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Posted by elan | Feb 03, 2019 @ 11:48 AM | 39,613 Views
This morning, I hit the ten-hour mark flying my Hobbyzone Champ. Up until recently I've primarily been a heli-guy. So I've used this 20" wingspan, STOL capable, high-wing trainer to learn to properly fly planks. I would highly recommend this model to learn to fly on. It is rugged and forgiving in a crash. In most cases, after a crash you just pick the ship up and fly again. As of this morning, I've logged 50, 12 minute flights. Lately, most flights have been with snow skis mounted to the under carriage so I can STOL from the snow-covered air strip in my backyard.

As an aside, I picked-up a used UMX Timber in the RCG classifieds. The model is currently in storage here at my house. It arrived in great shape and looks to be a sweet, next model for me, in my plank-flying progression. But for now, I need to put more time in on the Champ. There is much more I can learn on this little ship. I'm getting there though... practice, practice, practice :-)
Posted by elan | Jan 12, 2019 @ 10:52 AM | 42,448 Views
Not too long ago, I picked up a Hobbyzone Champ, RTF 20" wingspan airplane. I use my DX7s to fly it in the back yard. So far I have about 7.5 hours on it and am liking it alot. For me, it is the perfect back yard flier plank. Of course I love helis, but you can't beat the Champ for relaxing, 12 minute flights, tooling around in the back yard. The little ship has STOL capabilities, that means it needs very little space to take off and land in. I have fitted the model with 1.5 inch dupro bush tires, and use a welcome mat for an airstrip to take off of and then land it in the grass with the bush tires. For the snow, I've fitted a spare set of landing gear with snow skiis and take off and land on the snow. Or hand launch and land on the snow, with the skis.

This morning I was flying over the snow and the temp was 5 degrees F. My wife took a video of the champ in flight. I was doing 8's, and circuits. I flew for the normal 12 minute flight and then landed in the snow on the skis. Of course, I was wearing a wool cap and using a TX mitt :-)

champ snow3 (0 min 51 sec)

champ snow2 (0 min 35 sec)
...Continue Reading
Posted by elan | Aug 26, 2018 @ 10:05 AM | 54,886 Views
Well, I've flown about 100 packs +/- on the model and I have to say it seems to me, THIS is the perfect back-yard sport flier!

My flying specs for the B130s are the same as in the last post in my blog, except, I have changed my preferred flight packs. I'm now using CNHL 350mAh packs. They are 3gs heavier than stock, but seem to have a bit more actual mAh than the Ez-Flight 350s that I switched to from the 520mAhs spoken to below (the Ez-Flite packs have zero tail-kick). The down-side with the smaller pack, was way shorter flight times than the 520mAh packs I discussed in my previous post.

The problem with the 520mAh packs, was a tail kick in flight, when doing CCW circuits during the first one minute of the 5min 20 sec pack. The 350 mAh Ez-flight packs can't do 4 minutes of flight at 80% of the pack consumed. BUT, the CNHL 350mAh packs can (with zero tail-kick).

So, I've switched to the 350mAh CNHL packs. To make up for the shorter flight times, I bought more packs :-)
Posted by elan | Mar 25, 2018 @ 08:33 AM | 55,731 Views
Well, after 21 packs on my new Blade 130s, I have it dialed in and enough stick-time to say, this model rocks! I just came in from a sport-flying session with 10mph gusty wind, and this little model's tail held as well as my 450. My flight times are excellent; a 5min 20 sec pack of sport flying comes down near storage charge.

Here's my set-up

Pitch Curve: 0,25,50,75,100
Idle-up Throttle Curve: 100,20,80,80,100
DR/Expo: Aileron/Elevator, 75,40, Rudder, 100,-5
Tail Gain "I" 85

Lipo: 520mAh Gen Ace 30c
Lynx, solid CF Main Shaft
Micro-Heli, CNC aluminum blade grips
TX: Spektrum DX7s

Note 1: to increase visibility I've applied Red Day-Glo monokote trim tape to the canopy, landing skid pipes, tail boom and vertical stabilizer.

Note 2: To better the fitment of the canopy with the larger lipo, and to improve the model's CG, I heated the shaft of a small screwdriver and elongated the canopy grommet mounting holes 3mm towards the aft.

As I get more time on the model I'll be sure to provide additional updates...

relevant thread: https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...-Today/page689
Posted by elan | Mar 18, 2018 @ 08:01 PM | 55,374 Views
I have a slight tail-kick that occurs only in the wind, and through some research I've found it reported that reducing the "I" tail gain on the model's FBL unit, from the stock 100 setting to 90, has cured this issue for some folks.

