Horizon Hobby & Blade's 200 SR X BNF Helicopter Review

The 200 SR X has 2-Brushless motors, panic recovery and three safe enabled flight modes. This helicopter was designed for beginners to experienced pilots. Let's see how she fits that bill.

Splash

Introduction

200 SR X RTF & BNF by BLADE (1 min 51 sec)


Helicopter Type: Fixed Pitch Flybarless
Main Rotor Diameter: 16.14"
Tail Rotor Diameter: 3.25"
Flying Weight: 8.82 oz.
Length: 14.76"
Height: 5.31"
Servos: E-flite 6.0 gram Super Sub-Micro S60s
Transmitter: Spektrum DX9
Receiver: Spektrum AR636H
Battery: 800mAh 3S 11.1V 30C LiPo
Main Motor: 3900Kv Brushless
Tail Motor: 5100Kv Brushless
ESC: Dual Brushless ESC
Environment: Indoor & Outdoor
Manufacturer: Blade
Available From: Horizon Hobby
Price: $219.99 BNF
Price: $259.99 RTF

A number of things in the promotional video (above) grabbed my attention when I first saw the Blade 200 SR X. Two of them in particular stood out:"self-leveling" and "panic recovery switch." When I learned to fly helicopters I made the mistakes most beginners make of over correcting. Start with a little to much forward and respond with too much reverse and back to forward and hopefully not too much...crash. I really wanted a do over or undo switch. My flight simulator let me press the restart button. My helicopters let me order replacement parts. On the plus side I did learn to rebuild and then start all over again. I know I was not alone but I stuck with it and I learned to fly fixed pitch helicopters. What a joy it would have been to let go off the control stick and have my helicopter go back into level flight, Or to have a panic button to press when my copter was out of control. The Blade 200 SR X promotes both of those as well as having three flight modes that allow me to control the amount of movement possible as a maximum in the flight mode. I have previously experienced the panic recovery switch and the limited flight movements with students flying the Delta Ray Firebird. It has greatly helped a number of students learn to fly. The SAFE technology in SMART mode allows almost everyone to be successful in flying the Blade 350 QX and now they have adapted it for the helicopter. With no building required I will program my transmitter and start testing how the 200 SR X handles in the three flight modes. I was also excited to see the motors were both brushless! So let's get to the flying.

Kit Contents

Kit Contents BNF

  • Blade 200 SR X
  • 800mAh 3S 11.1V 30C LiPo Battery pack
  • 3S LiPo Balancing Charger with AC to DC adapter
  • Foam blade holder for when not in use
  • Tool kit/spare parts
  • Instruction Manual in four languages

Items I supplied

  • Spectrum DX9 Transmitter

RTF Kit Contents Also Include

  • LP6DSM SAFE transmitter
  • 4 AA Batteries for transmitter

Blade Promoted 200 SR X Features

Promoted Features

  • Engineered with SAFE technology
  • Panic recovery switch
  • Beginner Mode - Limited flight envelope with self-leveling and a low bank angle limit
  • Intermediate Mode - Expanded flight envelope with self-leveling and a higher bank angle limit
  • Experienced Mode - Full flight envelope with no bank angle limit
  • Brushless motors main and tail
  • Stainless steel main shaft
  • Flight time of up to 10 minutes
  • Flight battery and charger included

The Blade 200 SR X incorporates Horizon Hobby's SAFE Technology

SAFE Stands For:

S Sensor A Assisted F Flight E Envelope

The Blade 200 SR X incorporates the SAFE technology. It allows for various safety assists in the three different Flight Modes. The SAFE technology places limits on what the helicopter is allowed to do in different flight modes. It also corrects for deviations in flight caused by gusty winds and other none transmitter requested movements of the helicopter. I have found the SAFE technology to be extremely helpful in teaching beginner pilots to fly the Delta Ray twin engine electric trainer plane and the Blade 350 QX. The flight mode conditions relating to this technology will be discussed below in connection with the discussions of the three flight modes. As I have stated in prior reviews I am naturally skeptical of claims relating to improved flight controls, especially those aimed at the beginner pilot. I am no longer skeptical about SAFE technology for planes, multirotors and now helicopters! I have had total beginners fly my Delta Ray airplane successfully, my Blade 350 QX in Smart Mode and now a new helicopter pilot fly the Blade 200 SR X helicopter. It has proven that it works! But with that said there is still a learning curve, especially with a helicopter as will be discussed below.

