XK K124 EC145 RTF Helicopter from Tmart.com

Beautiful scale details combine with a flybarless flight system and brushless power in a terrific pint-sized package.

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Introduction

XK K124 EC145 RTF Helicopter

Main Rotor Diameter:9.84" (250mm)
Main Blade Length:4.4" (111.7mm)
Tail Rotor Diameter:2.2" (56mm)
Flying Weight:1.6 oz (45.5g)
Length:9.1" (232mm)
Construction:Vacuum molded plastic fuselage with carbon fiber reinforcement rods, plastic scale details; flexible plastic skids, main blades and tail rotor; plastic head and chassis; aluminum main-shaft
Transmitter:XK 2.4GHz four-channel S-FHSS protocol park flyer with digital trims, LCD display and airplane (acro) capability
Receiver:Proprietary combination ESC/receiver with six-axis gyro and S-FHSS compatibility
Servos:Three proprietary ultra micro, specs not given
Battery:700mAh 3.7V 25C lithium polymer with Team Losi micro connector
Motors:1106 11000Kv brushless outrunnter main motor; 8520 coreless tail motor
Typical Flight Duration:Five minutes
Operator Skill Level/Age:Beginner; 14+
Manufacturer:XK Innovations, D3-Building, Xinwei Third Industrial Zone, Dalang North Road, Longhua New District, Shenzhen City, China 518109
Available From:Tmart.com
Price (USD):$162.99 with worldwide free shipping

With all of the small quadcopters being rushed to market, it's easy to overlook some of the really nice RTF mini and micro helicopters now available.

Such a model is the XK K124 EC145 RTF CCPM helicopter from Tmart.com. Here is an almost pocket-sized helicopter packing the beautiful scale looks of an authentic Eurocopter EC145, a flybarless, four-blade gyro system, a brushless outrunner driving the main rotor and licensed Futaba S-FHSS compatibility.

Variations of this model have been around for a bit under a couple of other brand names, but perhaps never as affordably as this. It's worth a closer look after a rundown of the prototype's history.

Prototype

The Eurocopter EC145, now known as the Airbus Helicopters H145, is a twin-engine light utility helicopter developed and manufactured by Eurocopter, which was rebranded as Airbus Helicopters in 2014.

The EC145 can carry up to nine passengers along with two crew, depending on customer configuration. The helicopter is marketed for passenger transport, corporate transport, emergency medical services (EMS), search and rescue, parapublic and utility roles. In 2014, the EC145 was rebranded as the H145 by Airbus Helicopters. Military variants of the helicopter have also been produced under various designations, such as H145M or UH-72 and have been used for training, logistics, medical evacuation, reconnaissance, light attack and troop-transport operations.

The model represents EC-KYU, an air ambulance operated by Sescam and based in Casarrubios del Monte, Spain. A photo may be viewed here.

Source: Wikipedia

Contents

The EC145 comes complete as follows:

  • Assembled model less main blades and rear winglets
  • Six-channel 2.4GHz S-FHSS compatible transmitter with digital trims, LCD display and heli/acro capabilities
  • Spare main blades and tail rotor
  • Spare main drive gear
  • Philips screwdriver
  • Allen wrench for attaching main blades
  • 700mAh 3.7V lithium polymer battery with Team Losi micro connector
  • USB dual port charger

Needed for completion:

  • Four AA-cell alkaline batteries for the transmitter; unit has an input jack for charging Ni-Cd batteries with the proper charger (not included)

Tmart, like many Asian mail order houses, ships their products wrapped instead of boxed, so some crushed corners of the product's display box are inevitable.

Still, that display box looked great with nicely understated box art. Inside was even better. XK packs the model, radio and spare parts in marked individual boxes, almost like one might find in a presentation box. Very classy and a great way to store everything when not in use.

The EC145 came in a long, thin box with a protective flap and a large foam "puck" protecting it and it was truly beautiful.

Here it is straight out of the box:

Here was amazing and accurate scale detail in a model just over nine inches long. The pad printed graphics were absolutely sharp and clear, although the Sescam logo on the right side was reversed. Other details abounded such as communications antennas, tail tiedowns and even windshield wipers. The only things which needed to be installed were the winglets with their EU stars and the stripes of the flag of Spain and the main blades, all of which were in the spare parts box. The skids are black as opposed to the white skids of the prototype, but I'm not complaining. Some white paint on the skids and the front of the canopy along with a dab of blue on the uppermost antenna would make the model look almost exactly like its full scale counterpart.

I was a bit alarmed when I first removed the loosely fitted canopy because I saw a broken tab and its magnet attached to one of the canopy's tabs. It turned out to be one which had broken off at the factory and found its way onto my sample, So, net one spare magnet.

