo flight battery, AC battery charger, large foam "training" wheels, some spare scale parts, a small screwdriver, and the instruction manual. All that is needed to get in the air is an SLT compatible transmitter, such as the Tactic TTX650 (which I used), or the AnyLink adapter which can be used with most transmitters.

The Model

The Black Model is a very detailed scale model of it's full size counterpart. As well as a faithful outline when compared to the full size helicopter, the Black Hawk also features molded rivets and panel lines, semi sliding side doors (they don't slide much), and various other added on scale details that give it more the look of a static model than a flying model. The paint finish is good, as are all of the markings, and I can't help but think how much potential this model has in terms of custom paint jobs by the end user.

In addition to the great looks of the model, there are also three LED's located on the model for that extra touch of realism. One is located directly behind the rotor head, one on the underside of the tail boom, and the third located on top of the tail rotor housing.

The model comes with oversized foam tires in the box. These are designed to used by someone who may be a little nervous about flying their Black Hawk for the first time. They easily switch out with the stock tires, and are designed to absorb the shock of slightly heavier landings.

Looks aside, the functionality of the helicopter is just as good. The main rotor head is a fully operational four blade collective pitch head. This means that it can give as much negative pitch as it does positive pitch, which translates into inverted flight. While not exactly a scale feature, this is a fun feature for sure. All of this is controlled by the triple axis gyros (TAGS), for solid and stable performance. The tail is driven by a torque tube, and the tail rotor is variable pitch, just like on larger helis. There is a small access port on the underside of the boom to inspect/repair the pushrod for the tail rotor.

Transmitter Setup

Before linking the helicopter to the transmitter (in my case the Tactic TTX650), I set up a new model memory for the Black Hawk. The instruction manual contains basic transmitter setup instruction for Futaba, Spektrum, and specifically for the TTX650.

Linking the helicopter to the transmitter was a very straightforward process. The front half of the fuselage detaches easily, being held in place by strong magnets, revealing the SLT receiver inside. On the corner of the receiver is a link button. I first switched my transmitter on, and then plugged the flight battery into the helicopter. I then pressed the link button for a few seconds. Once the LED stopped blinking, and stayed on solid, I knew that the link was complete. If you don't have a Tactic transmitter, you can use just about any Futaba, Spektrum, or JR transmitter with the Tactic AnyLink module.

Charging

The included battery charger is an AC wall charger type, so your battery must be charged prior to heading out to the flying field (unless you already have a field charger). The charger is very basic, and charges automatically through the balance port, indicating charge complete with a solid red and green light.

Flying

Out at the flying field, I readied the Black Hawk for it's maiden flight. The grass was fairly long at my local flying club, but because of the raised tail it was not an issue. I started my timer and advanced the throttle, and the Black Hawk spun up the head to lift off speed. The Black Hawk is not a quiet helicopter, so you won't be doing any stealth flights, but once it was up to speed I eased the heli into the air. Right away I could feel that it was a very stable helicopter. I started out by flying a few figure eights, and the Black Hawk responded well, with no strange behavior. It wasn't long before I was flying around comfortably, having fun with the long grass for some photo opportunities.

With the basics out of the way, I switched to idle up. The Black Hawk has plenty of power, and the TAGS gyro held perfectly during backwards flight. At this point I was eager to try some inverted flight, so I took the Black Hawk up high in the sky, and flipped it onto it's back. Again, I know this isn't scale - but it sure was fun. The Black Hawk flew around inverted just as well is it did upright, and I soon had it down on the deck. I almost forgot that the tail rotor sits above the main rotor on the this helicopter, so I had to resist the temptation to get the main blades too close to the grass!

I flew several more flights with the helicopter throughout the day, and enjoyed each flight. It is fun to fly, and can either be flown in a scale like manner, or it can be flown through basic aerobatics with ease. No matter how I flew it, the TAGS system performed well, and the tail held true through each flight. I also discovered that you can roll the heli on it's wheels with the correct balance of cyclic and collective, and I had some fun taxiing it around the work bench "aircraft carrier".

Is It For Beginners?

I don't think this would be a good helicopter for a complete beginner. The cost and difficulty in repeatedly repairing a helicopter, which is inevitable with any helicopter in the hands of a true novice, wouldn't be cost effective. It is also fragile with all of the scale parts, and care needs to be taken when handling the helicopter. However, if you are already flying CP or FP helicopters, then the Black Hawk is for you.

Photos/Video

Heli-Max Black Hawk (3 min 53 sec)

Conclusion

I really like this Black Hawk, it's a great looking helicopter that is a lot of fun to fly. At some point in the future (if I ever get the time), I foresee myself digging out the old acylics and airbrush, and giving my Black Hawk a custom paint job. It would be cool to see what other people come up with too. For now, I will enjoy it just the way it is, in all it's olive drab glory, occasionally throwing in a few flips and some inverted flight - just for fun!

Pros: Cons:
Beautiful Looks Doors Don't Open Fully
Nice Four Blade Head Fragile, Care Needed When Handling
Great Aerobatic Performance
Lots of Great Detail

Last edited by CSpaced; Aug 15, 2013 at 03:36 PM..