Below is a general video on the SAFE Technology from Horizon Hobby.

SAFE™ Technology (1 min 35 sec)

Assembly

The BNF Blade 200 SR X came fully assembled. No assembly required!

Completion

To fly the 200 SR X I needed to charge the included battery and install it properly into the helicopter.

While the battery pack was charging I programmed my Spektrum DX 9 transmitter to control the 200 SR X. The Transmitter Setup Table was found on page 6 of the instruction manual. Since I am using my DX9 I followed the instructions for the DX9/DX18. There were also instructions for the following Spectrum transmitters: MLP6DSM, DX4e (New) & DX5e (New) both with a 3 position switch, DX7/7SE, and DX8.

Per the setup table I used the Acro model type. As instructed I put channel 5 (gear) on the B switch and channel 6 (AUX 1) on the I switch. I reversed AUX1 as instructed and set throttle travel at 85% Low and 100% Full. On switch B the three positions are as follows: Pos 0=Beginner, Pos 1=Intermediate and Pos 2=Experienced. Dual Rates were programmed for aileron, elevator and rudder with high rate 100% and low rate 70%. The Timer was programmed to count down from 8 minutes (I later changed to 9.5 minutes) and starts with throttle out. Later, I programmed sounds for my DX9.

Flying

Basics

The Blade 200 SR X is a fixed pitch flybarless helicopter. That means it is capable in flying in all directions but it is not designed for extreme aerobatics or inverted flight. As discussed above it also has Horizon Hobby's SAFE Technology. This means it flies like three different helicopters starting with Beginner Mode and its limited allowed tilt motion. Intermediate mode allows greater tilt and thereby greater speed in horizontal flight. Experienced mode has no limits to tilt and it allows the 200 SR X to be all it can be as a fixed pitch helicopter.

My first flight was in Beginner mode outdoors and I detected no wind. The take off is described below. After I got it up to 4 feet off of the ground she was in a nice hover facing away from me but appeared to be drifting back towards me so I gave it a couple of clicks of forward (down elevator trim tab). Then she was in a very stable hover. I went hands off for a full five seconds which is very unusual with a helicopter as they normally require some continuous adjustment due to drift. I rotated the 200 SR X 180 degrees with the left (rudder) stick and she was now facing me and coming towards me. I pushed the right stick back. The continuing command of pulling the right stick slightly back stopped the drift. She was pretty stable but still drifting slightly towards me. I rotated her with the left stick so she was again facing away from me again and I placed the right stick in neutral. She was again slowly drifting back towards me. I gave a couple clicks of back on the elevator trim tab back to the starting position and pushed a little forward stick. I now knew there was a little breeze in my face even though I didn't yet feel it. Using right forward stick and some right left stick I flew a very nice large circle in front of myself to the right. Then using some left, left stick and forward right stick I had a nice circle to the left. Control was good throughout and I next did a few large figure eights. I did some straight vertical climbs and descents and some powered forward climbs and descents. I felt in complete control although I was constantly adjusting for a slight breeze into my face which I was able to feel by the end of the battery pack.

