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ThinkGeek Black Stealth 3-channel Micro Helicopter RTF

Michael Heer flies the Black Stealth 3-channel helicopter and finds it to be a very controllable and fun indoor helicopter for under $30.00.

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Introduction

Black Stealth
Black Stealth
Rotorspan:5.5"
Maximum Length:7.5"
Minimum Width Operating:5.5"
Minimum Width Stopped:2.5"
Weight:.8 oz.
Transmitter:Infrared 3-Channel
Receiver:Infrared 3-ch with A,B or C selection
Battery:3.7 volt Lipoly
Manufacturer:ThinkGeek
Available From:ThinkGeek
Price:$29.99

This Black Stealth helicopter currently sells for under $30.00, has three channel control and looks like its name. It is a coaxial helicopter that also has a horizontal tail rotor; the same overall design seen in the Mosquito helicopter that I reviewed in late 2007. Like the Mosquito, the Black Stealth is much more stable and controllable than two channel coaxial helicopters. Unlike the Mosquito, the Black Stealth looks like a traditional, if somewhat sinister, helicopter.

Kit Contents

Kit Contents:

  • Black stealth helicopter
  • Infrared 3-channel Transmitter
  • Instruction sheet
  • Spare tail rotor propeller

I Supplied:

  • 6 Alkaline AA batteries

Assembly

The Black Stealth, AKA "Hummingbird", came fully assembled. All I had to do was purchase and install 6 alkaline batteries into the transmitter. plugged the charging cord from the transmitter into the bottom front of the Black Stealth and turned on the transmitter. There are two LEDs on the transmitter: red shows it is turned on and green shows it is charging. The green LED goes out when the Black Stealth's internal 3.7 Lipoly battery is charged. They caution that the process should be observed and the charger unplugged after twenty minutes even if the green LED hasn't gone out.

With that, the helicopter is ready to fly. All one needs is a calm, obstacle free area to use as a helipad. Because of the infrared control, the Black Stealth cannot be flown outdoors in direct or strong indirect sunlight. Even if you do get it airborne in those conditions, expect it to act like a vampire at some point and simply die in mid-flight. It was intended as an indoor helicopter, and that it does well.

Flying

Basics

The left stick of the transmitter controls the throttle, and with it the helicopter takes off, goes up, comes down and lands. The right stick supplies the direction control and allows the Black Stealth to go forward or backward and turn left or right. The transmitter has one trim dial on the right lower front of the transmitter for the heading control and is used to keep the helicopter from turning on its own or rotating around itself without control. Used correctly, it keeps the helicopter facing in the desired direction so that turn can be controlled by the right stick. As throttle is adjusted and/or the battery in the Black Stealth uses charge in operation, this dial needs to be adjusted. For better control of the helicopter learning how stick movement affects the need for trim adjustment to keep the helicopter tracking straight and not spinning is necessary.

Two channel helicopters such as the Picco Z are constantly flying somewhat forward. The Black Stealth, with its three channel control, has a true hover. In a room without a fan or other wind currents, just using the the throttle and the trim dial I can generally keep the Black stealth facing one direction and in a hover over one spot. If I want to go forward or backward I move the right stick accordingly forward or backward. There is a slight delay, the tail rotor turns on, and the Black Stealth moves forward.

Moving the right stick from side to side does not cause sideways movement as would be the case in most four channel helicopters. Instead, it turns the helicopter left or right. On a four channel or more helicopter that control is normally found on the left stick's side to side movement. With the Black Stealth it is on the right stick.

The principal difference between the Black Stealth and two channel helicopters is that it has a true hover and can be directed forward or backward. Like the two channel helicopters, the principle challenge is controlling the helicopter's heading and avoiding spin when that is not desired. Admittedly, sometimes I have better control on some flights than others. Small stick movements and steady throttle have been the key to more control for me.