Discussion

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Old Aug 15, 2013, 10:20 PM
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Digital Don's Avatar
United States, IL, Manteno
Joined Dec 2006
677 Posts
Nice review, Chris! I like my Blackhawk as well!

Some years ago, I took the left photo of a National Guard Blackhawk. When I got the model, I decided to duplicate that particular aircraft.

I printed the numbers and Guard insignia with an inkjet printer using Testors decal paper. Vallejo 'Model Color' acrylic paint (#70.889 USA Olive Drab) from Hobby Lobby was used to cover the original markings where appropriate. Also painting, the wheels and landing gear makes it look more realistic. The paint is a close match to the Blackhawk's color but it was necessary to tweak it slightly to get it 'just right'.

The result is the shown in the photo on the right.

Don
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Old Aug 16, 2013, 08:46 AM
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Michael Heer's Avatar
Stockton, Ca. USA
Joined Apr 2001
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Nice job Don!
I am in the process of reviewing the new four blade Eurocopter and it also flies nicely. Mike
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Old Aug 16, 2013, 09:16 AM
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CSpaced's Avatar
Oak Ridge, NC
Joined Jun 2006
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That's awesome Don! I've been searching for a unique scheme to paint mine, this little guy has a lot of potential to really go to town on scaling it out.
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Old Aug 16, 2013, 01:31 PM
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Matt Gunn's Avatar
United States, OH, Parma
Joined Jul 2009
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I love it! but man, who signed off on those white wheels?


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Old Aug 16, 2013, 03:33 PM
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Ripon, UK
Joined Apr 2010
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Nice good review. I am flying the nine eagles version - not as nice colour scheme as the heli-max.
I find the heli pretty stable and a joy to fly. From the box it has performed well and it feels a lot more durable than the 130x BO105.
I may pick up a spare fuselage and try another paint job.

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Old Aug 16, 2013, 09:25 PM
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Torch8's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robdd1 View Post
Nice good review. I am flying the nine eagles version - not as nice colour scheme as the heli-max.
I find the heli pretty stable and a joy to fly. From the box it has performed well and it feels a lot more durable than the 130x BO105.
I may pick up a spare fuselage and try another paint job.

Attachment 6030577
Blackhawk does feel underpowered or has tail vibrations like red bull? How do they compared in scale flying and wind handling?
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Old Aug 16, 2013, 10:00 PM
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Digital Don's Avatar
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Thanks for the kind words, guys!

Don
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Old Aug 16, 2013, 11:07 PM
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Joined Sep 2004
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Beautifully composed review with superb media Chris. The Blackhawk is an exceptionally cool looking heli for sure!
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Old Aug 17, 2013, 01:54 AM
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Joined Feb 2009
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Nice Review! I can't wait to fly mine. I have one sitting right here, but I just found out the transmitter I'm going to use to fly it (Hitec A9X) got delayed by a month till mid september. I wasn't counting on having to wait that long.
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Old Aug 17, 2013, 03:37 AM
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Ripon, UK
Joined Apr 2010
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Torch8 -

To help I am flying both the helis stock - the blade is being flown with a DX6i with settings from manual no changes and the Blackhawk with the included controller from the RTF package and again no change completely stock as came in the box.

The head speed on both is high and blade lifts at around 60-70% throttle travel and the Blackhawk around 75%. I only fly basic circuits at the moment as 3d out my skills but both helis will do very basic moves.

Construction wise the Blackhawk looks better made - I have had no need to take apart but the power train all sounds ok and I have had no issues with gearing. The blade has some issues on start with noise that goes when the head speed is up. The blade was also not put together to well as the tail part had not been seated properly so one half inside the fuselage the other out. What a like about the blade are the open inspection areas around the tail gears. I have had no major vibes with either yet - though as the gears wear and bearing get some use this may change - I would think that the base will be on the bench first though, just a gut feeling.

Flight times on the Blackhawk are double that of the blade when you use the stock lipos on both. The Blackhawk flies ok throughout the flight whereas the blade struggles as the lipos drain near the end of the flight were the set up can't keep the head speed up.

I have flown both in a very light breeze and they both seem stable, the only problem I have is the Blackhawk is a little smaller and with the darker colour so it can be harder to spot sometimes - the 3 fitted LEDs help.

The downside for me on the Blackhawk is spares - nothing in the UK so I have to buy from Europe whereas the blade stuff is available at most good LHS.
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Old Aug 18, 2013, 02:48 PM
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Looks pretty slick.
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Old Aug 19, 2013, 01:52 PM
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United States, FL, Davenport
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This thing might make me actually consider a heli in my hangar... oh no... please.... my budget, my poor budget.....

Ben
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Old Aug 19, 2013, 06:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bhoov128 View Post
This thing might make me actually consider a heli in my hangar... oh no... please.... my budget, my poor budget.....

Ben

Welcome to the Dark SideI


Muhahahahaha...

Don
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Old Aug 19, 2013, 09:44 PM
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Wow, that is an awesome looking little machine. I would definitely mock up an MH-60L DAP Blackhawk with a radome and refueling probe.
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