I had a second battery pack from my collection of batteries and I went to flight Mode 2, AKA, Intermediate mode for this battery pack. In the break between the first and second flight I flew my new Adagio electric sailplane and was able to catch a couple of thermals. It was about 45 minutes between flights with the 200 SR X and the breeze had picked up considerably during this time. In mode 2 the 200 SR X is much more responsive and given a full forward command she tilts forward much more and will fly much faster than in the Beginner mode. Control remained very good. She did have a few small bumps or hiccups where she would momentarily slightly tilt to the left but she would immediately return right back to a steady hover. This posed no control problems at all but was a visually noticeable action although I haven't figured what caused it. I was very happy with the control and stable flight in all directions. During a third battery (first battery recharged) I started in Beginner mode and then switched to Intermediate mode. Intermediate mode gave me as an experienced pilot much better control of the 200 SR X in the now breezy conditions.

Since the first day of flight I have had a number of additional flights and I have found for my flying I enjoy intermediate and experienced flight modes the best. Beginner mode is excellent for beginners or early intermediate pilots and for those pilots it is great! In my normal flying I don't notice much difference in the handling of the 200 SR X in the Intermediate mode or Experienced mode but I noticed I have less stick movement in experience mode unless I am pushing myself. the SAFE Technology has done for helicopters what it previously did for the Delta Ray and other Horizon Hobby trainer airplanes and the 350 QX multirotor. It has provided me with a helicopter that can be very enjoyably flown by all levels of helicopter pilots. It is a very comfortable helicopter for me to fly and I think most will experience that with just a little stick time.

Taking Off and Landing

I set the Blade 200 SR X on a level sidewalk at the local park and powered up. She lifted off and I gave a bit more throttle and she was quickly up to 4 feet above the ground and I lowered throttle to keep her there in a hover. It was a nice clean takeoff into a very nice hover. Subsequent take offs in all modes have impressed me in that unless I give some directional control with the right stick the takeoffs have all been clean with no tip overs. Too slow take offs can involve drift on and just above the ground but when made with enough throttle authority to get up at least a foot in the air the takeoffs have been outstandingly smooth. I was very impressed with how nicely she takes off.

Landings coming down from a hover have all been non events. Done smoothly she just lands where directed. Trying to land quickly from side flight has caused a couple tip overs when I didn't give enough counter flare. If flying in any direction at speed if I performed a counter flair to stop the directional movement I was able to perform a good impressive looking landing. If I didn't flair but landed while flying in any direction I had an excellent chance of tipping over as would be expected. Proper landing actions lead to good landings with the 200.

Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

The 200 SR X being a fixed pitch helicopter is not designed for true aerobatics such as rolls or inverted flight. However, she does have some special flight performance. In Beginner and Intermediate mode she goes to level flight if the right stick is centered or if the pilot simple lets go of it. The 200 SR X will immediately level off but will continue to drift in the last horizontal direction she was moving. The 200 SR X goes to level position and slows directional flight much more quickly than my other fixed pitch helicopters. However, some counter direction input is necessary to completely stop the drift immediately.

In Experienced mode (mode 3) she will not automatically level off immediately with the release of the right stick. In Experienced mode she simply continues flying in the last directed direction just like my other fixed pitch helicopters. In expert mode there is no artificial electronic limitation to how steeply the 200 will bank in any direction. The limitation is now simply mechanical based on the limits of the fixed pitch control system. Some steep banking is possible and with that aerobatics. With a dive and a quick climb a small loop or flip can be performed. (I leave recovery room when doing that move.) A helicopter half pipe is a climb with a quick half rotation at the top and a dive down, level off and a climb where the half rotation with rudder control is again performed. The Blade 200 SR X is sold with the gain set way below maximum and more power is available.

More Power

As sold the Blade 200 SR X is set up for the Beginner and early Intermediate helicopter pilot. With that the power is set on the lower end which is easier for the new pilot to handle. However, those that live at higher altitudes need more power to enjoyably fly their 200s and advanced pilots want more power to fly faster and perform more tricks. I strongly encourage Beginners to learn to fly with the 200 set up as purchased as it will honestly be easier to learn with less power (unless flying at altitude). But for those that want more power Blade has put out a video to take you through how to get more power by increasing the gain, step by step, with a simple programming change. I have posted the video below for your convenience. (This review, and my video below were done at the basic power.)

