A good look at the BLADE 450 (flybarless) Helicopter 
as a suitable platform for learning to fly 

CHOPPERADDICT SPECIALISES IN THE BUILDING, REPAIRING & 
SETTING UP OF R/C HELICOPTERS AND RADIOS

   

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     Eflite Blade 450X Collective pitch helicopter

The Eflite Blade 450 is a well known radio controlled helicopter that is available today for new potential pilots who want to learn to fly an RC helicopter.

You can buy a Blade 450 in ARTF form (Almost Ready To Fly) without a radio transmitter for around 300, and this includes everything you need to be able to fly it except the radio equipment, or for 400 you can have what is a very good Spektrum DX6i radio included. 

Therefore, you can see that at the price, it is not a particularly low cost helicopter, it has a very much higher build quality and equipment level than say, the Belt CP that comes in with a (not very good) radio at 140, but nevertheless the Blade 450 is still an excellent choice for potential helicopter pilots, and 

It does have both its good and it's down sides however :

THE GOOD  POINTS

Spare parts are relatively cheap and easily obtained via the Internet, and it it is not beyond the ability of most people to be able repair them when they (inevitably) crash.  There is a huge amount of information and help available via helicopter forums on the Internet where you can ask questions and get good answers almost immediately.

This helicopter is not built **down** to a price in the same way that the Belt CP is.  As a result, the quality in most areas is pretty good, and without any fear of contradiction, if you choose to go with the Spektrum DX6i radio then you will have a high quality radio system that is well known to be probably one of the most popular radios in use to day for RC helicopters. Another plus point is that this radio can be used to fly more than one helicopter, and in fact, it can store the setups for up to 10 different helicopters.

A point to note with the Blade range of flybarless helicopters that use the BeastX control system is that you MUST USE either a SPEKTRUM or a JR MCGREGOR radio system, as the Spektrum badged version of the BeastX as supplied with the Blade range will NOT work with any other type of radio

You will need other stuff as well, as you would with any type of helicopter. The main things will be a Pitch gauge (~10), a set of hex keys of hex drivers (~6), a pair of 5.5mm box spanners to allow you to replace the feathering shaft when necessary (~7), and of course, some spare parts such as rotor blades, main shafts and feathering shafts, and potentially many other small parts.

THE BAD POINTS

Although it is supplied and labelled as RTF, this is a total misnomer.  All that RTF means is that all the parts necessary to make the helicopter fly (Ready To Fly) are provided in the box.  IT DEFINITELY DOES NOT MEAN YOU CAN SIMPLY TAKE IT OUT OF THE BOX, charge the power cell battery,  AND TRY TO FLY IT IMMEDIATELY.

THAT MAY WELL END IN DISASTER ...

This is because the very first thing you need to do is to go through a complete check of all screws and nuts and bolts, then you will need to perform what is called the mechanical set up, where all the levers and linkages between the servos and the rotor head and tail are orientated correctly, and that the pitch range is correctly set.  If you do not do this it is quite likely that the helicopter will not try to leave the ground. 

The problem with all this is that quite naturally, new potential pilots almost certainly have no understanding of any of this, and probably do not have the tools either (eg Pitch gauge), so they are almost in a CATCH22 situation.

The Spektrum radio system has fully configurable settings for almost anything you might ever want to change, including Exponential control that allows you to easily and quickly "dumb" the controls down to make learning to hover easier. The DOWN side of this is that it is a complex piece of equipment, and it is not the easiest thing in the world to understand and to configure correctly.  That however would not put me off going for the DX6i as a helicopter radio system

That is why I offer a full setup of new Blade 450X helicopters 
purchased from me TOTALLY FREE.  
I do the mechanical setup, the radio setup, and TEST FLY 
it to ensure that it is flying as it should be to suit YOUR LEVEL of flying skill

I also offer the same service for Blade 450X's purchased elsewhere, 
but this is at a charge of 50.00

FLYING THE BLADE 450X

The Blade 450X is generally accepted to be a very nice and stable platform for new pilots to learn to fly with. It has some slightly odd quirks, such as the swash plate going downwards when pitch is increased (most helicopters have a raising swash plate), but that is done for good reasons, and the Blade 450 will fly very nicely once the mechanical setup has been done and the radio setup has been done correctly.

Because all flybarless helicopters have to have some electronic assistance to maintain stability for various complex  "physics style" reasons, Blade have chosen to use the Spektrum version of the world famous BeastX control unit. This controller does of course provide amazing control of the rotor head, but what is more important from your point of view, it also provides an almost "auto pilot" type of feel to the control of the helicopter.

Most normal helicopter with flybars tend to fall over from a level hovering position very readily, and indeed rapidly, which is why  new pilots crash so often. The BeastX unit makes the helicopter very stable in the hover, and it is quite possible on a reasonably calm day to even release both sticks once the helicopter is in a level hover, and it will pretty well stay there by itself for quite some time.

Overall, the Blade 450X helicopter is a great choice for your first truly collective pitch helicopter.  Do not let my praises as above lead you to believing that this helicopter is not fool proof, it can till crash...  but it far less likely to do so than almost all other flybarred helicopters.

 

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