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Blade 300CFX – Even Better Yard Flier? 31Jan14

Posted by tanker in Advanced, Beginner, General Heli, News, Reviews.
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Blade 300CFXWe recently asked if the Blade 300X was the best yard flier yet. Well in our opinion the answer is a resounding, yes! We finally got the 300X into the air and we could not have been more impressed. The BeastX gives the heli a stability and agility that just isn’t there with the smaller helis. The power plant is no 450 but it has plenty of power for restricted yard flying and will satisfy all but the most hardcore 3D fliers. The size is just large enough to handle some wind and be easy to see but still small enough for relatively tight spaces. For gentle flying and basic hovering you will easily get 4:30mins of flying time. Take the headspeed down a tad and you can easily extend that to 5:00mins. Turn up the power and bang the heli around and you can still get 4:00mins of fun.

The bad news is that the Blade 300X is being discontinued. But fear not! Horizon just announced the all new Blade 300 CFX. This is basically the 300X with carbon fiber upgrades and new servo geometry. The tail is the same. The only unknown is whether the increased weight and headspeed will dramatically lower the flight times or not because it uses the same 3S 1350 lipo as the 300X. Horizon is listing 4:00mins run time but we suspect that’s at the lower pinion and headspeed. But if it at least gives 4:00mins with the option, for those wishing, to crank it up for 3:00mins of craziness this could be all good.

You can get a peek at the new 300CFX in action. Look for the 300CFX soon — If you fly helis you’ll want one.

Blade 300 X – Best Yard Flier Yet? 16Nov13

Posted by tanker in Advanced, General Heli.
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Blade 300 XThe Blade 300 X has been out about a year now. Somehow we missed this one when it released. We have been looking for a good heli to fly in the yard where space is a bit tight but of course there is more space than inside and also wind and currents with which to contend. Most of the smaller nano helis simply can’t handle any wind and they are not great outside choices for us. The Blade 130 X is not bad in this environment but can still be a handful with a breeze and is also still quite small.

As the name suggests, the 300 X is larger than the Align T-Rex 250 but smaller than 450 class helis. The 300 X features the AR7200BX 7-channel DSMX flybarless control system for stability so makes it closer to a 450 class heli than the various nano helis but still comes in a BNF format.

We haven’t had a chance to get it into the air yet but will report back once we have.

See Blade 300 CFX – Even Better Yard Flier?

Blade Red Bull BO-105 CB 130 X 18Oct13

Posted by tanker in Advanced, Beginner, General Heli, News, Scale Helis.
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BO-105Blade has a new addition to their great line of micro helis. The new Red Bull BO-105 CB 130 X not only has a scale helicopter fuselage but also features a four bladed collective pitch head. The AS3X flybarless system means it will be a lot easier to fly than previous high performance micro helis.

As with all the micro Blade helis it is available in PnP and BnF versions.

We now have a few flights in with the BO-105. As with all Blade helis setup is a breeze. Initial hover went well. The helicopter is reasonably stable for its size but it is quite fast and agile so you will need to be careful in small spaces. Performance is as advertised but be aware that you will only get about 3 minutes of flight time. Even staying in normal mode and leisurely flying around will get you barely more than that. The head speed of this heli is high and the battery only 300mAh so the juice goes fast. This is definitely not a heli for new fliers but experienced fliers will appreciate its scale looks and good performance.

There are a number of nice reviews available as well as flight videos:

Updated: 16NOV13

Random Heli Skid Clamps 23Mar13

Posted by tanker in Advanced, Beginner, General Heli, Products, Reviews.
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random-heli-logoIt’s amazing how long it has taken for someone to make such a thing but better late than never. The new Random Heli Skid Clamps provide a nice way to secure your heli. See the review on RC Groups. The only bummer is there are no options for the Goblin.

Goblin 770 — Coming Soon 14Nov12

Posted by tanker in Advanced, Beginner, News, SAB Goblin.
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Goblin 770SAB Heli Division recently announced the release of the new Goblin 770 soon. As the name implies the new 770 is a larger version of the Goblin 700 designed for 12-14S power (4-5000mAh). Besides the slightly larger size the 770 has taller frames and a new battery tray option. As always, Bert has all the details in a nice video.