Taking Off and Landing

With the helicopter charged, I turned on the transmitter first. I turned on the helicopter from the switch on the bottom and held the helicopter in a level and upright position while it armed (became active). I set it on a flat surface that was free of obstacles. I moved the left "throttle' stick and the rotor blades started to spool up. I slowly increased the throttle until the Black Stealth lifted off. While controlling the altitude of the Black Stealth with the left stick; directional heading (non rotation) as discussed above was obtained by adjusting the trim dial. This action was necessary at the start of almost every flight after charging the Black Stealth. Once the trim dial stabilized the Black Stealth's rotation, I controlled direction via the right stick, with the stick in neutral or with slight pressure to one side or the other. Almost all of my takeoffs following a charge were done in that fashion. During a flight I could frequently land and take off again by simply using the throttle.

Landing was performed by slowly lowering the throttle to allow the Black Stealth to slowly settle and land. Frequently for me it was a process of lowering, raising slightly and again lowering the throttle to control the rate of descent for a smooth landing.

Special Flight Performance

Unlike the two channel helicopters, it has a true hover and a controllable forward or backward.

Is This For a Beginner?

YES! The packaging recommends it for ages 8 and up. You can fly the Black Stealth with no prior helicopter or RC experience.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery

Downloads

Conclusion

To my eye, the Black Stealth is a sharp looking helicopter; all black with the vertical and horizontal fins and crescent shapes on the tail boom. The coaxial counter rotating blades provide a nice hover. The three channel control makes it a lot more fun for me to fly than a two channel helicopter. For under $30.00 it is a fun and challenging helicopter to operate.

Pluses:

  • Sells for under $30.00
  • Has three channel control
  • I can reasonably control throttle, and forward/backward on most flights
  • Flies 6-8 minutes on a full charge

Minuses:

  • Warning on box says don't charge over 20 minutes and instructions say charge time 20-30 minutes.
  • No information on availability of replacement parts anywhere.
  • Rotational (spin) control varies for me to some extent. Some flights I can control it much better then other flights.

I want to thank Dick Andersen for flying the Black Stealth while I took stills and for being the camera man for the video.

Last edited by Angela H; Nov 17, 2008 at 07:41 PM..

Discussion

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Old Nov 19, 2008, 08:16 AM
Registered User
Dorme's Avatar
United States, NJ, Manchester Township
Joined Dec 2000
1,058 Posts
This looks like the same model that Brookstone sold for $29.95 last Xmas. I see a difference in the placement of the tail rotor. It looks to be moved to a horizontal position from vertical. You also look to be in more control than I ever had. Try as I might, I could never control the flight as you did in the video. I suspect that the main rotor blades are overpowering the effects of the tail rotor, at least in the Brookstone model it appeared that way with a constant rotation that made directional control impossible.
I seem to remember similar destructions with mine, like, "The product is not toy, keep away from childred". I keep it away from all "childred" in the neighborhood and I certainly didn't feel like it was a "toy" after my frustration.
Thanks for the article.
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Old Nov 19, 2008, 08:45 AM
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Joined Aug 2006
22 Posts
I enjoyed the review and video and am happy to see that I am not the only one to suffer the frustration of the Brookstone helli (typo intended).
It took a few exchanges to find one that would stabilize and become controllable. This season one can find a two-pack with two birds, two landing pads and mini hazard cones for under $30 at Costco.....yep, I bit again.
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Old Nov 20, 2008, 03:11 PM
2 Build or not 2 build???
jrbike's Avatar
Solana Beach, CA
Joined Jul 2008
551 Posts
Nice review. I've had limited Heli experience (have been flying slope off and on for 20+ years) so when I tried my hand at Heli, I opted for the Blade MCX (the 2.4 bind and fly version). This allowed me to use my familiar 9303 2.4 (somewhat overkill, as I'm told, for a beginner heli).

It took me about two batteries to get control of the MCX. After a week of flying, my 13 yr. old son gave it a shot (he has 0 RC experience) and he loved it. He was flying all over the house in about an hours time.

Not sure how the MCX compares to the Stealth, but the MCX doesn't feel like a $30 toy. I'd be curious what others think who have flown both helis. The MCX cost about $100. They offer a "toy" radio (that's like a game controller) that brings the total to about $120, I believe.

That's my .02 on the micro helis. I'm off to buy a Trex 450 SE.