Changing the tail "I" gain settings on the B130s was pretty easy. I turned on the TX (in my case a DX7s), flipped on Throttle Hold, then mounted and plugged the lipo into the B130s. After it initialized I held both sticks in the lower right hand position and pushed the bind button in.When the servos moved I released the sticks and bind button. This put the model into gain setting mode. I rolled the thumb wheel on my dx7s to the right until the telemetry screen appeared on the tx and then to the right once more until the flight log appeared. I moved the cyclic stick to the right until parameter #6 appeared (this is tail "I" gain). Then I moved the cyclic stick down to reduce the gain from 100 to 90. The gain-setting line for this parameter is "B." To save the settings I pushed the bind button in again until the servos moved. The directions were in the manual and seemed to work great...

I then flew a couple of packs in a 7mph breeze. It was sunny and 28degrees F. Reducing the Tail Gain "I" from 100 to 90 seems to have done the trick with the tail kick. Of course I need to put more packs through it to be certain, but I'm pretty sure the tail hold in the wind is improved...

Edited to add: I flew another pack on the model in the wind and there was no tail kick...
Posted by elan | Feb 24, 2018 @ 06:10 PM | 56,366 Views
Well, on the fourth pack; this was last week, I biffed the model in the snow (pure pilot error). Anyway, today I per her back together, with some upgrades and she's flying real well.

This is the current set-up:
-I swapped out the broken stock blade grips with Micro-Heli CNC blade grips. They are only .20 grams heavier than stock (.40 for the pair). Since I added nearly half a gram of additional weight, and since the Gen Ace 520 mAh lipos I am running are 18 grams heavier than stock, I decided to trim 4.5grams by swapping out the stock Main Shaft with a Lynx solid carbon fiber MS. The fitment of the grips and MS were excellent.

On the first test flight I noted some tail bob, which is sometimes a sign of too low head-speed and/or cg issues, so I incrementally increased the Idle-Up TC from 0,30,65,70,100 to: 0,30,68,70,100, and after sliding the Gen Ace 520 mAh lipo down forward on the tray, the bob was gone. I have Aileron/Elevator DR set to 80 and the expo set at 30. The rudder DR is 100 and exp is -5. A 5min 20 sec pack uses about 56% of the pack.

As a side, note I weighed the model with 520mAh lipo installed and the AUW is 170 grams even. The Horizon Hobby website gives a flying weight to 170 grams with the stock 300mAh lipo which weighs only 28grams comparded to my 520mAh lipo which weighs 46grams.

And then I found this post at Heli Freak:
So I weighed mine and it comes in at 156g AUW

I've used this scale to weigh everything I weigh and it's self calibrating. Could be off who knows. I'll bring a wheel weight home from work to baseline it. But if this is true the heli is 15g lighter than advertised.

So I might be 14 grams heavier than stock and the HH website is in error. I'll keep folks posted...

Edited to add: Based on a recent post here at RC Groups in the micro-heli section, we have confirmation the stock AUW is 156 grams.
Posted by elan | Feb 17, 2018 @ 08:45 AM | 56,736 Views
I've been flying helis since 2006. I am a sport-flier and have been looking for another heli for back-yard flying to add to my fleet. I have larger ships; a 450 and 500 for trips to the flying field, but there are times when a trip to the field isn't practical, and the Blade 130 s sure fits the bill.

The BNF model has been placed on clearance sale at HH for $169( https://www.horizonhobby.com/blade-1...h-safe-blh9350 ) and I couldn't pass it up. For a TX I'm using a dx7s, and for lipos I am using Gen Ace 520mAh 30c lipos: https://www.amainhobbies.com/gens-ac...-b1050/p635592

I have the idle-up throttle curve set to 0,30,65,70,100 .* In calm air, flying 5min 20sec packs of sport-flying I came down right about at storage charge.

As far as flight characteristics, the model flies like a bigger ship. It is stable and has a good bit of pop. I don't use stability mode, so I can't speak to that, but as far as a back yard sport flier goes,I would recommend this model. As I put more time on the ship I'll update the review...

* Edit #1: I just flew another pack with the B130s out back over the Vermont snow; in a stiff breeze; gusts up to 12 mph, and she did quite well. In order to have some more punch available, I decided to set the TC as follows: 0,30,65,70,100. I'll be sure to keep folks posted...