200 SRX: Adjusting Motor Power (5 min 57 sec)

Panic Button

The panic button is available for all three flight modes and I have taken the text from the instruction manual to help describe this function.

Panic Recovery (From the Instruction Manual)

  • Immediate recovery to a safe flying attitude.
  • Move the throttle to 50% and return all other transmitter controls to neutral for the quickest recovery.
  • This mode is intended to provide the pilot with the confidence to continue to improve their flight skills.

If you get into distress while flying in any mode, pull and hold the Bind/Panic Switch and move the control sticks to their neutral position. The SAFE technology will return the aircraft to a stable attitude, if the aircraft is at a sufficient height with no obstacles in its path. Release the Panic Switch to turn off Panic Recovery and return to the current flight mode.

The Panic switch was tested in all three flight modes. It works very well if throttle is placed in the 50% position and the flight controls (sticks) are otherwise in the neutral position. To be honest in Beginner flight mode I found little difference in simply returning the sticks to neutral and using the panic button. It was somewhat more helpful when flying in Intermediate flight mode but it really was helpful when in Advanced flight mode 3 and with the 200 banked in two directions such as forward and to a side. It immediately brought the 200 to level. Then when I let go of the button I had complete control of the 200 SR X in a level position. An experienced helicopter pilot may very well never need this button but for the newer pilots it should allow them to challenge themselves and if control or orientation is lost just hit the button to recover to stab flight.

We attempted to demonstrate the panic button in the later part of the video below. We would bank her nose up and hit the button and she would immediate go back to level.

The Flexible Tail Rotor Blade

The Blade 200 SR X comes with a somewhat soft and flexible three blade tail rotor. This flexibility can be both a blessing and a curse. The reason it is a blessing is that in a minor strike, tip over or crash it will likely flex and not shatter. The potential curse is if it gets bent in towards the boom it may strike the boom, especially if doing fast pirouettes to the left that pushes the tail boom to the right. I had no problems with the tail rotor when the blades were straight. However, these flexible blades can be bent from a crash or even from putting the 200 away wrong in the box with a blade pushed into a bent position and held in that position for several days while in the box. That happened to my Blade. I failed to fully inspect the tail rotor before a flight (Because it had flown perfectly a few days before.) and didn't catch the one bent blade. There was no strike in normal flight but when doing hard left pirouettes the bent blade on the tail rotor struck the boom and control was lost. The solution was simple: 1) Put the 200 into its box with no pressure pushing on any blade. 2) If a tail rotor blade is spotted bent towards the tail boom, bend it out slightly to make it straight again. 3) If badly bent replace the tail rotor. Of course, if I had done a full pre-flight inspection of the Blade 200 I could have caught this problem. I will watch for this situation before every flight. I ask that you check for this on your pre-flight inspections as well. The cure for this possible problem is really that simple.

Is This For a Beginner?

Yes! The Beginner mode, especially with 70% low rates in calm conditions is very good for a beginner to learn how to fly a helicopter. I personally will still start a student with a coaxial helicopter and/or a flight simulator for a student to learn how to control a helicopter. However, a responsible person should be able to be successful in learning to fly a helicopter with the 200 SR X in Beginner mode.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery

My video of the 200 SR X for this review.

Blade 200 SR X (3 min 9 sec)

The first video of the Blade 200 SR X released by Horizon Hobby

Blade 200 SRX Flight Modes (4 min 51 sec)

Conclusion

I have had a true blast flying the 200 SR X for this review! Beginner mode is great for a beginner in calm conditions. Intermediate mode handles wind well and the 200 is more responsive and flies faster. It covers my normal flying range and was my favorite mode. Mode three is even more responsive for those who like to squeeze as much as they can out of their helicopters. In the first two modes when I went hands off on the right stick she would return to level flying and I think that will be very helpful to newer pilots. I found the panic button to be very effective at returning the 200 SR X to level flight. I think beginners and early intermediates will find both of these self-stabilizing solutions very helpful. They should allow newer pilots to try and fly more aggressively and if they get in trouble they can just let the stick go neutral or push the panic button/switch (depends on transmitter used) to recover.

