|Main Rotor Diam:||750mm|
|Transmitter:||6ch FM, incl.|
|Gyro:||Integrated piezo, incl.|
|Battery:||10.8v 9c 650mah NiMH, stock, incl.
Lipo 3S 12.6V 1500mAh, optional
|Motor:||brushed, stock, incl.
|Various dealers or Venom Aircorps Online|
The Night Ranger 3D is an interesting addition to the micro heli market -- a 400g micro heli, capable of indoor and no-wind outdoor flight; collective pitch; fully ready to fly package complete with a 6 channel FM transmitter, and a perfectly acceptable stock power setup. Also available is the hopped up brushless/lipo package, so that you can do like I did, start with the stock set up and upgrade to the brushless with ease.
As I looked through the instruction manual, I was more and more interested in the model. The manual is REALLY detailed and complete, with lots of great info for pilots of just about every skill level. It doesn't assume anything, and covers things clearly, from trimming to blade tracking, from switch settings to the hovering pitch and throttle dials. Even includes an exploded view diagram, parts list with part #s, and more! A company that's put together this nice of a manual, with this attention to detail, is likely going to provide the same level of attention and quality in the entire heli. Let's see!
The only thing I considered lacking, or "missing", in the items included in the stock package was the lack of a heading hold gyro. I did not realize how sloppy a flyer I have become without the HH gryo.
Assembly? What assembly! Even the main blades are attached at the factory! The battery pack arrives with a partial charge, intended to be sufficient for the initial trimming flights.
The only adjustment I needed to make on this out of the box was the blade tracking. It was only out a half turn. Just a quick adjustment and it was set.
The Night Ranger 3D did NOT disappoint me. It offered the level of quality and performance that the manual alluded to.
When trying to lift the night ranger off the ground slow and gentle the ground effect made the helicopter slide around a bit. When I just let the helicopter lift off and get a foot or two of altitude it locked right in and sat there.
Hovering a foot off the ground the night ranger is very solid. Hovering it under a foot and ground effect starts to move it around and made me feel like I was chasing it a bit.
Slow forward flight was rock solid. Fast forward flight the showed a little bit of a pitch up tendency.
Either looping or rolling into inverted flight was easy if not really quick. The pitch and throttle curves were a nice match for inverted flight.
This taught me how much I really rely on the heading hold gyros. For a couple of years I have been telling myself I fly pretty well in backwards flight. Then I try to do it with this and find that I need to fly the tail? I am good at this! So, why cant I do it with the Night Ranger. Well it took me a little while to start flying the tail again while going backwards and found that I could do it. The tail had plenty of authority if I just used it like it should be used. After spending a fair amount of time relearning how to fly backwards....guess what? I've since found that my backwards flight with my glow helicopters is better than it ever was.
Within a foot of the ground I started to chase the night ranger a little bit. I found the best way to land was to just let it settle to the ground. Yea yea, I know letting the helicopter do the flying is the best way to fly.
Does it fly like a 50 size machine? No not really, and it isn't meant to. If you are flying outside, of course, it gets pushed around by the wind. The brushless motor really brings this bird to life; and, with the brushless motor it's power really is comparable to a 30 size machine, impressive!, and understandably not that of a 50.
Of course, where this helicopter really shines is flying indoors. Try to fly your favorite 50 sized bird in the local gym, golf dome, or your garage!
The only other ready to fly helicopter with collective pitch I've been exposed to at this time is the Blade CP from Horizon. I have only had the chance to hover a blade CP for a short time and I have watched the CP fly at several events.
Observations from my flight time with both helicopters:
Editor's Note: Unfortunately, due to video equipment problems, we've been unable to provide reasonable quality flight video. Our apologies. The video below has some stutter to it, which is a camera problem, NOT the model's problem. However, we thought you'd like to see what we WERE able to get. We hope to add additional, higher quality flight video at a later time.
This is a GREAT little micro helicopter, which, when upgraded or purchased with the brushless package, is truly a 3D performer. On the brushed package, it's a great first CP machine for a pilot just stepping into aerobatics. It is amazingly complete and pre-sasembled, with a superb manual and the radio is surprisingly high quality and feature-rich.
The Stock motor brushed motor and the stock 650 NiMH battery have enough power for basic acrobatics like loops and rolls but I found it harder to do than with the brushless and li-poly battery. The extra power makes it that much easier to recover from bad attitudes. The extra flying time makes it totally worth the upgrades. And, unlike most micros, the upgrades are truly simple to make and a complete package as well. Well done, Venom Racing/Venom Aircorps!
I am disappointed that such a knowledgeble and highly respected lady as Ms. Cross failed to mention the crappiness of theis Walkera 0701 transmitter! Do yourself a favour and download its manual from Walkera web site--what a piece of junk! The transmitter is trully only a 4-channel model, there's no way to control channels 5 and 6 independently. Curve adjustment is utterly bizarre, whoever designed this was either high or drunk! The general quality of the transmitter is on par with other Walkera creations: the pots are horrible, the connectors inside the TX are junk, etc. E-flire/E-Sky transmitters are, in theory, less capable but they are somewhat better quality than this Walkera crap.
(Sorry for my foul language, I can't stand it when reviewers praise low quality products just because they got the stuff for free!)
I'm sorry for your disappointment. The radio is an inexpensive basic radio included to make this a complete product, and it never gave me any problems. We attributed the 'stutter' more to the model than the transmitter. It isn't meant to be a 7CH or similar, just an inexpensive basic radio to fly this cute little bird. If it were a 4-ch, it couldn't have flown the model at all. I didn't like the curve adjustments, you're right there...I hadn't made a note about that when we did that programming.
I hope you'll recognize and accept -- I can assure you, it wasn't "praise of a low quality product because it was free". I'd forgotten we struggled some with the curve setups, and otherwise, the radio was exactly what I'd expected, a basic, inexpensive unit that did the job adequately.
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