If somehow the Goblin 700 is too small and slow for you this is the machine to have!

New Blade CP X — Avalable Soon 14Sep12

Posted by tanker in Advanced, Beginner, General Heli, News.
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Blade CP XHorizon Hobby announced the new Blade CP X. The CP X is one of the smallest collective pitch helis available. Finally we have a CP heli that is truly made to fly in your living room.

  • AS3X® Flybarless System
  • Symmetrical 85mm main rotor blades
  • 2.1-gram linear long-throw cyclic servos
  • Carbon fiber main shaft
  • Sleek body with sharp Nano CP X graphics
  • Includes two E-flite® 1S 3.7V 150mAh 25C Li-Po batteries
  • Includes DC Li-Po Charger with AA batteries
  • Includes two main blade sets; Fast Flight Main Rotor Blades (Installed) and Hi-performance Main Rotor Blades (In Box)

T-Rex 700 Scale Hughes MD500 Build 28Jul12

Posted by tanker in Scale Helis, TRex.
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MD500 fuselage with T-Rex700E mechanics

With the SAB Goblin 700 now becoming our performance heli combined with the fun we’ve had with the Align Cobra we decided to convert our Align T-Rex 700 into a scale machine as well. Unlike the Cobra we wanted to get a bit of performance out of it and not fly it strictly scale. We chose the Hughes MD500 fuselage from RC Aerodyne. The three things we like most about this fuselage is its looks — it is certainly easy to see! — its size and its ease of installation.


The fuselage shipped quickly and without incident. Installing our existing T-Rex 700 into the fuselage turned out to be a bit more difficult than we anticipated but in general it was quite easy especially compared to how other scale builds could be. Unlike the Cobra it required absolutely no modifications to the stock T-Rex 700 other than removing the tail boom supports, fins, and landing gear. Before starting the install we updated the stock Align 3G flybarless system to the latest V3.0 firmware and test flew it. We also prepped the Hughes fuselage by painting the inside gray just because we thought it looked better than the white fiberglass. We also beefed up the fuselage with extra epoxy on the plywood and fiberglass joins and also reinforced the main plywood former with carbon fiber stock. We then attached the gear to the fuselage per the instructions.

MD500 nose off

The nose comes off for easy access to the mechanics. Test fit, test fit, test fit before gluing the tail. Stock T-Rex 700E mechanics with only the gear and tail boom supports and fins removed.

Installing the mechanics into the fuselage is fairly straightforward. Basically you remove the tail case from the 700 and then simply insert it into the fuselage. The tricky part is that the fuselage is actually designed for the T-Rex700N. The E is shorter so we had to add about a 1/2 inch of additional wood risers on top of the full set of included risers to get the proper height. We went through multiple test fittings and had to cut the top cross former to clear the ESC. We epoxied in a new, stronger, former. More test fitting showed the rear ball link on the swash hit the fuselage so we had to grind out a small gap for clearance. We also realized that the fuselage was slightly tweaked and it was not possible to get the fuselage perfectly square with the mechanics. We concentrated on getting the head centered and the tail centered and then did the best we could with the rest of the alignment. We were also careful to ensure the tail case had enough clearance. It turns out the mechanics are not straight in the fuselage (thankfully it turns out it doesn’t matter) and are off centerline in the front by about 1/4 of an inch. After all of this prep work we finally screwed the mechanics down to the plywood and added some extra screws for good measure.

All that was remaining was to glue on the tail boom cone. Further test fitting showed that the included slot in the tail tube was not in the correct spot so we expanded the slot (lengthening it about two inches) and taped off the unneeded gap. We then glued the tail cone being careful to keep it square. Finally we reattached the tail case and screwed on the vertical stab keeping it vertical.

MD500 compared to 700

The new MD500 compared to the original T-Rex 700E canopy. As you can see it is a bit larger!