I discussed my problem with the bent tail rotor blade above and the easy solution was to bend it back to the straight position and inspect the helicopter before every flight. A simple inspection and the problem was avoided. That was the only problem I had with my Blade 200 SR X. Previously, I had two favorite fixed pitch helicopters I flew to keep my skills up and one of them is the Blade 120. I will continue to fly those helicopters but I am even more relaxed and feel in even greater control when flying the Blade 200 SR X.

Now if Blade would just make a 500 or 700 SR X with a detailed scale body and lights it would be MY dream helicopter. As it is, the 200 SR X is a very nice and comfortable RC helicopter to fly. She will allow a lot of people to be successful at learning how to fly an RC helicopter. Horizon Hobby has been able to incorporate their SAFE Technology successfully into this helicopter and once again IT WORKS! I can see the day is not far off when people won't believe me when I tell them how hard it used to be to learn to fly a helicopter and how many replacement parts had to be purchased during the learning process: BACK IN THE OLD DAYS.

Two throttles up for the Blade 200 SR X.

Pluses & Minuses

Pluses

  • SAFE Technology works in this helicopter
  • Flies very well with three available flight modes for different skill levels
  • The most comfortable to fly fixed-pitch helicopter I have flown
  • I always got ten minutes + flight time with battery reserve
  • The 200 SR X has two Brushless motors
  • It was easy to program my DX9 for the BNF version
  • The self-leveling works well in the first two modes
  • Panic button/switch works and allows new pilots to better challenge themselves and yet be able to recover when a mistake is made in all three flight modes
  • Tail rotor is flexible and often bends with strikes where some others would break on contact

Minuses

  • Tail rotor is flexible. Make sure all three blades are straight at the start of each flight!
  • Wasn't available years ago when I was learning to fly helicopters.

Thanks

Thanks to Blade and Horizon Hobby for supplying the 200 SR X BNF for review. My thanks to Dick Andersen and Jeff Hunter for their assistance with this review. Finally, thanks to our editor, Angela for her assistance with this review.

Last edited by Michael Heer; Oct 06, 2014 at 10:47 AM..
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Nov 11, 2014, 01:09 PM
Registered User
Michael Heer's Avatar
Thread OP
Saved by author for possible future uses. Mike H
Nov 12, 2014, 03:31 AM
Fly Runaway Fans
Thanks Michael. I *think* I know the answer, but how would the 200SRX features work with a DX6i? Thinking, only 2 modes available without stopping to reprogram. Do the modes also set the rates or is that a separate entry? And you say you can get the essence of the 'panic button' without actually pressing it (or owning one)?
Nov 12, 2014, 06:02 PM
Registered User
Michael Heer's Avatar
Thread OP
I have never owned a DX6i and it is not listed in the manual so I would only be guessing. I suggest that you contact Blade and ask them. As for the second method to regain control... when the helicopter is in beginner mode if I let go of both of the sticks so they go to center the helicopter goes to level position much like hitting the panic button. The panic button works in all modes the stick solution is only for Beginner mode if I am recalling correctly. Good Luck! Mike Heer
Nov 12, 2014, 07:17 PM
Registered User
Steve_'s Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by arbilab
Thanks Michael. I *think* I know the answer, but how would the 200SRX features work with a DX6i?
Here is a video about setting up a DX6i for all 3 flight modes on the 200SRX,
including dual rates.