The radio absolutely warrants mention. The XK branded unit is Futaba S-FHSS compatible and may be used in both airplanes and helicopters. It comes programmed in heli mode and bound to the EC145, but should one ever wish to use it with a park flyer equipped with a Futaba receiver, the dedicated manual shows how to set it accordingly.

Unfortunately, that manual and that of the model itself are the all-too typical machine translated Chinese versions with the usual helpings of sheer weirdness. Despite that, there's a lot of good information regarding operating modes, throttle curves, etc.

Getting Ready

The model comes with a dual port USB charger which did a pretty good job of topping off the battery inside of an hour. All that needed to be done to the model itself was to install the main blades and the winglets. Two problems, though. One, the winglets were too loose of a fit in their sockets, easily remedied by a little dab of foam glue on each. Two, the main blades, once installed on the head, were in full downward pitch. I thought they'd pop back to neutral when I hooked up a battery, but no. Also a no was the main rotor itself. The motor spooled up and the head did not.

Mechanical problems.

Removing the chassis from the fuselage is a simple process involving the removal of four screws and unplugging the tail rotor. I unplugged the light on the canopy while I was at it just to make the chassis easier to handle without an additional pair of wires and the canopy itself.

Once removed, the problem was immediately apparent. It was a factory mistake in which the main shaft's retaining collar was secured much too far up toward the top. There's an alignment and retaining hole on the shaft into which the collar's screw is supposed to penetrate. Not even close despite the QC stickers proclaiming it had passed inspection. One easy fix with a screwdriver later along with a quick test of operation and back together went the EC145.

Much better. Everything worked as it should in preparation for its first flights.

Flying

With the transmitter and model powered up in the usual sequence and after allowing a few moments for the gyros to stabilize, it was off to the front yard.

Given how small this model happens to be, space is at a premium. The canopy fits, but thanks to the battery, it takes some work to get the clip at the bottom to engage and secure the canopy with something other than the magnets.

Three switches on the transmitter bear mentioning, namely those of the gyro control, idle up and throttle hold. With the gyros on and with the throttle hold and idle up switches off, it was time to fly.

There's a built-in soft start on the control board which smoothly ramps up the main rotor to speed along with the tail rotor. Liftoff begins at about half throttle.

It proved to be slightly twitchy at first owing to its size, a fully charged battery and swashplate servos which were still a bit tight. After about 15 or 20 seconds, the EC145 started settling down.

To a beginner with no prior helicopter experience or whose experience is limited to quadcopters, a CCPM helicopter is a different experience without the stability of a quad. An experienced heli pilot will feel right at home with the EC145.

For starters, it flies like a much larger machine with excellent tail control. I've flown far too many helicopters with poor motorized tail control, but at no time did the tail feel anywhere near blowing out.

Switching off the gyros for 3D made for a real handful for a guy who flies CCPM helicopters to scale, so back on they went. The idle up switch was different. Many choppers make a rather abrupt transition from throttle control to idle up, but not so the EC145. I almost thought the function wasn't operating until I moved the throttle stick.

Now we were flying. In any setting, that 11000Kv motor equates into a fast little machine. It's not only fast but nimble and with all of the scale detail, it looks magnificent in the air.

What's really amazing is how well it flies compared to a flybarless micro about this same size which I'd previously reviewed. In long term use, it's proven to be somewhat temperamental in regards to its initial mechanical settings. Vibration and twitchy operation bordering on the impossible have become the norm in the long term because its carbon fiber main shaft eventually goes out of balance in normal use. Not so with this model, at least thus far.

One thing it won't do is autorotation. I thought it probably wouldn't owing to the main rotor's lack of a one-way bearing setup in the main gear, but I gave it a careful try a few inches off the ground over a grass field by switching on the throttle hold.

Plopped like a stone in a pond from about six inches up, but at least it came down upright on the skids.

Actually landing the model is incredibly simple; once the idle up is switched off, it lands easily in an almost scale-like manner with gentle easing back of the throttle.

The holidays and inclement weather made it almost impossible to schedule a video shoot, so after a number of fun flights, I reluctantly put the EC145 away until I could get video. I finally got lucky during New Year's weekend at the Coachella Valley Radio Control Club with club historian George Muir on hand to record the fun.

As was the case in previous flights, the little helicopter was twitchy on the throttle for the first few seconds until the battery had discharged a bit. Once it did, I was having a marvelous time hovering and doing some basic maneuvers close to the flight line. Since George and I were the only ones present, I took the opportunity to do some high speed blasts up and down the runway as George shot video.