The fuselage ships with plastic windows that you need to cut out and glue inside the doors. We decided to keep them off for the test flights. The doors are hinged and the doors latch closed. Both seem a bit fragile so we taped them shut with Blendurm tape. The windowless doors are plenty big enough to allow access for battery arming without the need to open the doors at all. Finally we also added two additional metal clips to reinforce the two screws used to attach the nose.


For our first test flight we were careful to check center of gravity. The batteries needed to be a couple inches further forward than the stock T-Rex 700 but this was not an issue. We then screwed the nose on and clipped it. Spool up was uneventful and the heli lifted off without issue. It was immediately apparent that the heli was going to fly without any problems. It of course feels a bit heavier in the air but surprisingly not dramatically so. After one flight of just hovering around we landed and checked everything. All seemed well so  we prepared for another flight. The instructions warn of doing aerobatics with the fuselage and especially of boom strikes. Without the tail boom supports there could be a bit more tail flex but the fiberglass tail tube is fairly rigid. Well there was no better way to find out than to just try it! We did some basic forward flight and noticed that the size of the heli gets it blown around a tad in high winds but the 3G seemed to handle this just fine. Forward flight characteristics are normal with no odd pitching or other issues. Tracking seemed fine so the slight alignment issue with the mechanics and the fuselage do not seem to make any difference in flight. After getting comfortable we did a wide loop without a problem then did a series of rolls and forward flips (we figured back flips might be pushing our luck). Inverted flight was no problem but it sure does look weird. We then landed.

Careful post flight inspection showed no signs of cracking or stress on the fuselage. We now have six aerobatic flights on the fuselage without any issues or signs of stress. We have decided to keep the windows off to improve cooling and allow easy access to the batteries. In the air you can’t tell the difference. We are getting about 6:30 of aerobatic flight time. You certainly cannot 3D the heli but basic aerobatics and aggressive flight seem to be no problem. The key is probably to simply keep all maneuvers smooth. The heli has a great presence on the ground and in the air and the fuselage is very easy to see in the sky. All in all we could not be happier with it.

Align AH-1 Scale Cobra Fuselage — Build 23Apr12

Posted by tanker in Advanced, Beginner, Scale Helis, TRex.
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Cobra Frames

Align T-Rex 500 Cobra frames (underneath) compared against the stock T-Rex 500 frames (on top).

The Align AH-1 Scale Cobra Fuselage kit is a very nice and complete package. The fuselage is about 95% complete and all the builder has to do is swap frames, add-on the raised tail component and then insert the assembly into the fuselage. The fuselage itself comes fully painted and just needs decals applied and a few minor bits.

Cobra frame cuts

Red lines indicated where the frames were cut to accommodate the scale cockpit. Easiest way to do this is with a cutting wheel on a roto-tool.

Of course the reality of any build never ends up being quite so simple even with a complete package. The frame swap was rather straightforward and if you do one side at a time it goes quite easily with minimum of hassle and it will not mess up your mechanical setup. The main difference between the stock and Cobra frames is that the Cobra frames drop the tail to the bottom. The difficulty comes much later unfortunately. The Cobra comes with a nice scale cockpit that looks very nice and just slides into the canopy. If you want to use this cockpit then the frames are going to need to be cut. The normal battery position of the T-Rex is not going to work with the scale cockpit and you will need to cut about 1/4″ of the frame off above the battery tray. Why Align did not adjust this after going through all the trouble of creating new frames is a complete mystery. It is an easy cut to make but not one you would discover until you first test fitted the mechanics into the fuselage. If you do not wish to use the scale cockpit then life is easier and you can use the new frames as they are.

Coming soon: Building the tail, flight test, installing the mechanics, balance issues, and more.

SAB Goblin — First Look 30Mar12

Posted by tanker in Advanced, General Heli, Scale Helis, TRex.
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Align Cobra vs SAB Goblin Tail Boom

Align Cobra vs SAB Goblin Tail Boom

We got our SAB Goblin. Here is an image that speaks for itself!

More on both the Cobra and Goblin soon.