Blade 200SRX Dx6i Settings (5 min 54 sec)
Nov 13, 2014, 02:58 AM
Fly Runaway Fans
Thanks gents.
Nov 13, 2014, 10:10 AM
Registered User
Michael Heer's Avatar
Thread OP
Thanks for posting Steve! Helping each other is what RC Groups is all about!
Nov 15, 2014, 09:41 AM
Buy, Mod, Fly, Sell, Repeat
JHawk19's Avatar
Great review. These are selling for $233 RTF (10% coupon) on two RC Hobby sites and are including 2 LiPo batteries instead of one. I wonder if a price drop is coming as we get closer to Christmas?
Last edited by JHawk19; Nov 20, 2014 at 10:02 AM.
Nov 15, 2014, 12:10 PM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by JHawk19
Great review. These are selling for $233 RTF (10% coupon) on two RC Hobby sites and are including 2 LiPo batteries instead of one. I wonder if a price drop is coming as we get closer to Christmas?

I've been trying to find a used one in the classifieds, but no one is selling them. I wonder if they're just that good and no one is getting rid of theirs or if no one bought them and therefore no one is selling one.
think it could be like me, most people got one and they were so good they got more in case of having to wait for spares. the spares are not a problem now and most people have plenty of spare parts,have one as a test bird and another two which are still in there boxes never flown and enough spares to build another one . would I get rid of any, hell no they are just to good to fly.some one who had a coax ,played with my test bird,with some coaching after 2 hrs I could leave him to fly around a field in intermediate mode. 1 week later he had a rtf and a bnf of his own,have 4-450 cp helos but for scale flying with loops and rolls and it does everything I need it to do (wish it was bigger ) for relaxing flight
Last edited by sweets; Nov 15, 2014 at 12:15 PM.
Nov 16, 2014, 03:15 PM
Ahhgh! Not ANOTHER new plane!
SoCalBobS's Avatar
Nice review. The heli is very popular at our field. One note of caution, though: there is a gremlin, discussed at length on other threads, that causes the tail rotor to stop, causing a torque induced "pirouette of death". If there isn't any impact damage, a reboot sometimes allows full flight capability. Fully half of the helis at our field have experienced this. Horizon Hobby has simply been replacing the helis that crash because of this behavior. It's not the receiver, at least the orange light is still solid. The heli has a proprietary ESC which has dual outputs,for the main and tail motors; maybe that's the culprit.

Michael, in light of your extensive r/c experience, if you encounter this, your opinion would be much appreciated.
Nov 16, 2014, 03:39 PM
Registered User
JohnFM's Avatar
There's still 200 SRX's coming from the assembly plant with the tail rotors on backwards according to what Blade told me on the phone.
Nov 16, 2014, 03:43 PM
Registered User
Steve_'s Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by sweets
...for scale flying with loops and rolls and it does everything I need it to do (wish it was bigger ) for relaxing flight
If they ever release a larger version of this bird with a VP belt driven tail, I will buy a fleet of them.

My belt driven tails last for so long that I honestly don't remember the maintenance intervals.
Last edited by Steve_; Nov 16, 2014 at 04:29 PM.
Nov 16, 2014, 06:02 PM
Registered User
Gator_08's Avatar
Is this easier to fly than the SR 120?
Nov 16, 2014, 06:10 PM
Ahhgh! Not ANOTHER new plane!
SoCalBobS's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gator_08
Is this easier to fly than the SR 120?
I've owned them both. As soon as I flew the 200, I gave the 120 away.
Nov 17, 2014, 07:59 AM
Buy, Mod, Fly, Sell, Repeat
JHawk19's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gator_08
Is this easier to fly than the SR 120?
I would say, "No".

The 200 is easy to fly, but the SR120 is much easier to fly and much more durable.

You will need some practice with the 200 to get good. The SR120 is really simple in my opinion and anyone could fly it. You have to be a bit more careful with the 200.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sweets
...but for scale flying with loops and rolls and it does everything I need it to do (wish it was bigger ) for relaxing flight
I wish they'd come out with a scale fuse for it. That would be great!
Last edited by JHawk19; Nov 17, 2014 at 08:06 AM.


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