If I wasn't thoroughly convinced that the EC145 sets new standards for micro heli performance, I was now. It flew with nearly hands-off stability both in regular throttle mode and idle up. All too often, small models like this exhibit some "blowing out" of the tail, but as before, the tail held steady and kept up beautifully through all of the maneuvers.

Aerobatics and Special Flight Performance

For those with the skills to do so, the EC145 will perform a number of 3D moves including rolls and inverted flight. Not exactly the kind of flying one might expect of an air ambulance, but fun nonetheless.

My own CCPM helicopter skills are limited to fast forward flight with the occasional pirouette, nose-in funnel and slow reverse flight. Flown at or near to scale, the EC145 doesn't disappoint. Its size makes it as nimble as a small quadcopter while the six-axis gyro makes hovering and slower maneuvers a snap, including nose-in hovering.

This little helicopter is so much fun that I picked up a second battery from my local hobby shop. The Heli-Max HMXP1014 li-po is a nearly perfect fit - it's slightly on the snug side - but even though the photo on the shop's online ordering page showed the polarity matching at the connector, the polarity is in fact reversed.

Beginners, please note: Shorting a lithium polymer battery, even for an instant, will immediately render it useless. It was with tremendous care that I used the tip of a hobby knife to press down on the release tab of one lead at the connector. Once removed, I folded back the lead and repeated the process with the second lead. That second lead went into the opposite hole on the connector followed by the first lead I'd removed. I'm pleased to say that it works fine in this application after this simple modification.

Is This For a Beginner?

Yes, but for an experienced beginner, one comfortable flying a quad or perhaps even a coaxial helicopter in any attitude. It's possible for a raw beginner to start off with basic tail-in hovering, but the controls are very touchy, especially with a fully charged battery.

It's also possible to bind the EC145 to another Futaba radio for use with a buddy box; the factory radio has a trainer jack. That alone places this model light years ahead of many small RTF helicopters.

Flight Video and Photo Gallery

Here am I enjoying some scale forward flight at the club:

XK K124 EC145 RTF Heli Tmart - RCGroups Review (3 min 1 sec)

Conclusion

Given previous questionable experience with very small CCPM helicopters, I half expected the XK K124 EC145 RTF helicopter to follow suit. I'm very pleased to report that it has not thus far. It's a beautifully finished, great flying machine which isn't going to require a lot of constant adjusting and readjusting to make it fly well. The issue with the incorrectly installed shaft collar was an easy fix, but one that might really frustrate a beginner. I don't know if it was simply a mistake on my particular unit or not, but it's something of which one should be made aware.

That said, two thumbs way, way up. In fact, I may just buy another battery or two!

My thanks go to Stefan at Tmart for offering this fantastic little model for review. George Muir of the Coachella Valley Radio Control Club is my invaluable ally in shooting video and I can never thank him enough for his time and effort. Thanks are due as well to Angela Haglund and Jim T. Graham of the administrators' desk here at RCGroups.com who present these reviews on behalf of everyone in our worldwide audience.

It's my pleasure to welcome you to RCGroups.com and I hope that you enjoy your stay!

Pluses and Minuses

Pluses include:

  • Outstanding flight characteristics
  • Outstanding scale detail
  • Good parts availability from a number of sources
  • Relatively easy to service
  • Futaba compatibility means that the model may be flown with any S-FHSS transmitter
  • The model's own transmitter may be used as a Futaba compatible sport transmitter for both airplanes and helicopters
  • Flies like a much larger machine
  • Perfect for learning the basics of helicopter flight, yet it won't disappoint an experienced pilot
  • The best flying CCPM micro I've ever flown

Minuses include:

  • Improperly installed main shaft retaining collar on my example
  • Badly translated manuals
  • Difficult to attach the canopy
  • Loose fitting winglets required gluing with contact cement
Last edited by DismayingObservation; Jan 13, 2016 at 11:02 AM..
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Jan 29, 2016, 12:18 AM
352nd FG Association
Moonbeam's Avatar
Excellent review!!! Got me interested, I'll be looking out for one soon. Thanks!!
Jan 29, 2016, 04:26 AM
Registered User
chulian1819's Avatar
45g? and brushless main motor
Jan 29, 2016, 10:04 AM
Pronoun trouble...
DismayingObservation's Avatar
Thread OP
Thanks, guys! This little model was one of the more pleasant surprises of the past year. It simply flies great and yup, a brushless main motor to boot.
Feb 14, 2016, 10:06 PM
Registered User
Angelo's Avatar
"What's really amazing is how well it flies compared to a flybarless micro about this same size which I'd previously reviewed. In long term use, it's proven to be somewhat temperamental in regards to its initial mechanical settings. Vibration and twitchy operation bordering on the impossible have become the norm in the long term because its carbon fiber main shaft eventually goes out of balance in normal use. "