Jim
bit by the heli bug

PS The MCX has a full-line of replacement parts that are just becoming available. The consistency of flight, for me at least, seemed to be resolved by minor trim adjustments.
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Old Nov 20, 2008, 03:51 PM
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Michael Heer's Avatar
Stockton, Ca. USA
Joined Apr 2001
9,259 Posts
The mCX Blade is an excellent 4 channel helicopter and it sells for $129.00 RTF and about $100.00 bind and fly if you have a Spektrum DSM2 transmitter already. My review of it is in the edit queue. The two are really not comparable when one looks at the price difference and the complete controlability that comes with the mCX. The Black Stealth in its price range is a very enjoyable product.
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Old Nov 20, 2008, 04:07 PM
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Joined Nov 2008
43 Posts
Great review love those copts
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Old Nov 20, 2008, 04:48 PM
3D VFX Artist
tonyastro's Avatar
USA, CA, Monrovia
Joined Jan 2008
2,040 Posts
nice looking heli. i've never seen a 3 channel have smooth ff or even ff for that matter. is this an automatic ff?
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Old Nov 20, 2008, 05:50 PM
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Michael Heer's Avatar
Stockton, Ca. USA
Joined Apr 2001
9,259 Posts
Forward flight and reverse flight is controlled by the tail rotor that faces up and not sideways. Thus the helicopter has both a true hover and the tail rotor is still as well as forward and reverse flight as directed by the tail rotor. Mike
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Old Nov 20, 2008, 06:18 PM
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tonyastro's Avatar
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Joined Jan 2008
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So is this how it goes:

Left stick - rudder and throttle
Right stick - forward / reverse

Or is the rudder right stick?
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Old Nov 21, 2008, 08:12 AM
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Michael Heer's Avatar
Stockton, Ca. USA
Joined Apr 2001
9,259 Posts
Tony read the first paragraph under basic flight in the review. Left stick is throttle only.
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Old Nov 21, 2008, 12:24 PM
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tonyastro's Avatar
USA, CA, Monrovia
Joined Jan 2008
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Ah ok. Just like the micro mosquito
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Old Dec 11, 2008, 11:40 PM
Registered User
Joined Dec 2008
1 Posts
This is my first RC copter and unfortunately after a particularly bad spill, the tail shaft has cracked. It didn't separate and I can still fly it, but I imagine if it takes another spill it will be done for.

My question is, is there anyway I could possibly repair this? I was thinking about maybe a dab of super glue to strengthen it up. My girlfriend said I should put a small piece of tape around it, but wouldn't that screw up the balance and the way it flies?

Thanks in advance.
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Old Dec 22, 2008, 05:26 PM
From the bowels of MI
Joined Apr 2004
751 Posts
Does this heli offer any improvement in control/precision over the Micro Mosquito or are they pretty much the same?
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Old Dec 27, 2008, 01:43 AM
2 Mistakes Downwind
ToyBoy's Avatar
Portland, OR
Joined Nov 2004
414 Posts
Has anyone else managed to get this heli to fly well? I got one for Christmas and after two days I've pretty much given up trying to get it stable. Basically it has these problems:

- I can almost never hover. Even with extremely careful, tiny throttle adjustments, it's always either ascending or descending. The exception is when the battery starts getting low, I can sometimes hold an altitude.
- It won't trim. Once I get it as well trimmed as possible, it will still want to fly in a circle while also rotating (usually in the opposite direction).
- If I attempt to fly forward or backward, it develops a deadly oscillation that I can't recover from. Even a very brief stick input will trigger this.

Is there a trick to taming this beast or should I send it back?

Thanks,
TB
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Old Dec 27, 2008, 09:13 PM
2 Mistakes Downwind
ToyBoy's Avatar
Portland, OR
Joined Nov 2004
414 Posts
Replying to myself...

I just noticed that the tail fin isn't fixed in place and moves pretty easily along the boom. I guess it was too far forward. I've moved it back and definitely have better stability now, but I still have a way to go before it's as good as Michael describes. It generally wants to fly backward and in a circle, which I can't seem to trim out. I'm wondering if a bit of weight on the front will help so I'll probably try that if I can find some putty.

EDIT: Think I found the problem. See this thread.
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Last edited by ToyBoy; Dec 28, 2008 at 12:29 PM.
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