Edit #2: After two more flights I decided to move the idle-up TC back to 0,35,65,65,100 and continue testing...
Posted by elan | Jan 22, 2017 @ 02:22 PM | 58,245 Views
Except for Orange, slightly longer than stock main blades/orange tail blades, and nanoforce 180 mAh 45c lipos, the model is stock. My tx is a dx7s. I've had 100 flights with zero problems. I've crashed the model hard enough twice to bend a spindle shaft. The second crash also dislodged the board and I had to refit the vibe-grommets. After makeing repairs the model flies as good as always.

The Nano CPS can fly in some wind too. I fly it in 5-10 mph regularly no problem. I get reliable 5min 20 sec packs. I wonder how long it will go before needing a main or tail motor change-out. I log my packs so time will tell and I'll keep folks posted...

Edit #1: I just flew a nice pack in a stiff breeze, gusting up to 12mph, so I decided to change the idle-up TC as follows to allow for a bit more punch: 0,30,65,70,100. The little ship did quite well. I'm still dialing things in to my liking...
Posted by elan | Nov 24, 2016 @ 03:42 PM | 58,349 Views
I've been flying helis for about ten (10) years. I live in Vermont, and like to keep a back-yard flier available during the winter, that I can fly over the snow in my largish backyard; off of a welcome-mat heli pad I place in the snow. This helps to keep my chops up. Anyway, my current favorite is a Blade Nano CPS, with a decent tx (mine is a DX7s) and nanoforce 180 mAh 45c lipos. I get 5min and 20sec of sport-flying over the snow. I place a welcome mat upside down in the snow and take off and land from there. The wind direction determines the orientation of the heli-pad.

I have to say, the nano CPS, as referenced above really fits my needs. I have no doubt I am keeping the same skills in practice that I will need in the spring to fly my 500. And as to cost of maintenance, for the last 70 packs it has been VERY low. Here's to the nano CPS. I would highly recommend this model as a trainer or above...
Posted by elan | May 17, 2016 @ 10:11 AM | 58,691 Views
This morning I flew three flawless packs on the Blade 500 at the park and ride. The B500 lives :-) Man, well I proved that ship can take a wicked crash. I went in hard and didn't even strip a servo or bend a main or spindle shaft and the thick CF main frame was unscathed. At least the model's excellent construction offset the idiot who was piloting it :-)

For more on the topic: https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...27109&page=387
Posted by elan | May 15, 2016 @ 08:02 PM | 59,430 Views
Yup, after 146 excellent flights I lost orientation and put her in the ground good. Have no fear though; I spent the day rebuilding the model. So I'll keep folks posted on the ship's resurrection :-) Here's a link to the crash highlights: https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...27109&page=386
Posted by elan | Feb 04, 2016 @ 06:13 PM | 60,665 Views
Well, today I passed the 100 flight mark on this build. I have to say, so far it's been a good run. I've tri-flowed the bearings every dozen flights and I lube the belt before each session. I also like using my old friend , my 72mHz futaba 6exp computer radio. The gimbals are first class and the radio feels great in my hands. And I haven't had a "glitch" in years; I guess that part of the 72mHz band doesn't get used much anymore. Here's to old school :-)
Posted by elan | May 22, 2014 @ 12:22 PM | 62,806 Views
Now why on earth would some one review a discontinued model? Well, because there are probably other frugal (read:cheapskates like me :-) folks out there who would never shell out $800+ on the Blade 500 but would buy it if it was priced less than $400.

I've been wanting to get a 500 size heli, and when I saw how deeply discounted the Blade 500 is, I just had to take the plunge. I was actually looking for a bind and fly, but when I came across a RTF I said what the heck and picked it up instead. And, aside from the stock, crappy lipo charger that died while charging the included lipo, I couldn't be happier with the purchase.

I maidened the model yesterday (see photo below) and she flew like a champ. The model is responsive, powerful and very stable. Bear in mind, this is the Blade 500 3D, the one with the flybar. I could have picked up the 500x (fbl) but didn't want to. I am one of the holdovers that actually prefers flybarred helicopters-a dying breed, to be sure :-)

Anyway, I would highly recommend the model. It was not, however, RTF. If I had tried to fly the model that was shipped to me as is, without going over it, it would have crashed immediatly; the tail rotor hub set-screw was not tight. But no one in their right mind (except maybe a newbie :-) would fly a RTF model without carefully going over it anyway.