Would you mind telling us what heli that is? I was looking at the XK K123 AS350. I was thinking it was a little cheaper and was a better looking scale heli, but don't want it if that's the model you were speaking of.
Feb 17, 2016, 09:44 AM
Pronoun trouble...
DismayingObservation's Avatar
Thread OP
Quote:
Originally Posted by Angelo
"What's really amazing is how well it flies compared to a flybarless micro about this same size which I'd previously reviewed. In long term use, it's proven to be somewhat temperamental in regards to its initial mechanical settings. Vibration and twitchy operation bordering on the impossible have become the norm in the long term because its carbon fiber main shaft eventually goes out of balance in normal use. "

Would you mind telling us what heli that is? I was looking at the XK K123 AS350. I was thinking it was a little cheaper and was a better looking scale heli, but don't want it if that's the model you were speaking of.
Glad you asked.

I didn't want to mention it by name on a public forum since I have a good relationship with the distributor and the model received a good initial review.

It isn't the XK and I'll send you a PM with the name of my model. Thanks for asking!
Apr 02, 2016, 12:16 AM
Turn on, Tune in, fly away..
1N2939's Avatar
The canopy is a pain in t a.. to fit with battery in, which is a real annoyance with this thing.

Can I ask what settings you are using for T/P curves and Gyro?

Mine flies okay but as it is - there is no such thing as stable 6G hover.
I'm using X-6 Transmitter.
Apr 02, 2016, 03:02 PM
Pronoun trouble...
DismayingObservation's Avatar
Thread OP
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1N2939
The canopy is a pain in t a.. to fit with battery in, which is a real annoyance with this thing.

Can I ask what settings you are using for T/P curves and Gyro?

Mine flies okay but as it is - there is no such thing as stable 6G hover.
I'm using X-6 Transmitter.
That canopy really is a pain. No argument here.

However, I'm using the stock transmitter and you bring up a great point. I have no idea what the settings would be compared to a real Futaba transmitter.
Apr 05, 2016, 01:05 PM
Registered User

Control


This thing is all over the place in 6axis and the tail is stable somewhat till you add or decreace throttle, then the tail go's flying like the gyro is not working. There is a blue light and a red light on the board. I can't understand the manual at all on how to do anything. The English is pityfull. Can't find any good tutorials anywhere or on YouTube. I'm very disappointed!!!
Apr 05, 2016, 04:25 PM
Registered User
Angelo's Avatar
[QUOTE=Thsquick;34448916]The English is pityfull.[\QUOTE]

Are you trying to be ironic?
Apr 13, 2016, 01:03 PM
Registered User
[QUOTE=Angelo;34450640]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thsquick
The English is pityfull.[\QUOTE]

Are you trying to be ironic?
That remark is of no help at all. Is that the way the people in this forum are?
Apr 13, 2016, 02:45 PM
Registered User
Angelo's Avatar
Hey, just kidding. Sorry if that upset you.
Apr 18, 2016, 12:48 PM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by Angelo
Hey, just kidding. Sorry if that upset you.
I am looking for help with this helli and why it is so unstable. Mostly the lights on the board. One blue and one red. Can't figure the manual out so I thought maybe I could get some help here. I am thinking that the red light is a bad sign. Something may be wrong but I don't know what?
Apr 20, 2016, 06:14 PM
Registered User
I'm afraid the reviewer's problem with this helicopter being improperly assembled seems to be rather typical of XK. They sell some products that seem to be well designed and spec'd, but every product that I have ever bought from them has arrived either missing parts entirely or improperly assembled. In all cases, as for this reviewer, I was able to get the products working with some tools, a little ingenuity and some improvisation... but it would seem that buying these products could present some real challenges for someone not into disassembling and fixing things themselves. Then again, it's probably not a great idea to be trying to fly complex RC models if you're not prepared for some repair work, I guess. I don't have this model yet - I was reading this thread to help me decide whether it should be my next purchase. I do have the X6 transmitter that come with it, and it is fairly easy to program, albeit the manual is a bit iffy (though not as completely incomprehensible as some).
Jul 13, 2016, 09:45 PM
Tip Stall
DENSRC63's Avatar
Does anyone know if the large main gear for the K124 is the same as the K123 / V931. Are they all the same one?
Last edited by DENSRC63; Jul 15, 2016 at 01:05 PM.


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