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Archive for August, 2016
Posted by DismayingObservation | Aug 28, 2016 @ 05:15 PM | 7,569 Views
I was certainly busy last night.

Lots of 2200mAh 3S li-pos were making their way through my charger in preparation for some fun with a favorite plane, another I hadn't flown in more than a year and some quads.

The planes were the FMS F3A Explorer pattern plane from Force RC (originally Diamond Hobby) and the other was the Parkflyers RC Corsair from Parkflyers.com.

My grandson is a big Corsair fan and I hadn't flown this Art-Tech based model with its upgraded motor in quite some time. So, I charged up a couple of 1300 3S packs. It wasn't without its problems; the tail on the Corsair is extremely delicate and sure as heck, I managed to bump it hard enough to snap off at the base. Some borrowed 15-minute epoxy and a bit of borrowed CA later and the tail was stronger than ever.

While it was setting, up went the amazing Explorer. The original spinner cone was damaged by thread locking compound and the original prop was damaged in a noseover landing. The replacement APC prop is a huge improvement over the original! It's quiet, fast and makes this already fantastic model even more fun to fly, but I had to use the backplate of the spinner in order to mount the prop to the motor. It goes about its business to near perfection, doing every kind of loop, stall, hammerhead, Immlemann and knife edge I could throw at it. The tips of the propeller had gotten a bit scraped on a previous noseover, but it still pulls the Explorer with authority.

The little Corsair was a model which I'd originally described as underpowered, but the addition of the Parkflyers RC "Power Star 3000" motor turned this sweet flying but somewhat slow little model into something much more befitting of its subject.

Plenty of power on tap meant some wonderful rolls and large, accurate loops. It's also one of the easiest landing models imaginable; it practically floats in with very little power.

The original 2013 review of the Corsair may be found here and the original 2015 review of the Explorer may be found here.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Aug 27, 2016 @ 02:56 PM | 7,601 Views
In my last blog, I mentioned that a review of some wonderful new Hitec multirotor motors was on the way.

And so it is.

Here's the result of the combination of Hitec Energy Propel 2212/20 motor/ESC combos, a DragonFly 32 Pro FC from site sponsors Multirotor Mania and an Armattan CF-355 frame from site sponsors Armattan Quadrocopters.

It all makes for one of the most fun sport quads I've ever flown and I highly recommend these motors and support components. Keep an eye peeled for the official review on the electric flight page!
Posted by DismayingObservation | Aug 17, 2016 @ 12:09 PM | 7,028 Views
As the summer labors on, I try and think back to the last time I flew an airplane.

The last time I was at the field was more than a month ago when I got video of the HobbyKing Super-G autogyro and before that, I honestly can't remember flying a plane at the club in recent months. It's been too hot, too windy or both at the club.

However, this crazy hot weather with its almost daily heat warnings continues to provide the opportunity to revisit old multirotor and helicopter friends either in the house, at the park or out front.

That said, I just flew my XK EC145 helicopter from Tmart.com and the neat little JJRC H20 nano hexacopter from Gearbest.com. I reviewed the helicopter in January 2016 and the hexacopter in October 2015.

I guess I've been spoiled with mini multirotors; the EC145 takes a more determined hand to fly it, even with the six-axis gyro engaged. Breezy conditions didn't help, so it was back to the living room to run out the batteries. Much better.

Once the initial charge drops off a bit, the model becomes a lot more controllable. It isn't difficult to control by any means, but it's both CCPM and small. The flybarless system does its job well and the scale look is just unbeatable. Add to that Futaba S-FHSS compatibility, brushless power and good parts availability and the little Eurocopter is one of the biggest bangs for the buck in micro helis. If one were to bind it to a Futaba radio, the possibilities of fine tuning are limitless.

The...Continue Reading
Posted by DismayingObservation | Aug 11, 2016 @ 06:27 PM | 7,210 Views
And hoo boy, is it ever a fun one.

The good folks at Hitec RCD have concocted their own version of multirotor motors with integral ESCs and they are, in a word, fantastic.

The upcoming official review of their Hitec Energy Propel Systems 2212/20 motor/ESC combos will feature some of the best products in the hobby, including an Armattan CF-355 quadcopter frame and a Multirotor Mania DragonFly 32 flight controller.

I hope to get video of this contraption in action on Sunday and share the review soon after. Jason Cole's original news report on these motors may be found here and Hitec's info page is here.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Aug 05, 2016 @ 02:30 PM | 7,142 Views
Lately, as I've mentioned in previous entries, I've been dusting off a lot of models, especially small ones.

While these aren't previous review subjects, I still thought it'd be fun to share.

The now-discontinued three-channel Blade Red Bull BO-105 CB CX RTF coaxial heli was a model I'd purchased new from an RCGroups user for a whopping thirty bucks. Similar to the Scout CX, it flies much like driving an R/C car. Throttle simply makes it climb and descend while the right stick adds pitch and yaw. It's as steady as a rock and is about as much fun an indoor flier as one could imagine.

The odd little Xieda 9958 fixed-pitch heli was a real bargain a couple of years ago. I picked it up at a booth at the AMA Expo for $20. Brand new. With a battery. It's clearly a clone (to some degree) of the Blade mSR. It isn't as good a flier as the mSR, but for twenty bucks, it's hard to beat. It suffers from twitchy radio controls and a not-too-stable tail. Flown gently, it's a blast, especially for the price.

The real deal, the Blade mSR, still ranks among the most popular little fixed pitch helis in hobby history. After Horizon Hobby discontinued it, they brought it back a few months later! This is another rock solid flier both indoors and out and on low rates, it's as gentle as can be for indoor sorties. In fact, I bound it to a transmitter specifically designed for the Blade SR. I'd bought it used off of eBay a few years ago to experiment with the attempted resurrection of...Continue Reading
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jul 31, 2016 @ 07:09 PM | 7,443 Views
XinLin X118 RTF Quadcopter from Gearbest.com (4 min 4 sec)

Monsoon conditions here in the desert equal some really sticky, nasty weather. I call it nine months of paradise and three months of purgatory.

It's given me some time to fly some quads indoors, ones I hadn't flown for some time in many cases.

Nicely tucked away in my closet was the XinLin X118 quadcopter provided by Gearbest.com for a September 2015 review. That review may be found here.

Since I'd recently done a casual review of the Eachine E5C quad here on the blogs, it didn't take long for me to realize just how similar the X118 happens to be. Very similar, but not alike and the radio protocols are different. To my delight, the batteries are the same!

I remember being somewhat lukewarm over the X118. It's a good if somewhat larger than usual indoor flyer with one heck of an LED light show. The FPV function is pretty good with a large, hooded screen and a micro SD card slot for the supplied 4MP card.

During a brief outdoor flight, I remembered just why I wasn't too crazy about the X118. Low rates are unsuitable for outdoor flight and both medium and high rates are on the touchy side. There isn't a lot of power on tap and I quickly remembered that the model should be landed immediately when power drops off. The low battery warning lights only come on when the battery dumps and sends the quad to the ground.

That said, it remains a good beginner's machine, but with no spare parts support even a year after Gearbest stated on the ordering page that parts were temporarily out of stock. However, it's very similar to the Syma X5C, so wear and crash parts like motors, props, prop shafts and landing skids are likely interchangeable.

I may have to yank the camera and skids and give this little quad another go and report back. Some "weight loss" ought to put it nearly on par with the Eachine H5C.

In the meantime, please enjoy the YouTube video from the original review at the top of the page.