As I put more flights on the model I will expand upon this review, so stay tuned...
Posted by elan | Oct 09, 2013 @ 09:09 AM | 62,406 Views
After wrecking my EXI 450 earlier this summer, I wanted to finish an old-school build so it would be good to go this fall and next flying season. I have about 30+/- packs on the new build and I couldn't be happier. The model was built mostly with what I had in the parts box.
-EXI 450SE V2 CF Frame, main gear and tail drive gear;
-CopterX flybarred metal head;
-CopterX tail boom, belt and metal tail;
-EXI landing gear;
-Align skids;
-fusino canopy and stabs;
-TURNIGY 450 H2218 BRUSHLESS MOTOR 3,550KV/RPM, 12 tooth steel pinion;
-Esky 72 mHz rx;
-Dimensions micro antenna;
-CC 35 ESC;
-Dimension Eng. Sport BEC;
-HS65MG cyclic servos;
-Futaba GY401 gyro;
-HS-81 tail servo;
-Rail 326mm Main Blades;
-TX is a Futaba 6EXP: Pitch Curve set to 50, 75,100 (+/-9degrees), Throttle Curve set to a flat 72;
-After a 5 minute flight a 2200mAh pack comes down at about storage voltage.

She flys butter smooth and has a good bit of pop :-)
Posted by elan | Jun 26, 2013 @ 06:06 PM | 62,609 Views
Well, during the recent Preventative Maintenance bearing change-out on my 450SE V2 I decided to install the one piece Tarot tail drive gear/boom block, and a one piece main bearing block(s) that I picked up at cncheli.com All I can say is these items have stiffened-up the model nicely. There are less vibes on the model now, and the model ran, what I would have described as very smoothly before...
Posted by elan | Apr 27, 2013 @ 12:04 PM | 62,742 Views
Some time ago I did a review on the DD tail conversion for the Esky CP2: https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show....php?t=1055682

In that review-thread on the DD tail conversion I never got to see how long of a run I could get on the DD motor; the test ended in a crash at flight 253. Well, the results are now in. I got 257 flights on the DD tail motor I installed after that crash. Not too shabby, 255 flights on average :-)
Posted by elan | Apr 18, 2013 @ 09:17 AM | 62,704 Views
You gotta love spring in vermont. One week it's snowing and them bam: Spring. So, I've been getting the outdoor models squared away. I had to replace a main motor on the CP2, and now she's flying fine. The KingV2 needed a tweak to the throttle curve but that's about it and the 450 is due for a routine, 100 flight teardown/bearing changout (the bearings are on order and due to arrive this weekend). I have three new lipos on hand for each model and the weather forcast for this weekend looks good :-)

I have to say, the MSRx I was given as a gift has really helped to keep my flying skills honed over the winter. I didn't feel rusty at all going outside to fly. In years past it would have taken me some time to get back in the groove after not flying as much outside over the winter. But not this year...
Posted by elan | Feb 25, 2013 @ 03:52 PM | 63,022 Views
The mod I made to the model as detailed in the previous blog entry have made it possible for me to spot-land the model nearly as easily as my MSR. I have to say, the MSRx MM mod rules :-)
Posted by elan | Feb 24, 2013 @ 03:05 PM | 63,084 Views
I have flown maybe twenty-five packs on the model, with no crashes after the first pack :-)

It's my first fbl model and at first it was a real handful; harder to fly even than my Walkera 4#3b (and that's saying alot). Then I heard about the Martyn McKinney mod, where you lengthen the aileron swash link 3 full turns and shorten the elevator swash link one full turn. This has made all the difference. Prior to this mod the model would veer HARD left on take-off, it wouldn't piro for a darn, and left hand circuits were nearly impossible. But after this mod the model is a joy to fly. AND this is with the stock tx. The next step is to see how long the motors last :-)
Posted by elan | Jan 15, 2013 @ 03:47 PM | 63,457 Views
I took the afternoon off to put my modded Esky CP2 through it's paces out back. The temp is 36 degrees with a 3mph wind gusting to about 8mph. I flew five packs and man did it feel good. I've swapped out my trusty old mini zoom gyro for a gy401, so I don't have to let the model sit outside; the normal procedure for the min-zoom is to let it sit at the flying field for 15mins to acclimate and then plug it in for five minutes to warm up, then unplug the lipo and plug it back in and fly. It sure is nice to just walk out, set the model and tx down, turn on the tx, plug the model in, count to ten and fly, and then bring the model, tx and me inside to warm up between packs :-) Also, the model, with the gy401, flies better in the wind than it ever has. AND, I can fly with the gyro in HH-I used to fly the telebee in rate.

Boy, I am grateful for all the flybarless set-ups flooding the market; there's now a bunch of used Futaba GY401s for sale and I now have 'em on every model in the fleet :-)